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Port of Vancouver coal exports climb to four-month high in October 2020

Highlights

Thermal exports rise 38.8%, met coal up 1.9% on month

Year-to-date coal exports down 11.9% on year

Houston — Coal exports out of the Port of Vancouver rose to a four-month high at 2.75 million mt in October 2020, up 11.4% from 2.47 million mt in September and 9.5% higher than the 2.51 million mt shipped out in October 2019, data from the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority showed Jan. 6.

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The port, which include Westshore Terminals and Neptune Bulk Terminals, shipped out 1.85 million mt of metallurgical coal in October, up 1.9% from the previous month and 17.6% higher year on year.

Thermal coal exports rose to 859,516 mt, up 38.8% from September but 2.1% lower than the year-ago month.

The remaining 38,379 mt exported in October was unspecified coal, compared with 31,802 mt in September and 57,829 mt in the year-ago month.

Metallurgical coal made up 67.3% of the total coal exports while thermal coal shipments made up 31.3%, compared with 62.7% and 35%, respectively, a year ago.

Coal exports through October were down 11.9% from a year ago at 26.1 million mt. Metallurgical exports were at 17.42 million mt, down 14.3% from the first 10 months of 2019, while thermal shipments were down 5.7% year on year at 8.44 million mt.

Westshore, which is the largest coal export terminal on the west coast of North America, takes coal from British Columbia and Alberta, as well as the Powder River Basin and Montana through Seattle as a port and rail transfer point. The Neptune terminal, which handles metallurgical coal, went through expansions and was shut for five months through September.

In 2019, the Port of Vancouver shipped out 36.91 million mt of coal, down 1.8% from the prior year. Met coal shipments rose 2.9% on the year at 25.35 million mt in 2019 while thermal exports declined 11.6% at 11.2 million mt. Over half of the 2019 exports were shipped to Japan and South Korea, as 11.39 million mt went to South Korea and 9.14 million mt to Japan.