Ports & Ships maritime news

Jul 2, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Mozambique businesses lash out at port scanning charges

  • DEAT calls an aquaculture roundtable for this week

  • Coastwatch: another ship missing off Somalia

  • Fred Olsen to lengthen BRAEMAR

  • International shipping briefs

  • Pic of the day – KOTA KAMIL

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

    Mozambique businesses lash out at port scanning charges

    A number of Mozambican business houses have joined shipping interests in urging the Mozambique government to revise its policy on raising fees on the scanning of containers and other cargo at the port of Maputo.

    The fees were initially imposed more than a year ago by a private company, Kudumba which holds the concession to operate the scanners at Mozambique entry ports on behalf of the Mozambique government (see Ports & Ships report dated 29 June 2006 -
    http://ports.co.za/news/article_2006_06_28_3647.html) and the row over fees being raised has simmered on since then. At the time the then chief executive of Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC), Peter Lowe called the charges ‘entirely unrealistic’ and unauthorised.

    “MPDC, CFM (the Mozambique transport parastatal) and the port users have met the Director General of Customs and the Minister of Transport and Communications to make it known to them that the proposed charges are ridiculous, unsustainable and are not imposed in any other port in the world and that if any tariffs are to be imposed it should only be after consultation with the port operators and users.

    However, one year later the Mozambique government has not moved to have the charges rescinded or adjusted and now, according to Mozambique news agency AIM, local businesses have added their voices urging government to at least reduce if not lift the charges for scanning.

    Brenda Horne, chief executive of the Maputo Corridor Liaison Initiative (MCLI) warned last year that the charges would make Maputo uncompetitive as a port for South African importers and exporters but again her warning appears to have fallen on deaf official ears.

    The managing director of one of Maputo’s port terminals told Ports & Ships earlier this year that the matter was under review by government and he expected a decision in the near future, but that was several months ago.

    According to the latest reports from Maputo Kudumba is continuing to charge for scanning regardless of whether or not the cargo is scanned. In a weekly newspaper (O Pais) an officer of the Confederation of Mozambican Business Associations described the scanners as a working tool or instrument of the customs service which he compared with computers in their offices. The costs of operating the scanners should therefore be borne by customs and not passed on to port users. He said the system was being used simply as a way of raising money and was dishonest. He pointed out that the scanners improved customs’ inspection capacity and reduced tax evasion, therefore alleviating the need to raise fees to pay for the machine.

    He said that there was also a lack of transparency over the contract existing between Kudumba and the Mozambique customs.

    Other port users warn that the system is causing Maputo to lose its competitive edge and is undoing all the hard work that has gone into convincing South African companies to channel their trade through Maputo.

    The fees initially proposed by Kudumba were

    Import containers $ 100
    Export containers $ 70
    Empty containers $ 20
    Transit containers $ 45
    Bulk cargo $ 2.50 a ton
    Airline passengers Regional & International $ 10 per passenger
    Airline passengers Domestic $ 5 per passenger

    DEAT calls an aquaculture roundtable for this week

    by Carol Moses

    The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) will be hosting a national stakeholder roundtable on Tuesday and Wednesday (3-4 July 2007) in Port Alfred, Eastern Cape to discuss a revised draft marine aquaculture policy before gazetting it.

    The roundtable follows the publishing of the second draft of a marine aquaculture policy for a further 30-day public comment period from last week, Friday 29 June 2007 to Tuesday 31 July 2007.

    The purpose of the national roundtable is to provide an opportunity for further engagement between the Department and stakeholders towards the finalisation of the marine aquaculture policy.

    Following the publishing of the first draft for public comment in September 2006, stakeholder inputs led to the revision of the policy. International experience and review of aquaculture policies of six countries which are Australia, Chile, China, Ireland, Norway and Vietnam will further the revised draft. A discussion paper based on the review and analysis of these countries' policies will form the basis for deliberations at the roundtable.

    The roundtable will also provide an opportunity for the Department to initiate discussions on strategies that will form the basis of the Marine Aquaculture Policy Implementation Plan to be drafted and finalised once the policy is approved and will further afford an opportunity for networking and will help to improve the co-operative governance and relations between various stakeholders in this sector.

    The stakeholders participating at the roundtable will include legislators (members of parliament), government departments (all spheres), the aquaculture and fishing industry, fishing communities, labour representatives, NGOs, research, and academic institutions.

