Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 17, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Coega smelter deal to be signed and sealed in a week - report

  • SA Navy’s news subs to be classified by Germanischer Lloyd

  • Africans Explore Business Partnerships for Regional Transport Networks

  • Iran denies sending arms to Somalia

  • DRC: Kabila wins presidential election

  • Notice Board: ABX Turners

  • KZN jobs to boom from R1 billion in investments

  • Picture of the day

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    Coega smelter deal to be signed and sealed in a week - report

    A deal between Canadian aluminium manufacturer and the Coega Development Corporation to build a multi billion rand smelter at Coega has been finally concluded and will be formally signed and sealed in a week’s time.

    Sources told Ports & Ships yesterday that the contracts will be signed next Friday 24 November, bringing to a conclusion talks that began nearly five years ago with French manufacturer Pechiney and which were close to being concluded when Alcan bought out the French company.

    At that point everything went back into the melting pot, as Alcan had several other proposals for smelters in other parts of the world to consider.

    The agreement will also mark a major turning point in the embattled new port of Ngqura which until now has lacked an anchor tenant capable of justifying the enormous expense of building a new port only 20km from Port Elizabeth. A common accusation has been that the port and adjacent industrial development zone, which so far had failed to attract any really meaningful industry, was purely a political exercise based on government’s efforts at job creation in a job scarce region.

    Government will now say that the decision has been fully justified and will also claim that the smelter will kick start industrial growth in the Eastern Cape.

    Based on the experience of three other smelters at Richards Bay and Maputo, these claims will have considerable merit and the Coega smelter can be expected to provide between 5,000 and 6,000 new jobs. Equally important it will bring imports (alumina) and exports (aluminium ingots) to the new port although the number of ships necessary for both imports and exports will by itself not be sufficient to consider the project as a stand alone success for the port - at least not in the same way that the coal terminal at Richards Bay and the iron ore at Saldanha (70 million and 28 million tonnes respectively) have done.

    Nevertheless it is a good start and could act as a catalyst for other industries to follow the way to the Eastern Cape. The deal has however come at a price – Alcan’s share of the project is not more that 30 percent with the balance is being taken up largely by government-backed bodies and local investors. Construction is expected to commence in 2008.

    The deal became feasible a few days ago with the signing of an agreement between Alcan and South Africa’s electricity utility Eskom to provide electricity to fire up the smelter – more energy than it used by the entire Port Elizabeth region. Ports & Ships understands that Eskom will provide the energy on a ‘subsidised’ basis at least for an initial period - the project is being referred to as ‘developmental’.

    SA Navy’s news subs to be classified by Germanischer Lloyd

    Hamburg, 15 November 2006 – The South African navy has commissioned Germanischer Lloyd (GL) with the classification of its three Type 209 submarines. The order includes the inspection of the construction plans as well as annual technical safety checks. This makes Germanischer Lloyd the first classification society worldwide to be entrusted with the technical support of military submarines.

    The conventional class 209 submarines of type 1400 MOD are part of a comprehensive programme to modernise the South African navy. The vessels were constructed by the German Submarine Consortium, consisting of Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft AG (HDW), Kiel, Nordseewerke GmbH (NSWE), Emden, and MAN Ferrostaal AG, Essen. The first submarine (S101) constructed in Kiel was delivered in March 2006. The second vessel is just about to go into service, while the third is still under construction. The state-of-the-art diesel-electric submarines are approx. 62 m in length.

    Germanischer Lloyd will check the hull design drawings, the engine and electrical equipment on the basis of in-house construction regulations for military vessels. In February 2005, the regulations for classifying navy vessels were expanded for military submarines. GL already published guidelines for the classification and construction of submarines back in the seventies. In drafting the up-dated procedures, GL also drew upon experience gained in the course of rendering technical support and advisory services for 25 navies over the past thirty years.

    In classifying newly constructed submarines, GL’s services include the inspection of construction drawings, materials, joining, drive engineering and systems technology, as well as supervision of construction and testing. GL also tests and certifies fuel cells and other AIP systems (Air Independent Propulsion Systems).

    The South African submarines will be given the classification 100 N 6 Submarine. The drives will be classified as MC U. The first technical inspections are scheduled for the spring of 2007. After that the 6-year classification period will commence. The inspections by technical experts, which are standard for international merchant ships, are a tried and tested means of identifying and remedying safety-relevant defects. In the past three decades, GL has provided technical support for more than 300 marine vessels both in Germany and abroad.

