Norfolk Southern has loaded the largest volume cargo in the history of its Pier 6 coal transloading facility at Lamberts Point in Norfolk.
Early on Thursday 12 January, Norfolk Southern finished loading 159,941.45 net tons (145,097.931 metric tons) of metallurgical coal into the M/V Cape Dover, destined for China.
That quantity can be used to make about 207,000 tons of steel – enough to build 230,000 automobiles.
The coal was shipped by Xcoal Energy & Resources in conjunction with CONSOL Energy, from mining operations in Virginia, in 1,561 railroad coal cars.
Norfolk Southern employees loaded the 951-foot vessel in fewer than 48 hours in order to accommodate a tight schedule for the receiver.
“This is the kind of capacity and service that makes Pier 6 the preeminent coal transloading facility on the East Coast,” said Mark H. Bower, NS group vice president, export, metallurgical, and industrial coal marketing.
“Worldwide demand for U.S. coal for utilities and coke plants continues to grow, and the railroad is the reliable and safe link that, with our coal production and sales partners, brings that energy to market around the globe.”
The loading of the M/V Cape Dover eclipsed the former record of 157,645 net tons for the M/V Irongate in 1998 as well as the 155,522 net tons into the M/V Cape Provence in December 2010.
Norfolk Southern has been transferring coal and coke from railroad cars into ocean-going export and domestic vessels in the Lamberts Point area since 1884, when it opened Pier 1.
In the first half of the 1900s, new Piers 2-5 featured improvements in speed and capacity and even loaded coal into a number of famous vessels, such as those used in Admiral Byrd’s 1933 Antarctica expedition.
Pier 6 opened for business in 1962 as the hemisphere’s largest, fastest, and most efficient transloading facility.
In 1999, Pier 6 dumped its billionth ton of coal and became the only facility in the world to have reached that milestone.
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 coastwise domestic receivers.
Pier 6 is situated with access to Hampton Roads’ deep 50-foot channel that allows modern vessels to make productive use of their large holds.