    Topics to be covered include aquaculture international case studies of six countries, community, industry, labour and economic perspectives, research and technological needs, environmental protection, training and skills development, funding for small medium, & micro enterprises and fish health issues.

    Comments on the 2nd draft policy must reach the department on or before 31 July 2007 and can be sent to DEAT, attention Marine Aquaculture Management, P/Bag X2, Roggebaai 8012. Comments can also be faxed to 021 402 3009 or emailed to aquaculture@deat.gov.za. Telephone enquiries to 021 402 3911

    Coastwatch: another ship missing off Somalia

    Mounting concern has been expressed for a general cargo ship named SEA PRINCE which has gone missing off the coast of Somalia and which may be the latest victim of pirates operating in the area.

    The ship left Djibouti on 11 May carrying a cargo of 2,400 tonnes of cereals and was en route for Berbera and Bossaso in north-east Somalia and then to Dar es Salaam. There is confusion as to the identity of the ship - Shabelle Media Network described the vessel as being South Korean owned but a Kenyan source said it had an American owner but was managed by a Ukrainian shipmanager. A UK source described the ship as flying the North Korean flag.

    To add to the equation, a ship named Sea Prince called at Durban and Cape Town ports during mid June but it cannot be said this is the same vessel.

    The report of the ship’s whereabouts came within days of the International Maritime Bureau calling on the United Nations to assist with ending piracy near the Horn of Africa. There are currently at least four ships being held by Somali pirates.

    Fred Olsen to lengthen BRAEMAR

    Fred Olsen Cruise Line has announced it intends lengthening the cruise ship BRAEMAR by an additional 31.2m during mid 2008.

    The 19, 046-gt, 163m long ship has been in service with Fred Olsen since 2001 and like other Fred Olsen ships, caters for a largely British clientele. The US $ 81m stretching will increase passenger capacity by 250 from 727 passengers to 977 and will take place during a planned dry docking of the ship at the Blohm + Voss Repair shipyard.

    In addition Braemar will have additional balconies added along with an increase in the number of suites and a general upgrading of public rooms.

    According to Fred Olsen it makes good commercial sense to lengthen the vessel by as much as is technically possible (cheaper and quicker than a newbuild). The company will also stretch BALMORAL, the former CROWN ODYSSEY which is now on charter to Norwegian Cruise Line and sailing as NORWEGIAN CROWN.

    International shipping briefs

    Although Ports & Ships continues to focus on news relevant to Africa, we intend also to include ‘briefs’ with a more international interest in the future

    New Black Sea port
    Russia’s first deputy premier Sergei Ivanov says that Russia intends building a new port on the Black Sea in the Krasnodar region of the Taman peninsular. With the break-up of the Russian Federation a number of leading Black Sea ports went to other states such as Ukraine leaving Russia thinly served in that area.

    APL gets among the big boys
    Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) says it intends placing an order with an unnamed South Korean yard for ten super post panamax container ships in the 10,000-TEU capacity range which will be deployed with associate company APL on that line’s Asia – Europe service. The ten ships costing approximately US $1 Billion will be delivered during 2011 and will have a design speed of more than 26 knots.

    Chennai alert for USS Nimitz visit
    India’s Department of Atomic Energy Crisis Management Group says it will be on full alert this week during the visit to India of the USS NIMITZ, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. USS Nimitz is visiting the port of Chennai between 1 – 4 July, during which time all ships in harbour have been placed on short notice to sail in the event of an emergency. The port’s east quay has been cordoned off for the exclusive use of US sailors. The high alert is on account of two nuclear reactors housed in the aircraft carrier for which a nuclear disaster contingency plan has been drawn up.

    New car terminal berths for Mumbai
    Also in India, the Mumbai Port Trust intends constructing dedicated berths for pure car carriers using the port. Ballard Pier Extension berth is to become the dedicated area for pure car carriers and a single berth at Indira Dock will in future be reserved for Ro-Ro vessels. During the latest fiscal year Mumbai handled 197 pure car carriers and Ro-Ro vessels with vehicles as cargo for a total of 87,000 export vehicles. The manufacturing companies of Tata, Mahindra and Ashok Leyland have each increased capacity to cater for rising exports to Europe, Africa and Middle East markets.

    Pic of the day – KOTA KAMIL

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    KOTA KAMIL of Pacific International Line seen in Cape Town last week. Note the loading of containers on the stern section, possibly empties being re-positioned. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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

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