Baltimore Bridge Collapse: Accident Sends Ripples Across Indian Coal, Petcoke Markets

Baltimore Bridge Collapse: Accident Sends Ripples Across Indian Coal, Petcoke Markets

India, a major importer of US thermal coal, is bracing for challenges in its supply chain following the bridge collapse.

ANIUpdated: Wednesday, March 27, 2024, 09:46 AM IST
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The aftermath | PBS

The collapse of the Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore, USA, has reverberated across the Indian coal and petcoke markets, sparking concerns about potential supply chain disruptions and price impacts.

According to S&P Global Commodity Insights, the incident, triggered by a vessel collision with a supporting pylon, has led to the suspension of navigation through Baltimore Harbor, a critical hub for coal exports.

India, a major importer of US thermal coal, is bracing for challenges in its supply chain following the bridge collapse.

According to a US-based trader, the incident is expected to restrict shipments from Arch Coal and create logistical hurdles for Indian importers.

A broker told S&P, "The incident will restrict NAPP shipments from Arch Coal and create numerous problems in the supply chain for India. Possible effect on thermal coal to Europe. Bigger impact is India. Watch the petcoke prices jump!" The trader warned of potential price jumps in petcoke, a byproduct of the coal refining process, which could further strain India's energy markets.

Will The Collapse Affect India

However, opinions within the Indian market are mixed regarding the extent of the pricing impacts.

An India-based trader expressed skepticism about significant disruptions, pointing out that major suppliers like Consol and Arch had not declared force majeure.

Nevertheless, concerns persist about the potential delays in coal shipments and the consequent strain on India's energy sector.

India's reliance on imported coal is significant, and any disruptions in the global supply chain can have far-reaching consequences.

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The Indian trader said, "The authorities will take 6-7 days to assess how much debris is there from the incident and how much draft is available because if the draft is low then it could be a problem. The authorities may take 10-15 days to clear out the debris, so it means no ship movement during this period." The port of Baltimore, a key loading location for US thermal coal exports, plays a crucial role in meeting India's energy demands.

With the suspension of navigation through Baltimore Harbor, alternative routes and logistical arrangements will need to be explored to ensure a steady supply of coal to India.

While some market participants anticipate short-term price fluctuations in response to the incident, others believe that the overall impact on coal prices may be limited if the waterway is cleared within a reasonable timeframe.

Nevertheless, the situation remains fluid, and Indian stakeholders are closely monitoring developments to assess the potential implications for energy markets.

As authorities work to assess and clear the debris from the collapsed bridge, Indian coal and petcoke importers are bracing for potential disruptions in their supply chains.

With India's energy security at stake, attention is focused on finding alternative solutions to mitigate the impact of the Baltimore bridge collapse on the country's energy sector.

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