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Oct 4, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Durban port will close for geotechnical drilling

  • Reliable air travel a vital part of African development

  • Bulk fuel terminal planned for Dar es Salaam

  • Call to protect container ships from terrorist exploitation

  • Puntland arrests traffickers and deports migrants

  • Picture of the day

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    Durban port will close for geotechnical drilling

    The port of Durban will be closed to all traffic on three occasions during prescribed hours to enable geotechnical drilling to take place in the entrance channel.

    Subject to suitable weather, the port will close to incoming and outgoing ships on the nights of 14/15 October, 21/22 October and 28/29 October, between the hours of 17:00 and 07:00 on two of the occasions and between 17:00 and 09:00 on the other date.

    According to the National Ports Authority the actual times can only be set on the days of drilling. The NPA has promised to advise of any changes to this schedule.

    The drilling is in connection with the planned widening of the entrance channel by an additional 100m. The channel and other channels within the port will also be dredged deeper to correspond with the requirements of larger ships calling at the port.

    Preliminary drilling has already begun at the end of the northern breakwater, signalling the start of the project after several years of talk and planning. A new sub-aqueous tunnel across the channel is currently under construction by municipal contractors, which will replace an existing service tunnel used to carry water pipes and electrical cables across to the Bluff.

    Reliable air travel a vital part of African development

    Corporate conference focuses on Africa's infrastructure

    by Bruce Greenberg
    Washington File Staff Writer

    Washington - Air transportation is an essential element of sub-Saharan Africa's infrastructure, U.S. aviation official Susan McDermott said last week. "The competitive edge" in international trade will go to those nations that have safe and efficient air transportation, she said.

    McDermott, who is the US deputy assistant secretary of transportation for aviation and international affairs, addressed the Corporate Council on Africa’s first infrastructure conference, held just outside Washington on 27 – 29 September. Her audience included visiting African politicians, government and business representatives and the media.

    Stressing the importance of air travel in a region of the world that has sharp contrasts in geography and climate, McDermott said no other means of transportation can so effectively bridge Africa’s great distances.

    Air transportation brings people and groups of nations together, ties regional markets with international ones, and conquers distance and time, she said. "Medium, small and developing markets are now part of the world network of buyers and sellers and this worldwide economic network called 'globalization' is powered by transportation."

    The conference also addressed related issues contributing to the strengthening of Africa’s national and regional infrastructures, such as good road, rail, bridge and water transportation systems; telecommunications; dependable electrical power; and good public sanitation systems.

    Speakers discussed the significant impact of telecommunications, particularly mobile communications, on Africa’s populations and on the continent's economic growth. Currently, 200 million people in Africa are connected by mobile telephones, with more than 82 percent of all Africans using mobile phones -- the highest percentage of any continent.

    Participants stressed the effect of wireless and broadband Internet networks in Africa, and their effect on the future growth of telecommunications on the continent.
    Michelle O’Neill, the US deputy under secretary of commerce for international trade, said her agency is working with the Office of the US Trade Representative to provide investment protections, government procurement help and technical assistance to African governments interested in enhancing their telecom infrastructures.

    Ambassador John J Danilovich, chief executive officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the US government agency that aids qualifying developing countries that demonstrate good governance and economic freedom, said in the keynote address that opened the conference that he recognizes the "transformative impact of infrastructure in Africa."

    "For many African nations," he said, "issues such as poverty reduction and economic growth include the lack of infrastructure. These countries … are recognizing that addressing infrastructure impediments is the most effective way to stimulate poverty reduction and economic growth.

    "Whether it is constructing or improving ports, bridges, roads, water, sanitation and irrigation systems, MCC-eligible countries are turning to us to fund infrastructure projects, and of the nine compacts signed to date with MCC, four are with the African countries of Benin, Cape Verde, Madagascar and Ghana."

    He added that MCC is hoping to make final one additional African compact in the current year. Of the 22 nations now eligible, 12 are in Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ghana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Senegal and Tanzania.

    Danilovich said that although infrastructure projects often are underfunded on the continent, MCC is committing more than half of its total $ 3 billion in aid to sub-Saharan Africa.

    "Our approach toward infrastructure development confirms my first point," he said. "We recognize its transformative impact in Africa."

    The Washington-based Corporate Council on Africa, established in 1993, is a nonpartisan organisation dedicated to strengthening commercial relationships between the United States and Africa.

    (The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

    Bulk fuel terminal planned for Dar es Salaam

    A TSh 11.65 Billion liquid bulk storage terminal is to be built at the port of Dar es Salaam for the MGS Group, a subsidiary of Dubai-based Mogas International.

    The new terminal will become the largest in Tanzania and will handle transit fuel – petrol, diesel and kerosene - for neighbouring East African countries – Zambia, DRC, Malawi, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.

    Construction is due to begin this month and is expected to be completed for handover next September. Financing to the value of US $ 5.25 is coming from the Development Bank of South Africa. The new terminal will be erected in the Kurasini Industrial area of Dar es Salaam and will have a strategic fuel reserve capacity of 28,000 cubic metres. Servicing of the terminal will come via the Tazara railway.

