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SHIPPING OUT: ITA Participates In Ceremony Celebrating the First Shipment of U.S. Thermal Coal to Ukraine

August 22, 2017

By Ryan Russell, Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service Pittsburgh, Pa. 

Ukranian Coal Blog photo

Deputy Chief of Staff for the Secretary of Commerce Performing the Duties of Under Secretary for International Trade Israel Hernandez, Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Valeriy Chaly, U.S. Department of Energy  Acting Assistant Secretary Griffith Wells , and Ted O’Brien, Xcoal Energy & Resources Vice President of Capital Markets, at the Port of Baltimore celebrate the loading of the first shipment of Pennsylvania thermal coal to Ukraine on August 21, 2017.

With the backdrop of a large Panamax cargo vessel and the solar eclipse, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Secretary of Commerce Performing the Duties of Under Secretary for International Trade Israel Hernandez joined U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Acting Assistant Secretary Griffith Wells, the Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States, and Xcoal Energy and Resources executives at the Port of Baltimore to celebrate the loading of the first shipment of Pennsylvania thermal coal to Ukraine on August 21.

The ship will depart for Ukraine later this week and arrive in September. The ceremony came two months to the day after U.S. Commercial Service officials, in collaboration with the DOE, first introduced Ukraine’s state-owned utility, Centrenergo PJSC, to U.S. coal companies including Xcoal, and marks a historic new chapter in our commercial relationship with Ukraine.

Centrenergo approached the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv earlier this year seeking to diversify its coal suppliers and identify a reliable U.S. partner to meet its anthracite coal needs. The U.S. Commercial Service staff in Kyiv and their DOE counterparts requested the support of the U.S. Commercial Service offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and the Ukraine office in headquarters to organize a week-long visit to meet potential Pennsylvania coal and technology suppliers. During that June visit, Centrenergo met with Xcoal representatives at the company’s Latrobe, Pa., headquarters, and launched successful commercial negotiations.

On July 31, the Government of Ukraine announced that for the first time ever Centrenergo would purchase American thermal coal. In a joint statement by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Secretary Ross lauded the momentous deal as “bringing enormous benefit to our nation’s coal communities,” and allowing “Ukraine to diversify its energy sources ahead of the upcoming winter.” Secretary Perry underscored that, “U.S. coal will be a secure and reliable energy source for Centrenergo and its electricity customers.”

The current contract between Xcoal and Centrergo calls for the supply of 700,000 tons of coal between now and December 2017. The landmark deal is estimated to support roughly 70 U.S. mining jobs and more than 300 jobs in shipping and logistics.

During remarks at the loading ceremony, Hernandez noted that “this shipment is part of a larger, positive trend that we’d like to see continue further.”

U.S. trade with Ukraine is up 80 percent through the first half of 2017 compared to last year, and the International Trade Administration is working every day with U.S. exporters seeking additional business opportunities and partnerships with Ukrainian companies to continue that momentum.

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