Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 2, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Cape Town loses its bunker barge service

  • DAL KALAHARI to omit Durban call

  • SADC members on right track to attain FTA by 2008

  • SA's trade deficit for January up after slowing down in December

  • AU mission to Somalia will not impose peace - Museveni

  • Pic of the day – CRIMSON VENUS

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    Cape Town loses its bunker barge service

    Cape Town is without a bunker barging service at present after the KZN Oils barge PELICAN was taken out of service because it was found on inspection to be out of class.

    The barge has for several years provided the only barging service in the port, while at the same time the port’s pipelines have become less and less adequate to the task.

    The owners of PELICAN, Durban-based KZN Oils says it intends replacing the barge with a newbuild, but so far there’s been no confirmation that a contract for its construction has been signed. A new barge would take a little over a year to be built either locally or overseas. KZN Oils has been negotiating with local shipyards since the third quarter of last year but until recently no orders had been confirmed.

    The only barges known to be under construction for use in South African ports at present are a 5,000-tonne capacity barge for Smit Amandla Marine, which is to enter service in Durban, and two barges for Southern Tankers that are under construction in China. All three will be delivered by October 2007. It has not been confirmed where the two Southern Tanker barges will go into service although Durban and Richards Bay appear the most likely.

    Southern Tankers is a black economic empowered subsidiary of Durban-based Grindrod Group.

    In each case the time span for a new barge is about a year and unless PELICAN can receive sufficient repairs to have her returned to class it would appear that the port of Cape Town may have to continue to do without a barging service.

    DAL KALAHARI to omit Durban calls

    The SAECS container vessel DAL KALAHARI is to omit her Durban call on the next southbound voyage (703B, was scheduled for approx 11 April) to assist the ship getting back on schedule. This was announced yesterday by MOL South Africa, a member line of the South Africa Europe Container Service (SAECS).

    Yesterday’s statement says that DAL KALAHARI is expected to sail from Cape Town northbound four days behind schedule, as a result of delays experienced in Las Palmas Tenerife from a stevedore ‘go slow’ action and a berthing delay at Durban.

    “In order to get her back on schedule she will be omitting the port of Durban (the terminus turning point for this service) on her next southbound voyage, 703A/B.”

    The ship is currently expected in Durban on 4 March to complete the southbound leg of voyage 702B, with a departure on 5 March, arriving Cape Town 7 March and sailing again 9 March.

    Maersk Line’s container ship LARS MAERSK, also employed on the SAECS service, is now expected to sail from Cape Town 36 hours behind schedule and will omit her Las Palmas call on the current northbound voyage.

    LARS MAERSK sailing from Durban on a previous visit. Picture Terry Hutson

    DAL KALAHARI also omitted her Cape Town call on the southbound leg of the current voyage (see Ports & Ships News Bulletin for 27 February), proceeding directly to Port Elizabeth and thereafter Durban.

    SADC members on right track to attain FTA by 2008

    Gaborone, 1 March (BuaNews-NNN) - Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries are said to be on the right track in the implementation of the SADC protocol on trade to attain a free trade Area in 2008.

    Answering questions from journalists at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the SADC and the United States, SADC Director of Trade, Investment Finance and Industry Nokokure Murangi said most SADC countries had a mid-term review in 2004 and it emerged that they were [moving] in the right direction.

    "We are not behind time but ahead of it", he added.

    The MoU was signed by the SADC Executive Secretary Dr Tomaz Salomao and US Ambassador to Botswana Catharine Canavan, according to a report from the Botswana news agency BOPA.

    Dr Salomao, who commended the US government for the invaluable assistance it renders to the SADC region, said the MoU laid the groundwork for consultancy work that would effectively follow up on the first study.

    He said it would also look into the establishment of an effective and sustainable trade compliance monitoring mechanism for the SADC.

    Dr Salomao added that for a long time now the SADC did not have sufficient human and financial resources at its secretariat to constantly monitor the implementation of its trade, Customs and other programmes provided for under the trade protocol.

    "Through this MoU, we hope by the end of this year to be able to lay the groundwork for the setting up of a Monitoring and Information Unit and we will welcome outside assistance in realizing this goal which has always been identified as a priority by the SADC," he said.

    Ms Canavan said the US had a policy to engage with the African Union (AU), SADC and other African regional economic development bodies to enhance democracy, good governance, peace and security.

    Even though she could not state how much money the US would spend in assisting the SADC implement its Trade Protocol, Ms Canavan said her government was committed to seeing the SADC meeting its goals in developing its people.

    Ms Canavan said the MoU covered building capacity of the SADC Secretariat to facilitate the implementation of the protocol in preparation for the attainment of the SADC Free Trade Area in 2008.

    The US is committed to seeing the dream of the SADC to have a Free Trade protocol by 2008 becoming a reality, she added.

    The SADC Protocol on Trade came into force on Jan 25, 2000 and its implementation began on Sept 1 the same year. It is envisaged that by 2008, 85 per cent of intra-regional trade would be conducted at zero tariff rates.

    SA's trade deficit for January up after slowing down in December

    by Oupa Segalwe, BuaNews

    South Africa's trade deficit rose to R11.9 billion in January after its decrease to a surplus of R388 million in December 2006.

