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Vancouver Coal Exports Bounce Back in 2023

Vancouver’s coal export scene witnessed a robust turnaround in 2023, with volumes surging to a near two-year high in December and the full year surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

December Boom:

  • Coal exports through the Westshore and Neptune terminals hit 4.28 mt in December 2023, a 34% jump from November and a staggering 71% increase compared to December 2022, which suffered from harsh winter weather.
  • This marks the best monthly performance since March 2022 and highlights strong growth in metallurgical coal shipments, reaching their second-highest volume in the past five years.

Full-Year Growth:

  • The December surge helped propel total 2023 exports to 42.65 mt, a 7.1% increase over 2022.
  • Notably, the composition of exports remained stable, with metallurgical coal accounting for 58% and thermal coal for 41%, mirroring the previous year’s breakdown.

Westshore Terminals Leads the Charge:

  • Westshore Terminals, a key player in Vancouver’s coal export hub, provided ambitious 2023 guidance of 27.0 – 27.5 mt. Meeting this midpoint would represent a significant 17% increase compared to 2022’s 23.34 mt.
  • This forecast suggests Westshore will be the primary driver of growth, potentially indicating slower expansion at the Neptune Terminal.

Looking Ahead:

Vancouver’s coal export scene appears revitalized, fueled by December’s impressive performance and promising full-year growth. Westshore Terminals’ ambitious plans further underline the city’s potential as a key coal export hub. However, the sustainability of this resurgence will depend on factors like global coal demand, weather conditions, and potential policy changes impacting the industry.