Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 7, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Coega plans for expansion

  • Durban’s busiest berth gets a boost

  • Economic growth may fall to 4.8 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • AFRICA: Worst hit by global warming, least prepared to tackle climate change - experts

  • Picture of the day

  • Ports & Ships has introduced a new column called The Shipping World which will carry comment and analysis, as well as a collection of interesting facts, figures and explanations about shipping and transport in general and of the people who make it tick. In fact anything that influences the Shipping World. The topics will not be news as such, more the background to the news.
    The column can also be utilised to highlight companies that have made their mark in this industry, or who do things differently from the rest. Get in touch with us if you have an interesting story to tell or a success to share. Contact us at info@ports.co.za

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

    Coega plans for expansion

    According to a report in the EP Herald, Transnet has completed feasibility studies into expanding the as yet incomplete port of Ngqura (Coega) northeast of Port Elizabeth. Environmental approval for the additions will now be sought.

    The plan calls for the container terminal to be doubled in size and capacity, with an additional two berths built along an extended quay wall totalling 1300m. The adjacent area would then be developed for container stacking, basically doubling the capacity of the new terminal.

    The port of Ngqura is expected to open for business sometime in 2008. The original layout and design of the port allows for two container berths, two berths for dry bulk cargo and a single liquid bulk berth. Approval has also been sought for a small craft basin for up to three tugs and a pilot cutter plus other harbour craft as required. The tug basin was left off the original design, for budget reasons so it is believed. The new proposal calls for a tug basin situated at the base of the Eastern breakwater.

    Given the interest that has been expressed in Ngqura as a container port it makes good sense to extend the container facilities despite no ship having yet entered the port. However it also reflects the lack of purpose and somewhat muddled thinking at the time of the port’s design when the developers including government seemed of the opinion that an anchor tenant requiring dry bulk facilities would quickly be found. Little or no thought was then given to container handling – this proposal came from the shipping company P&O Nedlloyd at a later stage.

    Durban’s busiest berth gets a boost

    SA Bulk Terminals’ (SABT) new ships mechanical unloader was officially commissioned into service yesterday (Monday) by Brian Joffe, chief executive of Bidvest, the parent company of Bidfreight Port Operations and SA Bulk Terminals. The new machine, costing a total of R45 million to acquire and install was assembled and commissioned over a period of several months and is now positioned astride Maydon Wharf 5 where it is already having a huge effect on productivity.

    Click image to enlarge. Picture Terry Hutson

    The Buhler mechanical unloader is capable of discharging a ship at a rate of 800 tonnes per hour and together with a second older ship unloader SABT is able to discharge cargo from ships at a rate of about 20,000 tonnes a day, compared with between 5,000 and 6,000t a day previously.

    This means much less time on a berth for ships and a consequent saving to shippers of up to 30 percent. At yesterday’s function SABT’s managing director Koos Smith said that ships are currently occupying berth 5 at Maydon Wharf for an average of 26 days a month. As a result of the new investment this is expected to reduce to about ten days.

    The Swiss-designed Buhler unloader was chosen for its durability, low energy consumption, ability to handle dusty products such as fertiliser and soda ash and fragile cargoes such as rice and malt. At 800 tonnes an hour this is the fastest unloader for grains in Africa.

    Smith said the new machine had been adapted to SABT requirements to improve weight distribution on the quayside, increase the winch lifting capacity to 15 tonnes and to provide video feed to the operator’s cabin to facilitate discharging operations.

    Maydon Wharf 5, operated almost exclusively by SA Bulk Terminals is already the busiest berth in terms of volume of any in Durban harbour.

    “This is the most significant development in the bulk handling of grains in South Africa since the building of the Maydon Wharf 5 terminal in 1976 and the upgrading of our Island View 3 terminal in 1993,” said Smith.

    Economic growth may fall to 4.8 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa

    by Thapelo Sakoana, BuaNews

    Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is expected to decline slightly from 5.6 percent in 2005 to 4.8 percent in 2006, according to a report released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday.

    Tabling the report of the region's economic outlook, IMF's director for Africa department Abdoulaye Bio-Tchan, said the per capita growth was expected to slow from 3.7 percent in 2005 to 2.8 percent this year.

    "For oil exporters, there are temporary constraints on expanding oil production; and South Africa's expected decline to potential growth explains much of the slowdown for the oil-importing group," he said.

    He said the impact of high petroleum prices on importers had been mitigated by rising export prices for non-fuel commodities in many countries.

    The report revealed that the per capita growth for 2006 was expected to slow from 3.7 percent in 2005 to 2.8 percent, "even further below the five percent needed to reach the income Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)."

    It mentioned that while the region had a "few success stories" regarding progress towards the MDGs, most countries were not on track to meet the majority of the goals.

