Convent, which primarily has handled export-bound thermal tonnage from the Illinois Basin region, has already received its first inbound train; fourth quarter throughput is estimated to be between 50,000 tons and 100,000 tons.

SunCoke officials said any future volumes will be shipped on a merchant basis, subject to customer needs.

“We’re excited to announce our expansion into the domestic thermal coal market at Convent,” SunCoke Energy Partners Chairman, President and CEO Fritz Henderson said. “While we’re still in the early stages of this initiative, we look forward to working collaboratively with our new customer in supporting their logistics needs.”

The company is also in the final phase of commissioning its new shiploader, which should be operational by the end of next month. Set to be the largest fixed-tower shiploader in the world, it will increase the terminal’s annual loading capacity by 50% to 15 million tons.

SunCoke purchased the Convent Marine Terminal in St. James Parish in August 2015 from Cline Group affiliate Raven Energy Holdings. It is considered to be one of the Gulf Coast’s largest export facilities and has both vessel and rail access. Its annual coal capacity is about 10 million tons and its overall transloading capacity is about 40 million tons annually.