Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jul 5, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Durban-Gauteng corridor depot reaches procurement stage

  • Transnet gets a boost from year end results

  • Mozambique Customs postpones scanning charges

  • Safmarine Agulhas discharge continues

  • Lesotho: Textiles no longer hanging by a thread

  • Dormac completes cofferdam repair to Setsuyo Star

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    Durban-Gauteng corridor depot reaches procurement stage

    by Lavinia Mahlangu - BuaNews

    Pretoria, 4 July: Terms of reference for the City Deep Terminal, which is to form a hub for government's envisioned Durban to Gauteng corridor, have been completed and gone out for tender.

    Briefing journalists in Pretoria on the progress of the Economic, Investment and Employment cluster, Public Enterprise Minister Alec Erwin said all of the cluster's projects were "progressing well and on target", including the planned Durban to Gauteng corridor.

    Minister Erwin said the project, spearheaded by the Department of Transport, would see major announcements made before the end of the year which would include the enhancement of Spoornet's and the Corridor's capacity.

    Earlier in the year, the Minister said the project would be subject to capacity assessments as part of the Department of Public Service and Administration's work on strengthening government capacity.

    The Department of Transport is to put much focus on the corridor and its development projects.

    The link between the port city and the country's business and industrial hub is to include linkages via different modes of transport such as rail, road, air and underground pipelines.

    This is to be done in line with the principles of the National Freight Logistics Strategy of 2005.

    The Department plans to develop the Dube Trade Port including King Shaka Airport and developing the eThekwini freight plan to unlock and streamline the goods transportation in and throughout the city.

    Its main projects include rehabilitating 64km of the Nkwaleni rail line (branch line out of Empangeni in Zululand), implementing the Harrismith Trade Hub and establishing a transport logistics centre.

    The development of a framework towards a "freight master plan" for the country was also to take place.

    State-owned Transnet has already approved R3 Billion for the design, construction and commissioning of a multi-product pipeline between Durban and Gauteng. Petronet, which is a subsidiary of Transnet, owns, operates and maintains 3000 km of high pressure petroleum and gas pipelines.

    The new pipeline is to enhance Petronet's capacity to transport petrol, diesel and jet fuel along the Corridor. The development of the Durban to Gauteng pipeline is expected to double the current pipeline capacity.

    As the safest mode of bulk petroleum product transportation, this pipeline project is envisioned in the long term, to ensure optimal use of the fuel transport infrastructure in the country.

    Transnet gets a boost from year end results

    By Sello Tang - BuaNews

    Johannesburg, 4 July: Transnet's turnaround strategy has given the public freight utility a boost.

    The state-owned enterprise has posted a massive 57 percent increase in operating profit from R3.1 billion last year to R8.5 billion this year.

    Its revenue has also increased tremendously by seven percent to R26.3 Billion this year. This is as a result of reduction in operating expenses, which dropped by 9.9 percent to R17.9 Billion.

    Transnet Chief Executive Maria Ramos told the media here that the increase in operating profit and revenue wad due to the four-point turnaround strategy the group started applying a few years ago.

    "The growth in revenue, despite below inflation rate increases in tariffs, demonstrates that the improvement is a result of moving greater than three percent freight volumes.

    "And most importantly, the improvement shows that Transnet is inching closer to fulfilling its mandate from government, our shareholders, to demonstrably cut the cost of doing business in South Africa," said Ms Ramos.

    As part of selling its non-core operations, Transnet has sold about R82 million worth of shares that it held in mobile phone group MTN and M-Cell Trust. Ramos further indicated that the sales process for the V&A Waterfront Holdings was underway.

    "So is the call for bids for Freightdynamics as well as Viamax Holdings," she added.

