U.S. coal exports have increased over the past six months
Coal exports for the first quarter of 2017 were 58% higher than in the same quarter last year, with steam coal exports increasing by 6 million short tons (MMst) and metallurgical coal exports increasing by 2 MMst. Most of these exports were shipped from Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Mexico ports. In EIA’s most recent Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), EIA expects growth in coal exports to slow in the coming months, with total 2017 exports forecast at 72 MMst, 11 MMst (19%) higher than the 2016 level.
With coal exports running well below export capacity, no significant expansions of coal export facilities in the United States are currently under construction. Coal export capacity in 2016 totaled 257 MMst, compared with total coal exports of 61 MMst. Facilities in the Norfolk, Virginia, area alone have the capacity to export approximately 84 MMst annually—more than the total amount of coal exported from all U.S. ports in 2016.