Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 19, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Tanzania gives green light for private inland container depots

  • SA to strengthen trade ties with Singapore

  • SARS prepares tender for port scanners

  • Maersk looks ahead to 2010

  • Mombasa pairs with Tianjin

  • Pic of the day – SPRINGBOK

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    Tanzania gives green light for private inland container depots

    In a move which is hoped will alleviate some of the congestion in the port of Dar es Salaam Container Terminal, the East African newspaper reports that the Tanzania government has given the go-ahead for inland container depots (ICD) to be established by privately owned companies.

    The development of these ICD’s is intended to alleviate some of the congestion by providing facilities to which containers may be moved from out of the port container terminal into supervised depots. The Tanzania Revenue Authority, which will have authority over the depots, has issued guidelines for private freight operators in an effort of creating a streamlined efficient operation free of unnecessary controls.

    According to Tanzania’s Commissioner of Customs & Excise, George Lauwo, private operators will be required to deposit security bonds of no less the US $ 500,000 before receiving a license after which they will be able to move cargo from the port into the ICD where verification and documentation can be done.

    As with Customs Bond Stores elsewhere Tanzanian Customs will have the right to inspect depots at any time to verify that regulations are being followed. The ICD’s will be linked electronically to Customs’ automated system (ASYCUDA).

    It is hoped the move will lead to fewer controls and a smoother flow of goods from the port. It also means a relaxation of rules applying to imports destined for neighbouring countries such as Rwanda, Burundi, the DRC, Uganda, Malawi and Zambia. The DRC and Zambia which both export through Dar es Salaam but do not have ICDs could be among the first beneficiaries. Until recently, only freight agencies recognised by the state were allowed to use the ICDs.

    The report says that some private freight operators such as Tanzania Road Haulage and Malawi Cargo Centre have already entered into agreements with the DRC and Malawi respectively to handle these countries’ transit goods.

    Tanzania currently has four ICDs - two in Dar es Salaam which are managed by Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS) and another two in Kidatu in Morogoro and Isaka in Shinyanga.

    source – The East African

    SA to strengthen trade ties with Singapore

    by Lavinia Mahlangu, BuaNews - South Africa is to use the impending state visit by Singaporean President Sellapan Ramanathan, to strengthen ties with the Asian nation in trade and politics.

    President Thabo Mbeki, supported by Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, will host his Singaporean counterpart President Nathan in Pretoria today (Thursday).

    The visit between 18 and 26 April is an historic occasion, as it is the first state visit to South Africa by a Singaporean head of state.

    "This is a very important visit for South Africa since Singapore is an important member of the Indian Ocean Rim of which we are also part," Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad said at the department's regular briefing on Tuesday.

    "Singapore has also played a leading role in the formulation of the New Asia-Africa Strategic Partnership which was adopted in 2005 in Indonesia."

    The partnership explained the deputy minister, mandated all Asian and African countries to give expression to their political relations by expanding trade and economic relations.

    Pahad said as Singapore is a very important player in South East Asia, South Africa could learn from the experience of the nation which had, within a very short period of time, become a very successful economic story.

    "It also occupies a top position in terms of South Africa's total trade in the region and plays a major role within ASEAN which we believe could facilitate a broader free trade agreement between ASEAN and the Southern African Customs Union," said the deputy minister.

    Trade and investment between the two countries is growing.

    "We believe that while there are very impressive developments in this relationship, the scope for extending this relationship is much greater and we hope the business community will use this opportunity to investigate ways of strengthening this relationship," he said.

    While in South Africa, President Nathan is expected to meet with the Singaporean Business community based in South Africa.

    Coega visit

    by Dick Vashan (Ports & Ships)

    Singapore’s President Nathan will lay the foundation stone for the R1.1 Billion Straits Chemicals chlorine and desalination plant to be constructed in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), when he visits the IDZ and port on Monday (23 April).

