port regulations on berthing released Feb. 11 by Chinas
Ministry of Transport continue to pose a setback for larger
vessels like very large ore carriers (VLOCs).
The new rules
establish a capacity limit of 250,000 deadweight tonnes (dwt)
for fully loaded dry bulk carriers to ports of the same
berthing capacity. But dry bulk carriers with a capacity of
more than 250,000 dwt can dock at Chinese ports only if their
load doesnt exceed the 250,000-dwt limit, according to
the ministry announcement.
The regulations are
slated to become effective July 1.
The new rules will
also help to check and monitor Chinese ports berthing
capacities, Yang Huaxiong, the ministrys deputy director
of water transport, was reportedly quoted as saying recently by
see the new regulations as a reaction to Rio de Janeiro-based
Vale SAs 400,000-dwt VLOCs docking at Chinese ports
several times without government approval.
are able to dock at Chinese ports now if they reduce their load
to within 250,000 dwt," a source at a shipping company in
Jiangsu province told AMM sister publication Steel
"But Vale aims to
reduce shipping costs by introducing the VLOCs. The trouble
with unloading before docking at Chinese ports is that it would
only offset the benefit of using VLOCs," he said. "In a way,
China is indirectly refusing entry to VLOCs."
Some other market
participants consider the new regulations a good sign, as the
Chinese government had previously never approved bulk carriers
larger than 250,000 dwt for docking in the countrys
"At least larger carriers get to enter China now. For VLOCs,
they can unload in Japan or the Philippines," another shipping
source in Fujian province said.
A version of this
article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel