McDuffie Coal Terminal

From Global Energy Monitor

The McDuffie Coal Terminal of Alabama is the second largest coal terminal in the United States, behind the Lamberts Point terminal, and in 2008 it was the largest import coal terminal.[1] It is part of the Alabama State Port Authority's Port of Mobile.[2]


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The Alabama legislature authorized the construction of a $16 million coal terminal on Mobile Bay’s McDuffie Island in 1971.[3] The McDuffie Coal Terminal is located within the Port of Mobile. The terminal regularly generates 50% of the total income for the Port of Mobile. The majority of coal handled at the facility is metallurgical coal mined in Alabama and exported overseas for steelmaking. In 2018, the terminal handled 11 million short tons (approximately 10 million metric tonnes) of metallurgical coal, worth approximately US$2 billion.[4]

Coal port expansion

In 2010 the Alabama State Port Authority announced $360M to be spent over five years to improve infrastructure at the port, which may include land acquisition, new rail and inter-modal yards, and cargo terminal investments for deep-water oil and gas field vessels and equipment.[5]

The Alabama State Port Authority hopes that two customers - Drummond Company and Walter Energy - will foot the bill for a proposed US$9.5 million project to add export capacity at the McDuffie Coal Terminal. On Feb. 22, 2011, authority members voted to give state docks Director Jimmy Lyons the power to contract to fix the second shiploader at the terminal, which was broken, if he could reach an agreement with the Drummond Company and Walter Energy to pay for it by accepting a surcharge on top of the fees they normally pay to export coal through the terminal. If Drummond and Walter do not agree to the surcharge, the facility will reportedly continue to operate with one shiploader.[6]

In 2011 Walter also purchased the Mobile River Terminal for US$35 million to increase its shipping capacity. Company officials said that they planned to use McDuffie as well.[6] In August 2014 Walter Energy sold Mobile River Terminal to the Alabama State Port Authority for US$25 million. Pursuant to the deal, the Alabama State Port Authority agreed to a long-term extension of the existing coal handling agreement with Walter Energy at the McDuffie Coal Terminal.[7] Walter Energy currently exports approximately 7 million short tons of coking coal through the McDuffie Coal Terminal.[8]

In 2015 it was reported the Alabama Port Authority was investing US$120 million to expand the terminal's capacity.[9]

In 2017 the total annual capacity of the McDuffie Coal Terminal was reported to be 27 million short tons.[10] In 2021, the annual capacity was reported to be 30 million short tons (approximately 27.22 million metric tonnes).[11][12] Investments in port upgrades and capacity expansions appear to be ongoing.

Project Details

  • Owner: Alabama Port Authority
  • Location: Mobile, Alabama
  • Capacity (Million metric tonnes per annum): 27.22
  • Status: Operating
  • Type: Exports
  • Cost: US$120 million
  • Financing:



  1. "Port Facts". "Alabama State Port Authority". Archived from the original on January 13, 2008. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  2. "McDuffie Coal Terminal," Alabama State Port Authority, accessed May 2015
  3. FreightWaves Classics: Port of Mobile is a key Gulf Coast port, Freight Waves, Aug. 2, 2021
  4. Alabama met coal industry, Port of Mobile…, Alabama Mining Association, Feb. 3, 2019
  5. Dave Helms (2010-10-27). "Alabama State Port Authority approves $360 million to upgrade infrastructure". Press Register. Retrieved 2010-10-27.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Dan Murtaugh, "Port Authority wants to pass along costs of coal terminal upgrade", February 23, 2011.
  7. "Walter Energy divests USD25m Blue Creek Coal Terminal at Port of Mobile, Alabama," CMTX, Aug 26, 2014
  8. Sylvie Cornot-Gandolphe “US Coal Exports: The Long Road to Asian Markets,” Oxford OIES PAPER: CL 2, March 2015
  9. Sylvie Cornot-Gandolphe “US Coal Exports: The Long Road to Asian Markets,” Oxford OIES PAPER: CL 2, March 2015
  10. "S-1,", Mar 7, 2017
  11. McDuffie Coal Terminal, Blue Water Shipping, Accessed Sep. 26, 2021
  12. McDuffie Terminals, Alabama State Port Authority, Accessed Sep. 26, 2021

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