Coal exports out of Hampton Roads, Virginia, rose in the May to the highest level in more than a year, reflecting some of the recovery in seaborne metallurgical and thermal coal.
Terminals at the port loaded about 2.52mn short tons (2.29mn metric tonnes) of coal for export during the month, according to data collected by the Virginia Maritime Association. The last time shipments were higher was in March 2020.
Exports were almost 20pc higher last month than they had been a year earlier, when a number of countries and businesses had lockdown orders in place to try to curb the spread of Covid-19. Hampton Roads’ volumes reached a four-year low in June 2020.
Seaborne coal markets started to recover in the second half of last year, but Hampton Roads shipments did not start to top year-earlier levels until April. For the first five months of the year, exports out of Hampton Roads fell to 11.5mn st from 12.7mn st in the same period of 2020.
Port volumes also remained below 2019 exports. A total 2.91mn st of coal left Hampton Roads in May 2019 and just over 15mn st was exported in the first five months of that year.
All three of Hampton Roads’ coal terminals handled more coal last month than they had a year earlier, but only Dominion Terminal Associates (DTA) shipped more than it had in May 2019.
DTA, which Arch Resources and Alpha Metallurgical Resources co-own, loaded 1.25mn st of coal for export last month. It had handled 926,335st in May 2020 and 858,144st the year before that.
Shipments out of Norfolk Southern’s Lamberts Point rose to 998,604st last month from 934,594st in the same period of 2020. But the terminal loaded 1.15mn st for export in May 2019.
Finally, Kinder Morgan’s Pier IX loaded 265,018st this past May, compared with 240,856st a year earlier. The terminal handled 737,633st in May 2019.
On a year-to-date basis, only DTA handled more coal in 2021 than it had the previous two years. January-May exports out of Lamberts Point and Pier IX were lower than they had been in both 2020 and 2019.
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- On June 29, 2021