Industrial restructuring and changing world metallurgical coal trade patterns

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 78, No. 873, 1985

ROGER J. GOODMAN, Advisor, Corporate Strategies Department, Shell Canada Limited

Major industrial restructuring, which started to manifest itself in the mature economies of the Western World and Japan in the 1970s, will accelerate in the 1980s and 1990s. Conventional heavy manufacturing industries will continue to lose ground to lighter processing/assembly operations and the new wave of high technology, information and service sectors. The decline in heavy manufacturing has severely impacted on the steel industries of Western Europe, the U.S.A. and Japan. World trade in metallurgical coal has shifted correspondingly, with declining demand in the mature developed countries being only partially offset by large increases in the steel intensity of the newly-industrialized countries (NICs) of the Far East, Latin America and, to a more limited extent, the Middle East and Africa. These trends will be accentuated in future years with direct implications for the distribution of metallurgical coal trade. This paper discusses, in quantitative terms, such changes in the 1980s and 1990s, and examines the implications for, and impacts on, Canadian metallurgical coal exporters.
Keywords: Coal, Marketing, Metallurgical coal, World trade, Economics, Coal production