Both US coal imports and exports fell in 2016

US coal exports and imports both declined in 2016. That’s according to new statistics from the Energy Information Administration, which show the US remained a net exporter of coal through […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

US coal exports and imports both declined in 2016.

That’s according to new statistics from the Energy Information Administration, which show the US remained a net exporter of coal through the year, exporting 60.3 million short tons (MMst) and importing 9.8MMst.

US coal exports fell for the fourth year in a row, down 13.7MMst from 2015 and less than half the record volume of 125.7MMst in 2012.

The report suggests the drop is largely due to slow growth in world coal demand combined with increased competition from other international suppliers.

Lower mining costs, cheaper transportation and favorable exchange rates continue to provide advantages to other major coal exporting nations, such as Australia, Indonesia, Colombia, Russia and South Africa.

US coal imports totalled 9.8MMst in 2016, 13% less than the 11.3MMst imported in 2015 and the first decline in imports in three years.

Around 90% of coal imported into the United States was steam coal, which is primarily used to generate electricity.

US coal production fell by a massive 51% last year, hitting record lows.