Coal exports out of Hampton Roads, Virginia, rose from year-earlier levels for a fourth consecutive month in March.
Terminals in the region handled 2.94mn short tons (2.67mn metric tonnes) of coal during the month, according to the Virginia Maritime Association. That was up from 2.89mn st in March 2022, when shipments were just starting to increase following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Export coal loadings at Hampton Roads were roughly 130,000st lower than the four-year high set in February, but the second-highest since August 2022. Eastern railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern last month projected their shipments to US coal export terminals would remain elevated through this year on steady demand, particularly for metallurgical coal, and increased coal output.
Railroads also are moving faster than they were a year ago. CSX trains moved at an average 23.6mph in the four weeks ended on 31 March, up from 20.3mph a year earlier, and NS’ speed increased to 16.7mph from 16.4mph, data provided to the US Surface Transportation Board showed.
Hampton Roads’ two largest coal export terminals – NS’ Lamberts Point and Alpha Metallurgical Resources’ and Arch Resources’ Dominion Terminal Associates (DTA) – handled more coal for export in March than they had a year earlier. Volumes out of Lamberts Point increased to 1.27mn st in March from just over 1.2mn st a year earlier, the Virginia Maritime Association estimated, while DTA’s export loadings rose to 1.1mn st from 1.02mn st.
Exports from Kinder Morgan’s Pier IX terminal fell from year-earlier levels for a second month, to 571,546st from 665,763st in March 2022.
For the first quarter of 2023, Pier IX’s international coal loadings fell to 1.83mn st from 1.93mn st and DTA’s dipped to 3.23mn st from 3.24mn st. But a nearly 25pc increase in shipments out of Lamberts’ Point, to 3.7mn st, brought total Hampton Roads’ coal exports for the first quarter up to 8.75mn st from 8.13mn st a year earlier.
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- On May 4, 2023