Coal Age

DEC 2012

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transport tips China's Deep Water Ports BY DAVE GAMBREL In mid-summer 2012 COSCO's 10 largest iron ore vessels were traveling between Brazilian iron ore ports and five discharge ports in China capable of handling vessels loaded to drafts of 19.0-21.7 meters: Bayuquan, Caofeidian, Majishan, Qingdao and Rizhao. These were all giant 298,000ton vessels. For many years China had only two bulk cargo ports capable of handling bulk carriers larger than 200,000 tons: Ningbo and Qingdao. Now, following several expansions and channel dredging, the ports of Dalian (20.0 meters draft) and Bayuquan (17.7 meters draft) can handle larger-than-Capesize vessels. Two Very Large Ore Carriers (VLOCs) were allowed to dock in China in 2011. In October, the 364,000-ton MS Berge Stahl, carrying a full load of iron ore landed and discharged at Caofeidian's new iron ore wharf. The 388,000-ton MS Berge Everest was allowed to land and discharge its full cargo at the Port of Dalian in December 2011. However, these were exceptions to the current rule. Restrictions have been placed against vessels larger than 300,000ton until Chinese officials are satisfied it can be done safely. Based on recent announcements the Qingdao sub-port, Dongjiakou, will soon join the ports of Dalian and Majishan as the only ports physically capable of handling the 400,000ton Valemax vessels. Chinese steel producers recognize the cost advantage of shipping ore and coking coal in very large vessels, and continue to improve their coastal ports to receive larger vessels. The steel industry is the primary driver for deepwater port improvements, as China receives a high percentage of its iron ore from Brazil in 298,000-ton vessels, and is looking to create more opportunities to use the Brazilian 400,000-ton vessels. While similar expansions are being made for coking coal imports, they tend to be limited to Capesize vessels because world coal loading terminals tend to have that size limitation. All of the new iron ore expansions provide both iron ore and coking coal discharge facilities. China's Steel Producers All of the top 10 Chinese steel producers lie along the bank of the Yangtze River or north of its mouth. Two of the deep-water berths 28 www.coalage.com Figure 1: The ports of Caofeidian and Bayuquan are located at the top of the Liaoning notch, and the Port of Dalian is located at the tip of the Liaoning Peninsula. (Map data © 2012 AutoNavi, Google, SK M&C, ZENRIN) (Bayuquan and Caofeidian) targeted by COSCO for mid-summer iron ore deliveries lie in the Bohai Sea, the northernmost waters of China. Other important ports, such as Qinhuangdao, Dalian and Tianjin are also located on the Bohai Sea. In Figure 1, the Bohai Sea is surrounded by the provinces of Shandong, Hebei and Liaoning. The ports of Caofeidian and Bayuquan are located at the top of the Liaoning notch, and the Port of Dalian is located at the tip of the Liaoning Peninsula. Qinhuangdao (NOT Qingdao) also lies on the Bohai Sea. Rizhao and Qingdao (Dongjiakou) both lie on the bottom side of the Shandong "thumb." The ports of Ningbo and Majishan lie in northeastern coastal Zhejiang, just a few miles south of Shanghai and the Yangtze River Estuary. Ports that are major exporters of Chinese coal as well as importers of coal include Qinhuangdao, Caofeidian, Tianjin, Huanghua, Qingdao and Rizhao. Caofeidian—Caofeidian is adjacent to the metropolis circle of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province, a core area of economic development in North China. The water depth in front of Caofeidian is 30 m, and is a natural site for a large berth of 300,000 tons without requiring substantial dredging in Bohai Bay. It is a major Chinese coal export terminal as well as import terminal. The coal terminal expansion project consists of two 100,000-ton, two 70,000-ton, and one 50,000-ton coal loading berths. The berth length is 1,470 m, and the throughput capacity is 50 million tons. This contrasts with Norfolk Southern's Lamberts Point Terminal in Norfolk, Va., the largest facility in North America for transloading coal from trains to ocean ships for export. Its annual throughput capacity is 48 million tons. According to Chinese statistics, Caofeidian's iron ore imports reached 80 million tons in 2011. The iron ore terminal expansion project will consist of two 250,000-ton berths. The berth will be 790 m long. Initially, the annual throughput capacity will be 35 million tons, but is expected to eventually reach 100 million tons. Shougang Jintang Iron & Steel officially opened its Caofeidian plant in 2009, being one of those directed to leave Beijing and move to the coast in an effort to clean up the pollution. Bayuquan—The Port of Bayuquan (a subport of Yinkou Port) coal terminal contains a December 2012

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