Coal exports out of Hampton Roads, Virginia, retreated from April’s four-year high last month but remained higher than 2017 levels.
Terminals at the port handled 3.75mn short tons (3.4mn metric tonnes) of coal for export in May, the latest data from the Virginia Maritime Association show. That was down from 4.26mn st in April, but up from 3.17mn st in May 2017.
It was not clear why shipments in May were lower than they had been in April. The decrease could be following recent historic patterns. May volumes have been lower than April’s in four of the last six years.
In addition, trains were moving more slowly in May than they had been a month earlier. While railroads have been working to ease congestion, train speeds on Norfolk Southern (NS) lines fell to an average 15 mph in the four weeks ended on 25 May from 15.6 mph the previous four weeks, according to data provided to the Association of American Railroads. CSX trains averaged 18 mph, down from 18.9 mph the prior four weeks.
Exports out of NS’ Lamberts Point terminal at Hampton Roads rose to 1.64mn st from 1.17mn st a year earlier, the association reported. But that was down from 1.72mn st in April.
Dominion Terminal Associates, which is co-owned by Contura Energy and Arch Coal, handled 1.31mn st last month, compared with 1.02mn st in May 2017 and 1.58mn st in April.
Exports out of Kinder Morgan’s Pier IX terminal fell to 804,228st from 977,214st a year earlier and 967,923st in April.
The association does not break out loadings by coal type. Census data show that coal exported from the port is predominantly metallurgical, but thermal coal shipments from there also have been rising.
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- On June 5, 2018