The largest iron ore port in Australia, Port Hedland, has set a new record. Over the weekend the port shipped 1,270,721 tons of iron ore in a single day, breaking the previous record by more than 160,000 tons.
The new benchmark was accomplished with seven capsize bulk carrier ships all departing on Saturday. The port said it was the first time seven capsize vessels have sailed on a single tide.
According to Treasurer Joe Hockey, the recent fortune of good weather has played a significant role in the high volume of iron ore exports leaving Australia. "It's an extraordinary quarter in March when you don't have cyclones, particularly in Western Australia affecting Port Hedland, so our miners are exporting their socks off, and thank God because it's having a positive impact on our economy," Hockey said.
The record breaking volumes of export are also playing a critical role in Australia’s economy. The market price of iron ore has been on a downhill spiral in recent months, meaning larger mining companies such as BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals need to ramp up production volumes to maintain profit margins.
The port has increased exports by 3.55 percent between April and May, setting a monthly record of 36 million tons. The value of iron ore exports is expected to reach $76.8 billion in 2014, up from $57.1 billion according to the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics.
Last month Port Hedland faced an uncertain outcome as a possible strike with tugboat workers loomed over Australia’s largest port.