Coal exports out of Hampton Roads, Virginia, declined through the end of last year as metallurgical and thermal coal market conditions remained weak.
The three coal terminals at the Port of Hampton Roads handled 2.72mn short tons (2.47mn metric tonnes) of coal for export in December, the Virginia Maritime Association said today. That was down from 3.12mn st a year earlier.
Total coal shipments out of the port dropped to 33.7mn st last year from 42.6mn st in 2018.
December’s decrease marked the 11th straight month of year-on-year declines for Hampton Roads coal exports. Market conditions weakened throughout 2019 as metallurgical and thermal coal demand and prices declined. Prices and demand have stabilized recently, but remain at relatively low levels.
US-Australian mining firm Coronado Coal said recently that while talks between the US and China could support exports, it [has committed](https://direct.argusmedia.com/newsandanalysis/article/2062187 to more domestic US sales of coal in 2020 because of weaker demand in the Atlantic market for its products.
The Argus daily fob Hampton Roads assessment for low-volatile coking coal in the US held at $132/t today. That is 6.7pc above where the assessment was at the end of last year.
The mid-point for prompt two-month shipments of 6,000 kcal/kg thermal coal was $57.17/t fob Hampton Roads last week, which is 79¢/t lower than it was at the end of December.
Dominion Terminal Associates (DTA), which is co-owned by Arch Coal and Contura Energy, was the only terminal at Hampton Roads to handle more coal in December than it did a year earlier. Loadings at the terminal rose to 1.3mn st from 1.24mn st a year earlier.
But even with the December bump-up, total exports out of DTA dropped to 12.3mn st last year from 15.8mn st in 2018.
Shipments out of Norfolk Southern’s Lamberts Point terminal, meanwhile, fell below 1mn st for the first time in three years, to an estimated 949,634st in December, according to Virginia Maritime Association estimates. The terminal had handled 1.25mn st for export in December 2018.
Lamberts Point handled just under 14mn st in all of 2019, down from 17.2mn st in 2018.
Exports out of Kinder Morgan’s Pier IX dropped to 473,024st in December and 7.37mn st for all of 2019 from 625,706st and 9.62mn st, respectively, the year prior.
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- On February 6, 2020