US coal exports set monthly record in March

US coal exports set a new record in March, totalling 13.6 million short tons, nearly 0.9 million short tons above the previous monthly export peak in June 2012, according to data published Wednesday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Increased Asian demand for coal contributed to this surge in overseas sales and the EIA is projecting that 2013 will mark theĀ third straight year of more than 100 million short tons of coal exports, following annual exports in 2011 of 107.3 million short tons and record annual exports in 2012 of 125.7 million short tons.

Of the March exports, 6.3 million short tons were steam coal and 7.4 million were metallurgical coal, the EIA said.

US coal exports set monthly record in March

Five customs districts accounted for 90% of March US coal exports: Norfolk, Virginia; New Orleans, Louisiana; Baltimore, Maryland; Mobile, Alabama; and Houston-Galveston, Texas.

All of these regions are located on the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, which grant them access to world-class coal loading infrastructure.

As for the origins of the black rocks, Wyoming is the country's main producer, generatingĀ 20% of US coal.

In terms of main destinations, the EIA said in a separate report that the top five markets (in descending order) during March were China, the Netherlands (a large transhipment point), the United Kingdom, South Korea, and Brazil.

Creative Commons Image by Col Ford and Natasha de Vere