    Highlights of annual results

  • Revenue up 7 percent to R26,3bn

  • Operating profit up R3,1bn to R8,5bn

  • Operating margins in continuing operations rose 47 percent to 32 percent

  • Equity attributable to the shareholder up 31 percent to R27,6bn

  • Gearing of continuing operations improves 24 percent to 47 percent

  • Cash flows from continuing operations increased by 28 percent

  • Transnet’s continuing operations

    Spoornet: focuses on the rail transportation of freight and containers
    Petronet: pumps and manages the storage of petroleum and gas products through its network of high-pressure, long distance pipelines
    National Port Authority: provides port infrastructure and marine-related services and manages port activities at South Africa’s ports
    South African Port Operations: manages 13 cargo terminal operations across six South African ports
    Transwerk: engineering and workshops
    Protekon: Civil engineering

    Mozambique Customs postpones scanning charges

    Dr Danilo Nala, Deputy Director General Internal Control of Mozambique Customs (Alfandegas) has reacted to recent criticism of proposed scanning charges at Mozambique’s border crossings. See our News Report Maputo Port boss slates proposed scanning charges dated 29 June

    “The Government of Mozambique signed a concession agreement with Kudumba, through Customs/ Ministry of Finance. Therefore, all actions forthcoming are regulated by the Agreement.

    “However, an ambient of good will reigns between the two institutions, which may allow Customs to propose possible changes if such is the case.

    “With regard to the display of the Customs symbol on documents from Kudumba it is incorrect. Kudumba signed a concession agreement with the Government of Mozambique for management of all the equipment for non-intrusive inspection nationwide. The contract was acknowledged by the administrative court.

    “The concession agreement requires Kudumba to install within the next years more scanners throughout other areas in the country, including the execution of civil construction works and other. In cases where Kudumba feel that they may not be able to charge for the services provided, they should produce sufficient revenue from other profitable operations in order to subsidise the installation of equipment in those areas.

    “The tariffs to be imposed were approved by Government and they are the lowest presented by the bidders for management of the scanner.

    “Customs is taking into consideration all complaints from interested parties and is willing to discuss directly with any group that may be established for that effect.
    Usually, Customs meet with CTA, with whom it has a good working relationship, but in this case CTA does not have sufficient representation to be the voice of the interested parties.

    “Therefore, it is proposed that the interested parties establish an ad-hoc group to discuss the issue with Customs, as was done on 12 June. It is proposed that the representatives submit alternative proposals that satisfy all interested parties instead of writing letters, which in some cases are offensive, or simply state that the inspection services should be carried out free of charge.

    “In principle, the announcement made by Kudumba to implement the inspection tariffs as of 1 July 2006 is valid as they are acting within their rights under the contract signed and approved by Government. However, Kudumba will not implement the tariffs without prior acceptance by Customs and all interested parties.

    “Therefore, the imposition of the tariffs is postponed until further notice. Kudumba’s tariffs will come into force after Customs has met with the group representing all interested parties followed by deliberation of the CSTA – (Customs Superior Technical Committee constituted by about 30 people).

    Note that Customs are interested in the continuous participation to eliminate trade barriers and promote development of the national economy.”

    Safmarine Agulhas discharge continues

    At 08:30 this morning, the removal of containerised deck cargo with respect to the grounded container ship Safmarine Agulhas began, with a specialised crane (capable of lifting some 33 tonnes at the required reach) lifting the first container off of the casualty and onto the breakwater.

    Under current operational conditions, the teams aboard the vessel and on the breakwater are able to lift seven containers an hour off of the Safmarine Agulhas and this operation is proceeding well in favourable weather conditions. Containers removed from the casualty are being transported by road to a secure area in the Port of East London.

    The Safmarine Agulhas ran aground shortly after exiting the Port of East London on the night of Monday 26th June and is aground approximately five metres off of the Western Breakwater.

    To date approximately 200 tonnes of fuel have been pumped from the Safmarine Agulhas into rail tank cars located on the Western Breakwater. The vessel had a total of 662 tonnes of heavy fuel oil on board prior to the fuel removal operation commencing and this operation is proceeding well.

    - source SMIT Salvage : read SMIT Salvage’s full report which can be found in the SMIT Amandla Marine profile page on Ports & Ships – see the main menu.

    Lesotho: Textiles no longer hanging by a thread

    Johannesburg, 3 Jul 2006 (IRIN/PLUSNEWS) - Lesotho's single largest employer, the textile industry, has made a remarkable comeback, setting an example for the region and giving thousands back their jobs.

