Port Hedland breaks iron ore export records

Port Hedland has posted another record breaking year for iron ore exports which are up by 40 million tonnes.

The port exported over 280 million tonnes of iron ore last financial year and 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.

Seaborne iron ore prices have seen a decline from over $US150 a tonne to about $US110 a tonne since February but Finch said demand from port users continues to rise.

In late April, the port recorded its largest iron ore shipment with 255,816 tonnes headed for China and shipments to Taiwan more than doubled.

Major miners like BHP, Fortescue, and Atlas use Port Hedland to export their products, making it one of the world’s largest iron-ore terminals.

"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.

While commodity price volatility is set to continue in the short to medium term, a recent PwC report showed that China is still consuming about 40 percent of global metals, with demand from other emerging countries also rising.

At a recent investor conference in Sydney, Metallica Development Fund investment manager Lawrence Roulston said the demand for iron ore would continue to grow.

“Even if demand for metals stayed at current levels, there is still huge demand and there is a pressing need for new mines,” he said.

“We hear so much about the slowdown in China; but China is only using 7.5 per cent more metal per year than they were last year, it’s down from using 8 per cent more metal than last year but that’s hardly a slowdown.

“And China is by the far the most important consumer of metals on the planet and other emerging economies are following that path.”

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