The news reflects a concerted governmental effort from the world’s third-largest coal consumer to satisfy a serious supply shortfall, most notably manifested in a blackout last month that left 600 million people without power.
Incoming shipments reportedly included 9.98Mt of steam coal and 3Mt of coking coal, further emphasizing the national imperative of securing fuel for electric utilities.
According to Bloomberg, the data showed Mundra port on the country’s west coast to be the most active, receiving 2.8Mt, while east coast ports including Krishnapatnam, Paradip and Visakhapatnam imported 1.5Mt, 1.3Mt and 900,000 tonnes respectively.
Adani Enterprises, Bhatia International, Tata Power and Steel Authority of India were listed among the principal buyers.
In a push to alleviate the country’s crippling supply deficit, state-run miner Coal India has hired consultants to strengthen its presence in the US, Australia and the emerging coal export centres of Africa.
Last month, New Jersey-based collaborative FJS Energy signed a 25-year, $US7 billion contract with India’s Abhijeet Group to buy thermal coal from Appalachia.
In South Africa and Mozambique, the company has pursued the acquisition of coalfields through subsidiaries, joint ventures and government-to-government deals.
To ensure timely export of coal from its proposed Carmichael complex in Australia, Adani clinched an agreement last September with shipper QR National to link with the rail company’s port-bound corridor.
India produced 540Mt of coal in the 12 months ending in March, while the country’s demand remained at almost 700Mt.
This year, domestic demand is expected to exceed that amount.