Corrects June export total and Norfolk Southern exports
Coal exports out of Hampton Roads, Virginia, fell last month.
International loadings from the port’s three terminals dropped to 2.82mn short tons (2.56mn metric tonnes) in June from 3.56mn st a year earlier, according to the Virginia Maritime Association.
Exports from all three coal terminals fell. Shipments out of Norfolk Southern’s (NS) Lamberts Point dropped to 1.09mn st from 1.39mn st in June 2018.
Exports out of Dominion Terminal Associates (DTA), which is co-owned by Arch Coal and Contura Energy, fell to 983,614st in June from 1.24mn st in the same month of 2018. Kinder Morgan’s Pier IX terminal loaded 748,249st of coal last month, down from 928,277st a year earlier.
Shipments also lagged May levels, which totaled 2.9mn st. NS’ loadings fell from 1.31mn st in May. DTA and Pier IX handled more coal in June than they had the previous month.
Forty-three coal vessels set sail from Hampton Roads last month, compared with 37 in May. Last year, the number of vessels sailing from the port in June slipped to 45 from 48 the previous month.
But fewer ships arrived at the port last month, which suggests lackluster exports have continued. The association recorded 39 vessels arriving in June, down from 40 in May and 53 a year earlier.
US metallurgical coal prices have been falling in recent weeks amid limited buying activity and weak market sentiment. The Argus fob Hampton Roads assessment for low-volatile coking coal fell by $16/t over two months, to $166/t on 19 July.
Thermal coal export prices have improved but remain below levels at which producers can make a profit. The midpoint for prompt two-month shipments of 6,000 kcal/kg coal out of Hampton Roads stood at $64.10/t last week, $4/t above a three-year low set on 28 June but still about 30pc below year-earlier levels.
Executives at eastern railroad CSX said last week that coal exports are lagging expectations. NS and Arch are scheduled to discuss results later this week.
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- On July 23, 2019