Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 25, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • AP Moller making progress with Apapa terminal

  • Mombasa lifts ban on transhipment cargo

  • Poor state of roads keeping the continent poor, UN Advocate says

  • Madagascar: Assessing the damage caused by Cyclone Ivan

  • South Africa, India strengthen strategic partnership

  • Pic of the day – SIMON’S TOWN PANORAMA


    AP Moller making progress with Apapa terminal

    AP Moller Terminals, which holds the concession to operate the Apapa Container Terminal in Nigeria, revealed last week that the company has so far spent USD136 million on the expansion and modernisation of the terminal – one of Nigeria’s busiest.

    Lund Hansen, chairman of APM Terminals, Apapa Ltd, told a media group visiting the terminal that part of APM’s ‘charter’ was to bring improvement and change to the Apapa terminal in line with the federal government’s reform programme. The redevelopment of the terminal and its operation was still in progress, he pointed out.

    The reconstruction programme included maximising the use of terminal space, the provision of new equipment and infrastructure, and the modernisation of operating systems within the terminal.

    In addition the Lagos channel required dredging up to 13.5m to overcome existing draught restraints affecting the size of ships using the terminal.

    Hansen said that one of the key factors is to improve the dwell time taken by containers arriving at the port, which currently sits at 30 days on average.

    “As vessel sizes and container volumes continue to grow, in APM Terminals we see it as our challenge, and our goal to continue to provide world-class service at every point in our global terminal network,” Hansen said.

    One of the first problems that faced APM Terminals, he said, was to improve general security around the port, which meant erecting fences and clearing the hawkers, food vendors, hair dressers and other ‘operators’ who had taken up residence within the confines of the terminal.

    Once this had been achieved attention was turned to the construction of new facilities and the provision of new equipment. Old buildings were demolished to help create additional container stacking space and the construction of a new office building, workshop and entry and exit gates has begun.

    Hansen said it has been necessary to replace existing inefficient equipment – “some machines we were able to repair but we also had to buy many new machines,” he said.

    This has included four new ship-to-shore gantry cranes that are due to arrive in June this year, which will enable the handling of larger container ships. It will also permit the use of gearless vessels for the first time, which he said would go a long way towards the goal of making Nigeria a transhipment hub for West Africa.

    Mombasa lifts ban on transhipment cargo

    After overcoming the backlog of cargo, which was clogging the Mombasa container terminal, the Port of Mombasa has been able to lift a ban on transhipment cargo intended for Tanzania.

    According to an announcement from Kenya Ports Authority ships planning to offload cargo meant for Dar es Salaam may now resume use of the port of Mombasa.

    The move became possible with the reduction of a backlog of containers at the Mombasa terminal which at one stage during the recent post-election violence in Kenya reached as high as 19,000 boxes. This has subsequently been reduced to below 13,000 containers and it is reported that boxes are now moving out of the port more freely.

    The port said the resumption of services by Rift Valley Railway was also helping reduce the backlog.

    The news comes amidst of reports that thousands of containers have been held up at overseas ports waiting for the situation in Kenya to normalise. A port spokesman confirmed these and said that international banks had been cautious about issuing clearance documents, particularly for vehicle consignments, until the crisis had begun to normalise. He said he was aware of several consignments being delayed, especially in Japan, for this reason.

    source – The Nation

    Poor state of roads keeping the continent poor, UN Advocate says

    UN News Service (New York), 22 February 2008 - The sorry state of much of Africa's transport and communication networks is holding the continent back and preventing its countries from competing on the global market, the United Nations advocate for the world's poorest States has told the World Bank.

    In an address a meeting at the Bank's headquarters in Washington, the UN Special Adviser on Africa, Cheick Sidi Diarra said road transport - which accounts for 90 per cent of inter-urban transport in Africa - was particularly poor.

    Less than a third of Africa's estimated two million kilometres of roads are paved, Mr Diarra noted, and transport costs comprise as much as 77 per cent of the value of African exports.

    “There is an urgent need for supporting African countries to develop affordable transport systems that would promote trade expansion, economic growth and competitiveness,” he said, especially in landlocked countries.

    Diarra, who also serves as the UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, said cumbersome border crossing procedures only further exacerbated the problems for landlocked nations.

    “Because of such realities, landlocked developing countries find themselves among the poorest developing countries today, beset with anaemic growth rates and deteriorating social conditions. The widening development gap between landlocked developing countries, especially those in Africa and the rest of the developing world, is a clear and unmistakable trend,” he added.

    He called for donor-supported public funding to boost or upgrade Africa's stocks of roads, buildings and other forms of infrastructure so that it can better compete and work towards the globally agreed set of socio-economic targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

    Madagascar: Assessing the damage caused by Cyclone Ivan

    Johannesburg, 22 February 2008 (IRIN) - The death toll following tropical cyclone Ivan has climbed to 28, according to the latest figures released by Madagascar's disaster management agency. Assessments are still underway but as new information trickles in authorities fear the number may climb even higher.

    “Over the past few days the numbers have increased substantially,” Dia Styvanley Soa, spokeswoman for the National Office for Natural Disasters Preparedness (BNGRC), told IRIN.

    Assessments had focussed mainly on the northeastern part of the country but were slowly moving down the island, following the storm's path. “BNGRC, with its partners, plan to organise assessment missions to those areas this coming week,” Styvanley Soa said.

