Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

Vale is temporarily halting operations at its Teluk Rubiah Maritime Terminal (TRMT) in Malaysia from March 24-31 to protect employees from contracting COVID-19.


Vale began contemplating TRMT’s closure last week.


Vessels en route to TRMT will be redirected to among the company’s Chinese facilities, which will affect 500,000t of sales this quarter, while immaterial cost increases will result from the additional logistics, the Brazilian company said in a statement. It added that calendar 2020 sales will not be affected. 


In 2019, TRMT shipped 23.7mn mt of iron ore.


Other Brazilian companies haven’t suspended their operations, although they have begun instituting measures to mitigate damage to their businesses and protect their employees’ health.


For example, Brazilian miner Usiminas said that, due to the nature of its steel activities, some of its equipment and business segments must remain operational otherwise future operations could be jeopardized. Steel equipment at its plant that is essential to maintaining operations will stay online.


Usiminas has specific directives for employees who will continue working, including checking their temperatures, ensuring work environments and equipment are properly sanitized, reducing the number of people present, suspending visitor entry, cancelling business travel, restricting meetings, and more.


Brazilian steelmaker Gerdau has not considered halting operations at its facilities due to the complex nature its business. Marcos Faraco, Gerdau’s executive director, said much of the company’s work cannot be performed remotely. However, it will implement a series of measures to reduce risk of the virus spreading throughout its operations, such as canceling all travel, developing work from home or telework policies, and intensifying hygienic practices throughout all its units.


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