Beijing — China’s imports of Australian coking coal nearly doubled in March from a month earlier, customs data showed on Thursday, as a flurry of shipments were accepted after being delayed at customs clearance for more than a month.
Arrivals of Australian coking coal were at 2.23 million tonnes last month, up 92 percent from 1.16 million tonnes in February, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs on Thursday.
That compares to 1.33 million tonnes in March 2018.
Traders reported extended inspections of Australian supplies, including a ban on Australian coal vessels docking at port, in the past two months. Meanwhile, lengthy customs clearances remain across ports in the country.
“Different ports implement different policies, but in general it takes more than 40 days to get Australian coal into the country,” said a Beijing-based trader.
“But traders are still ordering shipments from Australia for its lower prices, despite the restrictions at customs.”
Prices of Australian coking coal are currently 200 yuan ($29.67) cheaper per tonne compared to Chinese equivalents, according to data from Mysteel consultancy.
The coal mining heartlands of Shaanxi, Shanxi and Inner Mongolia are carrying out safety inspections, which may disrupt operations at coal mines in the regions. ($1 = 6.7419 Chinese yuan renminbi)