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US Hampton Roads coal exports fall to four-month low

Houston — Coal exports from terminals in Virginia's Hampton Roads region were at a four-month low 3.56 million st in June, down 5.1% from 3.75 million st in May and the lowest since 3.55 million st in January, Virginia Maritime Association data showed Tuesday.

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However, the latest month was up 32.7% from 2.68 million st a year ago and the highest total for the month of June since 3.69 million st was shipped out in June 2013.

Exports continue to rise as global seaborne prices show strength, which creates more opportunities for US coal as buyers seek less-expensive alternatives.

CIF ARA 6,000 kcal/kg coal, for 15-60 day delivery, has averaged $88.33/mt since January 1, including $96.54/mt averaged in June. In the same period a year ago, it averaged $79.28/mt and $79.48/mt in June 2017.

Cumulative exports from the terminals have reached 21.86 million st since January 1, up 27% from 17.21 million st a year earlier and the highest amount for the first six months of a year since 23.62 million st in 2013.

At the three individual terminals in the region, Pier IX, based in Newport News was the only one to see a monthly increase when it exported 928,277 st, up 15.4% month on month and 98.7% higher than the year-ago month.

Since January 1, coal exports at the terminal, which is owned and operated by Kinder Morgan and served by CSX, have reached 4.81 million st, up 10.3% from 4.36 million st exported in the first six months of 2017.

Lambert's Point saw exports reach 1.39 million st in June, down 15.1% from 1.64 million st in May but up 15.4% from 1.2 million st last year.

For the year, exports through the terminal, owned and operated by Norfolk Southern, totaled 9.24 million st, up 23.7% from 7.47 million st exported in the same period a year ago.

Dominion Terminal Associates, based in Newport News, exported 1.24 million st in June, down 5.2% from 1.31 million st in May but up 22.8% from 1.01 million st in the year-ago month. Since January 1, exports at the terminal -- which is owned by Arch Coal and Contura Energy and served by CSX -- totaled 7.81 million st, up 45.2% from 5.38 million st in the same period a year ago.

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

--Edited by Richard Rubin, richard.rubin@spglobal.com