Port Hedland iron ore exports hit record high in May

Iron ore exports out of Australia’s Port Hedland hit a new high in May, according to figures released on Thursday June 4 by the Pilbara Ports Authority.

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The world’s largest bulk export terminal shipped a record 38 million tonnes of the steelmaking raw material last month, compared with 36.05 million tonnes a year ago.

Shipments were also up 7.4% from 35.38 million tonnes in April.

China, the world’s largest consumer of iron ore, imported 31.69 million tonnes from the port in May, up 6% from 29.9 million tonnes a year ago. Volumes were also up from 30.12 million tonnes in April.

Shipments to Japan dropped by 13% on a yearly basis to 2.15 million tonnes, although volumes were up by close to two thirds from the 1.29 million tonnes shipped in April.

A total of 2.58 million tonnes of the steelmaking raw material were shipped to South Korea last month, compared with 2.96 million tonnes in May 2014. Figures were down 9% from April.

Shipments to Taiwan totalled 644,260 tonnes in May, down from 712,133 tonnes a year ago. Volumes were up by more than a third month-on-month, however.

The Australian port did not ship any iron ore to India in May for a fourth consecutive month.

Port Hedland shipped a total of 182 million tonnes of iron ore during the first five months of 2015, an increase of 13% from year-earlier levels.

Detailed cargo statistics for the Port of Dampier are changed to report on a quarterly basis.

BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group export iron ore mainly from Port Hedland, while Rio Tinto ships through the Port Dampier.