S. Africa’s coal export to EU soared by 582.7% during 2022

UNCERTAIN OUTLOOK: The Richards Bay Coal Terminal. The economy has slowed due to power shortages, weak private sectorinvestment and falling prices for commodities such as coal, which South Africa exports. Pic ©RICHARDS BAY COAL TERMINAL

As the world scrambles to secure energy supplies, South Africa has once again emerged as one of the leading exporters, as its coal exports to the European Union grew by a whooping 582.7% during the January-September period.

“Global coal trade has steadily improved this year, and has now fully recovered to pre-Covid levels,” shipbroker Banchero Costa said in its latest weekly report. “South Africa is the world’s fifth largest seaborne exporter of coal, after Indonesia, Australia, Russia, and the United States. It accounted for 5.4% of global coal exports in the Jan-Sep 2022 period. Export volumes from South Africa had steadily declined in the past decade, as it was penalized by declining coal demand in the Atlantic basin, the country’s distance from the more resilient East Asian markets, as well as limitations on output and railway and port capacity.”

The report also said that South Africa’s coal exports to the European Union surged by +582.7% y-o-y in Jan-Sep 2022 to 9.6 mln tonnes, from just 1.4 mln t in the same period of 2021. The EU is now again the second largest destination for South African coal after India, with a 20.0% share. Shipments from South Africa to South Korea also surged by +237.7% y-o-y to 5.0 mln tonnes, from just 1.5 mln t in the same period of 2021.


As the Russia-Ukraine war rages on, the EU has been desperately searching for alternative energy sources. Geography and its abundant reserves puts Africa in a prime position to increase energy exports to Europe, but experts say the continent’s energy sector needs urgent reforms and help.

About Khalid Al Mouahidi 4422 Articles
Khalid Al Mouahidi : A binational from the US and Morocco, Khalid El Mouahidi has worked for several american companies in the Maghreb Region and is currently based in Casablanca, where he is doing consulting jobs for major international companies . Khalid writes analytical pieces about economic ties between the Maghreb and the Mena Region, where he has an extensive network