Fortescue Metal Group’s first Very Large Ore Carrier (VLOC), FMG Nicola, completed its maiden voyage from China and docked at Port Hedland last week.
FMG Nicola is the first of eight VLOCs which are designed to complement and expand the company’s supply chain and world class port infrastructure through maximising the tonnage per ship, improved loading rates, and safe manoeuvring within the port and the channel.
The VLOC fleet is currently under construction at China’s Jiangsu Yangzijiang and Guangzhou Shipbuilding International shipyards, with delivery of the final vessel expected in mid-2018.
When fully operational, the VLOC fleet will provide approximately 12% of Fortescue’s total shipping requirements.
The company’s Chairman Andrew Forrest, who sailed with the FMG Nicola accompanied by his siblings Jane and David, described the experience as “immensely educational”.
“Construction of Fortescue’s VLOC fleet is another major milestone on Fortescue’s journey and a valuable complement to our global scale operations and infrastructure,” Mr Forrest added.
“Family is at the heart of Fortescue’s values and I am very proud that the ships will be named after my wife Nicola and our children.”
Chief Executive Officer New Power said FMG Nicola was the culmination of the hard work, ingenuity and dedication of the Fortescue team.
“We are delighted to celebrate her arrival into the Herb Elliot Port with the Port Hedland community,” Mr Power said.
“Fortescue also thanks the Pilbara Ports Authority (PPA) and Port Hedland Pilots (PHP) for their expertise that helped us to ensure that the Innovative VLOC design maximised safety and manoeuvrability in the Port Hedland channel.”