By Morgan Snook
January 6, 2022 - Exports from a CSX coal terminal in Baltimore have been halted due to a Dec. 30 explosion at a coal transfer tower, the company said Jan. 5.
"Operations at the CSX Curtis Bay Coal Piers have been temporarily suspended while engineering teams assess the extent of the damage," spokeswoman Cindy Schild said in a statement. "In the meantime, coal shipments to Curtis Bay are being rerouted and we are working closely with impacted customers."
The terminal is a major thermal coal port hub to markets in India, Europe and the Middle East. Recovery efforts are underway but a firm timeline for reopening is not yet available, according to Schild.
The impacted shipments are likely to be rerouted to the Hampton Roads area, a US-based broker said. CSX rails also serve Kinder Morgan's Pier IX terminal and the Alpha Metallurgical Resources and Arch-owned DTA terminal in Virginia. CSX and Norfolk Southern rails also serve the CNX Marine Terminal in Baltimore.
The cause of the incident remains under investigation, Schild said. There were no injuries, she added.
According to the broker and the Baltimore Sun newspaper, coal dust due to a jammed conveyor belt reportedly contributed to the blast. Nearby residents reportedly had doors and windows blown open, they said.