Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 19, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • Grindrod buys up Bay Stevedores

  • Wednesday briefs – news in a few lines

  • Somali pirates free Russian tug

  • South Africa, Indonesia seek to bolster trade

  • South Africa to get R1.5 Billion bio-fuels plant

  • Pic of the day – SIKHULULEKILE


    Grindrod buys up Bay Stevedores

    Durban, 18 March 2008 - Grindrod today (Tuesday) announced the acquisition of Bay Stevedores (Pty) Ltd, backdated to be effective from 1 July 2007. The cost of the investment is undisclosed. Bay Stevedores will become a division of Grindrod Terminals (Pty) Ltd, a 100 percent owned subsidiary of Grindrod Limited.

    Bay Stevedores, situated in the port of Richards Bay, was formed in 1993 and is a stevedoring business specialising in the pay loading and separation of bulk cargo. The business provides services to Grindrod affiliated companies as well as third parties.

    “Our business is about moving cargo and taking care of all logistical factors on route. The acquisition of Bay Stevedores is simply the purchase of another piece of the supply chain puzzle. This business complements our existing terminal operations in Richards Bay and goes hand in hand with Grindrod’s strategy to grow its service offering to customers in the bulk cargo handling market,” said Dave Rennie, executive director Grindrod Limited.

    Frank Phillips and ‘Dup’ du Preez, both directors of Bay Stevedores (Pty) Ltd, will continue to run the operation. “The deal has taken a while to finalise as the stevedoring licence and property lease agreement with Transnet had to be transferred to Grindrod Terminals (Pty) Ltd. We are very pleased with the eventual outcome and look forward to being part of growing Grindrod’s terminal operations going forward”, said du Preez.

    Wednesday Briefs – news in a few lines

    Giant ore carriers enter service

    Get ready to watch giant ore carriers rounding the Cape as they plough their way between Brazil and China. Between eight and 10 of the very large ore carriers (VLOC - 250,000-dwt plus) are expected to enter service this year out of a total of 65 on order with various shipyards as owners scramble to keep up with the soaring ore trade which mainly goes in one direction – towards China. They are not expected to be deployed on the Australia route because Australian ore port facilities would be unable to handle VLOCs.
    Analysts think the arrival of the VLOCs may have the effect of dampening rates for ore and other bulk carriers – Capesizes are still riding high after last years record levels as demand continues to exceed supply. It now costs as much to ship a tonne of ore from Brazil as it does to purchase the same quantity. As one analyst put it, China forgot to order the ships to go with the demand.

    Transnet sells E Cape abelone farm

    Transport parastatal Transnet has sold its perlemoen (abalone) farm near the new port of Ngqura outside Port Elizabeth to a black economic empowerment investment group, Sekunjalo, saying that the sale is part of its strategic strategy of disposing of non-core assets. The price realised for the aquaculture project was not announced. According to Transnet chief executive Maria Ramos “This asset fell outside our core focus of rail freight, ports and pipelines.”

    Unwelcome visitor in Walvis Bay harbour shed

    An unusual and rather unwelcome visitor at a Walvis Bay harbour shed met with a quick end thanks to a clout on the head when workers dealt with a 2.25m long black mamba – one of Africa’s deadliest snakes. The worker was sweeping out a shed belonging to Protea Chemicals on Sunday evening when he came face to face with the mamba which had wound itself onto a loading hopper. Once over his shock and having beat a hasty retreat the worker summoned help. Fellow workers initially tried to capture the reptile hoping to release it into the surrounding countryside but when this failed and with the snake becoming aggressive the men decided to end the matter. It is thought the mamba may have found its way onto a train which was heading for the port from inland.

    Tanzania says raid on Anjouan will take place

    Rebuffing efforts by South Africa’s President Mbeki to hold more talks, Tanzania says the invasion of the rebel island of Anjouan will go ahead. Tanzania is one of three African Union (AU) countries providing troops for the planned invasion of the small Mozambique Channel island, one of three making up the federation of Comoros. Anjouan’s president Bacar last year staged unilateral elections which he claims to have won and has refused to back down, despite calls by the AU. A small force of AU soldiers has gathered on nearby Mohéli island in preparation for overthrowing Bacar. Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete is current chairman of the African Union and has made Tanzanian troops available to ‘dethrone’ President Bacar. Other AU nations participating in the military action are Senegal and Sudan, with logistical and other support coming from France and the US.