    "All the factories that were closed have been reopened - the number of jobs that had shrunk from just over 50,000 to below 40,000 have now climbed back to around 47,000," Andy Salm, Regional Textile and Apparel Specialist at ComMark Trust, an NGO that monitors the industry in Southern Africa, told IRIN.

    Lesotho was an early victim of cheap Chinese exports to the key US market when the World Trade Organisation's 30-year old Multi-Fiber Agreement (MFA) expired in 2005. The MFA was established to protect smaller textile industries in developing countries by insulating them from Chinese competition.

    But the industry was now "significantly picking up and a lot more orders are now being placed in Lesotho again", Salm said. One of the reasons large retailers and brands have returned to Lesotho is that the "government has been working hard to become a destination of ethical choice, and this has started to pay off."

    "We have seen a strong increase of demand from the US and more recently from Europe," said Bahlakoana Shaw Lebakae, deputy secretary-general of the Lesotho Clothing and Allied Workers Union.

    Tiny Lesotho has even grabbed the attention of U2 rock band singer and global campaigner, Bono, who launched a new labeling scheme in January, known as 'Product Red', to generate durable funding from top commercial brands and consumers to fight HIV/AIDS in developing countries. Bono recently visited Lesotho's textile industry.

    With commitments from brands such as Levis, GAP Inc and Nike, and consumer-consciousness in the US and Europe on the rise, Lebakae had "high hopes that orders will continue to come into Lesotho".

    Salm cited the Apparel Lesotho Alliance to Fight AIDS (ALAFA) as an example of a broader move to enhance the industry's growing reputation as a socially responsible source of clothing for famous brands, commenting that ALAFA aimed to fight HIV/AIDS in Lesotho's garment industry, and "these brands like looking after their employees".

    Lebakae said Lesotho was also benefiting from the MFA forum, a network of companies, trade unions, NGOs and international institutions working to mitigate the negative impact of the MFA phase-out: "Lesotho and Bangladesh are part of an ethical trade agreement through an MFA forum pilot programme that aims to attract large brands and retailers to source in Lesotho."

    According to Salm, the industry's revival could not be attributed to a change in consumer consciousness alone, and noted when comparing Lesotho to other countries in the region that there were "a number of lessons learned", which others might want to consider.

    One of the key factors was that "the cost of employment is much lower than in other countries, such as South Africa," he said, where the textile industry was in dire straits.

    "Companies are showing increased interest in Lesotho because they appreciate the engagement of the government - the minister of trade and industry is very receptive to working with the industry and comes together with key players every two weeks to work out any issues that there might be. The government is very actively fighting to keep the industry and to grow it," he pointed out.

    Lesotho has also made concerted efforts to develop strong relationships with buyers and "clear bureaucratic red tape," a significant contribution to turning around the industry.

    But Lebakae cautioned that with "100 percent of the textile industry foreign owned." mostly by Asian investors who were struggling to compete with mainland China, there was room for improvement. Lesotho had welcomed foreign textile industry investors when officials thought the African Growth and Opportunity act (AGOA), which granted duty-free access to the lucrative US market, would give the country a chance of establishing a sustainable a textile industry. "But they [foreign investors] all left," Lebakae said.

    However, Salm expected foreign investment to stay: "around 95 percent of Lesotho's textiles go to the US, and there is new interest in Lesotho as anticipation grows that AGOA [due to expire in 2007] will be extended."

    "It's early days, but it is clear that these influences have brought big brands to Lesotho, and the there is a lot of trickle-down: the freight industry, the transport industry and everything around the textile industry will benefit - 17 million US dollars is paid to textile workers a year," Salm said. "This cash is feeding people."

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

    Dormac completes cofferdam repair to Setsuyo Star

    Dormac says it has successfully completed another cofferdam repair to a ship in False Bay – the Capesize Setsuyo Star which limped into Cape Town earlier with damaged shell plating.

    The vessel was taken to the relative safety of False Bay where repairs could be carried out in sheltered waters.

    According to Dormac the ship experienced detachment or tripping of a number of frames which caused panting of the side shell.

    ”A cofferdam was used to carry out repairs to a minor crack in the side shell. This was done after suitable strength had been restored to the shell.”

    Dormac said its Cape Town branch was experiencing significant growth with increased numbers of clients

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