Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 9, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Bold rail plan for East Africa

  • World Bank official slams Kenya Port Authority for congestion

  • UTI Logistics brings in second Mobicon handler

  • Pic of the day – ATHOS 1

    Bold rail plan for East Africa

    News that the Mombasa to Kampala railway line is set to undergo major refurbishment by concession-holder Rift Valley Railway, has been followed by the unveiling of a new master plan aimed at creating four new major rail routes in East Africa.

    Rift Valley Railway, which has received vociferous criticism from detractors who say that the consortium, headed by South Africa’s Sheltham Rail, has shown little progress in improving services since taking over last December, will be undertaking a US $ 90 million refurbishment of the railway linking the port city of Mombasa in Kenya with Kampala in Uganda. Included in the process is the refurbishment of some 6,500 rail wagons and a number of locomotives. The refurbishment programme will take five years to complete.

    Other news carried by Uganda press says that a new network of railway lines will soon link various parts of the East and Central African regions. Countries mentioned include Ethiopia, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya and Tanzania, with the latter country being the main beneficiary.

    Uganda would have four new lines connecting to South Sudan, DRC and Tanzania. These will operate between Kasese and Kisangani, Gulu to Nimule and Juba, Masaka to Biharamulo and Pakwach to Juba-Wau.

    A total of 15 new lines are reported to be under consideration. A spokesman for the East African Community (EAC), Mr Magaga Alot said approval was granted at a recent EAC Council of Ministers and that consultants have been appointed.

    Recent members of the regional block, Burundi and Rwanda have been encouraged to provide relevant information to the consultants to speed up the process. Tanzania and the Rwandan governments have already confirmed one of the new lines within the Master Plan that will link the Isaka Inland Port in Shinyanga region and the Rwandan capital Kigali.

    The Master Plan also sees Tanzania establishing new links with neighbouring countries. These lines will connect Liganga to Mchuchuma, Mchuchuma to Mbamba Bay, Liganga to Mlimba, Dar es Salaam to Mtwara, Biharamulo to Masaka (via Bukoba), Tunduma to Kigoma (through Sumbawanga and Mpanda) ,Uvinza to Bujumbura and Bagamoyo toKidomole.

    Kenya will be looking to expand north towards its Horn of Africa neighbours, Ethiopia and Sudan with one line connecting Garissa town with Addas Ababa and another connecting the port of Lamu with Juba in south Sudan via Garissa.

    East Africa’s current major railway networks – the Tanzania Railways Corporation and the Kenya-Uganda railway were all built by the former colonial powers while Tazara (Tanzania – Zambia Railway) was built by the Chinese to relieve the dependency of landlocked Zambia and the then Zaire’s (now DRC) on the South African Railway network.

    Given the current thinking in East African government circles, it must be assumed that outside operators will be invited to bid for the rights to operate (and maybe construct) these new railways.

    source - The Monitor (Kampala)

    World Bank official slams Kenya Port Authority for congestion

    One tends to think that a sugar coated pill often produces quicker results than something tasting sour, and the abrasive statement by World Bank country director Colin Bruce seems a little ill-timed.

    Bruce said at a meeting in Mombasa that the port of Mombasa is a victim of its own success but senior management and other stakeholders had failed to anticipate the problems and challenges that would come with increased volumes.

    Saying that it was obvious that port activities were set to increase with the improved economic activities happening in Kenya and its neighbouring countries that rely on the port of Mombasa, he added that the economic upsurge had overwhelmed the port’s capacity to handle cargo. He advised management to invest in equipment and technology to overcome the obstacles.

    "Due to the growth in the economy, this was expected to happen but we need to ensure that congestion does not get to this level," he said.

    Bruce then pointed out the obvious – that the introduction of a US$200 per TEU surcharge at Mombasa was not good for the economic development of the region. Kenya government and port officials recently won a two-month moratorium on the surcharge – see PORTS & SHIPS News 2 October
    http://ports.co.za/news/article_2007_10_1_3713.html#one The moratorium is aimed at allowing the port a little more time to get results from measures introduced in the hopes of relieving accumulated cargo.

    He said that everything possible should be done to relieve the backlog and pressure at the port’s container terminal. "The cargo pile up does not only affect Kenya but all the port users in this region, though I am not an expert in port matters, urgent steps must be taken to clear the cargo," he said.

    Bruce rightly pointed out that Kenya’s poor road infrastructure was costing the country dearly. Kenya had lost its comparative advantage compared to Malaysia because of high transport costs and cargo shipped to Europe through Mombasa incurred higher costs than those shipped through the port of Malaysia.

    source – East African Standard

    UTI Logistics brings in second Mobicon handler

    UTI’s services include air and ocean freight and forwarding, contract logistics, customs brokerage, distribution, inbound logistics, truckload brokerage and other supply chain management services that include consulting, the co-ordination of purchase orders and customised management services.

    UTI Logistics has invested in its second Mobicon mobile container handling system to do duty at the company’s new premises in South Coast Road, Durban.

    “UTI has recently expanded its KwaZulu Natal operation and has opened a new 13,000 m˛ facility to cope with increased demand for supply chain and logistics services in the region,” says Andrew Renzow, warehouse controller for UTI Logistics, KZN.

    “For optimum efficiency in distribution services, which include cargo loading and unloading, the company has invested in the latest machinery, controlled by highly skilled operators.

    “The Mobicon - one of the lightest container handlers in the world - is highly efficient in lifting loads onto and off trucks and carrying containers safely around the UTI sites. One of the most important features of this new container handling system, apart from enhanced safety, is faster operating times.

    Renzow said that UTI is now able to avoid port congestion by receiving containers at night for the next morning’s shift. “This is a big factor when handling large shipments of containers. It means we are able to dictate our work flow and are not reliant on transporters waiting in a queue at the port. This also further reduces the chances of demurrage costs or over-stay at the port.”

    The Mobicon is able to operate in all parts of the yard and can easily handle ramps and speed bumps and operates on pavements and in restrictive areas where other container handling equipment often cannot go. Renzow said UTI had been impressed with the ability of the Mobicon to turn in tight spaces and also be capable of driving into the warehouse when wet weather conditions threaten.

    The lightweight Mobicon system has a 33 tonne lift capacity and is able to carry any type or size ISO specified container, without the need for modifications or additional lifting equipment. The low centre of gravity of this system enhances stability, preventing it from rolling over.

    “Another advantage of this system over conventional equipment used to load and unload containers is there is no damage caused to our yards and pavements, which eliminates the need for costly yard repairs,” said Renzow.

    The Mobicon container handling system is manufactured in Australia and is available exclusively throughout Africa from Big Lift Trucks. The company offers a technical advisory, parts and support service.

    UTI’s contact detail is available in our MARITIME SERVICES DIRECTORY.

    Pic of the day – ATHOS 1

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The container ship ATHOS 1 sailing from Durban. Picture by Arie Burggraaf

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