NS said that on Sept. 21, its employees finished loading 168,977 net tons of coking coal into the M/V Negonego, destined for use by integrated steel producers in China. NS said that is a record not only for Pier 6, but also for the entire U.S., where Pier 6 is the top performer among more than a dozen export terminals on the East, Gulf, and West coasts.
"I can give you 450 individual reasons behind this achievement," said Jeff Yates, NS superintendent of terminals. "Our Lamberts Point employees are passionate about safety, service, and productivity. That's how they loaded the M/V Negonego in an astonishingly fast 40 hours and 45 minutes."
The coal was shipped by Xcoal Energy and Resources in 1,592 railroad coal cars. Said XCoal CEO Ernie Thrasher, "Everyone from the miners at the Buchanan Mine to the employees at NS contributed to this record. They work every day to sustain our business, and they deserve the credit."
The previous Pier 6 loading record was set on Sept. 17, when 166,840 net tons of metallurgical coal were loaded into the M/V China Pioneer. Pier 6 celebrated its 50th anniversary on Sept. 18.
"Pier 6 truly is a 'pier without peer,'" said Mark H. Bower, NS group vice president, export, metallurgical, and industrial coal marketing. "America has 25% of the world's known recoverable coal reserves – more energy than all the oil in the Middle East. NS and our production and sales partners are the reliable team for getting that coal to the world's utilities and coke plants."
Pier 6 opened for business in 1962. In addition to the quantity of its loadings, Pier 6 is known for speed. Most of the coal moving through Pier 6 originates in southwest Virginia, southern West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. It is shipped to several dozen countries as well as to coastwide domestic receivers.
Pier 6 accesses Hampton Roads' deep 50-foot channel that allows modern vessels to make productive use of their large holds. Some of those vessels, such as the M/V Negonego with its length of 984 feet, are as long as three football fields.