India’s Coal Import Drops Over 27 Percent


India’s coal import in March stood at 15.74 million tonnes (MT), down 27.5 per cent over last year, due to restrictions imposed at various ports in the wake of coronavirus outbreak in the country. The country had imported 21.72 MT of coal in March last year, according to a provisional compilation based on monitoring of vessels’ positions and data received from shipping companies.

However, the country’s coal import registered an increase of 3.2 per cent to 242.97 MT in 2019-20. The lockdown imposed across the countries due to novel coronavirus pandemic has had a cascading effect on this sector. There was a significant drop in India’s coal import volumes due to both demand and supply side factors, i.e. offtake, consumption, logistics and despatches.

The demand will remain Varma subdued and we expect volumes to keep low in the near-term. Of the total imports in March 2020, non-coking coal was at 11.73 MT, against 16.94 MT imported in February 2020.

Coal minister Pralhad Joshi had earlier said the Centre will stop the “substitutable import” of coal in the next three to four years. India imported 235 million tonnes of coal in 2018-19 valued at Rs 1.7 lakh crore.