Australian Iron-Ore Ports Seen Closing as Cyclone Narelle Nears

The iron-ore ports of Cape Lambert and Dampier in Australia, the world’s biggest shipper of the commodity, are scheduled to close over the next 24 hours as tropical cyclone Narelle nears, said Gulf Agency Co.

Vessels at Cape Lambert were advised to seek safety elsewhere, Scott Henderson, national operations manager for the shipping-services company and port agent, said by phone today from Sydney.

A shutdown would mark the second January in a row in which a storm disrupted activity at the ports. Gales reaching 100 kilometers an hour (62 miles an hour) may develop in coastal areas on Jan. 11 as the cyclone moves closer to the coast, GAC said by e-mail. Narelle is expected to worsen as it approaches the North West Cape, according to the port agent.

Narelle is projected to strengthen into a category 4 storm at about 2 p.m. local time tomorrow, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said on its website. The cyclone was 840 kilometers north of Karratha and moving south-southwest at 10 kilometers an hour, it said.

Australia and Brazil are the two biggest exporters of iron ore, a raw material for steelmaking, and accounted for about 73 percent of world seaborne supply in 2012, according to Credit Suisse Group AG.

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