    Ivan made landfall on Madagascar's northeastern coast on Sunday, 18 February, with winds of up to 210km per hour, leaving a trail of destruction as it crossed the island until it diminished in strength and dissipated in the Mozambique Channel on Tuesday.

    The latest BNGRC figures estimate that 300,000 people on the east coast have been affected, of which 30,000 require immediate assistance, and that up to 18,000 have been displaced near the capital, Antananarivo, where flood waters are still rising. "Seventeen people have been injured and 14 are still missing," Styvanley Soa added.

    According to the latest Southern Africa Floods situation report, released on 22 February by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “The cyclone progressed eastwards towards Lake Alaotra, an agricultural area yielding almost 30 percent of the rice production of the island.” Up to 18,000ha of rice fields have been flooded.

    "The government, BNGRC and partners are organising the response," Styvanley Soa said. "The president of Madagascar, the prime minister, BNGRC and partners have already sent initial aid to Sainte Marie [a 60km long island off Madagascar's northeast coast, which bore the brunt of the cyclone], the capital, Toamasina [the country's second city and biggest port in the northeast] and Fenerive east [north of Toamasina].”

    “In Antananarivo national authorities have started relief operations with distributions of tents and medicines,” and “the Malagasy Red Cross has requested the French Red Cross ... to support a humanitarian response with relief items for the areas of Toamasina and the island of Sainte Marie,” the OCHA report said.

    People in the areas ravaged by Ivan had been warned to take precautions before the storm struck, but sandbags on the roofs of thatched wooden structures were no match for the strength of the storm.

    "It is incredible - despite of all the work we put in a few days ago to safeguard our house, the winds carried our house away and we were unable to save our possessions," Marie Claire Ravelonanosy, who lives in a village hit by Ivan, said in a BNGRC statement.

    Nine people previously presumed dead in various media reports after being trapped under the rubble of a flattened hotel were in fact alive, a BNGRC statement said.

    “The cyclone was not only intense,” Styvanley Soa said, “its extensive range meant it affected almost all parts of Madagascar and caused floods in many areas of the country in the same time.”

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

    South Africa, India strengthen strategic partnership

    by Michael Appel

    Pretoria, 22 February 2008 (BuaNews) - South Africa and India have concluded their 7th Joint Ministerial Commission increasing the number of bilateral sub-committees and deepening social, political and trade relations.

    In her closing remarks on Friday at the culmination of the two-day inter-ministerial talks, Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said: “We are pleased that the number of sub-committees [between South Africa and India has grown] to include, amongst others, those on political, defence, trade and industry, health, education, minerals and energy and agriculture.”

    Dr Dlamini Zuma said India has submitted a list of possible joint agricultural projects and is awaiting South Africa's reciprocated list before identifying the intended projects.

    South Africa has signed a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) in the fields of science and technology, sports and recreations, immigrations and citizenship, trade and economic affairs, agriculture, and arts and culture, amongst others.

    The minister highlighted the increased economic trade between the two countries as a very positive development in further strengthened relations.

    India is a key strategic partner for South Africa. In March 2006, Deputy Minister Pahad held bilateral political and economic talks with India's Minister of State for External Affairs, Anand Sharma, in South Africa.

    Several South African and Indian businesses belong to the Indo-South Africa CEOs Business Forum that was established in 2004 to help stimulate trade and investment between the two countries.

    The existence of opportunities for closer co-operation between South Africa and India have been identified in the capital equipment; agro-processed products; autos and components; services; information and communications technology (ICT), science and technology; health; and small, medium and micro enterprises sectors.

    India's Minister for Foreign Affairs Pranab Mukherjee, said: “I would like to indicate how satisfied I and my delegation are on how discussions have gone over the last two days.

    “South Africa and India are two countries market by common values and a united respect of human rights, and as such, our relationship is ready to face the challenges of a rapidly globalising world.”

    Mr Mukherjee highlighted that bilateral and trilateral trade has gathered momentum and expressed his hope that the momentum would be taken forward to implement the signed agreements energetically.

    He said the last two days have given both countries the opportunity to investigate the complex and in-depth review that comprises their strategic partnership.

    “My meeting yesterday with President Thabo Mbeki and his deputy, has furthered enhanced my conviction that the two countries have much to offer each other,” said Mr Mukherjee.

    He concluded expressing his hope that agreements be executed vigorously so that the intended dividends can be reaped by both countries.

    South Africa has well established relations with the sub continent, both bilateral and in various fora.

    The India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Dialogue Forum, established in 2004, remains of strategic importance to all three countries as a powerful global forum to drive South-South co-operation, the agenda of the South, and to champion the needs of the developing world.

    Total trade between South Africa and India increased from 2004 to 2005, with exports rising by 100 percent and imports rising by 55 percent, making India South Africa's 13th-largest trading partner in terms of exports and imports.

    India is among the top 10 investing countries in South Africa, with investment estimated at R10 billion.

    Pic of the day – SIMON’S TOWN PANORAMA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    An early morning view of Simon’s Town Naval Harbour, as the SA Navy Fleet Replenishment (or Combat Support) Vessel SAS DRAKENSBERG enters the harbour. A number of other ships are visible, including three of the four Valour class frigates of the SA Navy and two ships of the German Navy currently visiting South Africa. Picture is by David Erickson.

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