US thermal coal exports hit four-year high in 2021: Census data
US thermal coal exports surged to four-year high 36.17 million mt in 2021, up 47.9% from 2020, according to US Census Bureau data released Feb. 9.
December thermal coal exports totaled 3.12 million mt, up 0.7% on the month and 18.7% from December 2020. December coal exports were at a six-month high —the highest monthly volume since 3.25 million mt in July.
Of the thermal volume shipped in December, 2.44 million mt was bituminous, down 4.9% from November but up 10.6% from December 2020, and 608,817 mt was subbituminous, up 16.1% on the month and 138.2% year on year.
India was the top destination for US thermal coal in 2021 at 10.7 million mt, up 40% from 2020. South Korea followed with 4.96 million mt, a whopping 1,194% increase over 2020. Japan received 3.84 million mt in 2021, up 72% from 2020. The Netherlands was shipped 3.42 million mt of thermal coal in 2021, up 55% from 2020, and Egypt rounded out the top five with 2.38 million mt, more than double the 2020 volume.
For subbituminous coal, South Korea was the top 2021 destination at 4 million mt. Japan followed at 1.13 million mt. Chile rounded out the top three destinations, having received 151,955 mt in 2021. For December, South Korea was also the top destination for subbituminous coal at 280,753 mt. Japan followed at 175,827 mt in December and Chile rounded out the top three December subbitumionus export destinations at 102,452 mt.
The top originating port for thermal coal in 2021 was Norfolk, Virginia, at 24.47 million mt, up from 21.31 million mt in 2020. Mobile, Alabama, followed, exporting 7.03 million mt of thermal coal in 2021, down from 7.9 million mt in 2020 and Baltimore shipped the third-highest thermal coal volume in 2021 at 6.12 million mt, up from 5.44 million mt in 2020.
For metallurgical and thermal coal combined, full-year volumes were 77.3 million mt, up 23.4% from 2020. Total combined thermal and met coal export volume for December was 6.71 million mt, up 5.8% from the previous month and 5.7% higher than December 2020.
Met coal shipments totaled 41.13 million mt in 2021, up 7.7% from 2020. Met coal exports in December were 3.59 million mt, up 10.6% from November but 3.5% below December 2020. In 2021, 10.68 million mt of met coal shipments went to China.
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- On February 17, 2022