Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 4, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Port Maputo to get its first scanner by 15 June

  • 6,000 Nigerian dockworkers find themselves out of work

  • Mombasa congested with 12,000 unclaimed containers

  • China woos Nigeria for oil

  • Zambia wants road built to Lobito

  • Update on long-term rights allocations and fish stocks

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    Port Maputo to get its first scanner by 15 June

    A contract for the supply of x-ray scanners at the ports of Maputo, Beira, Nacala and Maputo Airport in Mozambique has been awarded, delegates to a Maputo Corridor business breakfast heard yesterday.

    “An international tender was launched for the contract of a company to carry out operations of electronic surveillance and control of containers, using scanners in a ‘build, own, operate and transfer’ contractual modality. The company has already been selected. The relevant legislation has been approved and the contract signed. The introduction of the first scanner in Maputo Port is already in a final stage – 15 June is the date planned for the first operation – it is foreseen that the introduction of other scanners will take place at the Ports of Beira, Nacala and Maputo Airport,” said Antonio V Barros Dos Santos, Commissioner General of Customs in Mozambique.

    Dos Santos told delegates that the Customs of Mozambique has given priority to interchange and cooperation with other countries under the scope of the Johannesburg Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance, and has already signed memorandums of understanding with all neighbouring countries, including RSA (Agreement on Customs Cooperation).

    “The implementation of the Customs Cooperation Agreement between Customs of Mozambique and RSA legalises, consolidates and enlarges the interchange between both customs administrations, allowing the improvement of controls, exchange of information, training, capacity building and overall improving goods and people facilitation.”

    He said that one of the gains of this interchange is the flexibility in the treatment of information regarding confirmation of the authenticity of origin certificates, under the scope of the implementation of the SADC Commercial Protocol.

    “It is necessary to refer as well to the exchange of information related to the declarations of import and export between the two countries, which is resulting in improving the clearance process at the border posts. In addition, Customs staff of both countries have been carrying out joint verifications, which also are assisting the customs clearance process at the Ressano Garcia border.”

    6,000 Nigerian dockworkers find themselves out of work

    Six thousand Nigerian stevedores found themselves unemployed at the start of May, as a result of the concessioning of the country’s port terminals.

    The laying off of so many workers at once is a direct consequence of the stevedore firms having lost their contracts with the Nigerian Ports Authority, which no longer carries operational jurisdiction at the respective terminals. The new terminal operators have indicated they are unlikely to need more than 30 percent of the dockworker force, meaning that over 4,000 will remain without employment.

    In terms of the latest agreement reached between the federal government and dockworkers unions, those laid off will receive six months wages in lieu of notice. The government has allocated N500 million to cover this cost.

    Originally the federal government intended only to pay a small number of affected workers because it claimed many of the dock workers did not have valid work contracts. However, following recent unrest at Tin Can Island and Apapa it was agreed that all affected dockworkers would be compensated.

    The about face by the federal government has been described as a wise step forward that will help avoid intimidation of newly appointed dock workers in the initial stages of the concessioning programme.

    Mombasa congested with 12,000 unclaimed containers

    Up to 12,000 containers are lying unclaimed at Mombasa because duty owed to the Kenya Revenue Authority has not been paid. Now the shipping lines want their boxes returned and have raised their concern with the Kenya Ports Authority.

    Adding to the problem, the unclaimed containers are tying up space at the port – where importers are being accused of using Mombasa’s Container Terminal as a storage facility.

    According to a Uganda report, Kenya’s Revenue Authority has accused importers of negligence. Speaking at a stakeholders meeting in Entebbe, Kenya Ports Authority’s (KPA) Wambui Namu accused importers of being reluctant to clear containers that had incurred double storage costs, because the traders say this makes the contents less competitive.

    KPA’s new managing director Abdullah Hemed Mwaruwa said the practice was causing delays to ships which are forced to wait outside port because there is no space to discharge new containers. He said that some of the boxes had remained in the terminal for over two years. There were now 12,000 undocumented containers sitting in the port, taking up space, delaying ships and frustrating shipping lines who want their boxes back in circulation.

    Mwaruwa suggested one solution might be for inland importers to use bills of lading to direct the containers to Nairobi, which would help the situation at Mombasa.

    China woos Nigeria for oil

    During the visit to Africa by China’s President Hu Jintao, China obtained four drilling licences from Nigeria – a further indication of China’s determination to increase its energy supply from the continent.

