Fortescue to build fifth berth at Port Hedland

Fortescue has reached an agreement with the West Australian Government and Port Hedland Port Authority to develop a new berth at Anderson Point.

The iron ore miner's CEO, Nev Power, stated that he was delighted with this development.

"It's fantastic that the PHPA and the state government have now agreed to allow our fifth berth to proceed, which we believe will improve the efficiency of the port for all users," Power said.

The miner stated that its total port capacity could be expanded beyond the current ceiling of 495 million tonnes per annum.

"The fifth berth will allow us to further develop our lay-by berth configuration; it will lead to the more efficient use of the inner harbour capacity by providing the PHPA with greater flexibility to improve the movement of ships."

Power's comments follow the Port Hedland Port Authority's recent changing of its vessel movement rules which included a new clause that allows companies to use additional ships through the channel if other port users don't use their full capacity.

This new berth "will enable us to maximise the use of the under-utilised capacity of the Port," he added.

Fortescue only opened its third berth at its Herb Elliot port in May this year, with construction of its fourth berth scheduled for completion in the March quarter of next year.

It has pegged the cost of this latest berth at around $250 million.

Fellow iron ore miner Atlas Iron was previously allowed to export ore through Fortescue's Anderson Point facility; however Fortescue kicked the miner out in 2010, stating that there was insufficient capacity to accommodate both.

Since this time Atlas has developed its own facility at Utah Point, and was last week awarded approvals for the development of new berths at South West Creek, in Port Hedland.


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