Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers
London & South East Branch

The coal trade conundrum

by Richard Scott FICS, member of London & South East Branch Committee, 25 May 2021
A dark cloud overshadows the bulk carrier market. Looking ahead up to the end of the decade and beyond, prospects for global seaborne coal trade are not good.
This outlook is especially significant because of the huge volume traded annually. Coal comprises well over 20% of all international dry bulk commodity movements, and therefore contributes a large proportion of employment for the world bulk carrier fleet.
Environmental influences gaining momentum in many countries are driving coal usage downwards. The negative impact on import demand is visible. Last year, the effects were exacerbated by the pandemic which reduced energy consumption around the world.
Yet it is still not clear when a longer-term downwards trend in coal trade is likely to start, or how rapid it may prove. In the meantime, a number of forecasters agree that there is potential for at least a partial recovery in the annual trade volume during 2021, perhaps a 4-5% increase.
An article just published considers these aspects in more detail.                
The article is available on the Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide website at: 
(A brief rebound in global coal trade?, article by Richard Scott, 19 May 2021)