China is paying a high price for its unofficial ban on coal imports from Australia, with the cost of domestic and alternative foreign supplies rising for both thermal and coking grades of the fuel. China, the world’s biggest importer, producer and consumer of coal, has effectively ended imports from Australia, the biggest shipper of coking coal used to make steel and number two in thermal coal used to produce electricity, as part of an ongoing political dispute between the two nations. China has turned to Indonesia, Russia and South Africa, to plug some of the gap. At least 1,500 seafarers on an estimated 70 ships carrying over 8 million tons were stranded off China late last year following the ban. While the situation has eased, roughly 35 still carriers remained stranded and unavailable to take on new trips as of earlier this week.