Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jul 6, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Another week before next attempt at refloating Safmarine Agulhas

  • Ocean Africa adds additional ship to West Coast service

  • Mombasa to get new container terminal

  • Spoornet scores most from Transnet investment

  • SA companies hope to break into West African markets

    EMAIL: jhughes@hugheship.com
    WEB SITE: www.hugheship.com

    Another week before next attempt at refloating Safmarine Agulhas

    It will be at least a week before there’s another attempt at pulling the grounded container ship Safmarine Agulhas into deep water.

    The vessel lost power while sailing from East London last Monday evening (26 June) bound for Durban and, powerless, drifted down towards the harbour’s western breakwater before being grounded on a sandbank. Since then the ship has shifted closer against the breakwater but the salvage tug Smit Amandla has since arrived on the scene and is holding the vessel clear of the rocks by a few metres.

    Meantime the 550t mobile crane, brought by road from Gauteng, has gone to work and is lifting containers from the ship at an average rate of seven an hour. At the same time the ship, which has recovered the use of its engines is pumping fuel oil ashore into rail wagons.

    The intention now is to lighten the ship as much as possible and then on next week’s sprig high tides an attempt will be made to pull the vessel clear. Salvors hope the spring tides will be accompanied by strong swells to further assist the operation.

    The ship is reported to have developed several leaks and a number of small compartments are flooded. This is not considered as being too serious at this time but is being monitored closely. The ship has also lost its bulbous bow. No pollution into the sea has been reported but the Department of Environmental Affairs has several vessels and an aircraft on station to monitor this closely. The safety of the environment is being regarded as paramount in this salvage operation.

    Meanwhile the owners of the vessel, FA Vinnen have declared general average with the cargo owners and insurers having to share the financial liability of the salvage operation including the recovery of the cargo. A German average adjuster is expected to be appointed for this task.

    Ocean Africa adds additional ship to West Coast service

    Durban-based Ocean Africa Container Lines has added another ship to its South Africa – West Africa service, the 10,736-gt container vessel Peter Rickmers.

    The ship, owned and managed by Rickmers Reederei of Hamburg has been taken on charter to Ocean Africa, which is a joint venture between the Grindrod Group and Safmarine. Peter Rickmers will be deployed between Durban and Luanda.

    This marks an additional vessel on the service. Scheduling to West Africa is known to be difficult especially because of delays at Luanda and the additional vessel may not be indicative only of increasing trade on this route.

    The vessel is currently in the Durban graving dock undergoing a routine maintenance during which she will revert to her original name from Zim Mexico III under which the ship has operated since 2000.

    Ocean Africa operates a fleet of about nine ships on two strings – the East Coast service from Durban to East African ports, and the West Coast service between Durban and South African ports as far as Luanda or occasionally ports north of Angola on inducement.

    Mombasa to get new container terminal

    The port of Mombasa is to get a new container terminal as part of a 25-year Port Master Plan. The terminal will be constructed with the assistance of funding from Japan and a team of Japanese consultants are expected in the Kenyan port in a fortnight’s time.

    Congestion at the Mombasa container terminal has become critical and the Kenya Ports Authority is expected to come under increased pressure later this year once expected efficiencies introduced by the privatised Rift Valley Railway begin to be felt.

    Some of the current congestion at the port has been blamed on poor rail services but other factors influencing uncleared cargo are also responsible. The port currently handles almost 12 million tonnes of cargo annually and the container terminal is handling well beyond its designed capacity.

    There is also a possibility that the new terminal will be concessioned as soon as it is completed, possibly to a Japanese operator. No timetable for the project has been announced.

    Mombasa port has undergone a recent reinvestment with new tugs and pilot cutters, four new shoreside gantry container cranes, 12 rubber tyred gantries and two rail mounted gantries. There is however still a need to invest in new locomotives and rolling stock for use in the harbour.

    - source The Nation

    Spoornet scores most from Transnet investment

    Transnet to spend R64.5b on core businesses

    By Sello Tang - BuaNews

    Johannesburg - Transnet has committed R64.5 billion to be spent on core businesses over the next five years.

    This comes in the backdrop of this year's sound financial performance posted by all Transnet subsidiaries. The state-owned transport company has posted a massive 57 percent increase in operating profit from R3.1 billion last year to R8.5 billion this year.

    The government's freight enterprise has set aside R6.3 billion for South African Ports Operations (SAPO), R4.9 billion for Petronet, R2.6 billion for Transwerk, while R18.6 billion will go to the National Ports Authority (NPA).

    Spoornet will receive a bigger chunk of R31.5 billion.

    Much of the spending on Transnet's budget would be channelled towards maintenance and upgrading activities in various subsidiary structures, said Transnet Chief Executive Maria Ramos.

    Ramos said that her group was planning to beef-up Spoornet services, indicating that they would order extra locomotives in the five-year plan.

    "We treat service delivery to our clients as a very important component of our daily activities," she said, urging that a lot of work should be put in this regard to keep clients satisfied.

    As part of its four-point turnaround strategy, the group has finalised its "Port and Rail Master Plan".

    The four-point turnaround strategy of the group includes lowering the cost of doing business by improving on corporate governance and risk management, re-engineer its business, human capital development and restructuring the balance sheet.

    Ramos noted that this plan was imperative to the group's future growth.

    Regarding its turnaround strategy on human capital development, the group has completed its medium term capacity-building and skilling programme.

    "We have also introduced a new reward and performance management system and the roll out has begun," she said.

    Regarding the fund to be channelled to NPA for upgrading and expansion, Durban would receive R8.7 billion, while Cape Town was allocated R3.9 billion, Ngqura R2.5 billion and Richards Bay R1.4 billion. (The money for Ngqura will be used to extend the new container terminal from two to four berths and to purchase container handling equipment including cranes and straddle carriers ahead of a 2008 deadline when the port is due to open – P&S)

    "We also are in tough negotiations with our future suppliers in line with our Vulindlela project," said Ramos, adding she hoped that their efforts would deliver significant improvement in the group's efficiency, cost reduction and customers' service.

    The sales of non-core operations of the group were also confirmed to be well on track, with the first transaction of selling shares worth 82 million in MTN and M-Cell already concluded.

    Other non-core operations up for sale include V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, Freightdynamics, Viamax, VAE Perway and Autopay.

    Processes are also underway to transfer the South African Airways (SAA) to the Department of Public Enterprises.

    "The challenge ahead now is to ensure that we sustain the performance so that Transnet delivers a reliable service to all its customers; an acceptable economic return to its shareholders; and is sustainable and a choice employer," said Ramos.

    SA companies hope to break into West African markets

    According to a SABC news broadcast, South African companies hope to score with new markets in West Africa, following the signing of a trade agreement in Guinea and the strengthening of trade relations with Niger.

    The agreements follow a short visit to West Africa by South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki. Several South African parastatals are also expected to take advantage of the opportunities being presented.

    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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