Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 27, 2006
Author: P&S


  • Ferrochrome smelter ready, set and….

  • Hopes ride high for Coega smelter but Eskom leaves questions

  • DP World holds back over US ports

  • Swedish replica ship Gotheborg heads out for PE

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

    Ferrochrome smelter ready, set and …..

    India’s Tata Steel is ready to begin building a multi-million rand ferrochrome smelter at an Alton North industrial site in Richards Bay by as early as April, provided it gets the go-ahead from an environmental impact assessment which is currently being finalised.

    Tata relocated to a different site at Richards Bay which delayed its planned commissioning by at least six months on account of concerns raised by a paper manufacturing plant, Mondi Business Paper. Mondi feared contamination from dust and emissions of hexavalent chromium. Since then however numerous other objections have been raised among townsfolk over concerns that the smelter will increase the level of noxious chemicals emitted into the atmosphere to a dangerous level.

    Tata plans to process chromium ore shipped from India to Richards Bay for re-export. Initially two furnaces would be built followed by a further two in the second phase. The plan has been to incorporate the smelter in the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), which itself has still to see the light of day.

    According to the Department of Trade & Industry Richards Bay’s IDZ forms part of government’s macro-economic policy of developing South Africa’s manufacturing sector by encouraging investment in export-oriented industries and centred on the beneficiation of the country’s natural resources.

    Hopes ride high for Coega smelter but Eskom leaves questions

    Reports from the Eastern Cape suggest that the proposed Alcan aluminium smelter at Coega is getting closer to becoming a ‘done deal’ following the latest in a series of talks between officials from the Canadian company and local government and business officials.

    Alcan ‘inherited’ the proposed investment when it took over the French aluminium manufacturer Pechiney, which held an option as the preferred smelter operator at the Coega Industrial Development Zone. However since then everything has remained in limbo while Alcan re-examined its worldwide options.

    According to the Eastern Cape MEC for Economic Affairs the Canadian company is set to invest in the region but is awaiting an environmental impact assessment (EIA) report, which could still take several months before it is completed and presented. The EIA relates specifically to the local ecology including the effect the smelter will have on the adjacent Addo Elephant National Park, the Sunday’s River Valley, the marine environment and the local human population.

    An agreement has also to be reached between Alcan and the electrical supply contractor, Eskom, which has undertaken to provide the large amounts of electricity necessary for the smelter. This amount is said to be greater than what is currently used by the entire Nelson Mandela Metropole (Port Elizabeth city and surrounds) and will have to be fed into the Eastern Cape from existing power sources on overhead cables.

    Faced now with the current electricity crisis in which it is suggested that Eskom is unable to meet the country’s existing requirements following an unanticipated 5% growth level, which led last week to large-scale outages in the Western Cape and to some extent in the Eastern Cape, the question has to be asked how Eskom plans to provide Alcan with its contracted requirement for electrical power?

    Reports indicate that Eskom will only be able to meet the country’s increasing demand by providing new power stations, which will take several years to bring into the system and raising the spectre of yet further delays to Coega’s much hyped anchor tenant.

    DP World holds back over US ports

    Dubai Ports World (DP World) says it will hold back on plans to takeover operations of terminals in six US ports pending discussions with the US government and legislators.

    This follows the furore over the supposed security risk posed by an Arab company exercising control over an American strategic port facility.

    A number of leading US officials including senators and governors have indicated they will fight to have the takeover halted. President Bush has gone on record as saying the deal had been fully examined by his security advisors and been approved. He has threatened to veto any legislation that seeks to prevent the deal.

    He also pointed out that Dubai is a close ally of the US and had assisted with recent military activities in the region, but opponents of the deal are insisting on guarantees that systems are in place to prevent infiltration of the terminals by members of Al Qaeda or other terrorist organisations.

    The UAE is the United States’ third largest trading partner in the Middle East, after Israel and Saudi Arabia.

    DP World is finalising arrangements for a US.8 Billion purchase of the UK P&O Ports company, which operates port terminals throughout the world including in Africa as well as a number of ferry companies.

    Swedish replica ship heads out for PE

    The Swedish replica East Indiaman sailing ship Gotheborg sails from Cape Town at 13.30 today (Monday) bound for its next port of call at Port Elizabeth.

    The original Gotheborg sank in 1745 outside her home port of Gothenborg after all but completing a successful journey from Sweden to China and back, laden with porcelain and other objects. She was wrecked against the harbour entrance in full view of hundreds on people awaiting her arrival after nearly two years away.

    The ship broke up and sank outside the harbour but following the discovery of her wreckage in 1985 enthusiasts began planning a replica which could repeat and complete the voyage to China and back. The Gotheborg now in South Africa is the result.

    After Port Elizabeth the ship, which apart from her sails has hidden engine power on board, will head out across the Indian Ocean bound for Fremantle, with her final destination in Guangzhou and then Shanghai, before undertaking the return journey.

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