Kumba quarterly sales fall 10% as port challenges curb exports

Saldanha Bay, Western Cape, South Africa. Image courtesy of Anglo American

Kumba Iron Ore on Tuesday reported a 10% fall in first quarter sales due to port equipment challenges, as South Africa’s logistical problems continue to throttle commodity exports.

The Anglo American Plc unit has already curtailed production to match the diminished capacity of state-owned rail and port operator Transnet, which is battling equipment shortages, cable theft and vandalism of its infrastructure.

In an update, Kumba said its sales declined to 8.5 million metric tons in the three months to March 31, from 9.5 million tons during the same period of 2023.

This was mainly due to the unreliability of equipment used to handle ore consignments at Saldanha Bay Port, Kumba said.

As a result, iron ore stockpile levels at the port doubled to 1.2 million tons in the quarter, while Kumba’s overall iron ore stockpile increased by 1.4 million tons to 8.5 million tons.

Kumba said production dipped 2% to 9.3 million tons in line with its strategy to match output to available logistics capacity. Ore taken to port by Transnet’s rail services was flat at 9.4 million tons.

The company said it expects full-year production of between 35 million to 37 million tons and sales within the 36 million to 38 million ton range “subject to ongoing logistics constraints”.

(By Nelson Banya; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)


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