Hampton Roads coal exports up again in September
Coal exports out of Hampton Roads, Virginia, rose on a year-over-year basis for the sixth consecutive month in September.
Terminals at the port loaded an estimated 2.57mn short tons (st) (2.33mn metric tonnes) of coal last month, up from 2.06mn st a year earlier, the Virginia Maritime Association said. September’s estimated volumes were about 2.6pc lower than in August.
Shipments for the entire third quarter rose to 7.67mn st, the highest quarterly figure since the first three months of 2020. That surge in volumes came as prices jumped significantly.
By the end of September, US high-volatile type A metallurgical coal exports were priced at $382.50/t fob Hampton Roads, up by 94pc from the start of the third quarter and more than triple what they had been a year earlier. Coking coal is the dominant coal export out of Hampton Roads.
The midpoint of the high-low range for 6,000 kcal/kg US thermal coal out of Hampton Roads ended September at $136.69/t fob, compared with $97.70/t at the start of the third quarter and $59.58/t a year earlier.
But the rate of increase in exports has not kept pace with price and demand increases. Domestic coal demand has also risen this year and, for various reasons, spot coal supply has been limited.
Monthly Hampton Roads coal exports still are lagging volumes from two years ago. Loadings in September 2019 totaled 2.68mn st and were 8.07mn st in the third quarter of that year.
Two of the three Hampton Roads coal terminals handled more coal in September than they had a year earlier. Dominion Terminal Associates (DTA), which is co-owned by Arch Resources and Alpha Metallurgical Resources, loaded just under 1.13mn st of coal last month, up from 910,772 st a year earlier.
And volumes at Norfolk Southern’s Lamberts Point terminal rose to an estimated 1.02mn st from 675,035 st.
Loadings at Kinder Morgan’s Pier IX terminal slipped to 426,898 st from 479,144 st a year earlier.
For the third quarter as a whole, all three terminals handled more coal this year than in the same period of 2020. DTA loaded 3.41mn st, up from 2.81mn st. And loadings at Lamberts Point and Pier IX climbed to 2.73mn st and 1.53mn st, respectively, from 2.27mn st and 956,597 st.
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- On November 2, 2021