CSX adds Voelker to coal sales department, makes other changes

CSX Transportation, one of the two major eastern U.S. railroads, has moved John Voelker to its coal sales and marketing team and is the delivering rail carrier for SunCoke Energy’s (NYSE: SXC) new Middletown coke works in Ohio.

Those are among the highlights from a newsletter from the CSX coal division posted to the company website on May 4.

  • Voelker is the new Regional Director, Coal Development. This is a return to the Coal Department and he brings 33 years of CSX sales and marketing experience to this role in the Lexington, Ky., Coal Development office. Voelker joined the Coal Group as sales manager in Detroit in 1983 before moving to Cumberland, Md., as market manager of Utility Coal. For the last 11 years, he has been a national account manager in the Chemicals and Metals Business Units.
  • SunCoke Energy recently located its fifth domestic commercial-scale coke-making facility at the customer AK Steel works in Middletown, Ohio. The $360m plant began construction in April 2010; began taking shipments of coal via CSX in October 2011; and began coke production in the same month. At maximum production, the 100-oven facility has the capacity to produce 550,000 tons per year of high-quality metallurgical-grade coke. CSX will deliver about 825,000 tons of met coal to the site annually. SunCoke was interested in working with CSX for its competitive pricing, but the railroad did not have access to the new plant, CSX noted. An industrial lead to the site was built to facilitate 80-car unit trains. “From the outset, the railroad’s representatives were incredibly helpful,” says Steve Haynes, SunCoke’s Manager of Logistics. “They helped us plan with regard to the frequency of trains and cars needed, and expressed a willingness to support the plan. This is the first time SunCoke has leased equipment. Railroad managers and others were helpful with that plan.”
  • CSX said it continues to invest in high-capacity coal hoppers, with this investment spread across three car types, all of which are 286,000-pound gross weight cars. “Recapping last year’s acquisitions, we received 1,705 hybrid coal cars,” said the newsletter. “The hybrids are constructed of stainless steel and aluminum and have a lading capacity of 118 tons. We also added 2,000 all-aluminum-body coal hoppers. These have a lading capacity of 122 tons. This year, we’re purchasing an additional 2,000 all-aluminum coal cars. They should all be here by summer. We are also buying 500 new stainless steel triple hopper bottom-drops… for use in industrial unit train service and expect to receive all of them by summer. These new cars will continue to allow shippers to capture the efficiencies of loading more tons per car; more tons per train. We’ve also taken advantage of the new additions to reduce the number of lower capacity, 263K cars in service.”
  • CSX has completed a new coal dumping facility at its Transportation Terminals (TTI) unit in Maysville, Ky. “To ensure continuity of operations, we basically constructed a new building over our existing one,” said Kenndall Gulley, TTI’s Terminal Manager. “Inside, we added new bottom-dump equipment, complemented by a new railcar shaker.” TTI will continue investing in the facility, replacing the floating barge dock this summer.
  • In a brief customer update, the newsletter said LDH Energy Slones Branch Terminal LLC is re-opening the Slone’s Branch, Ky., loadout as a four-hour, 110-car batch-weigh fast-load origin. This facility has been listed with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration since April 2011 under LDH Energy Slones Branch Terminal LLC, and before that was listed in the 2008-2011 period under Cobalt Blue LLC. Before that, it was listed under a couple of International Coal Group subsidiaries, ICG Knott County LLC and ICG East Kentucky LLC. MSHA shows the controlling party for LDH Energy Slones Branch Terminal as Louis Dreyfus Highbridge Energy (LDH Energy). Said the LDH Energy website: “LDH Energy is a global coal merchant specializing in both physical and financial coal products. LDH Energy transacts globally with numerous Coal counterparties. We have U.S. offices located in Connecticut, Alabama and West Virginia. Our international operations are in Lausanne, Switzerland. Our competitive advantage is derived from providing a highly analytical approach to supply and demand balances for coal.” LDH Energy also, since 2008, has controlled the Cyrus coal dock in West Virginia.
About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.