    Positive signs for Kenya ports

    The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) says it is to begin marketing itself to neighbouring landlocked countries in an effort of rebuilding confidence in the Kenya ports, following the recent political unrest in the East African country. Until the outbreak of unrest transit cargo through Kenya was growing steadily with Mombasa taking the lion’s share of such cargo for the region, far outshining Dar es Salaam and other ports. Transit traffic grew from 3.8 million tonnes in 2006 to 4.4mt last year, an increase of 15 percent.
    KPA’s managing director Abdallah Mwaruwa says the success of Mombasa’s transit cargo is a result of marketing campaigns held in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. He praised shippers in these countries for their understanding and co-operation, which helped lead to the quick return to normal operations at the port. All transit countries are guaranteed a 15-day grace period in the port of Mombasa and all transit cargo is now subject to a 24-hour release basis.

    Tanzania being held back by its poor roads

    A report just issued shows that Tanzania, which stood to benefit the most during the recent unrest in neighbouring Kenya, was unable to take advantage because its infrastructure was inadequate to the task.
    The Tanzania Business Forecast Report by Business Monitor International indicated that landlocked countries turned to Tanzania to re-route their traffic when the unrest broke out in Kenya, but Tanzania’s poor road, rail and port systems were ill-prepared to handle the upsurge in volumes.
    “Dar is already well over capacity...even without the massive influx of extra work, it is a less efficient port than Mombasa and passage through it takes up to two weeks,” the report states.
    The report predicts that the Tanzanian economy will grow by between 8.0 and 8.3 per cent between 2008 and 2010, and had the most to gain from Kenya’s problems. It also points out that transporting containers through Dar es Salaam costs an extra USD 3,000 to USD 4,000 while road transport costs an additional 20 percent, which “is not a sustainable burden for most businesses.”

    Odfjell ship goes aground, spills oil

    The Norwegian charted products tanker NCC JUPAIL smashed into a pier while leaving the port of Aratu in Salvador on Sunday, leaving a 3-metre gash in the ship’s side and spilling an estimated 5,000 litres of engine lubricant into the bay. Cleanup crews immediately went to work and by Monday had removed about 3,000 litres. The ship was carrying a load of flammable gasoline additive methyl tertbutyl ether (MTBE) to Amsterdam when the accident occurred. MTBE is banned in many places because of reported health risks. None of this substance leaked from the ship.

    sources – EP Herald, Namib Times, Shiptalk, East African, The Nation

    Somali pirates free Russian tug

    The Russian tug SVITZER KORSAKOV has been freed by Somali pirates after a ransom of USD 700,000 was paid, according to local reports yesterday (Tuesday).

    The ice-class tug, a newbuild, was captured by Somali pirates off the Puntland coast – the new danger point – in February, while on a delivery voyage to Russia’s Pacific coast. On board were a British master, an Irish chief engineer and four Russian crewmembers who were all taken into custody.

    Coalition warships in the area were helpless to intervene as the tug was taken to a shore base where negotiations for the ransom of the ship and her crew immediately got underway.

    According to a Puntland official yesterday another ship arrived at the weekend with the ransom money which was paid over, after which the tug and crew were released and allowed to depart.

    South Africa, Indonesia seek to bolster trade

    by Michael Appel (BuaNews)

    Pretoria 18 March 2008 - President Thabo Mbeki and his visiting Indonesian counterpart, Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, have agreed that establishing an air link between the two counties will be mutually beneficial.

    “One of the matters that we have agreed will facilitate cooperation is seeing how quickly we can conclude and implement an agreement on air links between the two countries,” said Mr Mbeki, speaking at the Union Buildings on Monday.

    President Mbeki said it was important that people are able to move with ease between South Africa and Indonesia.

    This could only add further impetus in the areas of tourism, business cooperation and economic growth, he added.

    Trade between South Africa and Indonesia totalled USD 641.7 million in 2006, expanding by 18 percent on the previous year.

    Discussions between Dr Yudhoyono and Mr Mbeki focused on the strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries, with a focus on furthering collaboration within the sphere of multilateral institutions, said Mr Mbeki.

    A number of agreements between various ministers were signed.

    These included a Joint Declaration on a Strategic Partnership for a Peaceful and Prosperous Future, a framework statement on the new Asia-Africa Strategic Partnership, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperative Activities in the Field of Defence, as well as an MoU on Cultural Cooperation.

