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US Hampton Roads coal exports jump 20% on month to 3.71 mil st in October

Highlights

Exports at 3.71 million st in October, up 20% on month

Highest exports for any October in over 10 years

Houston — Coal exports out of the terminals in the Hampton Roads region in Virginia were at 3.71 million st in October, up 20.2% from the eight-month low 3.09 million st in September, Virginia Maritime Association data showed Friday.

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The October total was also up 20.3% from 3.08 million st in the year-ago month and the highest total for the month of October in over 10 years.

October also marked the eighth time in 2018 that exports out of the region were higher than in the corresponding month of the last three years.

Exports continued to be high as global seaborne prices showed strength, creating more opportunities for US coal as buyers sought less-expensive alternatives.

CIF ARA 6,000 kcal/kg coal, for 15-60 day delivery, averaged $99.74/mt in October, down from $100/mt in September but up from $91.79/mt in the year-ago month. It was the highest monthly average for October since $117.39/mt in October 2011.

Cumulative exports from the terminals have reached a five-year high of 36.38 million st since January, up 25.1% from 29.07 million st a year earlier and the highest amount for the first eight months of a year since 42.15 million st in 2013.

The Hampton Roads region saw 44 coal vessels set sail in October, up from 42 ships in September and 37 in the year-ago month. An additional three ships arrived in October but have not yet left.

In the first eight months of the year, 456 coal ships have departed the region, up from 378 ships in the same period a year ago.

INDIVIDUAL TERMINALS ALL SEE MONTHLY INCREASES

In October, all three individual terminals in the region saw month-on-month increases for the second time in three months and only the seventh time in the last six years. The previous times were August 2018, February 2018, September 2017, November 2016, January 2015 and March 2013.

Pier IX, in Newport News, exported a four-year high 1.01 million st in October, up 37.1% from September and the highest since 1.12 million st was shipped out in September 2014. Since January 1, exports at the terminal, which is owned and operated by Kinder Morgan and served by CSX, have reached 8.33 million st, up 23.4% from the first 10 months of 2017 and the most since 9.44 million st in 2014.

Exports out of Lamberts Point, in Norfolk, totaled 1.23 million st in October, up 3.4% from September but down 6.5% from 1.32 million st last year. It was the only terminal not to see a year-on-year increase.

For the year, exports through the terminal, owned and operated by Norfolk Southern, totaled 14.73 million st, up 20% from 12.28 million st exported in the same period a year ago and the most since 17.65 million st in 2013.

Dominion Terminal Associates, also in Newport News, saw exports climb to 1.46 million st in October, up 26.7% from a month earlier and 16.6% higher than the year-ago month.

Since January 1, coal exports at the terminal - which is owned by Arch Coal and Contura Energy and served by CSX - totaled 13.31 million st, up 32.5% from the same period a year ago and the highest level in over eight years. -- Tyler Godwin, tyler.godwin@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Jennifer Pedrick, newsdesk@spglobal.com