Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 8, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • South African port statistics for September

  • Cape Town protest against ban on trucks

  • Pilot Boat in scare in Port Elizabeth

  • La Niña puts Malawi on flood alert

  • ITF pressure over vessel missing in Indian Ocean

  • Pic of the day – ADAIR

    South African port statistics for September

    Volumes of cargo handled at South African ports showed a small increase during the month of September compared with August, with Durban handling almost half a million tonnes more cargo than Richards Bay.

    Figures quoted in this report have been adjusted to include container volumes as containers are no longer measured by weight by Transnet National Ports Authority. PORTS & SHIPS’ adjustment is based on a conservatively estimated average weight of 13.5 tonnes for each TEU.

    The respective ports handled the following:

    Cargo handled by tonnes

    Richards Bay                   6.223 million tonnes (Aug 6.030Mt)
    Durban                           6.706 Mt (Aug 5.899)
    Saldanha Bay                  2.517 Mt (Aug 2.755)
    Cape Town                     1.215 Mt (Aug 1.190)
    Port Elizabeth                  1.104 Mt (Aug 0.992)
    Mossel Bay                     0.050 Mt (Aug 0.176)
    East London                    0.229 Mt (Aug 0.229)

    Total cargo by tonnes 17.979 million tonnes (Aug 17.271 Mt)

    Containers measured by TEUs
    (TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Tranship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA)

    Durban                            206,889 TEU (Aug 202,134)
    Cape Town                        63,988 (Aug 65,368)
    Port Elizabeth                     39,150 (Aug 35,733)
    East London                        3,364 (Aug 5,327)
    Richards Bay                          287 (Aug 258)

    Total handled 313,678 TEU (Aug 308,820)

    Ship Calls

    Durban:                  414 vessels 9.197m gt (429 vessels 9.453m gt)
    Cape Town:            276 vessels 3.878m gt (255 vessels 3.851m gt)
    Port Elizabeth:         109 vessels 2.632m gt (112 vessels 2.885m gt)
    Richards Bay:          134 vessels 4.871m gt (140 vessels 4.641m gt)
    Saldanha:                40 vessels 2,067m gt (42 vessels 2,316m gt)
    East London:            27 vessels 0.699m gt (26 vessels 0.758m gt)
    Mossel Bay:            156 vessels 0.376m gt (167 vessels 0.271m gt)

    - source NPA plus adjustments by Ports & Ships to include container weights

    Cape Town protest against ban on trucks

    The Cape Town Regional Chamber of Commerce has appealed to the City Council to think again about the proposed ban on heavy trucks using the main commuter routes to the City during the morning and evening rush hours.

    “We understand that there is a problem but we are convinced that any kind of blanket ban will do immense economic damage to the city and the Province,” said Ms Janine Myburgh, President of the Chamber.

    She said the real problem was growing congestion on the roads caused by the huge annual increase of about 80,000 of new cars on the roads and the failure of our public transport systems to cope with growing commuter demand.

    The result was that the commuter peak hour periods had stretched and commuter traffic was now mingling with commercial traffic. This was not a serious problem on the flat routes such as the N1 and the N2 but it was a major problem on the route to the southern suburbs where hills slowed down the heavy vehicles causing traffic obstructions.

    “A vehicle loaded with heavy cargo like bricks can cause serious delays at an intersection like hospital bend, particularly if it has to change lanes,” Myburgh said.

    The Chamber believes that the real problem is hospital bend itself. The steep incline slows down heavy vehicles creating a speed differential which results in some frenetic passing movements and an increased risk of accidents.

    “Obviously some redesign work and road improvements are long overdue but the Council should also look at imposing minimum speed limits,” Myburgh said.

    It was clear that many large trucks were not heavily loaded and were quite capable of maintaining normal traffic speeds so it would be unfair and counter productive to ban them. The need was to deal with the small number of heavy vehicles which were unable to maintain normal speed and constituted a moving obstruction.

    Myburgh said transport operators avoided using commuter routes during rush hours because this slowed deliveries and increased costs. “Fleet owners do not want to see their trucks wasting time and fuel idling along in heavy traffic so they already do all they can to avoid peak times.”

    Incentives were needed to encourage deliveries outside of normal business hours. The port authorities already did this by keeping their gates open to container traffic in the early morning and late at night. At one time gates were kept open right through the night and this would be done again if the demand justified it.

    “We feel the city could use its resources (cameras and motor cycle traffic officers) to record the registration numbers of vehicles which cause obstructions and follow these up on a case by case basis to find solutions to the problem,” Myburgh said. “There may well be a case to keep some vehicles out of heavy traffic on certain routes but they should be dealt with as exceptions. Blanket bans will do more harm than good.”

    The Chamber believes that this is exactly the kind of problem that should be discussed and decided upon in a Metropolitan Transport Authority where all stakeholders are represented.

