Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 15, 2006
Author: P&S


  • It’s strike time today at Cape ports

  • Relief at hand as Zambezi bridge contract is signed

  • All clear for P&O takeover

  • Port Elizabeth receives new straddle carriers

  • Nacala derailment cost 0,000

  • Lowering lake level drops freight traffic

  • Crisis as Tanzania calls for food aid

    EMAIL: jhughes@hugheship.com
    WEB SITE: www.hugheship.com

    It’s strike time today at Cape ports

    The Transnet rolling strike action reaches the Western Cape this morning with a planned one-day stoppage that is expected to halt most Metro commuter train operations as well as port terminal operations at Cape Town and Saldanha.

    What effect the strike will have on main line freight train operations is less easy to predict.

    According to the unions involved Saldanha port will be specifically targeted, as the unions home in on Transnet’s ‘cash cows’. But equally targeted is sure to be the Cape Town Container Terminal, which has already been under stress for much of 2006 as a result of Cape Town’s notorious wind factor. Expect to see even more container ships riding it out in Table Bay.

    Metrorail and SA Port Operations as well as the NPA say they have taken steps to reduce the effect of missing workers but will only be able to provide a much reduced service.

    Relief at hand as Zambezi bridge contract is signed

    Construction of a new bridge over the Zambezi River in central Mozambique came a lot closer this week with the signing of contracts for its construction.

    A Portuguese consortium won the bid to build the bridge after a tender process held last year.

    The bridge will be 2.3 km in length and has been budgeted to cost US million, of which donor money has been provided by the European Union, Sweden, Italy and Japan.

    The bridge will provide a much needed link along the north-south highway. The contract is for a period of 36 months.

    Work on the bridge over the Zambezi commenced in the 1970s but was halted with the outbreak of the civil war.

    - source Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique

    All clear for P&O takeover

    P&O shareholders this week gave their overwhelming approval to the offer by Dubai-based DP World to take over the assets of the UK terminal and ferry company.

    DP World raised its offer to 520 pence to ward off a counter bid from Singapore’s PSA International and with them now out of the running 99.5% of P&O shareholders made their mark in favour of the sale.

    As a result a 168-year old famous name is set to disappear as the company’s assets are absorbed into the fast-growing UAE company. Altogether DP World will in future operate with more than 50 terminals scattered across over 25 countries worldwide.

    In South Africa P&O is represented by Durban-based P&O Ports which runs a nationwide stevedore business and in Mozambique by Mozambique International Ports Services (MIPS) operating the Maputo Container Terminal.

    Port Elizabeth receives new straddle carriers

    Eleven new Kalmar 2-high straddle carriers have arrived in Port Elizabeth where they are being assembled prior to commissioning next month.

    The new straddles form part of a large order of these machines placed with the Finnish manufacturer Kalmar for service at Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. Last week SA Port Operations announced that an option for an additional 25 straddles for Durban had been taken up.

    The Port Elizabeth equipment is the first new infrastructure in many years for the Eastern Cape port, which until now has been supplied mainly with second-hand equipment drawn from Durban as equipment there was replaced.

    In 2005 Port Elizabeth Container Terminal handled a total of 369,759 TEUs, which represented an increase of 58,836 TEUs or 17.8% above the 2004 total of 313,923 TEU.

    Of this 2005 figure 209,861 TEU were imported and 159,898 exported.

    Nacala derailment cost 0,000

    What price a derailment in the bush of northern Mozambique? According to a Beira newspaper January’s derailment along the Nacala railway linking the port of that name and the landlocked country of Malawi cost the American-led consortium running the railway a cool US0,000.

    0,000 of this was for repairs to the damaged track and another 0,000 counted for loss of traffic over the period that the railway was closed to traffic. And that’s not including loss of business among those relying on the railway for their imports and exports and who had to make other arrangements.

    According to the newspaper’s source the rail operator has begun making up the lost time by running extra long trains including one on 8 February of 40 wagons totalling 841 tonnes, which it says is twice the size of a normal train along this section. The increase in train length was possible by using two diesel electric locos recently hired from Sheltam in South Africa instead of one loco.

    - source AIM and Diaro de Mocambique

    Lowering lake level drops freight traffic

    We’ve reported previously on the effect of lower lake levels on shipping on the Great Lakes of East Africa. Now according to a report from Nairobi, cargo trade across Lake Victoria has slumped by about 70% because of the drastic lowering of water levels.

    The report in The Nation (Nairobi) says that many ships are having difficulty in using the ports of Mwanza (on the southern side of the lake), and Port Bell, Kisumu and Jinja on the northern banks. It suggests the governments of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania may be forced to close the ports if water levels do not improve.

    Lake Victoria from space, courtesy of NASA Images. View is taken from a south easterly perspective. Click on image to enlarge

    Crisis as Tanzania calls for food aid

    The worsening drought across large parts of eastern Africa has led to a call for help from Tanzania this week, with prime minister Edward Lowassa issuing an appeal for 100,000 tonnes of relief aid to avert starvation in parts of his country.

    He said that nearly four million people were at risk of famine and required 100,000 tonnes of assistance between February and April. The government had only 57,620 tonnes of food in its strategic grain reserve.

    “May I, on behalf of the government of Tanzania, officially request you to consider the situation and assist,” Lowassa said at a donor meeting held in the administrative capital of Dodoma on Monday.

    According to Tanzania’s agricultural minister poor rains have accounted for Tanzania’s annual food harvest (mostly maize the staple) reaching 30% of its normal level.

    Tanzania’s problems are exacerbated by a report by the United Nations that thousands of Burundians are fleeing their country seeking shelter in neighbouring countries including Tanzania, citing lack of food as well as growing insecurity in Burundi.

    “There are visible cases of malnutrition among the new arrivals,” said a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

    - source IRIN and UN News Service

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