Vale is still trying to obtain licenses to build iron ore distribution centres in China, which would give it more operational flexibility within its main market.
“Until this moment we have not obtained the licenses to operate the centres,” José Carlos Martins, Vale’s director of iron ore and strategy, said during a conference call late last week.
In mid-2009, Vale said it planned to build two iron ore distribution centres in China, each with initial capacity to handle 2 million tpy.
At that time it signed memoranda of intention
with the ports of Rizhao and Qingdao in the Shandong province, Caofeidian in Hebei and Dalian in Liaoning.
Martins did not disclose details about the licensing process for the projects.
But he said that the company’s distribution centres in Oman and Malaysia and floating iron ore transfer stations in the Philippines will nearly cover the total future volume of its fleet of vessels.
The Brazilian miner has recently commissioned a 9 million tpy pelletizing operation
and 40 million tpy distribution centre in Oman’s Sohar port.
In Malaysia, it is building a seaport terminal and a distribution centre
with initial capacity to handle 30 million tpy.
Located in Teluk Rubiah, the $1.37 billion project is expected to become operational in the first half of 2014, Vale said.
Vale began to operate a new floating iron ore transfer station in Subic Bay in the Philippines in February.
The facility enables the cargo of Valemax ships to be completely or partially transferred to smaller vessels.
Martins disclosed that there will be another transfer station in Subic Bay.
“These are mobile stations, so they can be transferred to other places closer to our customers,” he said during the conference call.
“With Oman, Malaysia and the transfer stations we’ll practically cover the volume of our vessels, approximately 60 million tpy, so we have solved this logistical issue,” he added.