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US Hampton Roads coal exports at 3.11 million st in November, down 16.2% on month

Highlights

Exports fall 7.9% year on year

Lamberts Point monthly exports lowest since July 2017

Houston — Coal exports out of the terminals in the Hampton Roads region in Virginia were at 3.11 million st in November, down 16.2% from 3.71 million st in October, Virginia Maritime Association data showed Monday.

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Exports were also down 7.9% from 3.37 million st in the year-ago month but still held the second-highest total for the month of November in the last five years.

Exports fell partly because of softening global seaborne prices, which caused some US coal suppliers to keep their coal in the domestic market. CIF ARA 6,000 kcal/kg coal for 15-60 day delivery averaged $86.42/mt in November, down from $99.74/mt in October and $92.24/mt in the year-ago month. It was the lowest monthly average since $81.69/mt in April.

Cumulative exports from the terminals have reached a five-year high of 39.48 million st since January, up 21.7% from 32.45 million st a year earlier and the highest amount for the first 10 months of a year since 46.32 million st in 2013.

The Hampton Roads region saw 38 vessels set sail in November, down from 44 in October and the lowest since 35 departures in January.

In the first 10 months of the year, 494 coal ships have departed the region, up from 416 ships in the same period a year ago.

Individual terminals all saw monthly decreases.

In November, all three individual terminals in the region saw month-on-month decreases for the fourth time this year.

Exports out of Lamberts Point in Norfolk totaled 1.18 million st in November, down 4.6% from 1.23 million st in October and down 6.2% from 1.26 million st last year. It was the lowest monthly export total since 1.07 million st was exported in July 2017.

For the year, exports through the terminal, owned and operated by Norfolk Southern, totaled 15.91 million st, up 17.6% from the same period a year ago and the most since 19.49 million st in 2013.

Pier IX in Newport News exported 661,206 st in November, down 34.9% from the four-year high of 1.01 million st shipped out in October, and also down 11.6% from the year-ago month. Since January 1, exports at the terminal, which is owned and operated by Kinder Morgan and served by CSX, have reached 8.99 million st, up 19.9% from 7.5 million st in the first 11 months of 2017 and the most since 9.99 million st in 2014.

Dominion Terminal Associates, also in Newport News, saw exports fall to 1.27 million st in November, down 12.9% from 1.46 million st in October and 7.3% lower than 1.37 million st in 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 14.58 million st, up 27.7% from 11.41 million st in the same period a year ago and the highest in over eight years.

-- Tyler Godwin, tyler.godwin@spglobal.com

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