These weather related delays, together with two recent non-weather related derailments, and other mechanical issues have affected rail transport. In addition, operations at Neptune Terminals and Westshore Terminals have been affected by issues including high winds and mechanical failures. These issues have cumulatively affected coal transportation, restricting sales. The Elkview strike has not been a significant contributor to the reduction in sales as deliveries of Elkview coal from inventory continue, although slower rail loading times at Elkview have also affected rail cycle times. Teck and the union local representing the Elkview workforce commenced mediation March 12 and mediation is ongoing.
Teck expects coal sales in the first quarter to be in the range of 4.6 to 4.9 million metric tons (mt). This compares to an average of 5.3 million mt of sales in the first quarter of each of the last six years. Teck is working closely with its rail and port service providers to implement measures intended to enhance rail and port performance, including increasing train sets and slots, adding cars per train and adding crew. Teck expects performance to improve in the second quarter as a result of these measures assuming more normal weather conditions.