Baltic Coal Terminal predicts freight turnover climb

Sea port Ventspils-based specialised terminal AS Baltic Coal Terminal (BCT) continues shipping coal freights to Europe and other regions of the world. It is expected the volume of coal freights may reach 3 million tonnes in 2022, as reported by
Last year both geopolitical factors and Covid-19 crisis caused a dramatic drop of freights at Latvia’s sea ports and the entire freights segment. The situation impacted the coal shipping segment, which, according to data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia, dropped 79.6%. For comparison it it worth mentioning the 27.5% drop in the oil product segment and 10.2% drop in the lumber shipment segment. The freight volumes carried by Latvijas dzelzceļš dropped 45%.
2020 for all enterprises engaged in coal handling was difficult and full of challenges. AS Baltic Coal Terminalwas hit one of the hardest by this crisis.
However, as was previous told by BCT board member Ilze Bērziņa, the company has been working hard on restoring the flow of coal lately in order to maintain operations in accordance with the terminal’s profile. The result – in October Navios Sphera freight ship was loaded with 80 500 tonnes of coal from Kazakhstan and sent to Europe.
Cooperation with Kazakhstan continues. Already it is possible to predict BCT will continue sending coal freights to Europe.
What is happening on the global coal market?
The situation on the global and European market was changed by the rapid change of the natural gas price, which, in turn, caused a rapid climb in demand for fossil fuels in Europe. In 2020 global coal consumption reached 7.242 billion tonnes. China remained a stable leader when it comes to coal consumption. Last year this country consumed 3.814 billion tonnes of coal or 52.7%, whereas Europe consumed a mere 0.386 billion tonnes or 5.3% of the global consumed volume. It should be said that Russia is among the leaders in coal exports (210 million tonnes). Australia is the leader with 366 million tonnes and Indonesia is second with 341 million tonnes.
In 2020 Russia exported 58.5 million tonnes of coal freights through north-western sea ports, Riga, Ventspils and Liepaja included. The lion’s share (55.8 million tonnes) went through Russia’s own ports. Only 2.7 million tonnes of coals went through Latvia’s sea ports. Compared to 2019, the volume of exports of Russian coals through Latvia declined 81.7% last year.
The last two years spent under force majeure circumstances
AS Ventspils Commercial Port board chairman and AS Baltic Coal Terminal board member Valērijs Pašuta stresses: “Unfortunately, last year due to the geopolitical situation and the pandemic, BCT has had to operate under force majeure circumstances. While in 2019 freight turnover for BCT was 3.9 million tonnes, in 2020 the volume was only 398 thousand tonnes. As a result we’ve had to say goodbye to many of our employees. Others were switched to part-time. This year, from Q1 onward, we have observed a return of coal freights. We plan that by the end of the year the volume will exceed 500 000 tonnes. As for next year, we have reason to believe the situation will improve and we will be able to take on more employees. The company’s management is grateful to employees for the effort they put into overcoming this difficult situation. The company has invested a great deal into attraction of new clients, which is proven by the Kazakh coal shipment sent to Europe and consumers elsewhere in the world. For example, in November MG Hammond freight ship carried freights to South Africa and Chile. According to current forecasts, in 2022 freight turnover may increase to 3 million tonnes.”
As for future forecasts, Valērijs Pašuta says BCT’s operations remain influenced by political and external factors like the long-term strategy employed by the Russian Federation, which is aimed at diverting freights towards the country’s sea ports, as well as the ongoing situation on global markets and Europe’s Green Course.
More than forty countries of the world agreed at the last UN Climate Conference to drop the use of coal for energy production. For example, Germany – one of the biggest consumers of coal in Europe – plans to drop the use of coal entirely after 2038. The EU has also collectively agreed to reduce emissions of CO2 and small particles.
BCT already meets requirements of the new “green course”
Valērijs Pašuta stresses that AS Baltic Coal Terminalis a modern, efficient and ecologically clean terminal that already meets all requirements of Europe’s green course. For example, while the emission of fine particle matter PM10 (particles with a diameter of