Monday, November 10, 2014

The importance of logistics hubs?

Interesting news in metals commodity news is Malaysia new role as Brazil Vale's logistics hub in Asia. Vale spends US$1.4 billion in Lumut to build its new Asia port terminal at Teluk Rubiah, Perak in the Straights of Malacca. Valemax 400,000 tonne vessels are just huge! We had neighbours who are engineers from Brazil to help implement this project. Progesys notes that "the stockyard is designed to be able to handle 30m tons of iron ore annually and can be expanded to take a maximum capacity of 60m tons per annum." The purpose: the Brazilian giant seeks to erode its geographic disadvantage in supplying Australian customers as falling iron ore prices hurt producers' margins. Thus, the terminal is a competitive strategic move. Read more here:

Is this akin to what's happening in palm oil merchandising? The likes of Wilmar and Musim Mas have taken strategies to have terminals / bulking / capacity / logistics in key end use regions such as Africa (Wilmar noted to have bought / built / booked up capacities to better serve Africa buyers) and Europe (Musim's notable biodiesel acquisitions).

From key industry sources, it is notable to hear Malaysia earlier had an allocated multi-billion Ringgit budget to help build up joint terminal / bulking facilities in strategic locations. This didn't get off the ground on apparent commercial disinterest by private companies.

Malaysia palm oil is facing stiff competition from Indonesia palm oil for markets. On the latter's upstream expansion, it is inevitable that it gains market share. Key plantation groups and trader-processors are transnational businesses.

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