Japanese shipping firm Iino Lines has commissioned a new bulk carrier to transport thermal coal to electricity wholesaler J-Power's coal-fired power generation plants in the country.
Iino Lines took delivery of the 84,854dwt Camellia Island yesterday. The new carrier was built by Japan's Namura Shipbuilding at its Imari shipyard in Saga prefecture.
The scrubber-installed Camellia Island will mainly ship thermal coal from Australia, Indonesia and Russia to help ensure feedstock supplies for J-Power, one of Japan's biggest coal-fired power producers.
J-Power operates seven coal-fired power plants in Japan with total generation capacity of 7,812MW. Kashima Power, the firm's 50:50 joint venture with Japanese steel mill Nippon Steel, is scheduled to start up a new 645MW coal-fired power generation unit in Ibaraki prefecture's Kashima next month.
Japan's demand for thermal coal is being sustained by an additional 4,150MW of capacity start-ups between October 2019 and March 2021, despite weaker power demand amid a manufacturing slowdown induced by the Covid-19 outbreak and related restrictions. Major supplier Australia is projecting that thermal coal shipments to Japan will be higher than previously expected in 2020, partially offsetting an overall decline in demand.
Japan's thermal coal imports fell by 9pc from a year earlier to 7.2mn t in May. Imports of thermal coal in the April 2019 to March 2020 financial year edged down by 2pc to 111mn t, according to government data.