FORTESCUE Metals Group shipped 82.7m wet metric tonnes during the first six months of the 2019 financial year, according to results released to the stock market.

This compared with 85.2m in the second half of the 2018 financial year and 84.5m in the first half of the 2018 financial year.

In financial terms, the company reported net profit after tax of US$644m and underlying EBITDA of US$1.6bn.

The half year was also notable for the shipments of so-called ‘West Pilbara fines’, something that began in December 2018.

Fortescue chief executive Elizabeth Gaines, said the Fortescue team had successfully delivered on an integrated operations and marketing strategy.

“This reflects strengthening iron ore markets, demand for our products and the introduction of West Pilbara Fines,” she said.

“Together with the ongoing contribution of our low cost operations, we generated strong margins and achieved a 66% increase in underlying net profit after tax compared to the half year ended 30 June.”

Fortescue exports iron ore from Port Hedland, the giant terminal in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.