While the raw materials employed in aluminium production - which are bauxite and an intermediate product, alumina - are not comparable to iron ore and other steelmaking materials in terms of the quantities moving in international trade, the tonnages shipped are still large at approximately 35 million tons annually. Taken together, bauxite and alumina rank fourth among the bulk commodities in seaborne trade, although the two differ greatly in bulk, in density and in handling characteristics. Originally, virtually all this raw material was received in the form of bauxite, but as the developing countries in which mining takes place have sought to increase their revenue and transport costs have risen, conversion to alumina has been increasingly carried out at source. Since the mid-1960's, alumina shipments by sea have quadrupled, rising to over six million tons in 1971. Since a little more than four tons of bauxite (which stows at around 35 cubic feet/ton) is required to produce two tons of alumina, the establishment of alumina capacity at or near major sources of bauxite supply in the Caribbean, Australia, etc. would, at first sight, appear to reduce demand for bulk shipping. In practice, average trading distances are increasing for both bauxite and alumina and will continue to do so now that Australia has emerged as the largest supplier. Changes in the supply pattern are reviewed in this, the fourth in a series of reports from H. P. DREWRY (SHIPPING CONSULTANTS) LIMITED, which also includes a comprehensive survey of existing bauxite and alumina producing facilities. The first part, which is concerned with the past development of world trade in bauxite and alumina, also outlines recent trends in aluminium production. The fact that the aluminium industry is passing through one of its periodic crises of over-capacity ought not to obscure the prospects for continued strong growth in the second half of the 1970's. Control of raw material sources through integration - sometimes referred to as "going basic" - has always been a feature of the industry and, in the second part of the report, the operations of individual producers are detailed to show how the industry's structure affects the movement of raw materials. Reference is also made to planned additions to bauxite and alumina capacity to provide background to the projections of seaborne trade contained in the third section of the report. This also provides information on ship sizes, loading terminals, etc., all vessels regularly employed in the bauxite/alumina trades being listed in an appendix. Freight rates and the demand for bauxite/alumina tonnage are discussed in the final section.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Drewry (HP) (Shipping Consultants) Limited

    Palladium House, 1-4 Argyll Street
    London W1V 1AD,   England 
  • Publication Date: 1972-4

Media Info

  • Pagination: 47 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00035051
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Drewry (HP) (Shipping Consultants) Limited
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 27 1974 12:00AM