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Coal exports from the Ridley Terminal in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, were at 912,830 mt in September, down 4.8% from August, despite metallurgical coal exports jumping to the second-highest level in 6.5 years, according to data from the Prince Rupert Port Authority released Oct. 14.

The total, which combines metallurgical and thermal coal, was down 10.7% from the year-ago month, but up 53.9% from the five-year average for September.

The 8.33 million mt exported in the first nine months of the year was up 24.6% from the same period a year ago and was the most through September in over nine years.

Met coal exports from the terminal were at a 12-month high 676,444 mt in September, up 65.2% from August, but 0.3% lower than the year-ago month. It was the second-highest met coal exports figure in a month in the last 6.5 years.

Since Jan. 1, met coal exports were at 4.4 million mt, up 1% from a year ago and the highest since 6 million mt in 2013.

Thermal coal exports were at an eight-month low 236,386 mt in September, down 57% from August and 31.2% lower than the year-ago month. It was the lowest monthly total since 231,638 mt in January.

However, year-to-date thermal coal exports were at 3.93 million mt, up 68.7% from a year ago and the most through the first nine months in over nine years.

The terminal, the closest major North American coal export terminal to Asia, is served by the Canadian National railroad. In January, Ridley Terminals signed a seven-year deal with Teck Resources to increase its contracted capacity from 3 million mt to 6 million mt, starting in 2021, with an option for Teck to extend up to 9 million mt.