Coal: seaborne demand forecaster

Coal: seaborne demand forecaster
  • Publication Date July 2022
  • Description This study is part of the Capesize demand forecast series. It fills a glaring gap in our understanding of the future prospects for dry bulk shipping by providing an in depth long term forecast for steam and coking coal seaborne demand.
  • Category Seaborne demand forecaster
  • Subcategory Coal


In the recent past, dry bulk demand has often been presented to shipowners as a poorly substantiated line on a chart heading up into the stratosphere. This key future indicator is the most commonly lent on piece of statistical evidence when dry bulk shipowners decide to make newbuilding commitments, which they did in vast quantities from 2007-10.

The forecast presented here is based on tangible factors. It is rooted in a thorough and in depth investigation into new and expansion mining projects and associated infrastructure projects such as ports.

We cover around 170 new and expansion mining projects in eight of the leading coal export countries - Australia, Indonesia, Colombia, Russia, South Africa, United States, Canada, and Mozambique. Collectively, these countries accounted for more than 95% of steam and coking coal seaborne exports in 2013.

The International Energy Agency is a powerful advocate of this approach arguing that, “Analysing expansion projects currently under construction or in the planning stages is a good estimator for export capacity development in the coming years”.

We don’t just stick to a demand forecast based on cargo tonnes, but utilise our intimate knowledge of bilateral seaborne trade to produce a steam and coking coal seaborne demand forecast measured in tonmiles, which of course is the shipowners’ preferred measure of demand.

Using this supercharged forecast we hope to contribute to a better understanding of the prospects for the dry bulk sector over the next few years. In particular, we are able to show how trading patterns will change, and how this will change the call on the dry bulk fleet.

Capesize and other dry bulk shipowners are just part of the target audience for this study. It is written in such a way as to appeal to charterers, bankers and others involved in the seaborne transportation of coal e.g. port operators, bunker agencies etc. 

The forecast showcased in the report is here for the long term. It is regularly updated, and is intended to become an important part of the industry’s analytical tool set. It promises to make a significant contribution towards increasing transparency and understanding within the shipping industry.

The report is part of a family of interconnected products. For example a factsheet is devoted to each of the coal mining countries featured, while the “Iron Ore Seaborne Demand Forecaster” is a companion to this report.

It is also associated with the analysis series “Capesize Shipping News”, and the “Commodity Factsheets” series. All can be purchased from