China’s Zhejiang province imports first thermal coal from Kazakhstan

A protester holds a bucket of coal during a demonstration demanding that Japan stop supporting coal at home and overseas, at the G20 Summit in Osaka on June 28. Photo: REUTERS/Jorge Silva. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SINGAPORE, Oct 4, 2021, Reuters. China’s Zhejiang province has brought in its first shipment of thermal coal from Kazakhstan, state media reported on Monday, as the east-China manufacturing hub scouts for new sources of supply amid a nation-wide coal shortage and record prices, Reuters reported.

The 136,000-tonne shipment of 6,000-calorie premium quality coal was being discharged at Liuheng terminal after a 30-day voyage, state-run Zhejiang Daily reported.

Coal from the landlocked central Asian nation is more costly than from rival suppliers as it has to be transported by rail, and China imported almost no Kazakh thermal coal in the first eights months of the year, according to customs data.

However, record Chinese coal prices have made such imports more economically viable, while Zhejiang is experiencing peak power loads and thinning coal inventory, the newspaper said.

The cargo was imported by provincial government-backed Zhejiang Energy Group.

In June and July, the firm also imported thermal coal from the United States for the first time, with volumes totalling 130,000 tonnes, the paper added.

China is in the grip of a power crunch as coal supply shortages combined with strong power demand from manufacturers, industry and households push coal prices to record highs and trigger widespread curbs on usage.

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