    German shipyards are leaders in the field of conventional submarine construction. Already in the middle of the 19th century first submarines were developed. Today, German constructions belong to the safest and best conventional submarines worldwide. The development of the first working AIP systems in the eighties was a revolution. Thus, the danger to be discovered by hostile forces could be minimised considerably.

    Energy without the use of external air can be extracted from fuel cells. Here, the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen is used to gain electrical direct current. Fuel cells are embedded in hybrid-electric power plants, consisting of fuel cells, diesel generators and accumulators. The German submarine classes U212A and U214 are the first vessels ever to have used such a system. Generally, modern German submarines stand out for their minor structure-borne and airborne sounds, a small number of revolutions, a small construction volume, small weight, a high level of shock resistance and optimised hydrodynamics.

    - Germanischer Lloyd

    Africans Explore Business Partnerships for Regional Transport Networks

    Despite the pessimism in global trade talks, trade in services in Africa is growing fast. African exports of commercial services jumped 46 percent in two years, according to the World Trade Organization. Between 2003 and 2005, exports rose from $ 39 billion to $ 57 billion for transport, travel, business, professional and other services.

    Taking advantage of this growth trend, service sector associations representing thousands of firms from 12 African countries met this week with South African construction, transportation and financial services firms. The event, ‘Bridges Across Borders’, took place in Centurion, South Africa from 13 to 15 November.

    Exports of services contribute directly to job creation and development, and these sectors offer tremendous new export potential. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol in Transport, now being implemented, shows the potential for growth, with ten transport corridors underway in the region.

    The International Trade Centre (ITC), a Geneva-based UN agency, conducted surveys in the 12 countries showing that construction, transportation and financial services all have good potential for regional cooperation and development. These are three of nine services sectors in the region that have well-established firms with export experience. This event focuses on these three sectors because of the partnership potential in building regional transport networks – firms can ‘bundle’ their services in bidding processes to make more competitive offers.

    For example, three South African firms have just linked up with a Namibian firm in a consortium to construct the Trans-Kalahari railway, valued at $ 1 billion, linking Botswana mineral reserves to Walvis Bay, Namibia.

    In partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa (the dti), ITC has convened the meeting to help African firms find new business partners in the region, build new opportunities for regional cooperation and development among service industry associations, and identify challenges affecting growth in trade in services.

    Participating countries are Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia.

    Trade in services is vital to economic growth in these countries. South Africa, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique and Mauritius all have service sectors that contribute 60 -70 percent of their overall gross domestic product; Botswana, Swaziland, Madagascar and Malawi have economies that are based roughly 50 percent on services.

    In South Africa, half of new small businesses are services providers, and services sectors now account for more than 70 percent of total employment nationally. Services industries account for almost all employment growth, and reflect the most consistent positive performance, according to recent economic indicators.

    Services are also the backbone to produce and deliver manufactured goods, yet the potential of services sectors, both in South Africa and on the continent, has been largely untapped. “Think of all the transportation corridors being developed around southern Africa,” says Emmanuel Barreto, ITC’s Senior Adviser on Trade in Services. “How do you make the corridors operational without transit and customs agents, freight forwarders and cargo operators?”

    Opening the event were Tshediso Matona, Director General of the dti; Remigius Makumbe, Executive Secretary of SADC; and Stephen Browne, Deputy Executive Director of ITC.

    “African companies have a tremendous opportunity to collaborate across borders to increase their export markets,” said Browne. “There are many large development projects taking place in the region that southern African services providers could participate in and benefit from as an entry into SADC markets.”

    Also attending were embassy representatives from the 12 countries, the United Nations Development Programme, the African Development Bank, and the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

    This wais the second ‘Bridges Across Borders’ event to be held in South Africa. In December 2005, the dti and ITC hosted an event that brought together 165 service sector associations from nine SADC countries, with 616 bilateral consultations between participants. Engineering firms from Zambia, Swaziland and South Africa have already created new business partnerships as a result of last year’s event.

    - International Trade Centre (Geneva)

    The International Trade Centre is the joint technical cooperation agency of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) for business aspects of trade development

    Iran denies sending arms to Somalia

    Iran says that media reports claiming that Iran was shipping arms to Somalia are unfounded.

