Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 19, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Ambitious plans to increase Maputo Corridor traffic

  • NPA confirms intention of developing container terminal at Richards Bay

  • New FPSO for Nigeria

  • Check out these chicks!

  • Bad news for whales as Iceland resumes whaling

  • Picture of the day

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    Ambitious plans to increase Maputo Corridor traffic

    Spoornet and CFM, the Mozambique ports and rail company are jointly working towards increasing the flow of traffic along the Maputo Corridor, according to a report in the Maputo paper Noticias this week.

    The article says that the port of Maputo is losing a potential 7 million tonnes of cargo each year to South African ports, mainly to Durban, despite Maputo being the closest port to businesses on Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Gauteng Provinces. It quotes the director of the southern branch of CFM (CFM-Sul), Joaquim Zucule as saying that there are many South African companies who are prepared to import and export through Maputo harbour because of cost savings.

    Currently the Ressano Garcia line, which runs from South Africa directly to Maputo, is carrying a total of 1.3 million tonnes of cargo each year but has a capacity to carry 18mt. CFM is engaged in rehabilitating the line to handle increased volumes and it is hoped to see traffic increase to 2.5mt by the end of this year.

    Under the current setup Spoornet is responsible for rail traffic as far as the Mozambique border at Komatipoort/Ressano Garcia, after which CFM-Sul takes over. Spoornet was awarded a concession to operate the railway inside Mozambique as far as the port of Maputo but the deal was later cancelled by CFM for what it said was non-performance by Spoornet. It is thought that Transnet, the parent body of Spoornet had developed second thoughts about the project and wanted out, and as a result little progress was made causing the whole project to founder.

    CFM is now stabilising the line inside Mozambique, which suffered from neglect and the effects of a long civil war. The entire servitude on either side of the track has been declared cleared of landmines and is safe for traffic and by the end of this year CFM hopes to have 22 trains a week hauling coal, another 12 carrying magnetite (an iron ore) and another 7 with general freight. If it can achieve this the line would be carrying between 3.5 and 4mt a year, well on its way towards the target of an additional 7mt annually.

    However there are potential stumbling blocks. One of these is the ability of Spoornet to provide the crew, locomotives and wagons necessary for this traffic – Spoornet has embarked on a massive programme of rebuilding its rolling stock fleet but this will take several years to complete.

    For its part CFM is rebuilding its own loco and wagon fleet and hopes to be in a position by March next year where it can send its own locomotive and wagons into South Africa to fetch cargo. Five South African companies have placed bids for the contract to rehabilitate the CFM wagons.

    Zucule said CFM-Sul has been approached by clients who want to export chrome, granite, maize and cement among other commodities through the port of Maputo.

    One of the other stumbling blocks not mentioned in the article is that of the double border crossing at Komatipoort/Ressano Garcia, where bottlenecks frequently occur. Plans have been drawn up to circumvent this area of delay but the best laid plans still have to face one of Africa’s perennial problems – over zealous bureaucracy.

    - source Noticias / AIM with P&S input

    NPA confirms intention of developing container terminal at Richards Bay

    The National Ports Authority is likely to build a large container terminal at Richards Bay to help alleviate some of the pressure on the port of Durban.

    This was reiterated at a coal conference this week by Nisha Jones, GM for Trade, Logistics and Corporate Affairs for the NPA. She told delegates to the Institute for International Research coal conference that this formed part of the overall Port Master Plan.

    Jones reiterated what the Durban port manager Mr Basil Ndlovu told Ports & Ships in a recent interview, that Richards Bay would become a safety valve for the ever expanding container growth at Durban. So too for that matter would the port of Ngqura, where a four-berth container terminal is all but ready for business but only expects its first ship in 2008.

    Ndlovu said that Durban would first be expanded into the Bayhead region where additional berths and container terminal stacking areas could be developed, but once that was fully utilised other solutions would have to be found. Both Richards Bay and Ngqura offered some of these solutions but need to be developed concurrently with expansion in Durban.

    Ports & Ships will publish the full interview with Basil Ndlovu in the near future.

    New FPSO for Nigeria

    Maritime Global Net reports that Bergesen Worldwide Offshore will be providing the FPSO (Floating Production Storage & Off-loading vessel) BW Endeavour Peak to Petroleum Industries Nigeria and Equator for service at the Bilabri Field in Block OML 122 off the coast of Nigeria.

    The FPSO is to be renamed BW Peace and is going to the site on a three-year contract with an option built in for a further 10 years. The Bilbari Field is due to commence operations during the second half of next year.

    Check out these chicks!

    No, we’re not referring to Dormac’s latest calendar and now that we have your attention, please read the following press release issued yesterday by SANCCOB.

    SANCCOB to save orphaned chicks

    SANCCOB admitted 401 orphaned African penguin chicks yesterday afternoon (Tuesday) from Dyer Island, and another 50 - 70 chicks are expected later this week.

    The chicks, aged between hatchlings and 2 months old, were abandoned by their parents. The parents began to moult (lose their old feathers and get new feathers) while they still had dependent young. Once the moulting process begins, the parents are not waterproof, cannot fish and therefore cannot feed their chicks. Ultimately, the chicks would not have survived dehydration and starvation if they had not been rescued by SANCCOB.

    The penguin chicks were collected yesterday by staff on Dyer Island and SANCCOB staff. The chicks will be hand-reared by SANCCOB staff and volunteers until they are old enough to be released back into the wild (up to 3 months). The African penguin population is continuing to decline, which makes each individual chick very precious to our efforts to conserve this already vulnerable species.

    The cost of rearing the chicks will be in the region of R750,000. Members of the public can help SANCCOB to save the orphaned chicks by making a donation towards SANCCOB's "Rescue Campaign" (details on www.sanccob.co.za or +27 021-557-6155 - Monique).

    Bad news for whales as Iceland resumes whaling

    This wasn’t planned to be a bulletin of conservation issues; it’s just the way the news panned out on an otherwise quiet day.

    On Tuesday Iceland announced it intends resuming commercial whaling, becoming the second country after Norway to openly pursue the hunting and killing of whales.

    The decision is expected to raise protests from all corners of the world.

    According to the communiqué from Iceland’s fisheries ministry, the country’s whalers have been authorized to hunt 30 minke whales and nine fin whales each year from between 1 September 2006 and 31 August 2007. In other words it is already open season.

    Both species are on the endangered list - there are said to be about 70,000 minke whales and nearly 26,000 fin whales in the North Atlantic ocean.

    Meat processed from the whales is to be exported

    Picture of the day
    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    MSC Daniela, deployed on the South Africa – India service, passes the Bluff and enters Durban harbour. Picture Terry Hutson

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