The seaborne iron ore market climbed $1.75/dmt Thursday to $76.25/dmt, according to S&P Global Platts assessment, with market participants expecting that BHP’s temporary rail operation disruption would lead to a shortage of Australian cargoes.
A train transporting iron ore from a BHP-operated mine in the Pilbara region derailed Monday en route to Port Hedland in Western Australia, causing a disruption in rail operations.
“We have been informed by BHP that our mid-November loading cargo would be delayed to the end of the month,” a contractual customer of BHP said Thursday.
Another term buyer also said their November loading cargo would be delayed by a week due to the derailment.
BHP said in a statement Wednesday that its stockpile reserves at Port Hedland will help to maintain port operations for a few days but not over the entire period of interruption.
Market players worried that the impact would be greater than expected. “One week delay means around 30 shipments would be impacted. I think stockpiles at the port would not be enough to supply so many cargoes,” one said.
BHP’s shipment from Port Hedland was 4.36 million mt in the week commencing October 28, Platts data showed.
Premiums for Australian mainstream cargoes traded higher Thursday, especially for prompt-loading cargoes.
“Many mills placed firm bids today without too much price negotiation, while we have been trying hard to offload the cargo in the past two days,” a Singapore-based trader said.
Source: S&P Global Platts