Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 9, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Mozambique aims at boosting traffic along Maputo Corridor

  • IMO sets up pirate response centre as Somali pirates seize another ship

  • KZN’s finance MEC speaks about Richard’s Bay

  • NAMIBIA: First train to Ondangwa

  • Another derailment on the Richards Bay coal line

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    Mozambique aims at boosting traffic along Maputo Corridor

    Mozambique’s government is taking steps to ensure the maximum possible use of the Maputo Corridor with South Africa and the port of Maputo.

    Transport Minister Antonio Minguambe met last week with the various rail and port stakeholders to discuss the existing state of infrastructure in the country and to explore better synergies between the various roleplayers, with particular emphasis placed on the lack of communication between the rail and port people.

    Minguambe confirmed that CFM is engaged in the rehabilitation of the Ressano Garcia railway between Maputo and the South African border, which he said will be completed by the end of 2006.

    He said that operators who had expressed doubts over the railway’s capacity could now make use of it in safety. “Companies that have infrastructure in the port had the opportunity to show that they are there and those whose undertakings depend on them can go ahead and invest", he said.

    According to CFM, the government-owned rail company, the railway’s capacity would increase from 2.1 million tonnes in 2005 to 2.5Mt this year. The challenge now facing CFM and the companies operating in the port is to attract more South African traffic to Maputo along the Corridor.

    Had Spoornet still been involved with the rehabilitation and operation of the railway between Ressano Garcia and Maputo, it would have had a strong incentive to market the line’s services, particularly with Maputo being closer to Gauteng and Mpumalanga than any South African port. CFM’s own studies indicate the traffic along the railway could increase to 5 million tonnes in 2007 and almost 17 million tonnes by 2010, although this large increase is dependant on South Africa increasing its export of minerals through Maputo. In 2005 only 1.27 Mt of South African coal was shipped through Maputo, a figure that CFM believes can be increased to 1.9Mt in 2007 and 4Mt in 2010.

    As for ferro-chrome only a small volume of South African export was shipped through Maputo last year – less than 6,000 tonnes. CFM wants to increase this to 1.2Mt by 2010.

    - source AIM (Maputo)

    IMO sets up Mombasa pirate response centre as Somali pirates seize another ship

    A new maritime response centre has been inaugurated in Mombasa by Efthimios Mitropoulos, secretary-general of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

    The main purpose of the response centre, the first in East Africa, is to respond to pirate attacks in neighbouring Somali waters and its main purpose is to relay distress calls from ships coming under attack to units of the Kenya Navy or other coalition naval forces operating in the area that will be able to respond.

    A second centre is due to be opened in Cape Town later this year followed by a further three centres that are planned for West Africa.

    Meanwhile reports have been received of another pirate attack on a small UAE-flagged general cargo ship named Al-Taj which was seized on 27 April. During the attack a seafarer on the Arab ship was murdered before the vessel was taken to Haradheere, 400 km north of Mogadishu.

    On Saturday, 6 May the master and nine surviving Indian crew of the Al-Taj were allowed to sail after a ransom of USD 25,000 was paid and the ship is now on its way to Dubai.

    KZN’s finance MEC speaks about Richard’s Bay

    The following is the speech given by Dr Zweli Mkhize at last Friday’s 30th anniversary function at the port of Richards Bay:

    I attended Dlangezwa High School not too far from here near Empangeni. I must say that Richards Bay thirty years ago did not look half as beautiful nor did it boast the cluster of industries that makes it such a competitive centre as it is today. So I must say congratulations to the Port of Richards Bay and the Richards Bay Coal terminal for 30 years of excellent service! It is indeed an honour to be sharing this occasion with everyone present.

    I think that we here in KwaZulu-Natal enjoy a competitive advantage over the rest of the country. We have Durban as the busiest port on the continent and Richards Bay managing the biggest volumes of cargo in South Africa. These two ports are the closest ports of call for the trade markets from the East and as such compliment each other in terms of our economic growth. We must utilise this advantage. It’s our responsibility to our children and generations to come that we increase the roles our Ports can play in building the economy and thus making much leeway in bridging that divide between the first and second economies.

