Port Hedland breaks iron ore export records, again

Port Hedland has posted another record month of iron exports to China, with 25.2 million tonnes of the steel making ingredient that sailed away easily beating the previous record highs of 23 million tonnes set in both May and June this year.

Shipments to China rose by 10 per cent as miners move to optimise efficiencies and increase production to take advantage of a stable iron ore price.

Iron ore production capacity expansions from the port's major users, BHP Billiton, and in particular, Fortescue Metals Group is behind the increased export volumes.

October's result comes on the back a productive year for one of the world’s largest iron ore terminals, with record levels set in April, May and June.

The port’s general manager said exports are not showing any signs of slowing down.

"We're expecting further targets, uptrends for the next year and we're forecasting about 320 million tonnes of port throughput for the 2013/ 2014 financial year,” John Finch said.

"We're still fielding a lot of enquiry for demand. Not only have we got the large iron ore players BHP and FMG in the port at the moment, but we've got Hancock Prospecting and the North-West Infrastructure Group planning their new developments for the next few years ahead as well,” Finch said.

The continuing price strength of iron ore comes as the slowing demand from China usually seen at this time of the year has failed to come into play.

"China has been restocking after record levels of iron ore imports over the past few months," Deutsche Bank strategist Xiao Fu said.

"We expect the pace of restocking could slow. However, we are still below the 2011-12 (inventory) peaks, which suggests that the restocking cycle could last for another two or three months.                                

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