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Rio Tinto connects Pilbara to Asia with new freight shipping route

Rio Tinto cements new Singapore-Western Australia freight shipping route

Rio Tinto has secured a new commercial freight shipping service connecting Western Australia’s Pilbara region to the major international shipping hub of Singapore. The service will provide the company with a quicker, cheaper and cleaner alternative to the existing freight delivery route via Perth, helping to drive regional economic development and local job creation.

The regular freight service commenced with the arrival of the MCP Graz at the Port of Dampier from Singapore on 19th February 2021. 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 earth moving equipment, conveyor belts, rail wagon and locomotive parts and mining consumables.

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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 will provide a number of benefits by delivering cheaper, cleaner and faster freight to the region.

“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.”

Rio Tinto expects the service to reduce the lead-time for goods in to the Pilbara by six to 10 days compared with freight via Fremantle. Additionally, it’s expected to provide an annual saving of around three million litres of diesel fuel by reducing road train travel from Perth by more than 3.8 million kilometres.

Over time, Rio Tinto is hopeful that more than 50 per cent 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 (twenty-foot equivalent) 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.

“Toll Group is heavily invested in the north of Western Australia and is one of the largest employers in 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.”

Viva Energy, the supplier of fuels and lubricants and supply partner to Rio Tinto, expects to reduce its road transport travel by 350,000 kilometres a year through use of the new service.

Viva Energy Sales Manager Gavin Syminton said, “Over and above any commercial benefits there are also a number of other positive aspects to the initiative including increased opportunities for local employment through infrastructure investment, the reduction of our carbon footprint and, a shorter, more efficient supply chain. As we continue to work closely with Rio Tinto we hope to further connect our business and community through this opportunity while making the region a more sustainable place to live.”

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