Vale’s Subic operations criticised


Singapore: A report published yesterday by Alpabulk, a subsidiary of analysts AXS Marine, paints an unfavourable picture of operations at Brazil miner Vale’s Philippine operations. The report covers the impact of the so-called Valemax ships on the dry bulk trades. There are currently 21 of these ships trading with another two to deliver before year-end. Initially built with direct China deliveries in mind, Vale had to look elsewhere when it was refused access to Chinese ports. Among the alternatives is Subic Bay in the Philippines. However, Alphabulk describes operations there as “anything but smooth” with these giant bulkers staying in port for an average of 30 days each.
“Scheduling their shuttle ships in an organized manner has proved difficult thus far as has managing to achieve industry standard discharge rates,” Alphabulk wrote in its report.
Transhipment is costing at least $6 per tonne but with the operational inefficiencies this could even be as much as 50 percent more, Alphabulk suggested.
Vale continues to negotiate with Chinese authorities for direct access to the world’s largest consumer of iron ore.  [20/12/12]


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