Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 18, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Durban braces for further port strikes

  • Madagascar – ICTSI stocks up on new container equipment

  • Spain reacts to Canary Island crisis

  • Ship Security Alert System deadline looms

  • Richards Bay coal train derails – nine trains delayed

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    Durban braces for further port strikes

    South African Port Operations (SAPO) is bracing itself for yet another stay away today (Thursday) by members of COSATU (Congress of SA Trade Unions) who are embarking on a one day national strike.

    Today’s action by COSATU comes barely two days after agreement was reached between Transnet and the four unions whose members are employed largely within the Transnet group of companies.

    The terminals most likely to be affected today are the two Durban Container Terminals, which are specifically targeted for maximum effect whenever union action is called. It is unclear whether marine activity at the port will be affected.

    SAPO advises that it will extend free storage at the Durban Container Terminal by one day to compensate importers for containers that landed yesterday or may come ashore today and would monitor the situation with regard to stack dates for export containers. The terminal gates are likely to remain closed all day.

    The port’s other terminals may also be affected although some landside activity is possible at the privately operated terminals.

    The country’s other ports are also expected to be affected by the strike but with the exception of Cape Town the effect is not expected to be as severe as at Durban. Yesterday the City of Cape Town withdrew permission for COSATU to stage a march through the city’s streets. This follows the mayhem that resulted from Tuesday’s march by striking security guards, who damaged shops and stalls in the city centre.

    Madagascar – ICTSI stocks up on new container equipment

    Madagascar International Container Terminal Services Ltd., manager and operator of the Madagascar International Container Terminal (MICT) in the port of Toamasina, has placed orders for new container handling equipment to improve operations and service delivery at Madagascar’s main international trading gateway.

    According to Christian R. Gonzalez, MICTL chief executive officer, the purchase of four new rubber tired gantries (RTGs) is part of a short term plan to evolve the terminal into a regional hub: “We are positioning the MICT as a secondary hub in Africa, in particular serving vessels servicing African-Asian trade.”

    He said the initial goal is to increase existing yard capacity by 70 percent and make cargo handling operations for truckers, importers and exporters far more efficient. It is also part of MICT’s commitment to bring in the best equipment for container handling and to modernise Toamasina in line with the best international standards.

    Terminal capacity is expected to increase with the introduction of RTGs into MICT yard operations. “We expect volumes to increase due to positive economic expectations in the medium term and also due to the fact that service levels are increasing and will increase further with the new equipment,” says Gonzalez.

    The RTGs will be supplied by Reggiane. Each RTG will have a capacity of 40.6 metric tons and will be stacking containers at one over five high. Commissioning of the RTGs will occur shortly after delivery by the first quarter of 2007. In line with this, MICT has started staff training on equipment operations and maintenance.

    Aside from the RTGs, other new equipment include three reach stackers, 17 tractors, 21 trailers, autotwist spreader systems, and empty handling equipment. MICT recently received 10 of these tractors, which were supplied by Kalmar.

    MICT’s current equipment fleet is composed of two mobile harbour cranes, seven reach stackers and two top loaders.

    Ten units of new Kalmar tractors recently arrived at the Madagascar International Container Terminal (MICT) in Toamasina, Madagascar. The delivery brings MICT’s tractor fleet to 14 prime movers and 21 chassis. The new equipment will help boost vessel productivity and speed up yard activities at Madagascar’s international trading gateway. Additional orders for four rubber tired gantries were placed to increase MICT’s yard capacity. Click image to enlarge

    The purchase is part of a USD 25 million investment program to upgrade container handling capabilities at Madagascar’s main port. “The investment is part of our commitment to the Malagasy government to bring the terminal operations up to world class levels,” says Gonzalez.

    Part of the program includes the rehabilitation and strengthening of the quay and container yards; construction of a gatehouse, operations control centre and administration building; yard reorganisation; strengthening of safety, security and organisational systems for yard and marine operations; the development of a gate and allied billing system; and manpower orientation and training, including a phased equipment training program for terminal operations and maintenance staff.

    MICT has an area of 12 hectares and has two berthing positions with a total quay length of 307 metres and controlling depth of 10 to 12 metres.

    MICTL last year signed the 20-year concession with the Societe du Port a Gestion Autonome de Toamasina for the operation of the MICT, which handles over 90 percent of the island’s container traffic.

    MICTL is a subsidiary of International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), a leading developer in international container terminal operations which is headquartered in the Philippines.

    Spain reacts to Canary Island crisis

    As the number of African migrants pouring into the Canary Islands reaches more than one thousand since Friday (12 May), the Spanish prime minister has issued an appeal to West African countries to put a halt to the flow of human cargo.

    The Spanish government is also setting up emergency diplomatic and security measures to prevent the arrival of more migrants coming ashore by the boatload and overwhelming the island’s capacity for coping. It says it would like West African countries to accept and co-operate with the repatriation of the people who have already arrived.

    The migrants arrive in all manner of boats, including canoes and dugouts, all intent on reaching Europe and a better life with employment and security for themselves. However Spain has now accepted that the mass movement of humans may have more sinister connotations with organised syndicates assisting the migrants in their endeavour to reach Spanish territory. They now suspect that ‘mother ships’ may be used to carry the people from the African continent to within striking distance of the Canaries. They relate how the new arrivals are all in good health despite having supposedly spent a week or more at sea in tiny boats.

    Altogether more than 6,500 illegal immigrants have reached the Canary Islands from countries in West Africa since the beginning of the year.

    Ship Security Alert System deadline looms

    The deadline for fitting all cargo ships trading in international waters with the Ship Security Alert System (SSAS) is rapidly approaching, with installation of these vessels due to take place no later than the first Radio/GMDSS survey after 1 July 2006.

    SSAS is part if the ISPS code and passenger ships, high speed cargo ships, chemical tankers, oil tankers and gas tankers have been fitted with the system from July 2004.

    According to the South African offices of SMD Telecommunications, the Satamatics Ocean Alert Application and Hardware, which fills the requirements, is locally available.

    The ‘Ocean Alert’ is based on the Inmarsat D+ service and meets or exceeds all mandatory requirements for SOLAS Reg. XI-2/6, guidance notes and performance standards for Ship Security Alert Systems.

    “Low power consumption and proven network reliability make Ocean Alert a cost effective, low maintenance solution to meet ship security requirements,” says SMD. The system also provides useful vessel monitoring and long range identification capability.

    Details are available from sales@smd-marine.co.za

    Richards Bay coal train derails – nine trains delayed

    An unconfirmed report received last night says that another coal train on the Richards Bay coal line was derailed on Monday (15 May), resulting in at least nine coal trains being delayed in their journey to the port.

    Despite the concerns expressed at the highest level derailments and other accidents along the coal line have continued to occur with little or no official statement or explanation.

    Did you know that Ports & Ships lists ship movements for all ports between Walvis Bay on the West Coast and Beira on the East Coast?

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