Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 4, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Mozambique transport parastatal expresses unhappiness with port operators

  • Beira to receive dredging for 24-hour operation

  • Nigeria hands over port terminals

  • New Djibouti container terminal

  • World’s largest container ship calls at Hamburg

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    Mozambique transport parastatal expresses unhappiness with port operators

    CFM, the Mozambique government-owned port and railway company has expressed unhappiness with the effectiveness of private companies holding leases on the ports of Nacala and Maputo.

    According to Rui Fonseca, CFM chairman, the private companies holding the leases for the two ports have failed to honour their contracts. He accused MPDC, the British-led consortium managing the port of Maputo of coming short in its payment in terms of the lease, based on an annual rate and a percentage of pre-tax gross income from the port. The shortfall is believed to be in the region of USD 10 million.

    As part of Mozambique's programme of economic recovery, a 25-year concession to manage and develop the port of Maputo was awarded to a European port management consortium led by Mersey Docks in September 2000, which subsequently formed a Mozambican joint venture, the Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC) to take over the port in April 2003.

    According to sources quoted by the Maputo news service Agencia de Informacao de Mozambique (AIM), the MPDC has admitted it owes the outstanding amount to CFM but claims it justification on the basis that CFM has not met its obligations to rehabilitate the railway between South Africa and Maputo.

    Earlier Spoornet, which had been awarded the concession for the railway’s refurbishment, was dismissed by CFM for non-performance and CFM has since undertaken to complete the repairs itself. However CFM says the railway’s refurbishment never formed any part of the lease agreement for the port.

    AIM quoted a local newspaper, Savana as having another source within MPDC which claimed that CFM was in default of certain clauses within the concession contract which meant that MPDC was unable to achieve the projected profit targets, and had therefore fallen behind on payments. It said that had the railway been rehabilitated on time then the port would have achieved greater volumes and increased profits from traffic from South Africa.

    Fonseca said in his annual report to the CFM Council of Directors that there were also serious concerns over the northern corridor linking the port of Nacala with Malawi. Both the railway and the port operation had been leased to an American-led consortium CDN (Nacala Development Corridor). He said the rail and port operations had failed to meet the desired levels of efficiency and the results were far from satisfactory.

    Fonseca said the only privatised corridor that was working efficiently, in CFM’s view, was the Beira Corridor which is under lease to the Dutch-led company, Cornelder.

    “In terms of future action and strategy, I should stress that CFM has now concluded the programme of leases. So there will be no more leases,” he said.

    Beira to receive dredging for 24-hour operation

    The port of Beira, which is concessioned to the Dutch company Cornelder, will be the subject of extensive dredging aimed at permitting large ships to enter the port 24-hours a day instead of on the tide as at present.

    Rui Fonseca, CFM’s chairman said in Maputo at last week’s annual general meeting of the CFM that the central port would also receive its own permanent ocean-going dredger, in addition to new tugs, pilot boats and other navigational aids.

    He said the cost of re-equipping the port with this marine infrastructure would amount to USD 53 million and was dependent on promised financial support from the Danish government.

    The railway network leading out of Beira to the Zimbabwe border and also on the Sena line, which is currently being refurbished, has been concessioned to the Indian rail operator RITES in partnership with Ircon International, an Indian turnkey infrastructure construction specialist. The refurbishment of the railway – work is currently reaching towards Inhamitanga near the southern bank of the Zambezi, from where a branch line runs to the sugar centre of Marromeu – is intended to continue to the Moatize coal mining region in Tete Province. The World Bank has agreed finance for this project.

    Since cancelling the concession awarded to South Africa’s Spoornet, CFM has undertaken the rehabilitation of the Ressano Garcia line between Maputo and the South African border, at a cost of some USD 12 million. CFM will provide its own finance.

    CFM recorded an operating profit of USD 15.5 million for the 2005 financial year just ended. Cargo handled at the country’s ports rose 10.7 percent to 9.98 million tonnes in 2005, while rail traffic rose 6.6 percent to 4.06 Mt.

    Nigeria hands over port terminals

    The port terminal operations at Nigeria’s Apapa port were formally handed over to the successful concessionaires yesterday (Monday, 3 April).

    The function was attended by Nigeria’s minister of transport, Dr Abiye Sekibo, who also acts as chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority.

    Terminals A and B were awarded to Apapa Bulk Terminal Ltd, and Terminals C and D to the ENL Consortium. The Danish shipping giant AP Moller won the important Apapa Container Terminal, while Greenview is now the operator of Terminal E.

    New Djibouti container terminal

    Construction of the new Djibouti container terminal about 11km from the existing terminal will commence in June, according to its developer DP World.

    The terminal will have a design capacity of 1.5 million TEUs and is expected to be commissioned during the second half of 2008. This will represent DP World’s second large investment in the Red Sea port - the Dubai-based company earlier this year commissioned a new 1.5 km long oil jetty at the Doraleh oil terminal.

    Ironically - given the sensitivity of US politicians to Dubai-based terminal operators - the Djibouti oil terminal provides extensive refuelling facilities for US and French naval ships.

    According to the Gulf Times the new container terminal will be equipped with eight super post panamax gantry cranes to handle the largest container ships. The quay will be 900m in length but can be lengthened to 1200m.

    Meanwhile it has been reported that almost 3.5 million tonnes of cargo was transported between Ethiopia and the port of Djibouti during 2005.

    World’s largest ship calls at Hamburg

    The world’s largest container ship, Cosco Guangzhou has completed her first call at the port of Hamburg, after a maiden voyage from China.

    The ship, which was launched from the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in South Korea and is owned by the Greek Costamare Shipping company, is on charter to COSCO Container Lines.

    The giant vessel, all of 350m in length and 43m wide, is the first of a series under construction and has a capacity of 9,500 TEU. She supersedes the MSC Pamela as the largest container ship officially in service (in terms of capacity), although this ‘record’ is not one that is likely to last for very long and may already have been exceeded given the veil of secrecy that surrounds the true capacity of several vessels, particularly in Maersk Line.

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