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Kallanish Steel Weekly: Baltimore bridge collapse to impact raw materials trade (April 3, 2024)

Issue 13, 2024 - This week's editorial: Baltimore bridge collapse to impact raw materials trade

The Francis Scott Key bridge catastrophe in Baltimore, Maryland has the potential to block more than 1 million short tons of US metallurgical coal exports, pinching supplies for customers as far away as Europe and Asia.

The collapsed highway bridge blocking access to the Port of Baltimore also may cause freight costs to rise elsewhere as met-coal stocks are diverted through other transport hubs, officials warn.

CSX and Consol Energy say their coal terminals at the port cannot offload directly to the seaborne trade until the shipping channel is cleared. This process may take at least six weeks. If the six-week timeframe for reopening maritime trade at Baltimore holds true, an estimated 2.5m st of coal would be delayed, according to Xcoal Resources. Based on historic volumes, about one-third of that total could be metallurgical coal.

Baltimore is the second-largest coal export point in the US. For 2019 to 2023, the port’s annual volumes of metallurgical coal ranged from 6 million short tons to 10m st, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) says in an impact statement issued last week.

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