    Mogal is already in operation in Tanzania where it blends lubricants under licence to BP South Africa.

    "Tanzania's impressive growth rates in recent years have led to a significant increase in the demand for energy, a demand which must be met if private sector led growth is to continue reducing poverty, and improving the lives of ordinary Tanzanians," said Mr Solomon Asamoah, head of international finance at DBSA.

    Call to protect container ships from terrorist exploitation

    More than 30 high-risk shipments halted

    by Jacquelyn S. Porth
    Washington File Security Affairs Writer

    Washington – A State Department terrorism expert says the United States must work with its international partners to reduce the risk that terrorists will use container ships to carry weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

    Thomas Lehrman, director of the State Department’s Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism, said terrorists constantly are adapting to existing defenses.

    Previously, an airplane might have been a weapon of choice against civilians, he said, but the next time the terrorists “may seek to slip a weapon of mass destruction into a container ship headed for one of our ports and then onto the streets of our cities,” he said at a Maritime Security Expo in New York on 20 September.
    For this reason, Lehrman stressed, international coordination among specialists in weapons design, transportation and international finance is needed to prevent illegal shipments of WMD.

    Because terrorists’ access to chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological weapons poses such a grave threat, he said, the United States is determined to work with foreign government and private-sector partners to strengthen “national and collective defenses against this pre-eminent threat.”

    Defending the United States and its international partners against a potential covert nuclear or biological terrorist attack presents many operational and technical challenges, he said. “Since we cannot afford to fail in this mission, we must embrace a strategic approach capable of reducing this risk to its absolute minimum,” Lehrman said.

    The official discussed how the United States and its partners must develop “a layered defense-in-depth” because no single layer, or capability, can provide enough protection against “a determined and adaptable terrorist adversary.”

    Public-Private partnerships are key

    Lehrman emphasized the importance of public-private partnerships in an era when more than 90 percent of global trade in goods is transported in containers through the maritime supply chain, making ports and related infrastructure “an inviting target.”

    The ability to detect illicit and terrorist activity quickly is critical if governments are to “accelerate the appropriate enforcement response,” he said, inviting private-sector entities to come up with new ways to protect the maritime supply chain.

    Illicit WMD traffickers such as AQ Khan have used the maritime supply chain to transport WMD materials and delivery systems, he said, making the Proliferation Security Initiative an important effort to confront this threat. With more than 75 nations supporting PSI, Lehrman said more than 30 high-risk shipments have been stopped, including centrifuge parts en route to Libya.

    The official also called for more research and development of technologies that can help secure maritime supply chains and facilitate “real-time sharing of information among and between international partners.” Thwarting the next terrorist attack might well depend on rapid information-sharing with foreign government and/or private-sector partners, he said.

    (The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

    Puntland arrests traffickers and deports migrants

    Nairobi, 3 October 2006 (IRIN): Authorities in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland, northeastern Somalia, have begun a campaign to detain and repatriate would-be migrants waiting to be smuggled into Yemen and the Gulf states, Puntland's deputy police chief said on Tuesday.

    "As of today, we have repatriated 236 migrants to their homes in Ethiopia and southern Somalia," said Col. Abdiaziz Sa'id Ga'amey, who leads a special unit to deal with migrants.

    He said at least 81 migrants, "who were trying to board boats" to Yemen, had been arrested and charged in court. "They have been sentenced to be deported." Those arrested included Ethiopian and Somali nationals.

    Ga'amey said the Puntland government had issued a decree that "any boats or vehicles caught carrying migrants will be confiscated".

    "They (the authorities) are going after the traffickers' properties. They want to hurt them economically," said Abdinasir Mire Aden, of the Bosaso-based Radio Midnimo.
    Abdinasir said the police had confiscated six trucks and buses caught "carrying suspected migrants".

    Ga'amey said the crackdown coincided with the beginning of the sailing season (September to March) when traffickers usually send would-be migrants to Yemen.
    Traffickers make most of the arrangements, such as collecting fees and making deals with the boat owners in Bosaso, the commercial capital of the region, and send the people to the coastal villages of Marer, 10 km south, and Qaw to the west of Bosaso, to be picked up. The traffickers charge up to US $ 50 a person, which could take more than a year to raise, he said.

    In search of security, refuge from persecution or improved economic conditions, many Ethiopians and Somalis set sail from Puntland, trying to reach the Middle East or beyond. Since 2005, hundreds of migrants have died trying to reach Yemen, often packed like sardines in boats that can barely withstand the weather conditions in the high seas.

    Ga'amey said Puntland was determined to stop its territory being used as a transit point for human trafficking. "We will continue this campaign until we have sent every migrant back to their homes."

    He said his forces would keep up the pressure on the traffickers and had already arrested seven, "who have been taken to court, convicted and are serving jail terms of one to two years".

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

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

    Sunset over Richards Bay as the wood chips carrier Ryu Yoh prepares to sail from the port. Picture courtesy NPA

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