Coal exports out of Hampton Roads, Virginia, rose from year-earlier levels for a fourth straight month in April.
The three coal terminals in the region handled an estimated 2.71mn short tons (2.46mn metric tonnes) during the month, up from just under 2.5mn st in April 2022, the Virginia Maritime Association said.
Shipments from Hampton Roads were lower than they had been in March, which follows a somewhat typical pattern for recent years. But they were the highest for any April since 2019, and support anecdotal evidence that more Appalachian coal was moving to export terminals.
Eastern railroad CSX hauling 5,367 railcars/week of Central Appalachian coal in the four weeks ended on 28 April, up from 5,065/week a year earlier, according to data CSX reported to the US Surface Transportation Board. Norfolk Southern’s (NS) Central Appalachian loadings dipped to 4 trains/week from 5 trains/week in the same period of 2022. Rail metrics include coal shipments to US customers as well as to export terminals.
Coal export loadings at NS’ Lamberts Point terminal at Hampton Roads rose to 970,456st in April from 837,044st in the same month of 2022, the Virginia Maritime Association estimates. Loadings at Dominion Terminal Associates (DTA) — which is co-owned by Arch Resources and Alpha Metallurgical Resources — also rose on the year prior, to 1.14mn st from 1.03mn st.
The gains at Lamberts Point and DTA offset a 3pc decrease in loadings at Kinder Morgan’s Pier IX terminal, which fell to 606,563st in April from 625,816st a year earlier.
The Virginia Maritime Association does not break out terminal loadings by coal type. Data from the US Commerce Department show 78.5pc of coal exports from the Norfolk, Virginia, Census district — which includes Hampton Roads — were metallurgical in the first quarter of this year, compared with 88.9pc in January-March 2022 and 90-85pc in the first three months of the previous two years. The Commerce Department is scheduled to release April export data on 7 June.
Hampton Roads’ coal exports for January-April rose to 11.5mn st from just under 10.6mn st in the same period of 2022. Lamberts Point and DTA shipments increased to 4.67mn st and 4.36mn st, respectively, from 3.8mn st and 4.27mn st in January-April 2022. Coal loadings at Pier IX slipped to 2.43mn st in the first four months of this year from 2.55mn st a year prior.
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- On June 6, 2023