Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 27, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • New mobile crane for Richards Bay arrives

  • New ships and a new service to North America

  • Nigerian and US navies in joint training this week

  • Finance arranged for Douala road corridors

  • Uganda says it burned its fingers with Lake Victoria ship contract

  • Pic of the day – AFRICANA


    New mobile crane for Richards Bay arrives

    Richards Bay, 22 February 2008 – A new R38 million Liebherr mobile crane arrived in Richards Bay recently to take up duty at Transnet Port Terminal’s multi purpose terminal (MPT).

    Weighing in at an impressive 500 tonnes and with a lifting capacity of 140 tonnes, the crane will add a much needed facility for the terminal’s neo-bulk cargo handling, where it is hoped that once operational it will assist with improving handling operations to 20 moves an hour.

    Cranes currently in use at the MPT average between eight and ten crane moves per hour of 20 tonnes each.

    “The introduction of the new crane will have immediate benefits for our customers as it means we will be able to handle their cargo twice as quickly and efficiently, which in turn improves the overall throughput of the terminal and reduces vessel turn around time,” said Thinus Nel, MPT Projects Manager.

    The Liebherr LHM 500 crane offers flexibility in its movement with its ability to swing vertically, horizontally and diagonally up to a radius of 51m. Its handling efficiency is boosted by a container spreader able to lift 20 containers an hour if required, as well as a four-rope feature for versatility and the ability to operate a ‘grab’ facility. The crane is also able to handle substantial lifts and a considerable distance from its centre.

    MPT’s Business Unit Executive, Victor Mkhize, said the crane will assist in creating a more efficient and safer environment while also bringing cost benefits to both Transnet and its customers.

    He said the crane has unique technical features like an optimised undercarriage that will allow operators to lift skips without involving operatives in unsafe physical labour during lifting and loading. “It’s all managed through the in-house designed control system, so our employees are safer, our work faster and our customers, hopefully, happier.” said Mkhize.

    The crane components were offloaded from the Beluga Projects vessel on the afternoon of arrival and partly assembled at the quayside over the following days using a 30-year old Gottwaldt crane, which had previously been used at Richards Bay harbour to position concrete ‘dolosse’ during initial construction of the pier. The Gottwaldt will subsequently be transferred to Transnet National Ports Authority while the terminal’s 11-year old Reggiane crane will be refurbished as it has reached its mid-life cycle.

    The new crane is expected to be commissioned towards the end of March.

    New ships and a new service to North America

    A familiar ship in South African ports, the 30,000-dwt MACS vessel GOLDEN ISLE is set to disappear from African waters by mid year under both a name change and a new employer. The ship has been chartered to Rickmers Line for an initial period of two years and will be renamed RICKMERS HOUSTON when entering that company’s Round-the-World Pearl String service.

    Safmarine, which announced last week the delivery during 2008 of nine new vessels into its fleet, including the SAFMARINE NGAMI, has received on charter SAFMARINE ANITA, the second of eight multipurpose ships of 11,800-dwt for the company’s West African breakbulk service. The 800-TEU Safmarine Anita was built in China by the Xingang shipyard and is owned by Swiss Cargo Line.

    A new multipurpose service between Canada, the United States and South Africa is about to be introduced by Commonwealth Independent States Navigation Inc. Operating under the name Canada States Africa Line (CSAL) the inaugural service will be from Montreal when the ATLANTIC IMPALA sails on 22 March.

    CSAL will initially operate two Astrakhan Mark III multipurpose ships – ATLANTIC IMPALA and ATLANTIC NAVIGATOR - with a third ship being deployed in September 2008.

    The service rotation is Montreal, Baltimore, Durban, Richards Bay, Cape Town, Walvis Bay, Montreal with the first sailing arriving in Durban 20 April, Richards Bay on 24 April, Cape Town on 30 April and Walvis Bay 2 May.

    The South African agent is Mitchell Cotts Maritime and in North America it is Protos Shipping Ltd Montreal and Toronto) and Worldwide Logistics Partners Inc (Chicago).

    Nigerian and US Navies in joint training this week

    The Nigerian Air Force and Navy are currently hosting the US Navy in a joint military exercise in and around Lagos.

    The focus of the exercise is on search and rescue procedures, aircraft maintenance and the improvement of maritime safety and forms part of an ongoing military co-operation programme between the two countries.

    This week’s exercise involves a Nigerian Air Force Dornier 228 aircraft, the Nigerian Navy ship NWAMBA and a US Navy P-3 maritime reconnaissance aircraft. The exercise is also providing the US with an opportunity to showcase the P-3 aircraft and its capabilities in maritime patrol and search and rescue work.

