PERTH (miningweekly.com) – A new commercial freight shipping service connecting the Pilbara to Singapore has been secured by mining major Rio Tinto.
“This is an important new service that connects the Pilbara to the rest of the world via the major international shipping hub of Singapore. It will provide a number of benefits by delivering cheaper, cleaner and faster freight to the region,” said Rio iron-ore MD of port, rail and core services Richard Cohen.
The service will provide the company with a quicker, cheaper and cleaner alternative to the existing freight delivery route via Perth, helping to drive regional economic development and local job creation.
The regular freight service started with the arrival of the MCP Graz at the Port of Dampier from Singapore this week. The vessel delivered essential maintenance supplies for Rio’s operations in the Pilbara, including rail wagon wheels, wagon parts, oil and lubricants.
Future shipments are expected to include tyres for heavy earth moving equipment, conveyor belts, rail wagon and locomotive parts and mining consumables.
The service is also open for use by local businesses in the north-west of Australia, providing companies operating in the region with better access to international markets and more efficient movement of freight.
“It is an important breakthrough not only for our business, but it will also provide a great opportunity for the local Pilbara economy by helping to unlock small business growth and supporting job creation,” said Cohen.
Rio expects the service to reduce the lead-time for goods in the Pilbara by six to ten days compared with freight via Fremantle. Additionally, it is expected to provide an annual saving of around three-million litres of diesel fuel by reducing road train travel from Perth by more than 3.8-million kilometres.
Over time, Rio is hopeful that more than 50% of its freight requirements to the Pilbara will use this service, increasing the speed of delivery and lowering costs.