Vale has announced the construction of a second floating iron ore transfer station in Subic Bay, Philippines. These transfer ships facilitate the transfer of iron ore cargo from the 400,000 DWT “Valemax” ore carriers, to smaller vessels.
Normally, such transfers would happen once these ships enter port, however China, which is Vale’s biggest customer, has yet to open their ports to these CHINESE-built ships citing concerns about their structural integrity and their effect on Chinese shipping. In what seems to be a highly politically-driven move, and/or personal favor, the VLOC Berge Everest, was allowed to enter port and deliver it’s cargo into China at the end of 201.
According to a recent Reuters report, Vale’s board of directors has approved the building of the floating storage vessel but the firm has yet to decide where it will operate when completed, said Claudio Alves, Vale’s global marketing director.
“We are in the final contracting process and South Korea could be one possibility,” Alves told reporters at a ceremony to name two Valemaxes. Many of the Valemaxes have been financed by Chinese banks and built by Chinese shipyards.
The first transfer station, the Ore Fabrica, has been operating since February. Both the existing station and the one to be built are mobile, making it possible to move them to operate in different offshore regions, close to their main consumer markets in Southeast Asia and other parts of Asia. Together with distribution centers in Oman (already operating) and Malaysia (being built), these transfer stations will absorb the entire capacity of Vale’s fleet of 35 mega ore carrying ships, which can transport approximately 60 million metric tons of cargo per year.