Kuzbass Fuel Company (KTK), one of Russia’s largest thermal coal producers, and Russian Railways (RZD) are to launch a second rail terminal in the Kaliningrad exclave this year to handle growing coal exports to neighbouring Poland.
Due to different rail gauges in Russia and Europe, coal must be reloaded from Russian to Polish railcars, and the new terminal will sort and reload Russian coal exports. RZD is providing the necessary land, and KTK has earmarked around US$2.3M to equip the facility with machinery and equipment.
Exports accounted for 76% (12.43 Mt) of KTK’s coal output (15.66 Mt) last year, and half of its exports (6.2 Mt) went to Europe.
The company operates its own wholesale network in Poland, and growing demand for coal in that country has been encouraging the Russian producer to expand its European exports and develop relevant transport and logistics infrastructure.
Initially, coal exported via Kaliningrad was reloaded on the Polish side of the border. However, in 2017, RZD opened its first terminal on the Russian side, and has been earning about US$2.5 on each tonne handled.
As RZD’s rates are lower than those of its Polish counterpart, the terminal has attracted the interest of KTK, which had earlier opted to export its coal by sea.
As a result, the coal producer has been exporting up to 0.5 Mtpa to Poland via Kaliningrad since 2017, and is planning to double the volume with the launch of the second terminal.