Coal exports out of Hampton Roads, Virginia, ended 2023 at their highest level in almost five years.
Terminals in Hampton Roads loaded an estimated 3.29mn short tons (2.98mn metric tonnes) in December 2023, the most since January 2019, the Virginia Maritime Association said. Shipments for 2023 as a whole climbed to a five-year high of 35.5mn st from 32.1mn st in 2022.
Last month’s shipments were up by 38pc from the same period in 2022 and likely reflect purchases made earlier in the year as well as greater vessel availability. In December 2023, 48 vessels arrived in Hampton Roads and 51 departed. Last month’s departures were up from 32 in December 2022 and represented 10.3pc of total 2023 sailings.
Metallurgical coal prices also remained somewhat elevated in December 2023, keeping the profit window open for some Appalachian coal export deals even as demand for both coking and thermal coal was reportedly limited.
The monthly averages of Argus assessments for both low-volatile and high-volatile type A coking coal out of Hampton Roads were essentially flat in December 2023 when compared with a year earlier, at $260.74/t fob and $263.16/t fob, respectively. At the same time, the midpoint for the high-low range of prompt two-month shipments of 6,000 kcal/kg thermal coal out of Hampton Roads averaged $105.63/t fob, less than half of what it had been in December 2022.
The Virginia Maritime Association does not disclose what type of coal has been loaded on the vessels. Data from the US Commerce Department show that coking coal made up 82.4pc of coal exports from the Norfolk, Virginia Census district between January and November 2023, compared with 86.3pc in the same period of 2022.
Hampton Roads’ two biggest coal terminals loaded more coal last month than a year earlier. Norfolk Southern’s Lamberts Point loaded an estimated 1.46mn st of coal for export in December, the most since February 2019 and up from 879,824st in December 2022. Dominion Terminal Associates (DTA), which is co-owned by Alpha Metallurgical Coal Resources and Arch Resources, handled 1.32mn st last month compared with 956,372st a year earlier.
The loadings at Lamberts Point and DTA offset a 6.6pc year-on-year decrease in exports from Kinder Morgan’s Pier IX.
But all three terminals had increases in loadings for 2023 as a whole. DTA’s exports jumped to 14.3mn st from 12.6mn st in 2022 while loadings at Lamberts Point and Pier IX increased to 13.3mn st and 7.9mn st, respectively, from 11.8mn st and 7.7mn st.
View article here.
- On January 25, 2024