Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 23, 2006
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  • Private sector challenged over readiness for SA growth

  • Uganda Mombasa cargo decreases

  • Radebe appeals to fishing industry over safety

  • Coega calls for industry support

  • African countries urged to trade amongst each other

  • Somalia: War of words over Islamic Courts’ role

  • Mozambique cops nab Nacala saboteurs

  • Picture of the day

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    Private sector challenged over readiness for SA growth

    by Oupa Segalwe, BuaNews

    Johannesburg - A senior government official has questioned the private sector's readiness to make the most of the opportunities that arose and provide materials needed as South Africa continues to develop.

    Head of Policy Co-ordination and Advisory Services within the Presidency Joel Netshitenzhe questioned, amongst others, whether the private sector had what it takes to meet the demand for material in the infrastructure boom expected in the country.

    "We all know about the infrastructure investment that has been decided upon and the opportunities that derive from this for the private sector. The question that arises is whether the private sector is geared for these opportunities," Mr Netshitenzhe said.

    The former government spokesperson was addressing a Development Policy Research Unit (DRPU) and Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS) gala dinner on Thursday.

    Netshitenzhe highlighted the R400 billion in infrastructure investments to be made by government and state-owned enterprises over the next five years, as part of the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (AsgiSA).

    He said the reported shortage of cement in the country was one of the indicators of the lack of readiness on the part of the private sector to seize such opportunities.

    "We are informed that some of the cement companies are now manufacturing more paper bags because the demand of cement is more that they can provide.

    " ... and the paper bags are to be filled with cement imported from China because the private sector has not responded fast enough to the opportunities arising from this massive infrastructure programme," he said.

    Growth within the construction industry has reportedly seen the annual demand for cement increasing by 50 percent from 9.6 million tons in 2002 to an expected 13 million tons this financial year.

    The reported shortage led to fears that it may eventually affect the construction of stadiums ahead of the 2010 soccer world cup and the Gautrain.

    Keith Brebnor, chief executive of the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that one of the problems with business capacity in the private sector was that companies did not believe in working together.

    "Companies seldom collaborate for a project to enhance each other's capacity," Mr Brebnor told BuaNews on Friday.

    He said the private sector needed to plan ahead so that it could have the necessary capacity to take advantage of available opportunities.

    He said the local business sector was innovative, adding that he believed it had "what it takes to deliver."

    "They will call international partners if they have to."

    Brebnor also highlighted the issue of skills as a key challenge to delivery in the sector as "the skills pool was diminishing."

    On other issues, Mr Netshitendzhe said the country was realising the "Age of Hope" that President Thabo Mbeki spoke of when he opened Parliament earlier this year.

    He said this could be seen in amongst others, the economic growth rate the country has realised.

    He said in 1994 the growth rate stood at 2.9 percent while it is now over 4 percent.

    Netshitendzhe also referred to the fact that the country had seen about 500,000 people getting employed over the last year.

    "There are many other indicators that one can refer to even in the current period to make an assertion that the Age of Hope continues," he said.

    Uganda Mombasa cargo decreases

    According to Kenya Ports Authority MD Abdallah Mwaruwa, transit cargo for Uganda at the port of Mombasa dropped by six percent over the past half year. This is the first time in a number of years that cargo levels for Uganda had shown a decrease.

    Addressing a function in Kampala last week, Mwaruwa said transit cargo had dropped from 1,433,400 tonnes to 1,343,099 tonnes during the six months ending June this year as compared with the same period in 2005.

    During all of 2005 the port handled 2.7mt of cargo for Uganda, he revealed, which was an increase on the 2.2mt handled in 2004. There had been a steady increase over the years with figures of 1.9mt in 2003, 1.7mt in 2002 and 1.6mt in 2001.

    On average Uganda drew 75 percent of all cargo destined for the Great Lakes area through the port of Mombasa.

    KPA board chairman Joseph KIbwana warned that a tariff review was being undertaken for the first time in ten years, which he said would be shared with port users in order to find the way forward.

    One of the challenges facing the port of Mombasa is containers that have overstayed their welcome at the port. Last month the KPA waived storage charges on containers to encourage importers to withdraw their containers from storage at the port but this has had little obvious success. On 1 October there were still 960 containers lying unclaimed at Mombasa

    The KPA had initially raised a charge of $ 25 a day per TEU surcharge on containers left in the port for more than 21 days

    - source The Monitor (Kampala)

    Radebe appeals to fishing industry over safety

    “The greatest challenge facing the fishing vessel industry is the safety of the personnel, infrastructure and equipment such as vessels, said Minister of Transport Jeff Radebe, in a speech read on his behalf at last week’s Fishing Vessel Safety Indaba held at the Waterfront in Cape Town

    “Our economy is calling for sustainable investment in infrastructure, human resources and efficient transport services that safeguards lives and economic growth. The maritime industry is not an exception to this sustainability.”

