Qinhuangdao Port, located in north China Hebei province, is the world’s largest coal loading port and it handles half of China’s coal needs. On June 25, the coal inventory in storage at Qinhuangdao totaled a little more than 9 million mt, while the total capacity is 10 million mt. On June 18, coal inventories at this port hit 9.46 million mt, the highest level since November 2008.
At the Port of Tangshan, which is also strategically located in Hebei to transport coal from northern to southern China, the coal inventory on June 25 totaled 8.1 million mt, just shy of the maximum volume of 8.7 million mt. China is consuming coal at a rate of 300 million mt per month. “The increase of imported coal affected the price of domestic coal, as well as the domestic coal market,” said Song Xinting, vice president of the Coal Transportation and Distribution Association of Hebei province. He said that as the southern parts of China have seen plentiful rainfall this year, hydropower generation output has increased. Meanwhile, in the eastern areas of China, natural gas has been used for generating electricity this year, another factor trimming thermal coal demand. (See related article, p. 24)