Roy Hill's WA iron ore loadings support WA exports

  • Market: Freight, Metals
  • 20/05/24

Iron ore shipments by the four largest producers in Western Australia (WA) rose in the week to 18 May on the back of a rebound of Roy Hill's volumes as the company completed routine quarterly maintenance. Rio Tinto's shipments ticked up too despite a derailment on its rail line.

The four largest Pilbara iron ore producers — BHP, Fortescue, Rio Tinto and Roy Hill — loaded vessels with a combined capacity of 17.10mn dwt, up from 16.63mn dwt in the week to 11 May. The dwt capacity is the maximum capacity of a vessel and overestimates actual shipments by about 5pc.

Rio Tinto's shipments reached 6.14mn dwt from 5.81mn dwt the previous week. This is below the 2024 average of 6.44mn dwt.There was a derailment on the rail line heading to Rio Tinto's Dampier facilities last Monday. "We have reopened our dual train line 80km from Karratha following a rail incident on Monday, with the first train travelling on one of the repaired lines on Friday and the second line reopening on Saturday," the company said.

Roy Hill's exports jumped to 795,000 dwt from 208,000 dwt the previous week as the company appears to have completed its quarterly maintenance. But the volumes remain below the average of 1.25mn dwt.

BHP's volumes ticked down to 5.88mn dwt from 6.22mn dwt the previous week.

Fortescue's iron ore loadings edged lower to 4.29mn dwt but were still well above the rolling average of 3.74mn dwt.

Overall iron ore shipments from WA increased to 48.95mn dwt during the 1-19 May period from 47.81mn dwt in the same period last year, provisional shipping data indicate. Shipments to China rose to 42.27mn dwt from 39.51mn dwt across the same timeframe.

Spot freight costs have stepped down in recent weeks as demand has decreased. Capesize freight rates — for loading on 4-7 June — on the bellwether WA to north China route fell to $10.40/t today from the most recent peak of $11.95/t on 8 May.


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