    US Navy personnel have also been working with their Nigerian counterparts on aircraft maintenance using Nigerian Air Force C-130 aircraft, which shares common engine and propulsion systems with the P-3.

    The exercise ends on Thursday (tomorrow) with a combined simulated search and rescue operation involving ships and aircraft of both countries.

    Finance arranged for Douala road corridors

    The African Development Bank (ADB) Group and Cameroon signed an agreement for a loan of 48 million Units of Account (UA*), equivalent to USD 76.57 million (FCFA 36 billion) to finance the Douala-Bangui and Douala Ndjamena road corridors, linking Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad.

    The agreement was signed on Friday in Tunis by the Bank Group's Vice President in charge of Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration, Mandla Gantsho, and Cameroon's Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Louis Paul Motaze.

    The two main objectives of the loan from the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional arm of the Bank Group, are to contribute to the growth of intra- and inter-regional trade in the Economic and Monetary Union of Central African States (CEMAC) zone as well as enhance the efficiency of the transport chain, including road infrastructure, railways and access along the Douala-Ndjamena and Douala-Bangui Corridors.

    “The Multinational Programme falls within NEPAD's framework that is aimed at creating commercially and economically viable corridors devoid of barriers, formalities and unnecessary road blocks that are the only principal causes of undue delays and high transaction costs along these corridors,” Mr Gantsho explained after the signing ceremony.

    He noted that the Bank is contributing USD 174 million in loans and grants from its multinational window under the ADF-X for the road facilitation project estimated at USD 410 million.

    The other agreements for loans and grants of UA 19 million to Chad, UA 27.8 million to the Central African Republic and UA 19 Million for CEMAC, will be signed in due course, he explained.

    For his part, the Minister commended the “crucial role played by the ADB in the success of this heart warming and important operation.”

    “The Transport Facilitation and Transit Programme of the Douala-Bangui and Douala-Ndjamena corridor is part of a sub-regional strategic investment which will enable the Republic of Cameroun, a transit country in particular, and CEMAC member states to promote and facilitate regional integration by improving free movement of people and goods,” Mr Motaze explained.

    He also expressed the gratitude of his government to the European Union, the French Development Agency (ADF) and the World Bank for their contribution to the project.

    The project is expected to improve access to the port of Douala for Chad and CAR. It will also help reduce poverty and improve the population's living environment and conditions, especially women.

    * UA 1 = USD 1.59527

    source – African Development Bank

    Uganda says it burned its fingers with Lake Victoria ship contract

    Once bitten twice shy might be the adage that Uganda’s Works and Construction Ministry is learning. The bite came from escalating costs involving the construction and operation of a new ship, the motor vessel KALANGALA, built by Dutch shipbuilder Damen to operate on Lake Victoria.

    Charles Muganzi, Permanent Secretary for the ministry told the Public Accounts Committee that a lack of experience and expertise on Uganda’s part was too blame.

    “Building a ship is as complex as building an aircraft. This was our first large project and we [have since] abandoned the whole idea because it is uneconomical,” he told MPs in response to questions raised in the Auditor General’s annual report.

    The Auditor General reported that the government had exposed itself to losses when it hired the Dutch company not only to build the ship but also to test the vessel in operation for two years. The AG suggested that it would have been preferable for an independent company to take on the operation of the vessel.

    Damen entered into the contract at a monthly rate of USD 149,000 as an extension and variation of the original contract (to build the ship).

    The contractor’s management fees catered for fuel and lubricants, insurance cover, crew remuneration, technical assistance and safety management. These costs however exceeded the earnings of the ship, leading to the loss incurred.

    The Ministry for its part defended the awarding of the contract saying that it compared well with baseline costs computed by the ministry and remained below the 25 percent threshold for a variation of the contract.

    The Permanent Secretary perhaps summed things up when he conceded that the government should not have got involved in business. “We cannot tell whether we are going to lose money or not. We are not trained for that. Shipping in Uganda is not a common business.”

    After having cut their losses the Ugandan government has since leased the Kalangala to a Ugandan company, Mulowooza and Bros on a three year contract. “At least we are now collecting some revenue,” the permanent secretary added.

    The m/v Kalangala was built as a replacement for another lake ship that sank in 2005 after being rammed, the m/v KABALEGA. Another two ships, m/v KAAWA and m/v PAMBA were withdrawn as unseaworthy and remain aground.

    Pic of the day – AFRICANA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The Departmental research vessel AFRICANA seen in Table Bay. Picture by Aad Noorland

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