In recent years, Germany was always the key consumer of Polish hard coal (until 2014, when it lost its position at account of Czech Republic). In 2000 Poland was the main supplier for German market (29% of 23 million tons imported), followed by South Africa (20%) and Colombia (15%). Since then, German coal demand was increasing and in 2010 reached 38 million tons. Since Poland could not keep up with the German needs, the market was taken over by Russia (44% of total coal import) and Colombia (33%), leaving Poland with the third place (15%). Despite the fact that after Fukushima events German energy production is based on coal, Berlin environmental policies intent to shut down all coal mining operations, which is a chance for Poland to increase its export.
For many years Czech Republic was the second largest direction of Polish export. In 2014, with 2.4 million tons of coal exported there it became the prime direction of Polish export deliveries. Unlike Germany though, there is a small chance for further increase of volume of deliveries for this country. Hard coal accounts for only 6% of Czech energy production and in following years it is likely do decrease. Also, Polish coal export is slowly superseded by Russia. In 2000 Poland was supplying Czech Republic with 99% of its imported coal demand, in 2010 – only 67%, with Russia taking second place (32%).
Like in Czech Republic, French energy fuel mix consists of small hard coal percentage (5% in 2000, 4% in 2010). In 2000 2/3 of coal demand was covered by South Africa, with Poland taking second place (11%), followed by Colombia and Australia (each one 7%). Poland lost this market as well and in 2010 volume of coal exported to France was twice smaller (1.3 million in 2000 and 0,6 in 2010). Colombia and Russia managed to take over more than 20% of the market each. Similar setback was achieved by Poland in UK, where Polish share in coal import decreased form 7% in 2000 to 3% in 2010. Russia and Colombia took over also Danish market, at the expense of Poland, which in 2000 was the key supplier of Denmark, exporting there 2.3 million tons. Over the decade, Polish share in Danish coal market decreased from 36% to 10%. Some of both steam and coking coal was also sold to Austria and Slovakia.
Turkey was for many years the leading country from outside the EU importing Polish coal, buying approximately 0.5 million tons of coking coal per year. Also Norway is buying some quantities of Polish steam coal, with increasing volume in recent years.
Successively losing more distant markets, Polish export was changing the type of transportation dominating the abroad sales. In 2005 72% of all export was realized using sea freight, three years later – only 28%. Since then, that relation tends to stay more equal. Increased import and plans of improving the export (mainly to Scandinavian countries) led to serious investments in bulk infrastructure in all Polish ports (Gdańsk, Gdynia, Szczecin and Świnoujście). Meanwhile, coal export to Germany and Czech Republic is realized using rail because of geographical reasons.