    As payment for the four licences China will invest USD 4 billion in oil and infrastructure in the West African country in addition to acquiring a controlling stake in the Kaduna oil refinery. China will also invest in the country’s railroad network and power station system.

    A week earlier China’s state oil firm CNOOC announced that it had acquired a share in a Nigerian oil field. Now China will have first right of refusal to four exploration blocks – two in the troubled Niger Delta region and two in the inland Chad basin, where so far no oil has been discovered.

    China has also secured deals with Angola to drill for oil off that country’s coast.

    - source Kenya Broadcasting Corporation

    Zambia wants road built to Lobito

    Zambia says it wants Angola to collaborate with it in building a road to link landlocked Zambia with the Atlantic port of Lobito in the south of Angola.

    Speaking in Lusaka Zambia’s Vice President Lupando Mwape said Zambia had secured the funding to construct a highway from Kalabo to Sikongo near the Angolan border.

    This is in an area where few serviceable roads exist – on the Angolan side of the border there are also few roads leading eastward until the town of Cuito Cuanavale is reached.

    Vice President Mwape said that if the two countries could not act together then the idea would remain, as he called it, a white elephant.

    "We need to give real economic meaning to development especially the road infrastructure as any failure meant nothing would be achieved.”

    Mwape said he believed the road would help empower people along the route as well as enhancing economic values by shortening the distance between the two countries while boosting trade in the region.

    Update on long-term rights allocations and fish stocks

    "Resource constraints, large numbers of applications, shifting resource distribution, low catches with resultant socio-economic realities, became the context within which we had to apply ourselves as we sought to assert a sustainable use approach to fisheries management and our allocation system," said Deputy Director General of the Marine and Coastal Management Branch of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Dr Monde Mayekiso, as he outlined experiences to date on the long-term fishing rights allocations process.

    The allocation of long-term fishing rights commenced after extensive public consultations which led to final fishery sector policies' adoption by Cabinet in May 2005 and June 2005. The public participation process included various community outreach efforts on the part of the department (such as community meetings) where over 9000 fishers in more than 50 villages, towns and cities were consulted.

    "More than 8000 applications for long term fishing rights across 20 different fishing sectors have been received raging from highly capital intensive fisheries such as hake deep sea trawl and south coat rock lobster to small scale fisheries such as Netfishing. The number of applications for long-term fishing rights almost doubled in comparison with the amount of applications received during the medium-term fishing rights allocations process in 2001. Of the total long-term fishing rights applications received nearly fifty percent were for west coast rock lobster (near shore)," further explained Mayekiso.

    Speaking on resource constraints, Deputy Director-General, Dr Monde Mayekiso said limitations of the total allowable catch (TAC) or the total allowable effort (TAE) place a limit on the number of right holders that can be accommodated in a way that yields economic viability.

    Citing the West Coast Rock Lobster (WCRL) fishery sector as an example, Dr Mayekiso indicated that the total commercial TAC for WCRL is 2854 tons, a reduction of 10% from the previous year. Approximately 95% of the reduction has been absorbed by the offshore sector. The TAC for WCRL nearshore is 572 tons. Biologically about 80% of the resource occurs offshore in waters in excess of 40m, whilst about 20% occurs inshore or nearshore at less than 40m depth, explained Dr Mayekiso. "With more than 4000 applications and an appeal from communities to increase individual quantum to make it economically viable, the number of rights that can be allocated becomes limited".

    Noting a shift in resource distribution and lower catches in certain fisheries, Dr Mayekiso highlighted a trend of progressive southward and eastward shift in the distribution of adult sardine from the west coast. "The result is a shift in economic activity from one area to the other. The distance between the catch locality and the processing facilities has increased, which means an increase in transportation costs. This could lead to relocation of factories which already happened in the West Coast Rock Lobster sector where a similar shift in resource distribution resulted in less lobsters landed and processed on the West Coasts, coupled with loss of jobs," Mayekiso said.

    Addressing transformation in the context of the long-term fishing rights allocations process, preliminary results indicate an increased allocation of TAC to black controlled companies (50+1%) in most sectors, according to Dr Mayekiso. In the hake sector Black controlled TAC has increased from 14% in 2001 to 29% in 2005. The black shareholder controlled TAC has increased from 38% to 43%.

    In the WCRL sector, the black controlled TAC increased from 51% to 61%, and the pelagics TAC increased from 64% to 66%.

    Explaining the way forward, Dr Mayekiso indicated that the appeals process is envisaged to be completed within the next 3 months. The Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk as the appeals authority, will apply himself to all submitted appeals.

    - source JP Louw, Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism

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