Vale to ship first coal cargo to Poland from Mozambique’s Nacala port

The Moatize Coal Mine in Mozambique The Moatize Coal Mine in Mozambique

Brazilian mining major Vale has fixed a vessel to carry 50,000 mt (plus/minus 10%) of coking coal from Nacala, Mozambique, to Swinoujscie, Poland, loading June 27-30, market sources said Wednesday.

According to S&P Global Platts trade flow software cFlow and traders, this would be the first direct shipment of Nacala coking coal to Swinoujscie.

Vale shipped Mozambique coal from Beira to Poland last year as part of regular CFR sales to Europe, as the company used the smaller port until the new rail and port facilities at the deepwater Nacala were open.

Vale wasn’t immediately available for comment on the matter Wednesday.

Coking coal imports to Poland increased 12% to 2.7 million mt in 2015 on the year earlier, according to a recent presentation from Polski Koks, a unit of Polish coking coal miner JSW Group.

Australia’s share of imports grew to 59% in 2015 from 51% in 2014, with the US accounting for 14%, up from 12% in 2014. Neighboring countries Czech Republic and to a lesser degree Russia supplied most of the balance of coking coal.

Polish coking coal production was split 62% HCC and 38% semi-soft HCC in 215, with a total 13 million mt production.

“Poland has never substantially imported coal from Africa, its main partner is the Russian Federation that accounts for more than 60% of its imports,” Luigi Bruzzone, an analyst at Banchero Costa, said, adding that Vale expected coal production to reach 11 million mt/year in 2016 and 22 million mt/year in 2017.

“So exports from Mozambique should become more common in the next few years,” Bruzzone said.

A ship-operator source based in India said that Polish ports were a pretty good position for vessels to be re-delivered and so this route would tend to be discounted.

Vale said in a recent report the Moatize mines had produced 603,000 mt of metallurgical coal and 297,000 mt of thermal coal during the first quarter of 2016. Production of metallurgical coal was down 31% from Q4 2015 and 17.1% lower than a year earlier. Production of thermal coal was down 12.8% from the previous quarter and 30.4% lower year on year, it added.

In November last year, Vale had sent the first shipment of coking coal from Nacala to the west coast of India.

Cokemakers in Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia that may use Polish ports for imported feedstocks include Arcelormittal, JSW Group and US Steel Kosice.

Source: S&P Global