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Giant Vale ship unloads maiden shipment of iron ore at Chinese port

12-29-2011 10:34 BJT

China has received the first of Vale's giant iron ore vessels, industry sources said yesterday, a major breakthrough for the Brazilian miner after months of uncertainty over the fleet's access to the world's top steelmaker.

Top iron ore exporter Vale is spending billions of dollars to build the world's biggest dry bulk ships to cut the cost of shipping the steelmaking ingredient to China, but until now had failed to gain the government's approval for the six vessels already on the water to even stop at a Chinese port.

Vale's 388,000-ton vessel, Berge Everest, began delivering its iron ore cargo at China's Dalian port yesterday and was expected to depart Saturday, shipping sources said.

"The ship is unloading iron ore this morning, and will take two and a half days to discharge such cargo," said a port agent.

"It is not clear at present who will buy the iron ore."

Reuters Freightviews and independent shipping data confirmed the vessel was anchored at the port. Industry sources said there was around 350,000 tons of iron ore onboard.

Vale officials in China and Brazil declined to comment yesterday. A spokeswoman for the ship's owner, Singapore-based Berge Bulk, and Dalian port officials were not immediately available for comment.

Vale's fleet has faced stiff opposition from influential Chinese shipowners and steelmakers, who fear the ships are a Trojan Horse which the miner will use to monopolize both the shipping and iron ore markets at their expense.

Vale's first mega bulk vessel, Vale Brasil, was forced to turn around in the Indian Ocean on its maiden voyage in June after the Chinese government failed to provide permission for the ship to dock at Dalian. It went to Taranto, Italy, instead.

The arrival of the Berge Everest is ill-timed for Chinese shipowners who are already struggling with a severe downturn in the industry.



Editor:Wang Xi |Source: Global Times

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