Global Energy Monitor

Inclusion Criteria

The Global Coal Terminals Tracker (GCTT) includes coal import, export, and domestic terminals. All global coal terminals are included with capacity of handling 1 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of coal or more. Coal terminals include all operating, proposed, retired, and shelved or cancelled projects on the globe. Each project included in the GCTT tracker is linked to a wiki page on GEM.wiki, which provides additional details.

For context, the Global Coal Terminals Tracker map also includes all projects from the Global Coal Mine Tracker (GCMT) and Global Coal Plant Tracker (GCPT), as well as coal-based steel plants (blast-furnace-basic oxygen furnace) from the Global Steel Plant Tracker (GSPT).

Research Process

The GCTT’s data collection method involves professional research analysts searching government, industry, NGO, and general news sources for projects and information about their updates. Data points are recorded in tabular format for aggregate presentation and analysis. In-depth qualitative information is recorded in project-specific wiki pages and may include information relevant to the specific project: financing, environmental impacts, extraction sources, public opposition, aerial imagery, videos, links to permits, coordinates, etc.

Coal terminal data was compiled in December 2021. The map and underlying data for both the GCMT and GCPT are updated bi-annually, in January and July. The GSPT map and underlying data are updated annually in March. 

Under standard wiki convention, we strive to link each piece of information to a published reference such as a news article, company report, or regulatory permit. Alternate names for projects are also recorded. For projects with names in other languages, we also attempt to record local language names.

Data Updates

All data updates prioritize four steps, with a focus on recently completed or newly proposed coal terminal projects:

  • Verifying operational status, which involves researching whether construction has begun on proposed projects, or whether construction has been completed and operations have begun
  • Adding project updates, which involves updating projects in the Tracker with any recent qualitative news or data point changes that have occurred since the last data update
  • Adding new projects that were proposed or announced since the previous update
  • Adding missing projects that were missing from previous versions

Verifying Project Status

During each update, every project with an operational status of “proposed”, “construction”, or “shelved” is researched to determine if the operational status has changed since the last update. If construction has begun on a project listed as “proposed”, the status is changed to “construction”. If a project listed as “proposed” has had no development updates in two years, the status is changed to “shelved”. If service has begun on a project listed as “construction”, the status is changed to “operational”. If a project listed as “shelved” has had no development updates in four years, the status is changed to “cancelled”.

Adding Project Updates

News articles and industry reports are used to update information about coal terminals  regardless of operational status. Examples include accidents and explosions, expansion projects, and project retirements. If an existing coal terminal has a proposed expansion, the expansion is added to the tracker database and to the project’s wiki page.

Adding New Projects

News articles, government websites, and industry sources are used to find projects that have been newly proposed since the last update.

Adding Missing Projects

Initially, a preliminary list of coal terminals was gathered from public data sources including industry, news, and government websites, and all projects found were included. The list was then researched further to acquire additional data points and qualitative information about each project.

Mapping

Coal terminal locations are determined using publicly available information and maps, usually from industry sources or news publications. If no publicly-available location data is available, the terminal’s location is approximated to the closest known location.

The Tracker’s public interface, including the map view, table view, and filtering mechanism, was developed by GreenInfo Network using the Leaflet Open-Source JavaScript library.