A coal train runs along the White Rock waterfront.

Second firm reduces coal exports

The volume of thermal-coal expected to be transported along the White Rock/South Surrey waterfront next year has once again dropped.

The volume of thermal-coal expected to be transported along the White Rock/South Surrey waterfront next year has once again dropped, according to an announcement last week by Westshore Terminals of another exporter deciding to reduce sales.

Global Coal Sales Group LLC has advised Westshore of a need to reduce sales to the export market in 2016, with a possibility of further reductions through 2018, according to a Dec. 9 news release.

The move cuts Westshore’s anticipated output to 24-24½ million tonnes of coal from 26 million, much of which is B.C. metallurgical coal rather than U.S. thermal coal that’s burned as fuel and is a major greenhouse gas contributor.

The news follows the October announcement by Cloud Peak Energy of its intention to halt its coal shipments –  four million tonnes  annually – through Westshore Terminals at Deltaport for three years.

Climate change activist Kevin Washbrook said the latest news reduces the annual volume of thermal coal passing along the waterfront down to two tonnes from the eight tonnes of recent years.

A significant decline in international coal prices was cited in both announcements, which have also led Westshore to review its $270-million expansion plan. It’s possible one of three “stacker reclaimers” ordered to replace existing equipment will be cancelled, reducing the project budget to $225 million, the release states.

Fraser Surrey Docks‘ terminal – which received approval from the port authority late last month, of its revised plan to load coal directly onto ocean-going ships – would bring up to four million tonnes per year of U.S. thermal coal through White Rock, South Surrey and Delta, adding one coal train per day.

The company – which still faces court challenges and the requirement to get an air emissions permit from Metro Vancouver – has said early 2017 is the soonest it could be operating.

 

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