Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New Strategically Located Deep Water Bulk Ore Handling Terminal and Distribution Hub Opens

Thirty Million Tonnes per Year Capacity Available for Iron Shipments
Shipping News Feature

MALAYSIA – You know you are a big company when you can build a port and name a ship size after yourself and, following $1.37 billion in estimated investments, Brazilian ore producer Vale has opened its iron ore distribution centre in Malaysia, dubbed the Teluk Rubiah Maritime Terminal. With a capacity of handling 30 million metric tonnes of iron ore per year, Vale hopes that the new development at Teluk Rubiah will serve as a strategic distribution hub to its customers in Asia.

The facility is comprised of a deep water wharf and five stockyards where different types of iron ore can be blended and customised to the needs of regional steelmakers. Equipped with an import system with the ability to unload vessels of up to 400,000 DWT and an export one with the capacity of loading vessels up to Capesize, the distribution centre’s operations are fully automated ensuring optimum efficiency in the process. By October, Teluk Rubiah had already unloaded eight Valemaxes and loaded five Capesizes successfully.

The new facility is a point where the ore can be stored and blended. Located in the Straits of Malacca, distribution of the ore will take a mere ten days, as opposed to the 45 day trip from Brazil allowing a much reduced delivery time for the iron ore to Vale’s clients in Asia and Southeast Asia. Murilo Ferreira, Vale's Chief Executive Officer, said:

"Teluk Rubiah is a cornerstone of Vale's business strategy of investing in solutions which aim to enhance the company's capability to supply iron ore more efficiently to the Asian markets. The distribution centre brings our mines closer to our customers in Asia."

With Teluk Rubiah, Vale will have the opportunity to blend ores with different grades from its production systems, which were always sold on the market separately, each one with different specific features, providing greater flexibility for supplying iron ore. Furthermore, the distribution centre, combined with a fleet of very large ore carriers, represents a more sustainable solution, contributing to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for iron ore delivered in Asia. Teluk Rubiah is capable of receiving the somewhat conceitedly named Valemax vessels, which allow for a 35% reduction in carbon emissions per tonne of ore transported. From there, the iron ore is transported in Capesize vessels to its port destinations.

According to Vale, the new facility in Teluk Rubiah could create approximately 600 direct jobs and 1200 indirect jobs in the region. More than 90% of Vale's permanent employees are locals and 60% of them joined the company through apprenticeship programmes organised by the company in order to recruit and train fresh graduates from local communities. Since commencing construction of its facility in 2011, Vale has invested more than $10 million in various socio-environmental initiatives.

Photo: How the new port functions.