There’s more coal being shipped by sea than ever before

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Clean, green renewables are on the rise. Coal, the dirtiest fuel, is dying. Or so the energy...

STB decides against BNSF’s request to stay coal order

The Surface Transportation Board has denied a request from BNSF to halt part of an order that compels the railway to ship coal from Navajo Transitional Energy Company’s (NTEC) mine in Montana to the Pacific Northwest for export.

The board’s June order had two parts: It called for BNSF to transport a minimum of 4.2 million tons of coal on an annual basis in 2023 from the Spring Creek mine to Westshore Terminal and it called for BNSF to transport an additional 1 million annual tons in 2023 should...

BNSF sues federal regulator over coal shipment mandate

Western U.S. Class I railway BNSF is suing the Surface Transportation Board for compelling  BNSF via a mandate to ship more coal from Navajo Transitional Energy Co.’s (NTEC’s) mine in Montana.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans received BNSF’s petition on July 26. BNSF’s headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, is within the 5th Circuit’s jurisdiction.

BNSF (NYSE: BRK-B) didn’t lay out its argument for why it’s suing STB in its filing to the court. However, the railway did say through...

BIMCO: Changes ahead for coal export patterns?

coal export

On August 9, the Indonesian Energy and Mineral Resources Minister announced that 71 coal mining companies failed to meet their domestic market obligations, and that 48 of them are now banned from exporting coal. BIMCO notes that the ban comes into force just as the EU ban on Russian coal takes full effect and demand for non-Russian coal increases.

Indonesia is the world’s largest exporter of coal. In January 2022, the country had a full coal export ban in place with the aim of protecting...

‘Industries dependent upon the railroads’ service are forsaken’

The Surface Transportation Board has scheduled a hearing for April 26-27 in response to a letter sent by the National Grain and Feed Association about worsening rail service. 

The March 24 letter has gotten support from various rail unions and other stakeholders in recent days. These stakeholders are also asking the STB to examine the causes behind the service delays. 

Here’s a roundup of what’s been said recently:

Unions criticize headcount reductions, blame service issues on lack of adequate...

New $60m coal loader for Gladstone

Pictured: coal burning. Photo credit: Michal Matlon via Unsplash.

The Queensland government is investing $60m in a new coal shiploader at the Port of Gladstone, which will replace a more than 40 year old piece of equipment.

“The new shiploader will secure the capacity of the RG Tanna terminal for another 25 years, ensuring this vital export port can continue to meet the needs of its customers. As the Port of Gladstone grows and diversifies to export the hydrogen electrolysers that Fortescue...

Explosion rocks CSX coal terminal in Baltimore

An explosion at the CSX Curtis Bay Coal Terminal in Baltimore on Thursday morning rocked the area.

The cause of the incident, which occurred at 11:30 a.m. local time, is under investigation, CSX (NASDAQ: CSX) spokesperson Cindy Schild told FreightWaves. All employees have been accounted for and there were no injuries as a result of this incident, she said. 

According to local media reports and tweets from nearby residents, the explosion could be felt from several miles away. 

1900 blk...

Despite exodus of empty containers, US exports are hitting new highs


“Our largest export commodity continues to be air” is a frequent saying of Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles. That’s certainly true at his port, where exports are containerized. Far more empty boxes leave than full ones, so they can be reloaded quickly in Asia.

But look at the big picture and U.S. exports are actually rising — and on track for a record year. It’s just that more exports are being loaded aboard tankers and dry cargo vessels as opposed to container ships. 


If coal is dead, then why are ships so full of it?


Amid all the talk of global warming, climate change-induced catastrophes, decarbonization and green finance, the global trade in “dirty” coal is enjoying an ironic renaissance. Bulk ships are busy transporting coal to Asia — and to eco-conscious Europe — boosting freight income for some of the very shipowners who publicly tout their environmental bona fides to investors.

“Turns out the news of the demise of coal has been greatly exaggerated,” said Stifel analyst Ben Nolan in a new client note....

US crude, gas and coal exports are all flashing red

crude tanker

Fracking and horizontal drilling get top billing for the past decade’s meteoric rise in U.S. energy output, but don’t forget the overseas buyer in the role of best supporting actor. U.S. production would never have surged as it did without exports — and those exports are now in trouble.

After years of steep rises, trend lines are simultaneously turning negative thanks to COVID-19. From crude oil to liquefied natural gas (LNG) to coal, outbound volumes of U.S. energy commodities are falling, in...

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