By Morgan Snook
September 12, 2021 - After an eight-day hiatus due to Hurricane Ida, coal ship departures from Louisiana resumed in the week starting Sept. 5, data from Platts trade-flow software cFlow showed Sept. 10.
No coal ships left Louisiana between Aug. 28 and Sept. 4. The US Coast Guard returned port conditions to normal Sept. 1, but some ports faced ongoing challenges a week later.
"We're still dealing with it," a Lower Mississippi River anchorage facility source said Sept. 8 of Hurricane Ida.
Five Carriers Depart
Five coal ships left Louisiana since the Category 4 storm made landfall Aug. 29, while 75 ships remained Sept. 10 in the New Orleans region. Four were laden and departed from the Port of South Louisana, carrying a combined 191,916 dwt of coal. The fifth was unladen and left Lake Charles Sept. 7 bound for Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
The first laden coal carrier to leave after the storm departed the Port of South Louisiana Sept. 5 carrying 45,269 dwt bound for Bangladesh. The second left the same port two days later carrying 37,803 dwt bound for Colombia.
The third and fourth ships both departed Sept. 9 from the Port of South Louisiana. One carried 75,416 dwt and was headed to Puerto Drummond, Colombia. The other was destined for Norfolk, Virginia, by order, carrying 33,428 dwt.
"I heard with the Gulf situation right now, there may be some push back," a US-based broker said Sept. 9. "Maybe some domestic guys might be able to find some tons out there in the interim while things can't get all the way down to the Gulf."
75 Ships Remain
As of Sept. 10, 75 coal carriers remained in the New Orleans region -- 21 were laden, 11 part-laden and 43 unladen. CFlow data showed that 70 were stationary and five were moving in the Lower Mississippi River. Three were moving upstream and two downstream; all had unspecified destinations.
"You'll see some cargoes that were supposed to be loaded in the first or second week of September get delayed or cancelled. All of the sudden, that shipowner is on the hook," said a US-based trader Sept. 8. "There may be a bigger pool of ships, which might lower freight rates temporarily."
The last coal ship to leave Louisiana prior to the hurricane sailed from Port of Lake Chares Aug. 28, carrying 21,301 dwt bound for Quebec, Canada, cFlow data showed.