MINING giant Rio Tinto has announced a new freight shipping service with Toll Group that will connect Western Australia’s Pilbara region to Singapore, shortening the lead-time for goods to the Pilbara by six to 10 days compared with freight via Fremantle.
The service will provide Rio Tinto with a quicker, cheaper and cleaner alternative to the existing freight delivery route via Perth. It is expected to provide an annual saving of around three million litres of diesel fuel by reducing road train travel from Perth.
The regular freight service commenced with the arrival of the MCP Graz at the Port of Dampier from Singapore on 19 February. The vessel delivered essential maintenance supplies for Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s operations in the Pilbara, including rail wagon wheels, wagon parts, oil and lubricants.
Future shipments are expected to include tyres for heavy earthmoving 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.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore managing director of port, rail and core services, Richard Cohen, said, “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 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.”
Over time, Rio Tinto is hopeful that more than 50% of its freight requirements to the Pilbara will utilise this service, increasing the speed of delivery and lowering costs. The vessel capacity of the freight service will be 350 TEUs with Toll Global Forwarding and other freight forwarders offering a service for smaller volumes on the vessel.
Peter Stokes, president global logistics Toll Group, said, “This dedicated container vessel service from Singapore to Dampier will enable enormous possibilities to deliver more efficient supply chains to the Pilbara region.
“We are proud to be partnering with Rio Tinto on this landmark project which will provide businesses in the north with a significant opportunity to access international imports and exports.”