The Coal Trader

US EIA lowers coal exports forecast for April and May following Baltimore bridge collapse

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Tuesday revised its April coal exports forecast downward by 33%, and lowered its view for May by 20% due to the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore and resulting port closure.

The EIA had expected U.S. coal exports to rise by about 1% this year, but now expects a 6% decrease from last year’s levels following the bridge collapse. U.S. coal shipments slowed following the closure of the Port of Baltimore, the second-largest coal export channel in the country, after a huge cargo ship crashed into the bridge on March 26.

“There is significant uncertainty based on the timeline for the port reopening and how quickly exporters can adjust to export through alternative ports,” EIA Administrator Joe DeCarolis said.

While coal has dwindled to about 15% of total U.S. power generation as natural gas, renewable energy and other cleaner energy sources take its place, coal supplies about a third of the world’s electricity.

By Liz Hampton and Laila Kearney, Reuters