    “What we don’t want is to see commercial deliveries being slowed down because they are inconvenient for all the one-occupant cars that are clogging up the roads. We all know that the ultimate solution is public transport operating under a Metropolitan Transport Authority. We urge both the City and the Province to get on with this essential job and stop messing around with ill-conceived measures that only bring temporary relief but at great cost to the economy,” Myburgh said.

    source – Cape Business News (www.cbn.co.za)

    Pilot Boat in scare in Port Elizabeth

    There was a mini drama in Port Elizabeth harbour on Friday when the harbour pilot boat began to sink in the entrance channel.

    According to sources the NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute) scrambled three boats and all crewmembers from the pilot boat were safely taken off.

    The boat was also recovered before it sank beneath the waters of Algoa Bay. Whatever the problem was it must have been relatively minor as Port Control was reporting it to be back in service later in the day.

    La Niña puts Malawi on flood alert

    Blantyre, 5 October 2007 (IRIN) - Malawi's Department of Meteorological Services predicts that the development of a weak La Niña phenomenon in the eastern Pacific Ocean could lead to flooding across the greater part of the country.

    Donald Kamdonyo, director of Meteorological Services, said the appearance of La Niña, which occurs when cooler water wells up to the surface of the eastern central Pacific Ocean, was associated with above normal rainfall over southern Africa. There "is a chance of weak La Niña episode developing over the Pacific Ocean during the 2007/ 2008 rainfall season".

    Climate models indicate that in the last quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008, Malawi has a 35 percent chance of above average rainfall, a 40 percent chance of normal rainfall and a 25 percent chance of receiving below average rainfall.

    Kamdonyo told IRIN the forecast was based on statistical models using scientifically established relationships between rainfall over southern Africa and sea surface temperatures of the world's oceans.

    He said: "We cannot directly attribute this to global warming or climate change because we are... in a situation where we have already experienced changes in climate."

    Disaster preparedness

    Lilian Ng'oma, Malawi's commissioner for relief and disaster preparedness, a government department mandated to oversee humanitarian aid to the victims of natural disasters, said flood-prone areas of the country would be visited and people advised about what actions to take in the event of flooding, such as evacuating their homes and moving to higher ground.

    "We are targeting pupils in different schools in this campaign, who will in turn pass on the message to their parents on the effects and dangers of floods," she said.
    Farmers in flood-prone areas have resisted moving to higher ground on previous occasions because the land is not as fertile. "We will ask them to move temporarily and not permanently," said Ng'oma.

    The relief and disaster department was also coordinating its work with other government departments to achieve a more effective, nationwide response. The principal secretary in the Ministry of Water Development and Irrigation, Andrina Mchiela, said plans were already being made "for the provision of clean water and sinking of boreholes in affected areas", should flooding occur.

    Geoffrey Luhanga, controller of agriculture services in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, said farmers in flood-prone areas would have to replant seeds if there was flooding, and they were already being advised to do so. Southern Malawi is prone to annual flooding during the rainy season, especially along the River Shire, which flows from Malawi into Mozambique and is a tributary of the River Zambezi.

    In January 2007 about 8,000 families in the Chikwawa District were displaced after around 400 villages were flooded along the upper reaches of the River Shire. A further 116 villages were flooded, destroying about 2,600 houses in nearby Nsanje District, through which the River Shire also flows.

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

    ITF pressure over vessel missing in Indian Ocean

    4 October 2007 - The International Transport Federation (ITF) has called for cooperation over the reported disappearance of a vessel after it left Dubai in June, bound for the Seychelles; 14 crewmembers are reported to be on board.

    The REEF AZARIA, registered in St Vincent and Grenadines and operated by the United Arab Emirates-based Zambezi Shipping Agency, left Dubai on 18 June for the Seychelles. It is believed that the agent last made contact with the vessel on 24 July, when it was located off the coast of Somalia. On board the vessel are eight Tanzanians, two Burmese, two Indians, and two Pakistanis.

    The ITF, responding to concerns raised by the ITF-affiliated union, the Pakistan Merchant Navy Association, contacted the shipping agency last week calling for “openness and cooperation”. It also demanded further information about the search for the missing vessel, which could be forwarded to the crewmembers’ families.

    Finlay Mcintosh, ITF Actions Unit, commented: “There are still a lot of unanswered questions and we are demanding that these are addressed by the company. The families of the missing seafarers are suffering because they do not understand what has happened to their loved ones. Our main concern is the whereabouts of the seafarers and what is being done to find them.”

    There is no evidence to date to suggest that the vessel has sunk or that it has succumbed to piracy.

    Reports of a second missing vessel, the Panamanian-flagged Infinity MARINE 1, owned by Infinity Marine Services in Dubai, have also been filed by Pakistan Merchant Navy Association. Twenty-three seafarers are believed to be on board.

    General Secretary of the union, Sheikh Mohammad Iqbal commented: “The owners of these flag of convenience vessels are reluctant to pass on any information. They appear to be more concerned about cashing in their insurance claims than helping the families of the seafarers to find out what has happened.”

    Pic of the day – ADAIR

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The crude oil tanker ADAIR (81.074-gt) which has since been renamed NARMADA SPIRIT berthed in Cape Town harbour on 31 May 2007. Picture Ian Shiffman

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