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FMG breaks iron ore shipment record

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Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group has set a new record, loading the biggest ever single shipment of iron ore.

Leaving Port Hedland on Thursday, the Liberian registered ship Hugo N was loaded with 263, 962 tonnes of iron ore, The Australian reported.

Bound for China, the cargo is estimated to be worth about $35 million.

Set in November, the previous record for largest iron ore shipment was 263,023 tonnes of product.

Last month about 28 million tonnes of iron ore was shipped from Port Hedland,

For the 2012-13 financial year about 280 million tonnes of iron ore was exported through the port, with BHP Billiton and FMG making up the bulk of the shipments.

FMG chief executive Nev Power last week told reporters that capacity constraints at the port are a “myth” perpetuated by junior miners.

Previous modelling indicates the port can export about 495 million tonnes a year but Power said with improved efficiencies output could be lifted to around 650 million tonnes.

"The reality is the Pilbara is not constrained by Port Hedland," Power said.

"I know we've heard all that, the squawking and so on from lots of people that say it's the lack of port capacity that's stopping development. But Utah Point is probably running at 50 per cent utilisation, the port overall is running way under that, and there's lots and lots of opportunity."

In August the miner completed its $2.4 billion Pilbara port expansion project, which is part of its infrastructure plan to boost export capacity to 155 million tonnes a year.

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