    Cameroon, Ethiopia, Senegal, South Africa and Swaziland are considered to be "well positioned" to meet the income poverty goal.

    The report highlighted the possibility of inflation dropping from 8.2 percent in 2005 to 6.9 percent in sub-Saharan Africa - excluding Zimbabwe - this year.

    "Inflation in oil-exporting countries has been above the SSA average in the past, reflecting the difficulties some of these countries, especially Angola and Nigeria, have faced in sterilising rising inflows of oil revenue," said the report.

    For the whole region, the report added that the inflationary impact of higher oil prices was contained by "prudent macro-economic policy."

    Import demand from advanced economies is expected to strengthen this year.

    With the continued rise in oil and other commodity prices, exporters of both oil and non-fuel commodities are expected to experience an aggregate improvement in terms of trade.

    "So far in 2006 the real exchange rates of oil exporters with flexible exchange rates have appreciated sharply, largely driven by the stronger currencies of Nigeria and Angola; those of oil importers have appreciated somewhat from the 2005 level and have been relatively stable over the past six months," said the report.

    However, the report acknowledged that a number of SSA textile exporters came under pressure as the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) phased out textile quotas.

    In this regard, the value of exports to the US markets declined by 17 percent in 2005 and a further 22 percent in the first quarter of 2006.

    "A similar loss was observed for 2005 in the EU market, but the loss in the first quarter was moderate."

    Although the US and the EU have again imposed extensive quotas on Chinese exports, the report urged that SSA textile exporters should continue strengthening their competitiveness.

    Rising commodity prices and comprehensive debt relief have ignited private interest in investing in the SSA.

    At about 22 billion US Dollars, direct investment continues to be the largest source of private capital inflows into the region.

    While South Africa and the oil-exporting countries still attracted about 80 percent of the inflows into the region, the report said direct investment in the entire SSA had been increasing steadily.

    In 2006 is projected to reach 4.1 billion US Dollars of which 1.2 billion US Dollars would go to landlocked countries.

    "Direct investment is South Africa is lower than in comparable emerging market countries because of impediments in the labour market, the impact of HIV and AIDS and infrastructure deficiencies," said the report.

    AFRICA: Worst hit by global warming, least prepared to tackle climate change - experts

    Nairobi, 5 Nov 2006 (IRIN) - Africa is the continent most affected by global warming, but is the least prepared to tackle the causes of climate change, experts said on Sunday ahead of a major international environment conference.

    International action to reduce the effects of global warming should include helping improve Africa's climate change monitoring capacity, Achim Steiner, executive director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), told a news conference in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

    "The countries on the continent can better tailor their response in areas from agriculture to health care, and international donors can better understand Africa's needs now, and in the future," Steiner said.

    Rising sea levels could destroy an estimated 30 percent of Africa's coastal infrastructure, according to a new UN report on the impact of climate change on the continent. Coastal settlements in the Gulf of Guinea, Senegal, Gambia and Egypt could be flooded, according to the report produced by the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

    By 2080, global warming could lead to a 5 percent fall in the production of food crops, such as sorghum in Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Zambia; maize in Ghana; millet in Sudan; and groundnuts in Gambia.

    Climate change could also lead to natural disasters in the form of severe droughts and devastating floods that would threaten the lives of Africa’s 812 million inhabitants, the report added.

    Ironically, however, Africa produces the least amount of the greenhouse gases blamed for climate change.

    Other major concerns include the problem of water shortages, which could affect up to 480 million people. The report claims that between 25 percent and 40 percent of natural habitats in Africa could be lost by 2085.

    "Part of the action, part of the adaptation response, and part of this responsibility to Africa, must include significant improvements in Africa's climate and weather monitoring capabilities," Steiner said.

    An estimated 25 percent of global climate observation stations in East and Southern Africa are not functioning, while most of the remaining facilities are working in a less than an optimum manner, the UNFCCC report said.

    "Africa is the largest of all tropical landmasses and, at 30 million square km, is about a fifth of the world's total land area. Yet the climate observing system in Africa is in a far worse and deteriorating state than that of any other continent," Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organisation, said in a statement.

    "There are also major impacts in highly elevated areas like Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro whose glaciers, ice caps and run-off are important for water supplies. Overall it is estimated that Africa needs 200 automatic weather stations, a major effort to rescue historical data, and improved training and capacity building on climate and weather reporting," he added.

    The UN Climate Change Conference will coincide with the second session of the Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty committing signatories to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    More than 6,000 delegates from around the world are expected in Nairobi for the 6-17 November conference.

    (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

    The French Navy patrol ship FNS Nivose, just ahead of going on to the floating dock at Durban. Picture Terry Hutson

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