Vietnam begins coal import from US

By Dat Nguyen   July 15, 2020 | 07:19 pm PT
Vietnam begins coal import from US
The MV NORD YILAN ship carrying the first shipment of coal from the U.S. arrives in the northern province of Quang Ninh, July 2020. Photo courtesy of Vinacomin.
Vietnam has received its first coal shipment from the U.S., paving the way for further imports amid rising demand to produce electricity.

Over 21,700 tons arrived this month in the northern province of Quang Ninh from California, state-owned coal mining company Vinacomin said in a statement on Wednesday.

The second batch is scheduled to arrive in September, it added.

Vietnam’s coal imports in the first six months rose 53.8 percent year-on-year to a record high of 31.57 million tonnes, mostly from Australia, Indonesia and Russia, according to Vietnam Customs.

Although the government has been seeking to reduce reliance on coal for power generation, last year 36.1 percent of the country’s power was produced by coal-fired power plants, according to the Vietnam Energy Association.

The country turned from a net coal exporter to an importer five years ago as the number of its coal-fired power plants rose to meet the surging power demand from one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Its GDP growth last year was 7 percent.

Vietnam has been seeking to import more U.S. goods to balance bilateral trade. Its trade surplus with the U.S. last year rose 19 percent year-on-year to $24.46 billion, according to the customs.

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