Why Canada’s Ports Can’t Handle US Coal

Sightline Institute has evaluated available BC ports for their potential export of US coal to Asia and explain why new US ports are being pursued by coal exporters.

Among Sightline researchers’ findings:

Canada is a major player in the global coal trade, ranking among the world’s top 10 exporters.1 Because the vast majority of Canada’s exports are bound for Asia, virtually all the coal exported by Canada leaves from British Columbia.2 Coal export terminals in the province already operate near their full capacity.

In recent years, less than 5 million tons of US coal has been exported through BC ports annually. In 2010 and 2011, US-originated coal shipments increased dramatically from previous years, but there is no reason to believe that significant quantities of American coal will ever be shipped out of BC because:

  1. Canadian coal is in high demand and it achieves significantly higher prices than the Powder River Basin coal that would be shipped from the US.

  2. BC’s coal ports are to a large extent structured to handle primarily Canadian coal and other exports.

  3. BC coal ports simply do not have sufficient space to add large quantities of US coal shipments.

An examination of each of BC’s three major coal terminals reveals that they cannot provide significant capacity to US coal exports.

For their full report, click here.

Gallery | This entry was posted in Coal, Coal Info, SEA Info. Bookmark the permalink.


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