The sleepy Tanzanian port of Mtwara mainly dealt in cashew nuts until late last year. Now it bustles with vessels loading up with coal, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine drives a worldwide hunger for the polluting fuel.

Tanzania traditionally exports thermal coal only to neighboring countries in east Africa. Sending it further afield had been out of the question, as that required trucking the material more than 600 kilometers from mines in its southwest to Mtwara, the nearest Indian Ocean port.

But Europe's crippling energy crisis has changed all that.