Iron ore miners may lose Port Hedland allocations

Iron ore miners that do not use their full shipping allocations at Port Hedland may lose their shipping rights.

It is part of the Port Hedland Port Authority's update to 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, The West reports.

"If in any one calendar month a shipper completes the export of all of its allocated monthly capacity that shipper for the remainder of the month may be able to access further export capacity under these protocols," the document said.

"Should any shipper not achieve its allocated monthly capacity in a given calendar month, such capacity is lost unless otherwise agreed in writing by PHPA."

Port Hedland has long been the main shipping terminal for iron ore from the Pilbara and has seen fierce competition in a bid to secure shipping space.

The port is used by Rio Tinto, Fortescue, and BHP which is currently seeing opposition to its harbour developments at Port Hedland.

It is also slated for use by Gina Rinehart's up and coming Roy Hill iron ore mine.

While these changes will not affect berth allocations, it will act to ensure that any unused tonnage allocations are distributed evenly amongst all users.

Congestion problems have reached such as point over the last few years that Aquila and Fortescue have been working towards the development of a new iron ore port at Anketell Port.

According to The West Port Hedland will reach capacity by 2015.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.