20 March 2012

Brazil's Vale offers spot iron ore from Subic Bay, Philippines

SINGAPORE - Brazilian miner Vale has offered spot iron ore for tender Monday, sailing from its Floating Transfer Station at Subic Bay, Philippines, market participants said Monday.

Previously, most of Vale's spot offers have been for cargoes loaded on vessels passing through Singapore within two weeks from the date of sale, but the shipment sailing from Subic Bay will be able to reach the Chinese port of Qingdao in a shorter time span of four-and-a-half days.

Vale is offering a 175,000 mt cargo of 65%-Fe Brazilian sinter feed Carajas fines in a tender closing Monday, 1730 Beijing time (0930 GMT) on a CFR China basis. The cargo will load from the Floating Transfer Station at Subic Bay by Wednesday.

China's Ministry of Transport in January applied stricter administration procedures for large dry bulk vessels. Those with a capacity of more than 350,000 dwt have to go through new demonstration-appraisal-approval procedures before they can call at Chinese ports.

Sources said the Carajas fines spot cargo offered was probably unloaded from Very Large Ore Carrier, or Valemax, vessels at Subic Bay before being loaded into smaller Capesize vessels prior to sailing for China.

"It is the first time I heard Vale offering an iron ore spot shipment that sails straight from Subic Bay," a Hong Kong-based trader said.

Another Singaporean trader said: "Shorter traveling time between the Philippines and China will be popular among steel mills who need very prompt loading cargoes, but it may not be equally popular with traders who have a shorter time to sell their cargoes."

Vale wasn't immediately available to comment. [Melvin Yeo, (Platts) Singapore]