RIO DE JANEIRO, August 4 (Xinhua) -- Brazilian mining giant Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (Vale) signed a 1.6 billion U.S. dollars agreement with Chinese Rongsheng Shipbuilding and Heavy Industries to build 12 large ore carriers, Vale announced Monday.
The ships, each with a 400,000 deadweight tons capacity, are the largest ore carriers to be built in the world. The fleet will have an estimated capacity to carry 30.2 million metric tons of iron ore per year, which represents 31 percent of Vale's shipments to China in 2007, Vale said.
According to Vale, the new ships have high safety standards and will reduce the high cost of long haul maritime transportation of iron ore to steelmakers.
The first of the carriers is due to be ready in early 2010. All12 carriers should be ready by 2012. The fleet will be part of Vale's Brazil-Asia shuttle service, which currently has six large ore carriers.
Vale has an investment program of 59 billion U.S. dollars during 2008 to 2012 period.