Valemax Troubles Persist

RIO DE JANEIRO–Brazilian mining giant Vale SA (VALE, VALE5.BR) continues to negotiate for access to Chinese ports for its Valemax large iron-ore carriers, the company’s director for ferrous metals said Thursday.

During a conference call with reporters, Vale’s Jose Carlos Martins said “difficulties in China continue,” but the company was committed to using the ships in other ports around the world in an effort to reduce shipping costs, particularly to Asia.

“China presents the most economically favorable situation” for the use of the Valemax ships, a class of vessels known as very large-ore carriers, or VLOCs, Mr. Martins said.

Vale is currently in talks to gain access to other ports in Asia, such as South Korea and the Philippines, Mr. Martins added. “We have alternatives [to use the ships] independent of China,” the executive said.

The world’s largest producer and exporter of iron ore plans a fleet of 35 of the super-sized vessels despite China’s ban in January on the ships from entering Chinese ports.

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