Arch Coal Inc said it signed an agreement for a Canadian Pacific Coast shipping terminal as part of its strategy to export more coal to Asian markets.

The deal with Canadian Crown Corp Ridley Terminals Inc to use the marine terminal near Prince Rupert, British Columbia, comes a week after Arch paid $25 million for a 38-percent stake in Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview LLC’s bulk commodity terminal on the Columbia River near Longview, Washington.

The five-year agreement with Ridley will give Arch throughput capacity at the terminal of up to 2 million metric tons of coal for 2011 and up to 2.5 million metric tons of coal for 2012 through 2015, the St Louis-based company said.

“This transaction is another important step in accomplishing our strategic objective of expanding Powder River Basin (Wyoming and Montana) coal sales into the Asia-Pacific region,” said Arch’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steven Leer.

He said the agreement gives the company immediate access to the growing seaborne market for thermal or steam coal, which is used in power generation.

Demand for coal-generated electricity, as well as for steel-making coal, continues to rise around the world, especially in rapidly growing China and India. It has grown in recent weeks as flooding has restricted exports from Australia. (Reuters)