* Valemax ship that docked in China was no fully loaded
* Vale opened second floating transfer ship in Philippines
* Malaysia on-land ore distribution center to open in 2014
By Jeb Blount
RIO DE JANEIRO, April 25 Brazil's Vale SA said
it has increased access of its "Valemax" iron ore carriers to
Asian ports and has even docked one of its ships in China where
a ban on the giant vessels has been in effect for more than a
The Vale Malaysia docked at China's port of Lianyungang
April 15 and left April 17 after unloading its cargo, Reuters
reported on April 18. The 402,285 deadweight tonne (dwt) ship,
one of the world's largest bulk freighters, was only partly
loaded, Jose Carlos Martins said on Thursday.
Martins made the comments in a conference call to discuss
Vale's first quarter financial results, released late Wednesday.
Profit fell 18 percent in the quarter from a year earlier but
The company is counting on the giant ships to help slash
costs of shipping ore to China, the world's largest iron ore
market, and compete with Australian rivals BHP Billiton Plc
and Rio Tinto Plc, whose mines are closer to
China banned the Brazilian miner's mega ships in early 2012
over alleged safety concerns. Most of the vessels were built in
China with Chinese government finance. A Korean-built Valemax
developed a hull crack on its maiden voyage.
The ban was also made to protect China's own ocean-freight
industry as a glut in vessels dragged down global shipping
rates. No bulk cargo vessels of more than 300,000-dwt have
clearance for Chinese ports under the ban.
Before this week, the last time a Valemax entered a Chinese
port was in late December 2011 when the 388,000-dwt Berge
Everest called at the port of Dalian in what shipping sources
said then was probably a fluke. Deadweight tonnes refers to the
amount of passengers fuel and cargo a vessel can carry. The
Valemaxes decks are big enough to hold up to three regulation
size soccer pitches.
The 35 Valemax vessels afloat or under construction -- the
last is scheduled for delivery this year -- can reduce transport
costs by up to a third and produce far fewer greenhouse gasses.
Vale owns part of the fleet and has given third-party owners
long-term contracts to ship ore with the rest.
In April, Vale opened a second floating iron ore
distribution station in the Philippines to keep the Valemax
ships working despite the Chinese ban and to make sure Valemax
ore can move to ports that are not deep enough or properly
equipped to handle them.
The stations, floating bulk freighters with ore-moving
equipment, can transship ore from the Valemaxes to smaller
vessels for the final trip to Asian ports. Vale is also working
to open new ports to Valemax ships in Japan and Korea.
The company's permanent iron ore storage and distribution
center in Malaysia is expected to start operations early in
2014, Martins said.
Vale preferred shares, the company's most-traded class of
stock, rose 2.7 percent to 34.48 reais and its common shares
rose 2.2 percent to 32.80 reais.