    Radebe pointed out that in 2005, 25 fishermen lost their lives at sea in 12 separate incidents and between 1996 and 2005 about 269 fishermen lost their lives at sea.

    “Whilst every business involves a degree of risk to life, the fishing industry is highly exposed to immense risks everyday. Those who ply their trade in this environment are continuously exposed to high and rough tides that have a potential of serious injuries or even the loss of life, skills limitations as well as poor state of infrastructure to do business.”

    Radebe said these were realities that the fishing industry, communities, government and other stakeholders must address if the fishing industry is to remain sustainable and an economic backbone of some coastal communities as well as a key contributor to the economy.

    “In spite of these challenges, the fishing industry remains determined to continue their trade and such, their working conditions must be improved.”

    He said he hoped that after (last week’s) fishing vessel safety indaba, the fishing community will re-visit safety issues with more determination to alleviate the high loss of life from South Africa’s fishing vessels and the hardship suffered by the families of its fisher-folk.

    “The training, employment and empowerment of our previously disadvantaged people are very serious concerns. Without these, there can be no equity or growth in the maritime industry.”

    Coega calls for industry support

    The Coega Development Corporation says it is looking for firms to host 470 learners enrolled in its electrical and mechanical engineering learnership programme.

    ‘The CDC has embarked on a number of internship and learnership programmes in anticipation of an increase in skills demand which may catch the region off-guard due to an expected increase in economic activity around the Coega Project and the Nelson Mandela Metro’s vision 2020 programme,’ said the CDC in a statement.

    ‘Over the next four years, the CDC will enroll 3000 learners for training in electrical and mechanical engineering and other related fields which have been identified from the type of investment projects in the CDC’s investment pipeline. The process forms part of government programme for addressing skills development under the Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA).

    ‘A number of local employers have committed to host 430 out of the 900 learners the CDC aims to enroll in the current financial year. Three hundred and ten of these are in mechanical engineering and related fields, against a corporate target of 600. Out of the targeted 300 learners for the electrical sector during the current financial year, a total of 118 has already been secured.
    ‘The CDC is looking for employers who can provide workplace experience to the learners in the fields of mechanical engineering and related sectors as well as electrical sectors. These include fitting, boiler-making, machining, welding and rigging, as well as electrical contracting, transmission, distribution, generation and instrumentation.

    ‘The employers will play the role of supervising the learner in areas of the company that give the learner exposure to the areas they are developing skills in; mentoring the learner to acquire and apply the skills; as well as giving learners the first hand experience of what it is like to work in an industrial environment.’

    The benefit of being involved in the Coega Learnership Programme was outlined by Alan van Heerden of High Tech Automotive saying “It’s a good and a much quicker way to identify, recruit and retain talent.” The company “is considering hiring some of the 11 NQF Level Two Fabrication learners which have been with the company this year”. The company will increase its intake of learners to 15 when the current ones finish their programme.

    ‘There is little learnership administration by the employers as the training providers are responsible for managing the learning process and the CDC is responsible for project managing the learnership requirements, including learner disbursements and the contracting with employers, training providers and the Sector Education Training Authorities.

    ‘According to Duncan Grenfell, CDC Project Manager responsible for planning the learnership programme, “the benefit for the employer is that they have an additional pair of hands, at no cost and where the learning is managed effectively, learners can contribute to increasing output of the company. The employer may wish to employ the learner once the learner has qualified. The goal is to increase the skills base of the Nelson Mandela Bay to meeting its economic development programme”.

    African countries urged to trade amongst each other

    by Thapelo Sakoana, BuaNews

    Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa says African countries need to trade goods and services effectively among themselves in a bid to succeed in the global economy.

    "We must trade more with ourselves as Africans if we are to trade more effectively with the world," he told delegates attending the African Business Leaders Forum in Johannesburg on Thursday.

    The Premier said countries should develop economic infrastructure such as the integrated transport system to allow citizens work or do business within the continent.

    He acknowledged that efforts were already taken to create an environment for governments to work with the private sector to bring about economic recovery and stability in the continent.

    "Through public-private partnership, the private sector business leaders need to examine the role they can play to speed-up the provision of infrastructure.

    "The challenge is to integrate transport to enable our people to work and do business in different parts of the continent without undue delays," he said.

    Shilowa said there was also a need to improve logistics in order to allow convenient movements of goods from the continent to local international markets.

    He noted that it was important for the continent to look for talent and skills among its people for it to be competitive in the global economy.

    "This means our human resources strategies must be based on a clear understanding of the kind of skills we need to compete today and the skills that will keep us on the competitive edge 20 years from today," he said.

    Another element that hampered economic growth was lack of support to small businesses, he said.

