Majority of Polish coal import comes from Russia (average of 59% of total coal import between 2004 and 2013), which since 2004 is running a policy of aggressive, increased export to European countries. During the financial crisis of 2008-2011, Russia was afraid of lower coal demand in western European countries and decided to direct as many cargos with coal to Poland as possible.
The key importers are Polish trading subsidiaries of major Russian coal producers: SUEK and KTK. In 2011, both these companies had 38% of share in total Polish coal import. Other important coal exporters to Poland are Czech Republic (18%), United States (13%), Ukraine (3%), Kazakhstan and Colombia (each one accounting for 2%).
Because of proximity of main Polish suppliers, most of the transports are send using rail. The main rail terminals are located in Kuźnica, Terespol and Braniewo. Sea freight accounts for less than 1/4 of total Polish coal import. The most advanced investments for trade in bulk commodities were made in Port of Gdańsk, but so far Port of Świnoujście is still the leader in receiving coal cargos. Figures bellow shows the structure of logistic dimension of Polish coal import between 2004 and 2013.
Nearly half of the consumers of imported coal are retail customers. Although average prices are at the similar level (depending on the region – much cheaper in northeastern Poland), Russian coal is of better quality (lower ash and sulphur content). When it comes to industrial consumers (buying mostly coal of size 0-50 mm) prices are relatively lower, which makes Russian coal very competitive, especially in northern and northeastern Poland, where freight cost has a significant impact on price (large distance from Silesian and Lublin regions).