Coal Shipment From US Shifts Course To South Korea From China

A coal barge is seen at the port of Antwerp (Photo: REUTERS)

A cargo vessel bearing coal shipment from the United States shifted its course to South Korea on Sunday from its original destination in China as the trade spat between Beijing and Washington continues to escalate.

The recent ship tracking data cited at Reuters confirmed the vessel Underdog switching its destination from China to South Korea last week.

The shipment of 63,000 metric tons of coal departed from Long Beach, California on July 23, arrived off the coast of Nanshan District, Province of Shenzen, on August 17.

According to the news outlet, Underdog was moored along the said coast for about a week before it departed for Yeosu, a Province in South Korea.

The coal shipment is reportedly expected to arrive at its new destination this week, the Thomson Reuters tracking data further indicated.

This would be the second time a US supply shipment was diverted from China to other destinations in Asia. Just last month, Navios Taurus, a coal cargo ship, rerouted to Singapore from China.

This recent coal trade situation between China and the US is expected to become even worse in the months to come.

Previous reports from this site indicated the majority decision of Chinese coal traders to ditch the rather cheap coal supply from the US as the Beijing-Washington trade spat continues to take form.

Importers like Shanghai Runhei International (SRI) have already concluded trade contracts with the Western country as early as July. SRI, through the person of a representative, said that the "uncertainty in trade" greatly influenced the company's move to forego their US coal partners and instead look for other sources.

Subsequent reports said that SRI and other coal traders in the country will opt for alternative suppliers from countries like Australia and Indonesia, just to name a few.

Moreover, the Xi Jinping administration is urging the coal market suppliers to patronize the domestic metallurgical coal supply.

On Thursday, the US slapped a 25 percent tariff on Chinese electronics, plastic and industrial goods including railway equipment. In retaliation, China issued steep levies on the USD$16 billion-worth of US energy supply like oil and coal. American steel products and medical equipment were also hit by the newest tax policy from Beijing.

China is one of the world's largest consumers of coal. The US Energy Information Administration data, for example, revealed that in 2017, 61 percent of the country's exports or 3.2 million tons of coal went to China. This volume is more than double the size of 700,000 tons in 2016.

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