Transshipment hub for iron ore distribution in Asia

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) board of directors has recently approved a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the SBMA and Vale International, SA to build a transshipment hub for iron ore distribution in Asia.

Vale International, a private Brazilian company, is one of the world’s largest producers of iron ore and controls the largest share of the seaborne trade market for iron ore.

The company has proposed to carry out an iron ore transshipment operation from its Valemax mother vessel to smaller daughter vessels, or feeders, which are either Panamax or Capesize types, by using a purposely-designed floating terminal to be located in Subic Bay.

Lawyer Redentor Tuazon, SBMA deputy administrator for operations, said the proposed transshipment hub will be the biggest in the world in terms of operations.

“The mother vessels that they use have a gross register tonnage (GRT) of 400,000 GRT,” Tuazon said.

“These are ultra large carriers that they call Valemax. They are the biggest in their class, the biggest in the world in operations, and they will use Subic Bay Freeport as the hub in Asia,” he said.

Tuazon also said the Vale group decided to build a hub in Subic because it will be cost-effective to do so.

“The rationale for the whole project is economies of scale. You have big ships that will transfer the iron ore to two or three smaller vessels, so that the smaller ports in China will be able to accommodate them,” he said.

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