Feature, Freight News, Sea

Largest Bulk Vessel to Call Port of Mobile Loads Alabama Export Metallurgical Coal

[ March 18, 2020   //   ]

The Alabama State Port Authority announced that the largest bulk carrier to call the Port of Mobile loaded over 133,000 short tons (121,000 metric tons) of export metallurgical grade coal at its McDuffie Coal Terminal. The Newcastle Max class bulk carrier, MARAN COURAGE, measures 984.2 feet (300 meters) in length overall (LOA) and has a width of 144.3 feet (50 meter beam). All of her cargo loaded at McDuffie consisted of Alabama metallurgical grade coal bound for Asian markets.
Jimmy Lyons, director and chief executive officer for the Port Authority, noted the Newcastle Max call along with a steady increase in Post-Panamax vessels at the port are due in part to past and ongoing infrastructure investments. “We’ve already made investments to service and turn these large ships at the port, and today, we are deepening the port to -50 ft. draft to leverage capacity opportunities afforded by the Post-Panamax class ship.” The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is leading the recently permitted and fully funded harbor modernization program to deepen and widen the Port of Mobile over the next few years. “When our channel is deepened, the Newcastle Max will be able to load far more tonnage, which in turn provides our customers more capacity and more competitive transportation rates to service international market opportunities,” said Lyons.
The Port Authority, its partners and the federal government have invested over $1.2 million in shore-side and channel improvements to service growth in the region’s mining, manufacturing, agriculture and retail distribution industries. The harbor improvements will primarily serve coal and containerized shippers using the larger, Post-Panamax sized vessels. Alabama’s metallurgical coal market is also in demand and on the upswing with nearly $1.4 billion in recent or planned mining investments. Alabama’s low sulfur, high quality coking coal is ideally suited for steel makers. Currently, Alabama holds about 4 billion tons of economically recoverable coal reserves, with 80 per cent of those reserves comprised of metallurgical grade coal, according to a 2019 Auburn University at Montgomery economic impact study .