23 October 2012

Biggest Ore Carrier Calls In Subic

Vale SA, the iron ore producer operating the world's biggest ships, said one of them called at the port of Subic in the Philippines, extending the number receiving the vessels to seven.

The Vale Minas Gerais, with capacity to carry 400,000 metric tons of iron ore, arrived at Villaneuva port yesterday, Vale said in an e-mail today. The company is spending more than $8 billion to build and control a fleet of 35 of the carriers to lower its freight costs and better compete with Australian miners, who are closer to the biggest consuming region.

China buys about 65 percent of the world’s seaborne iron ore. Vale said in June its biggest ships were restricted from calling at the Asian country’s ports. The vessels already called at ports in Brazil, Oman, the Netherlands, Japan and Italy, the miner said today.

They have also discharged at a floating transfer station at Subic Bay in the Philippines.

JFE Steel Corp. took delivery of the cargo, the fourth steelmaker to do so from one of the so-called Valemaxes, according to Vale.

The ships are lowering transport costs for steelmakers in Asia with “advanced” negotiations with other customers and ports to use

them, Vale’s Executive Director for Ferrous and Strategy Jose Carlos Martins said in the statement.

Vale paid $4.20 a ton to hire a vessel to ship ore to China from Subic Bay, according to an Oct. 11 list of charters published by the Baltic Exchange, the London-based assessor of freight costs.

Vale declined to comment on that charter in an emailed response to questions on Oct. 16.

Rates for Capesize vessels carrying the commodity slid 1.7 percent today to $13,430 a day, according to the Baltic Exchange. The ships have less than 50 percent of the capacity of Valemaxes. Panamaxes, the biggest to navigate the Panama Canal’s locks, fell 1 percent to $7,142 a day.

Costs as measured by the Baltic Dry Index, a wider measure of raw materials freight rates, declined 1 percent to 989 points. (Bloomberg)