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Port of Dampier cargo wharf. Photo courtesy of Pilbara Ports Authority.

Rio Tinto will be able to ship its Western Australian iron ore directly to Singapore thanks to a new commercial freight shipping service.

The service from the Port of Dampier to Port of Singapore will be quicker, cheaper and cleaner than the existing route via Fremantle, driving local jobs and economic development in the Pilbara region.

The regular freight service kicked off yesterday when the MCP Graz arrived at the Port of Dampier from Singapore, delivering essential maintenance supplies for Rio Tinto’s Pilbara iron ore operations.

The freight included rail wagon wheels, wagon parts, oil and lubricants with future shipments expected to include tyres for heavy earth moving equipment, conveyor belts, rail wagon and locomotive parts and mining consumables.

Rio Tinto expects the shipping time to slash journeys by six to 10 days, save approximately 3 million litres of diesel and reduce road train travel from Perth by more than 3.8 million kilometres.

The mining giant hopes that eventually more than 50 per cent of its Pilbara freight requirements will be delivered by the Singapore to Dampier service.

“This is an important new service that connects the Pilbara to the rest of the world via the major international shipping hub of Singapore,” Rio Tinto iron ore managing director of port, rail and core services Richard Cohen said.

“It will provide a number of benefits by delivering cheaper, cleaner and faster freight to the region.

“It is an important breakthrough not only for our business, but it will also provide a great opportunity for the local Pilbara economy by helping to unlock small business growth and supporting job creation.”

The Dampier to Singapore freight service will also be open for use by other local businesses in Australia’s northwest, giving them direct access to international markets.