Coal Shipping

Coal is an energy source used for both power generation and as a heat source in many industrial processes such as steel making. It is estimated that about 4,000 million tons of coal a year are mined and consumed. About 560 million tons are transported each year by sea, from the sources of production to the industrial centers of the world where most of the steel is made and power is consumed. In spite of the fact that burning coal is not a very environmentally friendly process, it is still used to generate around 40% of the world’s electricity. Coal is transported by bulk carriers, which may or may not be equipped with gear (cranes) for discharging. Loading is usually by conveyor from shore. Where deep water is available at both loading and discharging port, “Capesize” vessels (over 80,000 DWT) can be used to take advantage of economies of scale. Where restrictions of one sort or another dictate smaller parcels, “Panamax” (60,000 – 80,000 DWT) or the smaller “Handymax” (40,000 – 60,000 DWT) dry bulk carriers are employed. Coal is discharged by grab fitted cranes, often at specialized terminals serving steelworks or power stations.