Throughput at the continent’s largest coal export facility totalled 68.5 million tonnes received and 68.3Mt shipped.
The terminal counted traffic to include 63 vessels and 665 coal trains over the year trains as demand for higher-quality African coal remained steady even despite depressed prices on increased US exports.
“I think that there’s a combination of quality and price that makes it attractive to buyers,” XMP Consulting analyst Xavier Prevost told Bloomberg.
“The mines were not willing to produce more because the price was very low.”
Bloomberg calculations found that spot prices for coal shipped from Richards Bay reached an annual low of $79.87 a ton in early November, but rose 11% to $88.94.
Prices averaged $93 in 2012, 20% cheaper than in 2011.
Richards Bay is owned by BHP Billiton and Anglo American. It has an annual capacity of 91Mt.
Besides its main commodity coal, the terminal also handles liquids and dry bulk, as well as minerals including chrome, ferrochrome, magnetite and ferromanganese and other break-bulk commodities.