    "In the climate of continuing agricultural protectionism by the developed world, small businesses can play a decisive role in the recovery of agriculture on the continent.

    "Because of their low overhead expenses, small businesses can energise a productive African agricultural sector," said Shilowa.

    The Premier said there was a need to determine the support that could be offered to ordinary farmers while ensuring that the have land to farm on.

    He said crime levels also ought to be reduced to protect citizens and create a good climate for economic prosperity.

    "We have made good progress to achieve reduced conflicts and wars on the continent but there are pockets of instability which are not good for economic growth," he remarked.

    The event was attended by the former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda and the Minister of Education in Ghana, Yaw Osafa Maafo and other dignitaries.

    Somalia: War of words over Islamic Courts’ role

    Nairobi, 20 Oct 2006 (IRIN) - An international forum trying to reconcile rival political groups in Somalia has urged the Islamic movement to refrain from further expanding its authority by military means and instead engage the transitional government in dialogue.

    The Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) took control of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, in early June and has since extended its authority in much of southern and central Somalia, challenging the authority of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), which was set up in 2004 in a bid to restore law and order after 13 years without a national government.

    The International Contact Group on Somalia (ICG), which met in Nairobi on Thursday, expressed concern over what it called "threats of militarisation of Somalia" and deplored violations of agreements reached during reconciliation talks in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, between the UIC and the TFG.

    The two parties had, during the talks mediated by the League of Arab States, agreed to unite their forces and reconstitute the Somali national army and the national police force.

    A third round of talks between the two groups is scheduled for Khartoum on 30 October and the ICG - which comprises Britain, Italy, Kenya, Norway, Sweden, Tanzania, the United States, the African Union, the European Union, the League of Arab States, the United Nations, as well as eastern Africa's Intergovernmental Authority on Development - strongly urged both parties to attend the meeting.

    "The security framework to be agreed under Khartoum III should include operational provisions for military disengagement and demobilisation," the ICG said in a communiqué.

    Despite calls for dialogue, however, Somalia's interim president, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, launched a scathing criticism of the UIC, saying its armed forces were led by a "jihadist wing ... under the banner of the black flag of the Taliban" and claimed that it was attempting to make Somalia a "safe [haven] for terrorism".

    Yusuf urged the international community to help his government counter the threat posed by the Islamic movement and warned that his administration would have no choice but "to defend not only [ourselves but] also to liberate the masses under the ICU’s [UIC] oppressive occupation".

    The UIC for its part dismissed Yusuf's allegations as "beneath contempt".

    Ibrahim Hassan Adow, the head of the Foreign Affairs Department, who led the UIC delegation to the talks, told IRIN that although they were disappointed "we were not surprised by it. It is a desperate attempt by a desperate man to garner sympathy and support."

    Adow said such "malicious statements will not contribute to the reconciliation process. It is the same old cheap propaganda that our enemies have been propagating."

    He said the international community should send observers "to see for themselves what is happening on the ground instead of depending on false and cheap propaganda".

    Adow said, "Our aim has been and still is to restore law and order in our country."

    Speaking to reporters after the ICG meeting, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Fraser also criticised the UIC, saying its continued expansion was in contravention of agreements reached in Khartoum. She said the TFG needed to be supported as the "legitimate mechanism for governance" in Somalia to prevent terrorists, who, she claimed, were already "residing" in the country, from entrenching themselves there.

    Kenya's foreign minister, Raphael Tuju, said there was need for humanitarian help for the people of Somalia. "We believe that the international response to the problem in Somalia must put the issue of humanitarian intervention at the top of the agenda," he said.

    The ICG also said it was committed to responding to the humanitarian needs of the people in that country.

    Rivalry between the TFG and the UIC has heightened tensions in Somalia in recent months, forcing thousands of people to flee to Kenya.

    An estimated 34,000 Somali refugees have arrived in Kenya since the beginning of 2006, with a dramatic rise in the number of newcomers in the past two months. About 130,000 Somali refugees have been living in the Dadaab area of eastern Kenya since 1991.

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

    Mozambique cops nab Nacala saboteurs

    Mozambique police have arrested eight people in the northern province of Nampula who they suspect of having sabotaged the railway between the port of Nacala and Malawi.

    The Nacala railway has a long history of disruption and damage due to theft of sections of rail, sleepers and metal fastenings. The eight arrested last week all came from the Meconta district where many of the acts of sabotage have occurred.

    In the past whole containers of stolen rail parts have been recovered before they were exported to India and other destinations. The theft has been widespread through Mozambique but mostly affected the Nacala railway.

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

    The 46,878-DWT Shell tanker Haminea in the Durban entrance channel in 2005. A sister vessel Haustrum called at Durban last week. Picture Terry Hutson

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