Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 21, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Transnet gears up to spend big

  • New Angolan import regulations

  • Barging in for repairs

  • Namibian trawler on the rocks

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

    Transnet gears up to spend big

    Transnet, the rail and port transport company, says it will spend R64.5 Billion on new infrastructure within the next five years.

    This is considerably higher than Transnet’s initial estimate issued in 2004 for infrastructure spending.

    The company, having disposed of rail commuter trains and South African Airways to other government departments, and which is now busy with selling off certain other so-called non-core assets, intends investing the largest share on railways – R34.1 Bn in an effort to get the rail organisation back on track as a viable alternative to road transport.

    Spoornet, the rail company has already announced the ordering of 110 new electric locomotives from a consortium headed by Japan’s Mitsui and Company African Rail Solutions (Mars) and including South Africa’s Union Carriage (UCW). The locos will cost R3.5 Bn over five years and will go into service on the Richards Bay coal line. Half of the contract will be executed in South Africa, creating 1500 jobs.

    Spoornet will also invest heavily in rolling stock such as new wagons for ore traffic as well as general freight and auto trains. Transnet says it wants Spoornet to increase its total freight capacity by between 20 and 25 percent within the five years.

    Part of this will result from planned increases in coal and iron ore exports from the ports of Richards Bay and Saldanha respectively, but Spoornet also hopes to win back some of the general freight it has lost in recent years to road transport. Independent sources say that the important KZN mainline between the port of Durban and Gauteng – South Africa’s busiest rail route – is currently under-utilised and has approximately 65 percent spare capacity,

    A spokesman for the RailRoad Association says the line currently carries 23 trains a day compared with its 120 train a day capacity.

    Transnet intends also investing heavily in the ports, at Saldanha to increase iron ore capacity and at Richards Bay where a 19Mt increase in exports has been announced. SA Port Operations has placed large orders for container handling equipment for the ports of Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Coega as well as bulk handling equipment for Richards Bay. The first shiploader in this programme arrived at Richards Bay this past week.

    The National Ports Authority (NPA), which performs a landlord function at the ports and is also responsible for the marine services has already announced a number of improvements at the various ports, with a new berth under construction for the Richards Bay Coal Terminal, the possible development of the 600 series berths at Richards Bay to handle containers, the widening of the Durban port entrance where planning is advanced, ongoing maintenance work at Island View berths in Durban, and the planned extension of Cape Town Container Terminal.

    The NPA is also finalising the construction of a new port at Ngqura (Coega) in the Eastern Cape which is expected to handle its first ship in 2008 and the NPA may be expected to announce shortly the awarding of a tender for the construction of two Voith Schneider propulsion tugs for either Ngqura or Durban.

    Also on the NPA’s books is the takeover of Salisbury Island from the military and its conversion as a motor vehicle terminal to be operated by SAPO. This is set for a 2009 start-up and is being driven by the rapid increase in imports and exports of motor vehicles via Durban. SAPO has had to take over additional space at the Point, and is now making use of two of the new deep water berths F and G in addition to the normal car terminal berth at R. These will remain temporary measures until the move to Salisbury Island is accomplished.

    New Angolan import regulations

    New regulations stipulating that all goods entering the Angolan market must be labeled in Portuguese comes into effect following the installation of the country’s new pre-departure inspection regime.

    According to a Business Africa report a quantity of goods must be submitted before dispatch to Angola for inspection to verify the price, quality, quantity, technical, commercial and sanitary characteristics.

    In addition companies wishing to carry out the pre-departure inspection of goods intended for Angola must have a permanent office in the country, along with technical and administrative capacity to carry out the inspections as required. These premises must be licensed by the Angolan finance ministry.

    Products on the list requiring pre-departure inspection include second-hand vehicles as well as other land vehicles, used engines and accessories, live animals, meat, fish, milk and dairy products, live plants, seeds, fruit, cereals, sugar, alcoholic drinks, tobacco, chemical and pharmaceutical products and toys.

    Barging in for repairs

    It hasn’t been easy to notice but the Durban graving dock has been concealing a large barge this past week, snug and secure within the outer dock – the graving dock consists of two chambers and the inner dock is currently occupied by the NPA dredger Piper. Hidden away within the outer dock was the Chinese barge Sealink Pacific 101, or SP101 as it is referred to on the port ship movement charts.

    Tug CPC Soave in Durban harbour – click image to enlarge. Picture Terry Hutson

    The barge had been towed to Durban by its attendant Kenyan tug CPC Soave to undergo repairs to its hull and skeg. This is a keel-like projection placed underneath the stern of a vessel which is designed to offer protection in the event of the vessel running aground while in reverse, which is presumably what actually happened because the starboard skeg required considerable repair.

    The barge Sealink Pacific 101 shortly after exiting the Durban graving dock, where repairs to her skeg and other areas were carried out. Click image to enlarge. Picture Terry Hutson

    Altogether something like 18 tonnes of steel was replaced on the barge, including a number of small areas damaged through normal wear and tear, making it quite a finicky job by all accounts.

    Of special interest on the barge are braced steel plates that have been added to create higher sides to the barge for the conveying of coal along the East African coast. This work was done previously in Maputo by an associate of the company in Durban that handled the current contract, Bayhead Marine Engineering.

    The barge exited the dry dock late last week in the company of two harbour tugs and a marine pilot and was later berthed at Maydon Wharf 12, prior to the return trip to East Africa with a cargo loading stop at Richards Bay scheduled.

    Bayhead Marine Engineering can be contacted at 072 833 9604.

    Namibian trawler on the rocks

    The Namibian trawler Kolmanskop which went aground on the coast near Swakopmund last week remains high and dry on a rocky perch.

    The fishing vessel was ripped from its mooring within Walvis Bay port limits by strong winds on Tuesday evening and later drifted some 40km north towards Swakopmund before going aground at Vierkantklip, according to The Namibian (newspaper).

    After an initial attempt to remove the Kolmanskop from the rocks salvors have turned their attention to removing fuel oil and other contaminants from the vessel. According to the newspaper report there was no sign of any pollution at the start of the weekend. The vessel had been decommissioned and was out of service for over 18 months, lessening the likelihood of there being much fuel on board. Salvors have managed to go on board from the land side however and will attempt to pump ashore any remaining oils.

    - source The Namibian

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