Brazilian Shipping Firm Makes Subic An Iron Ore Transshipment Port

MANILA, Philippines --- Vale Shipping Holdings Pte. Ltd. (VSH), a unit of world's largest iron ore producer Vale SA of Brazil, has appointed Subic Bay Freeport as its transshipment port for iron ore to feeder vessels in the region.

Jose Carlos Martins, VSH executive officer for ferrous minerals operations, announced the start of its transshipment business at the Freeport during a ceremony attended by officials of the SBMA led by Chairman and Administrator Roberto Garcia.

Vale SA is the world's largest producer of iron ore, which also controls the largest share of the seaborne market for iron ore.

Its affiliate, VSH, did not divulge its investments in the Freeport, but its project is expected to boost Subic's port revenues by up to P70 million in the first year of operations alone.

Its Subic operation will carry out iron ore transshipment operations from its Valemax mother vessel to be anchored in Subic Bay, and then supply ore to smaller daughter vessels or feeders, which are either Panamax or Capesize types.

In his message during the project launch, Martins cited the SBMA for its warm reception of the project and expressed hope that the partnership between his company and the SBMA would continue to grow and benefit both the Philippines and Brazil.

"The Philippines is growing now at almost the same pace with China, and the Philippines is emerging in the world economy," Martins said. "With this opportunity, now is our time - now is the time for countries like Brazil and the Philippines."

Garcia, meanwhile, said that the Vale project will help thrust the Philippines forward in the maritime industry and stressed its importance to the SBMA.

"In our strategic plan, we were very dead-set in continuing to promote the maritime business, and the Vale project is an important pillar of our strategy to maximize the use of Subic Bay," he said.

"We have a very good future here," Garcia added, pointing out that the Philippines is in a current state of rapid development, having achieved a 6.4 percent GDP growth rate this first quarter compared to 4 per cent last year. "And what is outstanding is the fact that it is the second highest growth rate in the region, second only to China," he added.

For his part, SBMA director and treasurer Joven Reyes said that the agency is much honored that VSH had chosen Subic Bay as its major transshipment port.

"We hope even more that your business continues to move from success to success and that this partnership, which we are officially launching today, would lead to better and greater developments for Vale, Subic Bay, and of course our country down the road," Reyes said.

The Vale project began in late 2010 when SBMA and Vale proposed a solution that matched Vale's transshipment operations model with SBMA's logistics business model.

Stefani Saño, SBMA senior deputy administrator for business and investment development, said that Vale needed to optimize its large-scale iron ore distribution and delivery system and the SBMA offered the bay as a suitable offshore location.

"This logistics model would allow Vale's huge vessels to transship the commodity with maximum efficiency in terms of time and cost, given the scale of operations required," Saño added.

Saño also said that apart from Vale, the SBMA is also trying to attract more logistics companies to invest in the Freeport. He said that at least two logistics companies engaged in different line of commodities for offshore-based distribution operations have expressed interest in locating at Subic Bay.

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