Biggest iron-ore ships can enter 3 Chinese ports

Updated: 2011-06-23 16:40
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The biggest iron-ore carriers ever built will be able to enter three Chinese ports, according to Vale SA (VALE3), the world's largest producer of the raw material used to make steel and owner of the vessels.

The northern Chinese ports of Dalian and Dongjiakou, and Majishan, near Shanghai, have the capacity to receive the so- called Valemaxes that are able to haul 400,000 metric-ton cargoes, the company said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. China is the world's largest steel producer and iron-ore user.

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"The decision to receive the ship is taken by the port," the company said. The vessels' right to enter will depend on "berth capacity, the draft, the space to maneuver the ship, and the security of the mooring operation," Vale said.

The vessels are part of a $14 billion investment program in railroads, ports and mines by Rio de Janeiro-based Vale as global demand for the raw material strengthens. Seaborne trade in the commodity will expand 4.5 percent to a record 1.04 billion metric tons this year, estimates Clarkson Research Services Ltd, a unit of the world's largest shipbroker.

The first of the new ships, the South Korea-built Vale Brasil, diverted to Italy on its maiden voyage, having previously been scheduled to deliver to Dalian, the miner said in a statement yesterday. It has a 391,000-ton cargo. The vessel is currently off the coast of South Africa, according to ship- tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.

Vale China, a ship of the same size under construction in China and yet to enter service, "has a final destination of a Chinese port," Vale said. That ship was financed by Chinese financial institutions, the company said.

A plan for an iron-ore distribution center in China to stockpile the commodity "didn't advance," Eduardo Bartolomeo, Vale's executive director for integrated bulk operations, said in an interview at company headquarters on June 17.