    The province was excited when the NPA announced the six hundred million rand upgrade for the coal terminal and the handling capacity for the bulk liquid terminal last year. We are proud to be associated with such activity.

    I believe that KwaZulu-Natal has the potential to become the highest provincial contributor to the national GDP. Currently we are second only to Gauteng. The government of KwaZulu-Natal considers both the Richards Bay Port and Coal Terminal as vital partners to achieving our objectives of six percent economic growth rate through the AsgiSA. We see the port as one of the catalysts in stimulating that growth. It is clear to us that this town has done wonders and we believe that Richards Bay will continue to be the fastest growing town in South Africa.

    When we go on the overseas investment missions, what do you think we say when we sell KZN - firstly, we have two ports, namely Durban and Richards Bay. That automatically interests them especially if their business concerns here would be exports.

    We are ready to be lobbied to invite more investment. It’s not about SAPO or the NPA, but it’s about KwaZulu-Natal. We also hope that you are open to lobbying for you to locate your head offices to KwaZulu-Natal!

    Once again congratulations to SAPO, NPA and the coal terminal for what has been have achieved in this region thus far. In conclusion I want to add that with the four-lane John Ross Highway scheduled to be completed by 2009 and the Dube Trade Port and King Shaka International Airport also on track to be operational by 2010, the port and coal terminal of Richards Bay are well placed to benefit from government’s efforts to make this a thriving and globally competitive province. When we talk about the six percent growth rate the country is yearning for, we should all unite in the dream to grow this province because KZN has tremendous potential. When we have partnerships that are committed to the vision of a better life for all our people, together, we will make KwaZulu-Natal a winning province.

    NAMIBIA: First train to Ondangwa

    The first train to reach Ondangwa in the far north of Namibia arrived at its destination before a large welcoming crowd on Friday, 5 May 2006, marking the completion of another stage in the development of a railway network that will ultimately connect Namibia with Angola.

    Namibia appears to have recognised something that many former colonial countries have chosen, or been ill-advised to ignore, that railways have the unique ability to open up and assist with the development of isolated parts of a country. The colonial powers realised this in the 19th and early 20th centuries and railways in Africa proliferated, but towards the latter part of the 20th century their successors in these now independent states chose to forget and ignore these lessons, allowing numerous railway networks throughout the continent (including South Africa) to descend into decay.

    Today, a short 20 or 30 years later those countries are regretting the neglect and many have embarked in expensive rehabilitation programmes. But what sets Namibia apart from many of its fellow African states is the height to which the country has reached with its ambitious railway and port development programme. Not only is Namibia rehabilitating existing railway systems but it has also reopened sections that the former South African Transport Services (now Transnet) allowed to fall into disuse in its latter days of administration in the then South West Africa.

    On top of the rehabilitation TransNamib is building new railway lines literally into the wilderness, which is where the Ondangwa opening comes in. Previously the northern line ended at Tsumeb, several hundred kilometers to the south-east. The Ondangwa branch is being extended westward to Oshakati with the main thrust of the new line reaching northwards towards the Angolan border, now less than a hundred kilometres away.

    According to TransNamib’s CEO, John Shaetonhodi, the official opening of the Ondangwa station will be held in June.

    Another derailment on the Richards Bay coal line

    Another derailment has occurred along the strategic Richards Bay coal line between Mpumalanga and the Richards Bay port.

    This is the third such accident in six months and a little more than a year after a major derailment involving nearly 150 wagons.

    As usual comment from Spoornet is restricted to acknowledging the accident and saying it will become the subject of an enquiry. The question that should be asked is who gets to hear or see the results of previous enquiries, and what lessons, if any, have been learned from them.

    It wasn’t that long ago that this railway line was being described by Spoornet as a world leader in heavy haul railways.

    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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