Ports & Ships Maritime News

Dec 4, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • South African port news

  • Building sandcastles at Coega

  • Pirates release Arab ship

  • Safmarine container library boosts Aids education and literacy

  • South Africa faces worst ever trade deficit

  • Pic of the day – MIGHTY SERVANT 3 and RED SEA FOS

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    South African port news

    Port of East London

    The Harbour Master, Nontsi Tshazi and Marine Operations Manager Thulani Dubeko are away from the port on official business between 3 and 5 December 2007, inclusive.

    During their absence marine pilot Batandwa Mtetwa is acting as Harbour Master.

    He can be contacted at 043 700 1039 or via his mobile cell phone 082 674 8698.

    Port of Durban

    The Durban Container Terminal has installed two web cameras to monitor traffic levels along Langeberg and Bayhead Roads leading to the container terminal. It is hoped that customers will use this to view the truck queues along both routes and be in a better position before dispatching additional vehicles when the roads are congested.

    The internet web addresses for the two cams are as follows:

    Langeberg Road –
    Bayhead Road –

    To view these real time images the requirements are at least a 128k internet connection as well as ‘Java Runtime Environment’ version 1.4.2

    In the event you are unable to view either of these cams please do not report the matter to PORTS & SHIPS – we have no control over or involvement with the system.

    Port of Durban

    An environmental impact assessment (EIA) process had begun with regards the building of a new link road from Durban’s Bayhead Road to Edwin Swales VC Drive, to relieve pressure on the Bayhead Road system. The junction of the proposed road will be opposite Langeberg Road intersection with Bayhead Road.

    A separate EIA process being run at the same time involves the proposed widening of the balance of Bayhead Road from the Langeberg Road intersection to Pier 1, from two lanes to four lanes. The two road projects are being driven by Transnet.

    The EIA processes are being coordinated by the firm of Golder Associates which has invited interested and affected parties to register their interest and make comment. Golder Associates can be contacted at PO Box 2058 Pietermaritzburg 3200 or telephone 033 345 3166 – email vmadonsela@golder.co.za

    Closing dates for comment on the initial document is 14 December 2007.

    Building sandcastles at Coega

    South Africa’s Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said last week weekend that the port of Ngqura and industrial development zone of Coega reflected ‘awesome’ progress.

    The deputy president was on a tour of the complex last Friday (30 November) and according to the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) said she was “excited to see the progress that has been achieved”.

    She was quoted as saying “What I‘ve seen here today is absolutely awesome. I‘ve watched this project grow over the past few years, from when there was nothing. So what‘s exciting for me is to know there is so much more to come. It has been a road well-travelled, notwithstanding the many challenges along the way.”

    The CDC report said the deputy president was informed of the R26 Billion worth of investment that has been signed between March 2006 and April 2007 and that further investments were in the pipeline including a call centre operation and a brick factory.

    At the end of October something like 4,800 people were working in the IDZ and port complexes.

    Criticising the Coega development is always a risky business, as it invokes fierce and parochial support from those living in the region and others involved in the project. Nevertheless, as an outside observer that has been ‘mapping’ the project ever since it was first conceived by a bunch of port engineers at Port Elizabeth in 1996 (and long before the politicians and opportunists climbed on the band wagon), what we’d like to see is some real action with people moving in and doing some real business instead of talk and promises. Not merely relocated business transferred from one end of Port Elizabeth to another, but ‘new’ business involving outside investment (ie outside the province) and permanent job creation, not jobs that include temporary construction workers that will be gone tomorrow.

    The port of Ngqura is a prime example. Conceived originally as a deep water bulk port it has since metamorphasised into what is now intended primarily as a container port – nothing wrong in that except that perhaps the same result could have been achieved at Port Elizabeth harbour for a fraction of the cost. The new container terminal is basically completed, as far as heavy engineering and port works are concerned, but there’s no rush to move ships in that direction and it will be another year at least before the first ship makes its maiden port call.

    Similarly there’s still indecision as to when or even if the bulk products – manganese and petroleum - will relocate from Port Elizabeth. Why wasn’t this debated and decided long ago?

    Then there’s the matter of the so-called ‘anchor’ tenant. When this appeared a dead cert the aluminium smelter was proudly touted as the port’s anchor tenant but the moment some doubt creeps in the spin doctors are quick to say there is no need for a ‘single large anchor tenant’. This matter has reared its head once again following news that Rio Tinto, which recently acquired the interests of Alcan, which had earlier acquired the interests of French aluminium giant Pechiney, was now itself the subject of a possible takeover by rival company BHP Billiton.