    Straits Chemicals consists of a consortium of South African, Malaysian and Singaporean business interests and is one of the first major developments at the Coega IDZ, shich will produce chlorine, caustic soda and hydrochloric acid. Some of the chlorine plant’s production will be supplied to the planned ethylene dichloride plant at Coega.

    According to Straits Chemicals chief executive Eric Lim one of the motivating factors behind situating the plant at Coega is the availability of electricity at a low cost and the close proximity of the new port of Ngqura.

    Straits Chemicals expects to employ up to 250 people in permanent positions once the plant is in production.

    SARS prepares tender for port scanners

    SA Revenue Services hopes to finalise new tenders for the supply of scanners for the South African ports of entry before the end of 2007 after which it intends examining up to 10 percent of containers passing through the ports.

    Three companies are believed to have been shortlisted – Bonista Scanning, Safika-Smith, and Thibelo Scanning.

    This follows the much publicised cancellation of a R1.5 Billion tender last year which SARS considered to be too expensive. The original contracts allowed for the successful bidder to provide, maintain and operate the scanners at the ports of entry. Instead SARS believes it can do the job much cheaper (a saving of R1 Billion has been quoted) and intends training its own people to maintain and operate the equipment.

    In September last year SARS Commissioner Pravin Gordhan warned that SARS was not equipped to handle the additional administration and physical checking necessary to implement government policy. His comments related to reports that SARS would be forced to rely on China to do the policing of illegal textile exports to South Africa prior to the goods leaving Chinese soil.

    He pointed out that SARS currently possessed a single scanner at South African ports – at the Durban Container Terminal.

    In neighbouring Mozambique there is still no finality over the dispute which arose after the Mozambique government appointed a private operator to supply and operate scanners at the ports, airports and other border crossings. The company immediately introduced scanning charges which met with anger and dismay among shippers and importers and exporters.

    The Mozambique Corridor Liaison Initiative (MCLI), which helps market the Maputo transport corridor as the preferred route for South African business in the Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Gauteng Provinces, described the measures introduced as having a catastrophic effect on further private investment in Mozambique and on the economy and employment within both South Africa and Mozambique.

    Ports & Ships understands the system is continuing to be applied but discussions between the affected parties are taking place.

    Maersk looks ahead to 2010

    Maersk Line is talking to South African industry to ensure that the country’s imports requirements ahead of the soccer world cup in 2010 are met.

    This emerged from an article published in Cape Business News yesterday (18 April) in which Mark Cairns, national sales manager in SA for the line said the company was gearing up to deliver large quantities of consumables during the soccer tournament and was also implementing steps to meet increased demand by business and consumers in South Africa. This could includes talking to project managers of South Africa’s major construction and infrastructure developments to plan for future needs - anything from building materials to electronic goods, he said.

    Cairns said that Maersk Line has recently improved its Asia – Southern Africa network to achieve better port coverage in greater China and reduce transit times. “The market out of China is enormous and growing,” he said, adding that a significant percentage of imports into South Africa are coming from the Far East. Products include automotive parts, electronic equipment, electrical appliances, textiles, toys and chemicals, among others.

    Growing potential for imports from the Middle East, particularly India, also resulted in increased port coverage by Maersk South Africa into middle-Eastern destinations last year. In another development to meet changing trends, Maersk has entered into a vessel-sharing agreement from Asia to South America. This service will call at South African ports on the return leg and will assist South African customers with their imports from this area. Meanwhile traditional trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic services are being reduced slightly in line with capacity decreases on these routes.

    There is an imbalance between South African imports and exports, particularly to Asia, and Cairns says hopes are high that more outbound containers will be filled as local beneficiation of commodities increases in Southern Africa.

    “The move by African governments to improve local beneficiation rather than exporting raw products obviously favours the container shipping industry.”

    South Africa’s exports of fresh produce and automotive components grew container volumes strongly for Maersk Line last year. Most of the country’s fresh fruit and vegetable exports are traditionally bound for Europe, but exports of perishables to India and other Middle Eastern countries are also growing, as is demand for automotive exports.