    Figures released by the South African Revenue Services (SARS) on Wednesday show that the country recorded exports of about R30.46 billion and imports of R42.39 billion, further painting a picture of an unbalanced trade.

    It means South Africa is still importing more than it is exporting, as imports increased by 17.2 percent compared to the month before while exports went down by 16.7 percent.

    SARS said the increase of the deficit is mainly as a result of a month-on-month increase in imports of machinery, mechanical appliances, electrical equipment, original vehicle equipment components of R3.7 billion and a reduction in exports of mineral products.

    The figures show that machinery, mechanical appliance and electrical equipment imports rose up to R1.9 billion, which is about a 20 percent increase when compared to the previous month.

    Original vehicle equipment accounted for R1.8 billion of the increase.

    However, SARS said, imports of textiles and articles decreased by R370 million (about 27 percent).

    The month-on-month change in exports of goods reflected a R2.8 billion (-48 percent) decrease in exports of mineral products, a R951 million (-13 percent) decrease in base metals and vehicles decreased by R921 million (-30 percent).

    Machinery, mechanical appliances and electrical equipment decreased by R771 million, which is about 22 percent.

    "Partly offsetting the effects were increases in exports which occurred in vegetable products which went up by R472 million (about 80 percent)," SARS said.

    In the world trade front, the trade deficit with Asia increased from R5.4 billion in December to R7.9 billion in January. Exports decreased R1.9 billion to R7.8 billion, while imports increased R597 million to R15.7 billion.

    The trade surplus with Europe reversed to a deficit of R4 billion in January from a surplus of R815 million in December.

    Exports decreased by R1.1 billion primarily on mineral products, base metals, machinery and mechanical appliance and vehicles to R11.8 billion, while imports increased by R3.7 billion primarily on machinery, mechanical and electrical appliances and original vehicle equipment components to R15.9 billion.

    Month-on-month the trade deficit with America increased from R758 million to R1.7 billion. Exports decreased from R411 million to R4.2 billion, while imports increased from R546 million to R5.9 billion.

    The trade surplus with Africa has reversed to a deficit of R316 million from surplus of R2.3 billion in December. Exports decreased by R1.4 million to R3.3 billion primarily on mineral products and machinery and mechanical appliances, while imports increased by R1.2 billion to R3.6 billion.

    On a year-on-year basis, imports have increased by R13 billion (45 percent) and exports increased by R8.9 billion (41 percent).

    The trade deficit for January 2007 was R11.9 billion when compared R7.7 billion recorded in 2006.

    AU mission to Somalia will not impose peace - Museveni

    Jinja, 1 March 2007 (IRIN) - The African Union (AU) peace mission due to be deployed in Somalia will not try to disarm armed groups in that country, but will instead train a Somali national army, Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni said on Thursday.

    "We are not going to disarm the Somali militias because if we empower the Somali people, it will be up to them to decide whether it is necessary to disarm," said Museveni as he bid farewell to the Ugandan army contingent that will serve in the force.

    "We don't want you to interfere with the affairs of Somalia. Your work is to teach," he told the soldiers, who are due to arrive in Somalia next week.

    Unconfirmed media reports in Somalia said an advance unit of Ugandan troops had already arrived there.

    A tank battalion is expected to leave by rail for the Kenyan port city of Mombasa from where they will travel by sea to Mogadishu, the Somali capital, according to the Ugandan army spokesman, Captain Paddy Ankunda. The Ugandan force will be commanded by Col Peter Elwelu.

    The 1,500 Ugandan soldiers will be part of an 8,000-strong force that the AU and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) are expected to deploy in Somalia to help the fledgling Transitional Federal Government (TFG) restore law and order.

    The AU force is expected to replace Ethiopian troops, who went into Somalia in December 2006 and helped the TFG defeat the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), whose forces had seized control of most of the country and were undermining the limited authority of the interim government set up in 2004.

    "We are not going to Somalia to impose peace on the Somali people, but to help empower them to rebuild their state and help them to rebuild their army. That is our line of responsibility," said Museveni.

    The Chief of Staff, Gen Aronda Nyakairima, cautioned the troops on the kinds of danger they were likely to encounter in Somalia.

    "Remnants of Islamic fundamentalists are still out there; warlords who are yet to integrate in the government are still there and freelance militias are still there," said Nyakairima. "Maintain good relations with other contingents that are coming in. Maintain a good relationship with the people of Somalia," he told the soldiers.

    Somalia has had no effective national government since the overthrow in 1991 of the regime headed by Muhammad Siyad Barre. The country plunged into factional bloodletting soon after the government was toppled as rival armed groups and warlords fought for power, resources and territory.

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

    Pic of the day – CRIMSON VENUS

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The 40,252-gt wood chip carrier CRIMSON VENUS moves slowly down the Esplanade Channel in the care of by two NPA harbour tugs, as beyond her a MSC container ship heads in the opposite direction towards the port entrance. The Panamanian-registered and ship proceeded to the wood chip terminal at Maydon Wharf 8 to load another cargo of wood chips destined for the Japanese paper mills.
    Incidentally this picture was taken from the piece of land in front of Wilson’s Wharf, easily accessible to the public and which for those with patience can produce good photographic opportunities, particularly in the mid to late afternoon. Picture Terry Hutson

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

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