    “These reports are in line with wishes of hostile enemies and are fabricated by the powers that provoke war and bloodshed by shipping arms and ammunition to the country," said foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini.

    The media reports accused both Iran and Syria of having shipped arms to Somalia to help strengthen the Islamic militias now asserting the influence of the central Union of Islamic Courts across much of the country.

    DRC: Kabila wins presidential election

    Kinshasa, 16 Nov 2006 (IRIN) - The Democratic Republic of Congo's Independent Electoral Commission has declared Joseph Kabila winner of a run-off presidential poll that marked the end of the country's three-year transition to democracy.

    The commission president, Apollinaire Malumalu, announced on state television that Kabila, the incumbent, had won 58.05 percent of the vote and his challenger, Jean-Pierre Bemba, 41.95 percent.

    Malumalu said 65.36 percent of the nation's 25.4 million registered voters had cast ballots.

    The results are provisional until endorsed by the Supreme Court. Before then, it must review a complaint filed by Bemba's supporters contesting the results. Bemba's supporters are grouped under a coalition calling itself the Union pour la nation. It claims that Bemba won 52.2 percent of the vote.

    In the capital Kinshasa, a Bemba stronghold, reaction to Kabila's victory has been subdued. United Nations and European Union troops are patrolling the streets to prevent possible civil disobedience.

    Just hours before the announcement of the results on Wednesday, Kabila called on the nation to remain calm. He also told citizens to prepare for the post-electoral period during which the war-shattered country will need to be rebuilt

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

    Notice Board: ABX Turners new appointment

    Philipp Buechler has been appointed route development manager of ABX Turners Shipping in South Africa.

    Buechler is involved with sourcing break bulk cargoes in the mining and engineering industries destined for Europe, USA and the Far East. He came to South Africa from Europe where he worked for ABX in Bremen, Barcelona, Valencia and the Canary Islands.

    ABX Turners is one of South Africa’s oldest shipping companies, having been founded in Durban in the 19th Century and is involved in clearing & forwarding and transport and warehouse logistics.

    KZN jobs to boom from R1 billion in investments

    by Chris Khumalo, BuaNews

    Durban - Hundreds of job opportunities are being created in KwaZulu-Natal, with close to R1 billion worth of investment deals for small, local enterprises at various stages of implementation.

    Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIK) is helping 14 businesses in the province to finalise the investment deals, the Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development heard during the Mid-Term Budget review.

    These were in the form of joint ventures and business linkages between small and big business and between foreign investors and local business, TIK Chief Executive Officer Zamo Gwala, told the committee in Pietermaritzburg, Wednesday.

    TIK is a provincial trade and investment promotion agency, established to promote the province as an investment destination.

    It also assists KwaZulu-Natal based companies to identify markets and to export their products.

    One such project is a prawn farming initiative in Amatikulu, which will receive R44 million worth of investment and create 85 jobs. The project is 100 per cent black-owned and managed.

    In Eshowe, a Belgian company is to invest R75 million into a plastic manufacturing venture which will create 100 jobs. This project is currently being finalised.

    Another plastic manufacturing project being finalised in Durban is a joint venture between an Indian company and a local one. The project is 50 per cent black owned and managed.

    A Chinese company is involved in a R150 million investment deal with a 40 percent black economic empowerment partner, to manufacture stadium seats.

    This company will create 50 jobs and it is hoped that these seats could be used in the new stadiums to be built ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, to be hosted by South Africa.

    In Balito, an eco-estate development project will receive R116 million worth of investment, an Estcourt winery will receive R32 million and an Empangeni mining plant will benefit from R38 million in investments.

    Delicate negotiations were also underway with energy giant Sasol for a bio-diesel processing plant in Newcastle to the tune of R400 million.

    Mr Gwala indicated that Sasol had shown interest in being a partner but wanted to move the plant to Sasolburg in the northern Free State.

    Other projects to be assisted with investment opportunities include aircraft manufacturing, wood shipping and pub stock recording technology.

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

    Looking down on Durban Bay and across the yacht marina in the foreground and the Durban Container Terminal in the middle distance, with the Bluff forming its usual backdrop in the distance. Picture Terry Hutson

    NB Pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – email to info@ports.co.za

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