    Imports into South Africa grew by a similar margin last year, continuing to outweigh export volumes.

    Port congestion poses a challenge

    But it’s not all about capitalising on growing inter-continental exports, says Cairns. Maersk Line, along with its competitors, has to contend with increasingly severe port congestion issues across the globe and particularly in Africa. This poses serious difficulties in trying to balance client satisfaction with keeping the number of ships in circulation down to economical numbers.

    “Planning is crucial in offering our clients end to end solutions. There is no doubt that using our own assets to improve logistics is a better solution than relying on contractors, and to this end Maersk Line has made big investments in depots across the world. We have a fleet of owned vehicles and today we have 40 trucks daily travelling between Johannesburg and Durban. We are obviously very much in favour of the planned improvements to the South African rail system.”

    He says that the success of getting cargo from door to door safely and on time depends largely on getting the paperwork right. Maersk Line uses an extensive e-commerce product suite and preaches the benefits of electronic information sharing to its clients.

    Increasingly, environmental issues are driving the building and running of container vessels and have to be carefully balanced with the increasing demands of world trade. Speed, for example, must be balanced with safety and fuel usage. Super container ships with a nominal capacity of 11,000-TEU are now being built by Maersk’s ship builders for high demand routes. But, while this means more cargo on fewer ships and lower cost, it also requires enhanced landside infrastructure that is simply not available in many ports.

    Smarter ways of containerising are also constantly under review and Cairns says a lot of money is invested in R&D. For example, Maersk Line is currently working with several universities around the world on container solutions for cut flowers.

    This is much like avocados, a rare and expensive item when they had to be flown to Europe, but now more accessible with containerised refrigeration that allows the product to ripen while on the seas

    source – Cape Business News

    Mombasa pairs with Tianjin

    Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and the port of Tianjin in China have partnered (twinned) in an effort of improving trade and services between the two ports and respective countries.

    As a result of the twinning port studies are to be undertaken along with staff training and a general exchange of information.

    "The role of sea ports in facilitating and stimulating development cannot be underestimated. The ports of Mombasa and Tianjin have in this regard played pivotal roles in facilitating trade between the two countries," said Abdulla Mwaruwa, KPA’s managing director.

    Mombasa Container Terminal in recent years purchased container cranes from Zhenhua Port Machinery Company in China and increasing amounts of Chinese machinery and goods are entering East Africa. Chinese companies in Kenya already own several export processing zones in the East African country. Kenya’s main exports to China include tea, tobacco and fish but imports motor vehicle accessories, electronic goods, textiles and footwear with a balance of trade weighted in favour of China.

    In 2006 Mombasa handled 14.42 million tonnes of cargo and 417,000-TEU. By contrast Tianjin was ranked as China’s fifth largest port in 2005 when it handled 4.8 million TEUs.

    Pic of the day – SPRINGBOK

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The ill-fated SD14 freighter SPRINGBOK, seen at the ship repair jetty in Durban during late November 2002, just three months before the ship was badly damaged after being sliced almost in half by the gas tanker GAS ROMAN in the South China Seas.

    The impact of the collision left the Gas Roman speared through half of the width of the smaller ship at No.4 hold. Springbok was loaded with a cargo of sawn timber at the time and Gas Roman was carrying 44,000 tonnes of liquid gas, but miraculously neither ship sank, nor was there an explosion on the Gas Roman. There were even no injuries on either ship.

    The two ships remained fused together for several weeks and eventually drifted into calmer waters where cargo transfer took place. While they remained locked together neither ship was in danger of sinking. The sawn timber on the Springbok (intended for South Africa) was later transferred onto barges and after extensive shoring up and repair work separation took place and both ships were taken to port for repair. Springbok however was later considered too badly damaged and was scrapped. Picture Terry Hutson

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

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