Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 28, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Pinocchio sails for Richards Bay - picture

  • Dreaded bird flu reported in Cote d’Ivoire residential area

  • USD 14 million kickstart for Rwanda’s trade and transport

  • Tanzania’s railway privatisation go-ahead

  • Unicorn sells two tankers

  • Rate increase for Far East - West Africa service

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    Pinocchio sails for Richards Bay

    The dredger Pinocchio set off for the port of Richards Bay yesterday morning (Thursday) being towed by the Smit tug Pentow Service.

    The dredger was rebuilt over a seven month period in Durban after arriving from Egypt last year in broken-down form. Originally named Toshka, the backhoe dredger had been built for the construction of a waterway into the Egyptian desert from Lake Nasser. Once this contract was complete Toshka was reduced to smaller manageable sections and transported by road across the desert to the Red Sea port of Safaga from where it was shipped to the Elgin Brown & Hamer shipyard in Durban.

    On completion of the rebuilding the dredger was renamed Pinocchio – a rather unusual choice of names in the view of many. Pinocchio will now be employed on a three week contract involved with the extensions to the Richards Bay coal terminal and after that it is back to Durban for adaptation before the next contract in Mozambique.

    Pinocchio is owned and operated by Dredging International NV of Belgium and will be in the care of ships agency Mainport Africa Shipping while in Southern Africa.

    Dreaded bird flu reported in Cote d’Ivoire residential area

    ABIDJAN 27 April 2006 (IRIN): Cote d'Ivoire has reported its first outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu in a poor residential district of the main city Abidjan, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Thursday.

    Authorities are awaiting confirmation of the results from the main OIE laboratory in Italy, however an OIE spokesman in Paris told IRIN "We can consider that it's bird flu".

    Tests carried out by the national laboratory for agricultural development (Lanada) in Abidjan found H5N1 in seventeen birds, including chickens, ducks and a sparrow hawk.

    The cases came from two separate backyards in the populous and poor residential neighbourhoods of Marcory and Treichville in Abidjan, the OIE said.

    "We are still waiting for the results, it has not been officially confirmed," said Ivorian Minister of Animal Production and Fish Resources, Alphonse Douaty, late Wednesday night in a statement. Douaty said three telephone lines had been opened for questions and reports from the population.

    Final confirmation from the OIE would make Cote d'Ivoire the sixth African nation to be struck with the virus which can prove fatal in humans. The World Health Organisation (WHO) told IRIN it is meeting about how to tackle the Cote d'Ivoire outbreak.

    Animal health officials said teams were being put in place to stop the virus from spreading. "If there are other poultry [in the area] we will destroy them," Cisse Bakary of the Lanada laboratory told IRIN. "We are going to have to cull all poultry in the area and we will have to ban all movement of poultry between the communities."

    Nigeria was the first African country to confirm cases of bird flu in early February. Since then Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt and Niger have all confirmed H5N1 in poultry and Egypt has confirmed human cases of the disease.

    Sudan has reported an outbreak of bird flu though tests have yet to confirm that it is the deadly H5N1 strain.

    Small scale poultry farming is widespread in West Africa where people often live in close contact with their birds, increasing concerns among experts of more human cases of bird flu in Africa.

    Experts are concerned that H5N1 could mutate into a strain that could pass from human to human and lead to a worldwide pandemic.

    (This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations)

    USD 14 million kickstart for Rwanda trade and transport

    Rwanda has been granted a USD 15 million aid package by the World Bank under the auspices of the International Development Association that will be utilised for improving the Central African Great Lake country’s trade and transport services.

    USD 199 million worth of grants was approved earlier this year to improve trade and transport services in the Great Lakes region of the East African Community, to which Rwanda hopes to become a full member in November.

    At the recent signing ceremony, Grace Yabrudy, World Bank country manager in Uganda said the project was very important because it would improve efficiencies of trade supply chains and main trade routes from Uganda’s main corridor routes from Mombasa and Dar es Salaam to both Rwanda and Burundi. This is also aimed at reducing clearance time at the ports and border posts along the corridors, which she said had been a main source of delay for traders.

    Tanzania’s railway privatisation go-ahead

    After about a year of delay Tanzania has given India’s Rites Rail Consortium the go-ahead to take over operation of the Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC) as from 1 August 2006.

    According to Tanzania’s Minister for Infrastructure Development, Basil Mramba, a letter of agreement has been issued to Rites giving the Indian company a 25-year concession to develop and operate the 2,700km metre-gauge railway network in the East African country.

    Rites is a parastatal company of the Indian government that has tendered for several railway operations in Africa with mixed success. Rites was awarded the Tanzanian contract in 2005 but a dispute arose following an objection by another bidder which led to the Tanzanian government suspending the award pending an investigation.

    In terms of the agreement Rites has to pay Tanzania USD 100 million and will have responsibility for the refurbishment and operation of the entire railway network with the exception of the Cape-gauge (1067mm) Tazara Railway that links Dar es Salaam with Zambia. Rites expects to move 913,000 tonnes of cargo annually with a turnover of USD 90 million.

    Meanwhile discussion between Tanzanian and Zambian officials has begun regarding the concessioning of the 1,860-km Cape-gauge Tazara Railway, which was built by the Chinese between 1969 and 1975 to connect the Zambian Copperbelt with the port at Dar es Salaam. Tazara provided an alternate link to the sea for landlocked Central African countries that previously were forced to rail through South Africa. However the railway, known also as the Great Freedom Railway (because it ‘liberated African countries from their reliance on apartheid South Africa’), soon fell into decline as a result of general inefficiencies and neglect.

    While criticised as a legacy of the ideological Cold War, the railway nevertheless developed an importance of its own by the creation of a number of small community enterprises in the towns and small communities along much of its length and is seen today as providing increased economic opportunities for Zambia, northern Malawi and the DRC.

    In addition and because it makes use of the Cape gauge (1067mm) as opposed to the metre gauge used in the remainder of Tanzania, the Tazara Railway is fully interlinked with the railway networks of Zambia, DRC, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

    Unicorn sells two tankers

    Durban-based shipping company Unicorn Tankers has sold two of its recent builds, the Handysize products tankers Oliphant and Southern Unity.

    The sale en bloc is worth a reported USD 97 million. Both the 37,069-dwt Oliphant and the 37,091-dwt Southern Unity were built in 2004 at the Shin A shipyard in Southern Korea. Oliphant has been employed on global trades but Southern Unity is currently in service on the South African coast.

    The latter ship was launched amidst much publicity at the time as a joint venture involving a black economic empowerment company and the ship’s name resulted from a competition held to chose the most suitable – a young schoolboy came up with the idea of Southern Unity as typifying the modern South Africa. The empowerment venture however later dissolved.

    The purchaser of the two ships is Target Marine SA of Greece.

    Rate increase for Far East - West Africa service

    Schednet reports a rates increase for the eight member lines of the Far East – West Africa service as from 1 June 2006.

    The eight shipping companies, CMA CGM, China Shipping Container Line, Delmas, Gold Star, Maersk, Safmarine, MOL and PIL have announced a rate increase of USD 300 per TEU as from that date, which they sate is a restoration of the freight rate in order for them to continue providing the service required by their clients.

    - source Schednet

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