There may be more opportunities for businesses worldwide to export coal to Pakistan after it was revealed that the country is set to consume much more of the fossil fuel in the coming year.
Speaking to The News, chief executive of Pakistan International Bulk Terminal (PIBT) Shariq Siddiqui said its coal imports are likely to surge to 30 million tons per annum by 2020, up from 20 million tons per annum currently.
This is due to planned expansions by cement manufacturers and new coal-based power plants set to come online soon, which will drive demand up significantly.
In 2017, a complete ban on coal handling at Karachi Port was imposed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, meaning PIBT is now the only terminal that can handle commercial imports of coal.
A proposal for a new railway connecting PIBT to Juma Goth has been put forward, which Mr Siddiqui hopes will further facilitate the transportation of coal.
According to Global Trade magazine, growth of coal imports worldwide has slowed in the past five years as countries attempt to move away from environmentally damaging fossil fuels, with coal trade demonstrating an annual growth rate (CAGR) of just 1.1 per cent between 2012 and 2017.
However, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Pakistan are bucking this trend and increasing imports by these countries is helping to support global coal trade.
Indeed, the CAGR for coal imports in these five nations was 9.9 per cent between 2012 and 2017, while demand could surge by 40 million tons from 2017 to 2022.
This could present opportunities for coal traders seeking new markets to replace existing ones that are currently in decline.