Russia and India in talks to restart coking coal supplies

FILE PHOTO: Workers unload coal from a supply truck at a yard on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India October 12, 2021. REUTERS/Amit Dave

Russian and Indian officials met last week in an effort to resolve an impasse over the shipping of coking coal to Indian steelmakers, which has dried up since March over payment methods.

Russia usually supplies about 30% of European Union, Japanese and South Korean coking coal needs, while India had planned to double its Russian imports to around 9 million tonnes this year. 

Imports make up around 85% of India’s overall coking coal needs, which total 50-55 million tonnes a year, and New Delhi last year signed a deal to import from Russia.

But complications with processing of payments and logistics as a result of sanctions against Russia mean steel mills are opting for alternative sources such as Australia and the United States, pushing up prices in the process.

Australia, India’s top supplier of coking coal, has raised its prices from $200 to $700 per tonne this year, while flows from Russia have dried up completely since March, the two sources said on Monday, raising worries among India’s steelmakers over their supplies.

Imports make up around 85% of India’s overall coking coal needs, which total 50-55 million tonnes a year, and New Delhi last year signed a deal to import from Russia.

But complications with processing of payments and logistics as a result of sanctions against Russia mean steel mills are opting for alternative sources such as Australia and the United States, pushing up prices in the process.

Australia, India’s top supplier of coking coal, has raised its prices from $200 to $700 per tonne this year, while flows from Russia have dried up completely since March, the two sources said on Monday, raising worries among India’s steelmakers over their supplies.

The Russian delegation asked Indian representatives to visit Moscow to work out how to achieve smooth shipments of coking coal, the sources said, while state-owned Steel Authority of India (SAIL) requested better insurance cover for supplies.

Russia’s trade ministry has declined to comment on the issue as reported by Reuters, while India’s federal steel ministry, foreign affairs ministry and SAIL did not immediately reply to requests for comment. In an emailed response sought by Reuters, JSW Steel declined comment.

India has not imposed sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”, and has abstained from a United Nations vote condemning it.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

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This report has been written by The Kootneeti Team. For any feedbacks/query reach [email protected] || Twitter: @TheKootneeti

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