The Richards Bay Coal Terminal in South Africa, the continent’s largest export site, reported that exports dropped last year to 72.15 million tons, a decrease of 2 percent and the lowest level since 2014. India’s monsoon season is partly to blame, as it reduced demand from the country, one of Africa’s largest customers for coal. Richards Bay has set its yearly target at 77 million tons for this year as well, but the decreased demand means it is unlikely to meet this goal by year’s end.
Bad weather resulted in the loss of thirty-nine days of potential trade, up from thirty-six in 2018. Despite this, global coal demand from southern Africa has remained relatively steady, according to reporting by Bloomberg. China remains the largest consumer of African coal, taking 91 percent of exports coming out of Richards Bay, whereas 3 percent goes to Europe.