    So what, you say… the last time that happened the new owners (Rio Tinto) went ahead and endorsed the Coega smelter project anyway. Well, the problem is that BHP Billiton already has extensive aluminium smelting operations in southern Africa – at Richards Bay and at Maputo, and may not want another operation in this region. So it’s as though things are back in the melting (or should that be smelting) pot.

    Of course were BHP Billiton’s bid successful, and that is by no means certain, regulators the world over will be sitting up and taking notice, but that’s not our immediate concern. What is of interest is the effect this would have locally in the Eastern Cape. Eskom is probably taking a keen interest as well.

    Which is why we are slightly cynical of such enthusiastic utterances as ‘awesome’ from the politicians, even one as august as our deputy president. No doubt the port and the IDZ are going to be a good thing for the impoverished Eastern Cape, but let’s not get carried away while others build sandcastles on the beaches of Algoa Bay.

    Pirates release Arab ship

    An Arab ship, the 2,664-gt general cargo vessel ALMARJAN has been released by Somali pirates, it was learned at the weekend.

    The Dubai-owned and Comoros-registered ship was seized by pirates off the Somali coast about six weeks ago and taken into custody near Mogadishu. The ship had been en route to Mogadishu from Mombasa when she was seized. There were no reports of injuries to the crew and little news about the fate of the ship until now. Almarjan is believed to be returning to Mombasa.

    It is not known whether the owners have paid a ransom for the vessel, as has become customary whenever a ship has been released. Somali pirates recently released a Taiwanese ship after the owners are thought to have paid a ransom and before that the representatives of the DANICA WHITE, a Danish-owned general cargo ship paid over a considerable sum to have the ship and its crew of five released.

    Last week the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) called on the Somali interim government to allow warships to enter Somali territorial waters to assist ships under attack by pirates operating from the Somali coast. There has been no response as yet from the Somali government.

    Safmarine container library boosts Aids education and literacy

    Safmarine has donated a new ‘container library’ to the Sobambisana Primary School in Khayelitsha, Cape Town to boost Aids education and literacy.

    Speaking at the opening of the library on World Aids Day (Saturday, 1 December, 2007), Sobambisana headmaster Mvuyisi Damba said: “The community of Khayelitsha faces many challenges - notably HIV/AIDS, poverty and crime – and this new library will empower young people to confront these challenges by providing them with access to resources and information.”

    Edulis, the Government’s Library and Information Systems Department, has donated new books to the library, which was constructed from Safmarine shipping containers.

    Gail Kelly, CEO of Safmarine’s Agency in South Africa, said: “As a company committed to upliftment, we are pleased to see our contribution making a difference to this community.”

    She paid tribute to the school and its visionary principal. “Safmarine applauds your passion to improve learning in your community and to creating a space in which learners can feel empowered and motivated to beat the odds.”

    Under Mr Damba’s leadership, the range of extra mural activities available at the school – which currently accommodates more than 1000 learners - has grown to include music, chess, computer literacy and sport.

    Safmarine has ‘recycled’ more than 8,000 retired seafreight containers since it launched its award-winning ‘Containers in the Community’ Corporate Social Investment (CSI) Programme in 1991. To date the company has used containers to build classrooms and other school facilities at more than 250 schools across Africa.

    South Africa faces worst ever trade deficit

    South Africa has clocked up its worst ever trade deficit of R14.73 Billion during October for trade with partners other than those of the South African Customs Union (SACU). This was more than double the deficit that had been anticipated and followed on a trading deficit of R4.347 Billion in September.

    Analysts blamed oil imports at record high prices and suggested that not too much should be read into one month’s figures. Another suggested that the infrastructural development that South African was going through, including preparations for the Soccer World Cup in 2010 may have been responsible. Other analysts pointed out that South Africa was also not exporting sufficiently to offset dramatic increases in imports. South Africa’s overall trade deficit currently sits at R55 Bn.

    Meanwhile it appears that the United States is set to become South Africa’s largest customer for 2007, supplanting Japan and experts put this down to the growth in AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) related exports to the US. By the end of August South Africa had exported R34 Billion of goods to the US compared with R33.8Bn to Japan for the same period.

    Mining product sales to the US still dominates the US-bound trade but motor vehicles and parts have moved up into third place. In 2006 South African exports to the US grew 27.4 percent and have increased by a further 22 percent so far this year to September.

    Pic of the day –MIGHTY SERVANT and RED SEA FOS

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The semi submersible heavylift MIGHTY SERVANT 3 in Table Bay and on tow behind the tug RED SEA FOS on 3 December. Mighty Servant 3 is now en route to the Bahamas for repairs after having been raised from the bottom of Luanda Bay last year. Picture by Aad Noorland

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