Fortescue Metals Group has completed construction of its fleet of tugs and towage infrastructure at the company’s Herb Elliott Port at Port Hedland, Western Australia.
The iron ore major has procured and constructed six tugs and leased a further three tugs, including six advanced rotor tugs 85-32W. It will start its tug operations in July.
The towage fleet represents the final element in Fortescue’s supply chain, according to chief executive Elizabeth Gaines.
She said: “The tug fleet and new facilities will maximise the efficiencies of our operation and provide long-term sustainable towage services crucial to meeting the demands of our customers.”
The achievement also follows “the toughest stretch targets” Fortescue has set ever since the company was founded, according to founder and chairman Andrew Forrest.
“We aimed to develop the world’s most advanced vertically integrated bulk operations infrastructure, and to seamlessly link this with our core exploration, metallurgical and mining operations,” he says.
“Our aim was to develop an integrated world leading system to deliver critical ores that would build the economies of nations. The strategic decisions made by the board to build our fleet of ore carriers and Fortescue owned and operated towage capability mark the critical completion of this part of Fortescue’s journey.”
The fleet of ore carriers will be based at the nine berth tug and harbour facility, Judith Street Harbour, in the vicinity of Fortescue’s berths one to three at Anderson Point.
This new harbour is named after Forrest’s mother, Judy Street, while the tugs are named after species of sharks, including FMG Tawny, FMG Spinner and FMG Hammerhead, following an internal competition.