Coal exports from Hampton Roads, Virginia, topped year-earlier levels in April, but continued to recede from the three-year high set in February.
Terminals at the port handled a little under 2.5mn short tons (2.27mn metric tonnes) of coal in April, up from 2.47mn st in the same month of 2021, according to data released today from the Virginia Maritime Association.
Hampton Roads exports have topped year-earlier levels every month since April 2021. But shipments in April 2022 were roughly 390,000st lower than they had been in March and 450,000st below February volumes. Rail metrics data show eastern railroads were moving at slightly slower speeds in April than they had been in March and February and dwell times had increased. Limited supply and growing hesitancy among coking coal buyers to make spot purchases in March and early April may also have capped Hampton Roads’ export volumes in April.
Metallurgical and thermal coal export prices reached record highs in March and remain elevated given tight supply. Argus assessed hard low-volatile US coking coal at $430/t fob Hampton Roads yesterday and the midpoint of a high-low range for 6,000 kcal/kg thermal coal was $259.21/t. At this point in 2021, 2020 and 2019, prices were less than half yesterday’s assessments.
Shipments out of Norfolk Southern’s Lamberts Point terminal and Kinder Morgan’s Pier IX rose in April to 837,044st and 625,816st, respectively, from 808,124st and 460,462st a year earlier. Those gains offset a 14pc decrease in exports out of Arch Resources’ and Alpha Metallurgical Resources’ Dominion Terminal Associates (DTA), which fell to 1.03mn st.
Lamberts Point and Pier IX volumes were lower than they had been in March, but DTA handled about 12,000st more in April than it had a month earlier. All three terminals handled less coal in April than they had in February.
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- On June 7, 2022