India's coal import increased by 8.8 per cent to 233.56 million tonnes in 2018-19, according to a report.
Coal imports were at 214.61 MT in 2017-18, according to provisional data by mjunction services, based on monitoring of vessels' positions and data received from shipping companies.
mjunction, a joint venture between Tata Steel and SAIL, is a B2B e-commerce company that also publishes research reports on coal and steel verticals.
"India's coal and coke imports during 2018-19 through 31 major and non-major ports are estimated to have increased by 8.83 per cent to 233.56 million tonnes (MT) (provisional) as compared to 214.61 MT (revised) imported in 2017-18," it said.
Non-coking coal imports were at 164.21 MT in FY2018-19, about 13.25 per cent increase over 144.99 MT recorded in FY2017-18.
Coking coal import was almost flat at 47.73 MT compared to 47.22 MT in 2017-18.
"The double-digit growth in thermal coal imports during 2018-19 was on expected lines and caused by the coal shortage at power plants until recently. In contrast, the bearish trend in steel consumption and prices, especially during the fourth quarter, restricted coking coal import," mjunction MD and CEO Vinaya Varma said.
"Thermal coal import is likely to remain subdued in the near term, but may rebound if PLF (plant load factor) in thermal power plants goes up post-monsoon," Varma added.
Coal imports during March 2019 were at 19.93 MT (provisional), against 18.02 MT in the corresponding month of 2017-18.
Coal Minister Piyush Goyal had earlier urged state-run Coal India to pledge self-sufficiency in production to eliminate import of the dry fuel.
The government has set a target of 1 billion tonne of coal production by 2019-20 for the mining major, but is considering relaxing the timeline.