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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Alaska Railroad obtains contract to move South Korea-bound coal


Alaska Railroad Corp. (ARRC) recently reached agreements with Hyundai Merchant Marine and Usibelli Coal Mine Inc. (UCM) under which ARRC will move 400,000 tons of UCM coal from Healy, Alaska, to South Korea during the next two years, beginning in late September.

Depressed coal prices and cheaper Indonesian exports previously prompted South Korea to discontinue export shipments from UCM.

To help revive Alaska's export-coal business, U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens (R.-Alaska) earlier this year earmarked $9.6 million in a 2003 omnibus appropriations bill to enable ARRC to purchase a coal facility in Seward. Owned by Hyundai and the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, the facility will receive coal purchased by Hyundai. Coal will move by rail from Healy and be transferred to Hyundai ships bound for South Korea.

The agreements are contingent on Federal Railroad Administration approval of the appropriation, which also would enable ARRC to increase the Seward facility's capacity.

ARRC plans to move two 80-car trains weekly between Healy and Seward.

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More News from 9/18/2003