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December US Hampton Roads coal exports total 3.1 million st; annual exports reach five-year high

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December US Hampton Roads coal exports total 3.1 million st; annual exports reach five-year high


Largest monthly increase from Lamberts Point

DTA and Lamberts Point reach five-year highs

  • Author
  • Olivia Kalb
  • Editor
  • Pankti Mehta
  • Commodity
  • Coal

Houston — Coal exports out of the Hampton Roads terminals in Virginia totaled over 3.1 million st in December, up 0.4% from November and down 2% from the year-ago month, Virginia Maritime Association data showed Monday.

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For 2018, exports totaled 42.6 million st, the highest since 2013 when the exports were at nearly 49.7 million st.

Annual exports through the Hampton Roads terminals, including Lamberts Point, Pier IX and DTA, were nearly doubled from 2016 exports of 21.6 million st and up 19.6% from 2017 exports of over 35.6 million st. Monthly exports remained lower in December compared with the 2018 peak of nearly 4.3 million st in August, given the softened global seaborne prices, which has led to US coal suppliers keeping their coal in the domestic market.

The CIF ARA 6,000 kcal/kg coal for 15-60 day delivery averaged $87.40/mt in December, up slightly from November's average price of $86.42/st and down 12.8% from the peak of $100.27/mt in July.

The Hampton Roads region had 37 vessels set sail in December, down slightly from 38 in November and the second lowest all year after January with 35 departures. A total of 531 vessels have set sail from the region in 2018.

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The December increase in exports was largely from Norfolk-based Lamberts Point, owned and operated by Norfolk Southern, which rose 6.2% from the prior month. Exports from the terminal totaled almost 1.3 million st, the most exports since 1.7 million was exported in August.

From the year-ago month, exports rose 0.8%. Lamberts Point exported over 17.1 million st in 2018, up 16.2% from the 14.8 million st exported in 2017 and the largest annual exports since 20.9 million st in 2013.

Pier IX, owned and operated by Kinder Morgan, exported a year-low of 625,706 st, down 5.4% from November. However, compared with the year-ago month, exports increased 17.8%. On an annual basis, exports through the Newport News-based terminal totaled over 9.6 million st, up 19.8% from 2017 exports and the largest amount of coal exported since 2013 with nearly 13.2 million st.

The other Newport News-based terminal, Dominion Terminal Associates, exported over 1.2 million st in December, down 2% from the prior month and down 11.8% from the year-ago month. DTA was the only terminal to drop in exports year on year. Throughout 2018, the terminal, which is owned by Arch Coal and Contura Energy and served by CSX, exported over 15.8 million st, up 23.4% from 2017 exports and the highest number of exports since S&P Global Platts data begins in 2011.

-- Olivia Kalb,

-- Edited by Pankti Mehta,