Vale SA sent one of the largest iron-ore carriers to a Chinese port in what may be the first call by one of the ships in the country since 2011 as the mining company tries to overcome restrictions on the vessels.
The Vale Malaysia, a so-called Valemax vessel able to haul about 400,000 metric tons of the commodity used to make steel, entered the Chinese port of Lianyungang on April 16, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The last large ore carrier to call in China was the 388,133-deadweight-ton Berge Everest in 2011, said Krispen Atkinson, maritime business manager at IHS Fairplay, a Redhill, England-based research company that tracks ships using signals to satellites and antennae.
Vale, the world’s biggest iron-ore exporter, has been talking with Chinese businesses and officials about ending restrictions on Valemaxes in the country’s ports, Jose Carlos Martins, executive director of ferrous minerals and strategy, said on a December conference call.
A Vale official in Rio de Janeiro, where the company is based, declined to comment today. Vale is assembling a Valemax fleet in an effort to manage the cost of shipping cargoes to Asia, its main market, and compete more effectively with BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group, whose Australian iron-ore mines are closer to China. Vale plans to have 35 of the ships by the end of the year, its website shows.