"There are a lot of discussions about the coal market going on at the moment, just yesterday the Analytical Center hosted a roundtable on coal exports and today we are already talking about using coal terminals," those were the words that First Deputy Head of the Analytical Center Gleb Pokatovich used to open a roundtable titled “Economic and Environmental Problems of the Development of Russian Coal Terminals”.
According to Mr Pokatovich, the overall trend being set by the country's government is for the expansion of coal exports that should be consistent with environmental requirements and should not pose a threat to people living in areas adjacent to ports which coal is being exported through.
Deputy General Director of the Institute for Problems of Natural Monopolies Alexander Grigoriev presented a study on the topic of the roundtable. "The problems of developing port infrastructure and the environment are very much relevant," he said. "Meanwhile, exports are critical for the coal industry but estimates for their prospects vary a great deal. The one thing all analysts agree on is that over the next several years exports are going to be driving the industry. Success of exports will however depend on the state of the infrastructure and that means ports and railways."
Mr Grigoriev said that at the moment both universal and specialized coal terminals are being used for transshipment. Specialized terminals are the better option both in terms of economics and in terms of the environment and investments, so they should be used at all ports located within urban areas. The expert also explained why it was best to keep regulatory restrictions on transshipment of coal to a minimum as it is only in that case that both budget revenue from the coal industry and employment in it can be expected to grow. "Any proposed restrictions must be considered very carefully as they can have a very negative impact on Russia's positions on the global coal market," he said.
As for the environment, today some very effective technologies are already available for reducing dust rising, the future belongs to the best available technologies a reference for which is already being developed and is expected to help the industry a great deal.
Sergey Mochalnikov, Head of the Department of the Coal and Peat Industry of the Ministry of Energy of Russia, agreed with the conclusions of the study: "There can be no exports without transport and transshipment. Today a lot of ports are handling larger amounts of cargo than they were designed for and in this situation we need to emphasize specialized coal terminals."
Participants of the roundtable shared opinions on the topic.