Logistics, Ports & Terminals, Mining and Heavy Industries

Iron ore slowdown stifles Port Hedland export growth

GRAPHICS: Once the fastest growing export port in the country, major iron ore site Port Hedland appears to have reached a stable point in terms of volumes, with annual projected growth now at just 1%.

Iron ore exports from Port Hedland exploded during the mining boom, with BHP Billiton using the port as its major export hub, and Fortescue Metals Group growing into significant export capacity at the site, as well.

But with the iron ore price sitting at less than a third of what it was at the peak of the boom, the miners’ appetite for export growth seems to have tapered.

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Port Hedland monthly exports

March quarter figures, released this month by Pilbara Ports Authority, show just a 0.8% year-on-year growth in iron ore exports, from the port, in the quarter, from 109.06mt in the third quarter of 2014/15, to 109.95mt in the third quarter of 2015/16.

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Port Hedland projections

Looking at the year-to-date statistics; the first three quarters of 2015/16 saw 335.4mt of iron ore leave the port, up 1.3% year-on-year.

Extrapolating that figure out to a four-quarter figure gives a financial year total of roughly 447.2mt exported – a projected figure up just 1% from the 442.71mt exported in the 2014/15 period.

More than four-fifths of the iron ore exported from the port goes to China. The majority of the remaining exports are split between South Korea (6.9%) and Japan (6%).

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Port Hedland third quarter by destination

Port Hedland quarterly other exports

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