Coal exports out of Hampton Roads, Virginia, were about 1.6pc higher in September than they had been a year prior.
Terminal operators at the port loaded 2.71mn short tons (st) (2.46mn metric tons) of coal onto vessels for exporting last month, according to estimates from the Virginia Maritime Association. That figure was up from 2.66mn st in September 2022.
September was the second month in a row that shipments topped year-earlier levels. Hampton Roads’ exports so far in 2023 have lagged 2022 levels only one time, falling by 7.8pc in July. For the first nine months of this year shipments out of the port rose to 26.1mn st from 24.5mn st.
Most of the shipments out of Hampton Roads are metallurgical coal, although there has been an uptick in thermal coal exports from the port this year. US Commerce Department data show that nearly 83pc of the 23.2mn st of coal that was exported from the Norfolk, Virginia, Census district in January-August 2023 was coking coal ,and most of the rest of the shipments were thermal coal. In the first eight months of 2020-22, metallurgical coal made up 86-88pc of exports from the district.
Hampton Roads’ coal shipments could remain elevated in October. Association data show 56 foreign coal vessels arrived in Hampton Roads in September and 43 set sail. A year earlier, 35 vessels arrived in Hampton Roads and 44 set sail from the port.
Two of the three coal terminals at Hampton Roads — US eastern railroad Norfolk Southern’s Lamberts Point and Kinder Morgan’s Pier IX — had greater export loadings last month than a year earlier. Shipments out of Lamberts Point increased to 1.01mn st from 986,797st in September 2022, while volumes from Pier IX climbed to 664,740st from 620,725st.
Exports out of Dominion Terminal Associates, which is co-owned by Alpha Metallurgical Resources and Arch Natural Resources, fell to 1.03mn st from 1.05mn st.
All three terminals still handled more coal exports on a year-to-date basis than they had in January-September 2022. But for the third quarter, only DTA handled more coal for export than it had a year earlier, with shipments from that terminal rising to 3.33mn st from 2.85mn st.
Exports out of Lamberts Point and Pier IX fell in the third quarter from a year earlier to 3.35mn st and 2.06mn st, respectively, from 3.4mn st and 2.37mn st. That was because both terminals had handled markedly fewer volumes in July than they had in July 2022.
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- On October 24, 2023