December 20, 2017 Read More →

Dearth of West Coast Terminal Capacity for U.S. Coal Producers Pinning Hopes on Exports

SNL:

Western producers looking to export coal through the Pacific Coast are seeing their options dwindle as existing ports reach capacity and hopes for new ones dim.

“The West is kind of limited in that you have a couple of ports in California and the main ones in Canada,” said William Wolf, vice president of business and market analysis at John T. Boyd Co. “You can only run so many tons through those facilities at this time.”

Ridgway does not see much opportunity for these ports to grow because environmental groups in California would likely put a stop to any plans that would increase coal train traffic.

Meanwhile, three proposed projects that could offer West Coast export options have hit major roadblocks. Oakland’s city council voted unanimously in June 2016 to prohibit coal shipments in the city, affecting the planned Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal in California, though the developer is suing to overturn the ban. The U.S. Army Corps also stopped the permitting process in May 2016 for the planned Gateway Pacific terminal in Washington state. An outgoing official threw a further obstacle in front of Pacific Gateway when he announced in January the expansion of an aquatic reserve to include the area where the terminal was planned. And in November 2016, an Oregon state agency announced the withdrawal of cases related to the planned Morrow Pacific coal terminal.

More ($): Coal miners eyeing Asia market pin hopes on Wash. port as other options dry up

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