    “I'm very optimistic about the future cooperation between Indonesia and South Africa which will be expanded significantly especially after the signing of the Joint Declaration on a Strategic Partnership for a Peaceful and Prosperous Future. We have also agreed that the next Asia-Africa Summit should be held in South Africa before April next year, it is important to hold that summit following the one held in Jakarta in 2005.”

    Mr Mbeki said they had also discussed the issues of capacity building in Palestine.

    “We [as South Africa] expressed our appreciation for the manner in which Indonesia and South Africa are cooperating as members of the United Nations Security Council,” he said.

    The Indonesian President said economically, South Africa was an advanced and fast growing country in Africa, and Indonesia was the largest economy in South East Asia.

    “If we combine the potential of our two countries the benefits of cooperation the benefits will be enormous for both,” said Dr Yudhoyono.

    He highlighted that trade between the two countries grew by 28 percent in 2007 in comparison to 2006, and that if both continued to harness opportunities the benefits will be great.

    To build on the 28 percent increase in trade between the two countries, Mr Mbeki highlighted that it was necessary for each to expose their economies to the other and for the private sector to get involved.

    Accessing the Indonesian market will further expose South African business to Asia's rapidly expanding markets.

    Indonesia and South Africa will continue to address global issues such as climate change; food and energy through the various multilateral forums that exist, said Dr Yudhoyono.

    Indonesia, similar to South Africa, is facing various electricity challenges, and Dr Yudhoyono said this had come as a result of rising oil and gas prices and climate change. He added that Indonesia was investing in renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    South Africa to get R1.5 Billion bio-fuels plant

    by Bathandwa Mbola (BuaNews)

    Pretoria, 18 March 2008 - The agro-processing industry in the country received a major boost with the announcement of an R1.5 billion bio-fuels processing plant, making it the largest soybean processing facility in Africa.

    The plant, which will be located in the Coega Industrial Development Zone in the Eastern Cape, is expected to produce bio-diesel and pharmaceutical glycerine from soya beans from South Africa and abroad.

    This is expected to begin in the last half of 2009.

    The investment by Rainbow Nation Renewable Fuels Limited (RNRF) will provide a significant boost to the South African and Eastern Cape economies.

    Announcing the investment on Monday, RNRF Managing Director Geoff Mordt said this plant marks the first major commitment to progressing the fledgling South African bio-fuels industry.

    “RNRF plans to deliver a renewable fuel that will reduce the harmful effects of greenhouse gases and toxic emissions produced by fossil fuels.

    “The bio-diesel will be made from a feedstock produced by South African farmers - this is an important day for the creation of a local bio-fuels industry in this country.”

    The project is expected to generate R4.5 billion in turnover annually and create 350 new permanent jobs.

    An additional 725 employment opportunities in related sectors and 800 jobs during the construction phase are also expected to be created.

    Explaining how the facility will benefit community at large, Mordt said the operation will improve food availability for South Africans by increasing local production of soybean meal and embraces government's policy on food security.

    South Africa's soybean farmers and livestock industries such as poultry, pork, dairy, beef and aquaculture producers stand to reap enormous rewards.

    “We are currently working with farmers, agricultural cooperatives and emerging-farmer groups to increase the local supply of soybeans and are looking to expand our supplier base significantly.”

    He said production will be a boost for local livestock industries and will help improve the nation's balance of payments.

    “Soybeans are an ideal bio-diesel feedstock in South Africa, helping to ensure the nation's food security. Growth of the local soybean industry will strengthen local agriculture and rural development, adding a key source of protein to the human food chain as well as providing a sustainable feedstock for premium quality bio-diesel.”

    South African imports of soybean meal reached 812,000 tons last year, up 20 percent on the previous year.

    The facility will consume one million tons of soybeans annually providing a consistent local demand that South African farmers can rely on year after year.

    The investment is in line with the provincial government Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa scheme, which relies heavily on bio-fuel production from grains, including soya and canola.

    Pic of the day – SIKHULULEKILE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The rather classy looking 292-seat, R25 million Robben Island ferry SIKHULULEKILE, built at the Cape Town Farocean Marine yard (now a part of Dutch shipbuilder Damen) and seen making the crossing in Table Bay on 3 March, shortly before being taken out of service because of teething problems. The 100 ton vessel is built to a Dutch design with a service speed of 26 knots to allow for a 20 minute crossing. For those interested in such things, the name means ‘We are free.” Can a Cape Town reader confirm whether the ferry is back in service? Picture by Robert Ravensberg

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