Bermuda-Owned Megacarrier In China

December 29, 2011

One of the world’s largest ore carriers, the 388,000 dead-weight tonne “Berge Everest” — owned and operated by Bermuda-based Berge Bulk — broke a year-long impasse with Beijing and docked in China for the first time on Wednesday [Dec. 28]

Under long-term contract with Brazil mining company Vale, the deadlock with Chinese authorities over allowing the giant iron ore vessel access to its ports threatened to hobble the company’s plan to cut shipping costs to its biggest market.

The Reuter news agency said Vale has ordered 35 megacarriers at an estimated cost of $4.2 billion from Chinese and Korean shipyards. The world’s second largest miner has been trying all year to get Chinese authorities to allow the megaships to enter that country’s ports.

Vale, which sells about 40 percent of its ore to China, is counting on Valemaxes to slash shipping costs and better compete with Australian rivals.

Vale hopes to use the giant ships to carry ore to distribution and storage centers in China and Malaysia, allowing it to maintain deliveries even during Brazil’s rainy season, when torrential downpours hamper mining and disrupt rail links to Vale’s port.

Vale’s fleet has faced stiff opposition from influential Chinese shipowners and steelmakers who fear the ships are a “Trojan Horse” that the miner will use to monopolize both the shipping and iron-ore markets at China’s expense.

“Berge Everest’s” owners are a subsidiary of the Bermuda holding company the BW Group. Previously Bergesen Worldwide, the Hamilton firm is an international maritime group that through its subsidiaries operates a fleet of more than 150 owned, part-owned or controlled vessels.

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