Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) has officially named its first Very Large Ore Carrier (VLOC) at a ceremony in Jiangsu Province, China.
The first of Fortescue’s VLOCs being constructed at Jiangsu’s Yangzijiang Shipyard will be called ‘FMG Nicola’ and will shortly depart for its inaugural voyage to Fortescue’s Herb Elliot Port, in Port Hedland, Western Australia.
Chief Executive Officer, Nev Power, said: “’FMG Nicola’ is the culmination of the hard work, ingenuity and dedication of the Fortescue team and we were delighted to have the Australian Ambassador to China, Her Excellency Ms Jan Adams AO PSM, join us at the official naming ceremony.”
“The VLOC fleet is a natural extension of our supply chain and will play a significant role in increasing efficiencies at our Port and lowering costs. They also reflect and strengthen Fortescue’s close relationships in China, our largest market,” Mr Power said.
A total of eight VLOCs are being built, with three more currently under construction at Yangzijiang Shipyard to be named ‘FMG Grace’, ‘FMG Sophia’ and ‘FMG Sydney’. A further four VLOCs are being built at Guangzhou Shipyard International, with delivery of the final vessel expected in mid-2018.
In November, Fortescue announced the significant financing transaction with the China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co., Ltd. (CDB Leasing) to finance the VLOC fleet.
“Fortescue also thanks Yangzijiang Shipyard and its Chairman Mr Ren Yuanlin, for their commitment to this important project,” Mr Power said.
“Our partnerships with both Yangzijiang Shipyard and Guangzhou Shipyard International, and the financing transaction with CDB Leasing are great examples of Fortescue’s strong collaboration with China. We value these relationships very highly and look forward to continued success as we work together on initiatives for our mutual benefit,” Mr Power said.
First announced in June 2014, the VLOC fleet has been designed to complement Fortescue’s port infrastructure and will improve load rates, efficiencies and reduce operating costs. When fully operational the VLOCs will provide 12 per cent of Fortescue’s shipping requirements.