Interesting post today from the Department of Energy’s “Energy Today” site:
Seaports in the Gulf Coast and East Coast account for most U.S. coal exports. Six seaports accounted for 94% of U.S. coal exports in 2010, up from 63% in 2000. Over 68% of total U.S. coal exports in 2010 were coking coal, which is used in making iron and steel. Steam coal, used to generate electricity, comprised the remaining 32% of exports.
Despite falling Midwest exports, overall U.S. coal exports have been resurgent, reaching nearly 71 million tons in the first eight months of 2011—the highest level in decades—driven by high global demand and significant weather disruptions of Australian coal exports. Combined annual exports from Norfolk, Virginia and Baltimore, Maryland increased 18 million tons from 2000 to 2010. For the first eight months of 2011, New Orleans, Louisiana coal exports grew 980% above the 2000 level and surpassed the record 2010 level by nearly 50% despite flooding along the Mississippi River disrupting barge traffic. Coal exports from Seattle, Washington have also risen sharply in recent years as significant coal production in the Powder River Basin seeks access to growing Asian coal markets.