TOKYO, June 2 -- BHP Billiton is expected to ship its first aluminium shipments from its South African smelters to Japan this week with the 2 1/2-week transport strike ending on May 27, a Japanese trader said Wednesday.
BHP Billiton operates two aluminium smelters in South Africa.
A transport strike that began May 9 that led to a halt in Durban port operations and a slowdown at Richards Bay port, hitting cargo loading schedules. May aluminium cargoes would be leaving South Africa for Japan this week, the trader said.
Aluminium from the 700,000 mt/year Hillside smelter is usually exported to Europe and Asia.
A container ship will leave for Asia from Durban this week and a bulk ship from Richards Bay, the traders said. The two ships are likely to be carrying more than 10,000 mt of aluminium, he added.
Though BHP Billiton has not said when the ships would arrive in Yokohama and Nagoya, shipping sources put the travel time from South Africa to Japan at typically 30-40 days.
The delay in shipping of South African aluminium is likely to have little or no impact in the Japanese market as shipments from Australia and Russia are on schedule, several Tokyo traders said. Weaver Arrow, a geared bulk ship from Australia, will arrive in Japan next week, followed by Emu Arrow later in June and Kite Arrow in July, carrying a total of more than 30,000 mt of aluminium.