REFILE-China to keep ban on Valemaxes in new port rules that start from July 1
(Adds dropped word in name of shipping consultancy in 6th paragraph)
* Only ships with capacity of up to 250,000 dwt to be allowed
* China has banned 400,000-dwt Valemaxes since Jan 2012
By Manolo Serapio Jr and David Stanway
SINGAPORE/BEIJING, Feb 14 (Reuters) - China will only allow ships with capacity of up to 250,000 deadweight tonnes to berth at its ports from July 1, its transport ministry said, effectively keeping a ban on Brazilian miner Vale's huge iron ore vessels in place since January 2012.
It would be the latest setback for the world's top iron ore producer which has been hoping China, the biggest buyer of the raw material, would lift the ban aimed at shielding its shippers.
Vale invested more than $2 billion to build several 400,000-dwt vessels to slash transport costs to China by up to a third and better compete with Australian rivals Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton .
The expansion of Chinese ports has been "irrational" and they now need to shed capacity to meet a number of requirements, including the maximum capacity limit of 250,000 dwt on ships allowed to berth, according to a statement posted on the Ministry of Transport's website on Feb. 10.
The new rules will come into effect from July 1, the statement said, adding "every port authority must direct port enterprises to restructure terminals in accordance with the requirements of large-scale shipping development." Continuación...