Coal India production, shipments at record highs in March
Coal India Ltd.’s sales and output in March rose to the highest on record as the world’s biggest coal miner rushed to meet its annual production target, a goal that it missed for at least the sixth consecutive year.
Output rose 9% from a year earlier to 72.3 million tons of coal in March, while shipments rose 5.5% to 55.2 million tons, according to a stock exchange filing Sunday. That’s the highest in records going back to 2013. Output for the year ended March stood at 567.4 million tons, while sales were at 580.3 million tons, both falling short of a 600 million-ton goal.
Boosting output is crucial for Coal India to meet rising demand from power plants, its biggest customers. An early onset of summer is expected to boost electricity consumption. To meet that demand, the miner is seeking more railway carriages and is also trying to ship the fuel through roads to some customers.
The company is unable to raise production to its full potential as it is facing logistical issues in transporting coal, inflating stockpiles, federal coal secretary Susheel Kumar has said. Inventories at Coal India stood 55.5 million tons as of April 1, it said.
“We see production growth slowing down in the coming months as the company deals with a bloated inventory,” Goutam Chakraborty, an analyst at Emkay Global Financial Services in Mumbai, said. “Transportation continues to be the weak link and the company has to obtain more railway rakes to be able to ship more coal.”