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The rise and rise of bauxite: Shipfix trade flow insights and recent trends.

By Olga Obraztsova on December, 2 2020

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Olga Obraztsova

Head of Integrations @Shipfix

Aluminium is a strategic resource used across manufacturing and industrial sectors: automobile, defence, transportation, energy, aerospace, consumer durables and many others. Bauxite is a primary mineral used to produce alumina (aluminium oxide) and ultimately aluminium products. In 2019, the total volume of bauxite traded globally was over 120 million tonnes.

Metro Mining Sets Monthly Bauxite Production And Shipping Records In July –  Aluminium Insider


Almost three quarters of the world’s known bauxite reserves are situated in Guinea, Australia, Brazil, Vietnam and Jamaica, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Indonesia also possesses significant reserves and is expected to increase volumes to China, the world’s largest bauxite importer (96mln tonnes over the first 10 months of 2020, according to Chinese Customs data).

Shipfix Market Insights show seaborne export volumes in 2020YTD having already exceeded FY2019 figures.


The graph below provides further illustration, based on bauxite order volumes aggregated through Shipfix. Guinea has further cemented its place as a major exporting country in recent years, with more than a 35% of volumes going to China and India, followed by the Middle East (UAE, Bahrain) and Europe (France, Ireland, Black Sea area). More than 75% of China’s bauxite imports originated from Guinea, Australia, Ghana, Indonesia and Turkey.



Shipfix Forward Curves: bauxite order volumes into China

According to Fitch Solutions, whilst bauxite accounts for less than 5% of Australian mining volumes, the country is expected to remain a top bauxite trade partner for China. It may however lose some market share to returning Indonesian supply, “supported by closer proximity and lower cost-production than Australian or Guinean mines”.

Shipfix forward curves provide unprecedented insights into upcoming trade flows from Guinea, Australia and Indonesia to China. This is based on aggregated and anonymised market orders volumes globally, on a spot-onward basis. Please see below:

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