Overseas coal purchases by India, the world's third-largest importer, rose in all but one month of the year that ended on March 31, mainly spurred by lower prices and as power companies added capacity.
"The fall in April can be attributed mainly to adequate stocking in previous months," said OreTeam research head Prakash Duvvuri. "Also, a good stockpile of coal is visible at ports with no disruptions expected in the coming months."
OreTeam collects coal data from its representatives at ports, mining regions and companies. The firm did not provide the split between imports of thermal coal, used in power generation, and coking coal, used in making steel. India's government does not regularly release data on coal shipments.
Coal India Ltd accounts for about 80 per cent of the country's total output, but the company has been falling short of its targets for the past several years due to difficulties in obtaining environmental nods, lack of railway access and employee strikes.
The country's production in the 11 months through February was 497.2 million tonnes, according to data from the Ministry of Mines. Output was 557.8 million in the whole of 2012/13.
OreTeam says that according to its data, India imported 158.8 million tonnes of coal in 2013/14.
The Ministry of Coal said in February shipments hit 145.8 million in 2012/13, with more than half of that coming from Indonesia. Australia, South Africa and the United States are India's other main suppliers.