China's new port rules continue to be a setback for valemaxes


China's ministry of transport has issued new port regulations touching on berthing rules for larger vessels, limiting them to a maximum of 250,000 dwt in capacity.

The revised new rules are likely a reaction to Vale's mega-sized 400,000 dwt VLOC, or valemaxes, that entered Chinese ports back in December 2011 and April 2012, leading to a string of protests, especially from China Shipowners' Association (CSA), regarding safety issues at the ports.

The ministry stated in the revised regulations that dry bulk carriers of more than 250,000 dwt in capacity must not be fully loaded if they wish to berth at Chinese ports. The ministry pointed out that the ruling would have minimal impact as most vessels calling at the ports are below 250,000 dwt in size.

The regulations, however, will mean that the fully-loaded 400,000 dwt VLOCs would be denied entry into Chinese ports. Analysts have commented that the valemaxes are typically loaded to a capacity of 300,000-350,000 dwt, which are still above the 250,000 dwt load limit set by Beijing.

CSA has repeatedly criticised Vale of trying to monopolise the transportation of iron ore sold to China and influence freight rates, under the guise of the company's attempt to mitigate its exposure to volatile rates.

Back in December 2011, Vale's valemax Berge Everest first entered the Chinese port of Dalian and encountered safety breaches when cracks surfaced on the ship's hull, prompting a backlash by CSA to lobby on denying entry to valemaxes into China. China's ministry of transport had then stiffened the guidelines on calls by supersized bulkers at Chinese ports.

Source from : Seatarde Global