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BHP looks at direct shipping to the Pilbara

PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Diversified major BHP has announced plans to increase the direct shipping of supplies from Singapore to Port Hedland.

BHP has been trialling direct shipping to Port Hedland since 2020 and will now ship 7.5% of the containerised supplies it receives into its Western Australian iron-ore operations (WAIO) from all over the world through Singapore, directly to Port Hedland.

Before the trial began, BHP supplies for WAIO were shipped to the Port of Fremantle and were then transported 1 650 km by road to Hedland. The direct route is initially expected to keep more than 900 trailers off the route from Fremantle to Port Hedland each year, improving safety for transport workers, road users and regional communities, while also reducing transportation times by around six days.

The miner said this week that Pilbara businesses would be able to benefit from the direct shipping route, through BHP’s freight provider ANL. BHP plans to make this direct route open and available to businesses interested in reducing their transport costs for building supplies and consumer goods.

The move will also reduce the greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions related to the transportation of the re-routed goods into the Pilbara by up to 75%, per container, and reduce overall transport costs for supplies.

BHP’s WAIO GM of port operations, Cindy Dunham, said since BHP began trialling the transport project, the business has seen safety, cost, efficiency and environmental improvements.

“This initiative not only improves efficiency, it also improves safety and environmental outcomes, thereby benefiting the whole community. BHP would like to work with local businesses in Port Hedland to explore opportunities to optimise their own supply chains via this shipping route. We are committed to helping develop Port Hedland as a thriving, sustainable place to live.”

BHP maritime and supply chain excellence VP Rashpal Bhatti, said in addition to the direct shipping initiative, BHP and ANL would jointly explore further opportunities to support the reduction of shipping-related GHG emissions, including the potential use of alternative fuels, in alignment with both organisations’ respective sustainability goals under a recently signed letter of intent.

“In addition to the sustainability benefits of reduced diesel truck road transit, we are working closely with ANL to identify and assess other opportunities to reduce GHG emissions and are actively looking at using alternative, lower-emission fuels like biofuels and liquefied natural gas blended with methane on the direct shipping route,” he said.

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