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US Hampton Roads coal exports fall 26.8% on month in August

Coal exports out of the terminals in the Hampton Roads region in Virginia were at 1.68 million st in August, down 26.8% from July and also 42.8% lower than the year-ago month, according to data from the Virginia Maritime Association released Sept. 23.

The latest month was the second-lowest total in the last four years, only higher than 1.55 million st exported in June, while it was also the lowest for the corresponding month in over 12 years.

Exports decreased in August along with global seaborne thermal prices and domestic metallurgical prices. CIF ARA 6,000 kcal/kg coal averaged $48.65/mt in August, down from 49.85/mt in July and $52.79/mt averaged in the year-ago month.

Domestic thermal coal prices, in contrast, rose, while metallurgical coal prices declined. FOB Hampton Roads 6,000 kcal/kg thermal coal averaged a seven-month high $75.94/mt in August, while US East Coast low-vol metallurgical coal averaged a four-year low $102.88/mt FOB, compared with $70.28/mt and $105.76/mt, respectively, in July, and $69.81/mt and $150.71/mt in the year-ago month. The low-vol HCC average was the lowest in a month since $93.10/mt in July 2016.

Cumulative exports from the terminals have reached 18.19 million st since January, down 21.6% from a year earlier and the lowest since 14.43 million st in 2016.

The Hampton Roads region saw 24 vessels set sail in August, down from 33 in July and 39 in the year-ago month.

Exports from all three terminals decline on month

For the second time since February 2019, all three individual terminals in the region saw monthly decreases.

Exports out of Lamberts Point, in Norfolk, totaled 747,647 st in August, down from 859,343 st in July and 1.32 million st last year. It was the second-lowest lowest monthly exports for the Norfolk Southern-owned and operated terminal in nearly four years, only higher than 703,704 st in June.

For the year, exports through Lamberts Point totaled 7.83 million st, down from 9.78 million st a year ago.

Pier IX, which is owned and operated by Kinder Morgan and served by CSX, exported 182,602 st in August, down from 294,851 st in July and 734,463 st in the year-ago month. The 182,602 st was the second-lowest total in a month in the last 4.5 years, only higher than 74,872 st in June. It was also the seventh time in the last nine months to see a monthly decrease.

Since Jan. 1, exports at Pier IX have reached 2.5 million st, down from 5.66 million st in the first eight months of 2019.

Dominion Terminal Associates, also in Newport News, saw exports fall to a 3.5-year low 756,182 st in August, from 1.13 million st in July and 880,902 st in the year-ago month. It was the lowest since 664,300 st was shipped out in February 2017.

However, coal exports at DTA — which is owned by Arch Resources and Contura Energy and served by CSX — totaled 7.86 million st since Jan. 1, up from 7.76 million st in the same period a year ago. It is the only terminal with higher cumulative totals than the prior year.
Source: Platts

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