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First fully laden Valemax arrives at Yantai port after China lifted ban in 2015

Singapore — The first fully laden Valemax with Brazilian iron ore was received at China's northern port of Yantai, one of the four new berths approved to receive Very Large Ore Carriers, after Beijing in 2015 lifted the ban on dry bulk ships over 300,000 dwt calling at its ports, market sources said Aug. 5.

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Once the ban was lifted, China started receiving Valemaxes in 2015, and it has now added more approved berths to the list.

According to S&P Global Platts trade-flow software, cFlow, the 2013-built and 403,844 dwt MV Sea Maranhao, which is controlled by South Korea's Pan Ocean, entered Yantai port at 0348 GMT on Aug. 5.

The Valemax-class ship had sailed from Brazil's Ponta Da Madeira port on June 20. Market sources estimated that the vessel would be carrying about 380,000 wmt of iron ore.

Yantai is one of the four new berths that was approved to receive VLOCs, according to China's Ministry of Transport and National Development and Reform Commission's announcement in July. The other berths are the Lanqiao (Landbridge) ore berth at the Rizhao Lanshan port area, the Rizhao steel base and the Ningde Sanduao port area.

China in 2012 had officially banned dry bulk ships over 300,000 dwt from calling at Chinese ports, in its effort to protect the domestic freight market.

The Valemaxes typically have their deadweight in the 380,000 to 400,000 tons range. Brazilian mining major Vale placed orders for the first 12 Valemax-class ships in 2008 at China's Jiangsu Rongsheng Heavy Industries.

By the end of 2019, a fleet of 67 Valemaxes were operating, according to the miner's website.

"This move [from China] to open up more VLOC berths would not have any impact on [Brazilian miner] Vale's transshipment center at Teluk Rubiah in Malaysia," a shipping market source said. "But this could have a potential for increasing cabotage business on Supramaxes along the Chinese coast after blending," the source added.