Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 16, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • Power shedding strikes Durban port and Customs goes down

  • Sale of Madagascar not concluded

  • Economist warns of mishandling the energy crisis

  • News from the shipping lines

  • Shrimp fishing faces extended closed season

  • Mozambique expects delivery of 40 refurbished locomotives

  • Cost of Beira dredging disclosed

  • Pic of the day –LYKES RAIDER AT DAWN


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    Power shedding strikes Durban port and Customs goes down

    The latest schedule of load shedding issued by the eThekwini Municipality, otherwise known as the city of Durban, indicates that Africa’s busiest port will also be subject to power shedding three times a week until further notice.

    This revelation has raised more than a few eyebrows – it was assumed that because of their strategic importance the ports might be exempt but it seems the ‘power’ of Eskom spreads far and wide, with no-one escaping the net.

    In fact however the decision as to which areas are affected and at which times lies with the municipality, which administers the distribution of electricity across the metropolitan region.

    According to the Durban port manager Ricky Bhikraj two areas of the port will be affected – the Point on the northern side and Bayhead to the south. The south eastern side of the harbour known as the Cutler Complex, or Island View which houses the petro-chemical complex, will not experience power shedding.

    It is not clear whether the two container terminals fall into regions affected. However port users are quick to point out that road and rail access to the container terminals and to Island View will be affected by the Bayhead cuts – this area is already subject to heavy road congestion from both container and tanker vehicles trying to access the respective terminals.

    Several shipping operators expressed their concern yesterday saying that anything which impacted on efficiencies at the port should be avoided.

    In a related matter yesterday Ashika Pillay, Acting Branch Manager of Durban Customs announced that load shedding had occurred at Durban Customs which was unable to process any entries. Attempts were being made to re-direct entries to the Johannesburg offices of Customs but it couldn’t be confirmed whether this would be successful. Durban Customs was therefore not accepting any further entries until further notice but an emergency telephone number for extremely urgent entries was provided – 031 328 7000 (ask for Vishal Lalla).

    Sale of Madagascar not concluded

    The cruise ship MADAGASCAR – picture Terry Hutson

    Yesterday’s advertised sale of the cruise ship m.v. Madagascar was held without being concluded after the highest offer made failed to reach the reserve price of USD925,000.

    Auctioneer Capt Roy Martin of Admiralty Ships Sales told PORTS & SHIPS that seven bidders registered with six actually taking part in the bidding. A couple of bidders interested in scrapping the ship fell out early and the highest bid achieved was USD900,000, just USD25,000 short of securing the sale.

    He expressed surprise that this bidder, represented by a Durban maritime attorney but thought to be acting on behalf of Greek interests, declined to go slightly higher and secure the sale.

    Instead the sale has now been reopened to further interested parties and new expressions of interest are being invited. Capt Martin said he had already received some interest from several parties which had been too late to participate in yesterday’s auction but who had assured him they would register expressions of interest before the cut-off date of Friday 22 April.

    The court will then be approached to permit a new sale to be held or alternately in the event of no further interest to accept the lowest bid from yesterday’s auction.

    Details of the ship including her condition and of the procedure involving the sale is available on the Admiralty Ship Sales website at

    Economist warns of mishandling the energy crisis

    “Crisis, what crisis?” Those words (or the meaning) ascribed to South Africa’s President Mbeki after visiting Zimbabwe en route to the summit in Zambia at the weekend may well become South Africa’s economic swansong, given the deniability of government over mismanagement in recent times.

    One can refer back to Minister Erwin and his famous sabotage theory (“it was a bolt”) as to why the Koeberg nuclear power station failed a couple of years ago. That theory got quietly swept under the carpet as accurate facts appeared, but the words this week of academic Raymond Parsons, professor of economic at Pretoria University and business convenor of the National Economic Development and Labour Council, are well worth considering, especially by those in government.

    “The only recession South Africa will experience is the one we talk ourselves into,” he told the Northern Cape Chamber of Commerce while warning that any mishandling of the power crisis (there’s that word again) and electricity tariffs could do more harm to the economy than an American recession.

    His outlook on how Eskom was handling the … er problem was however hardly encouraging. Although they are trying hard, he said, “it keeps coming out wrong”.

    Referring to South Africa’s economy on the whole, Parsons said that while it was vulnerable to global financial turbulence, it had a number of shock absorbers built in. These included a sound and careful fiscal stance, healthy international reserves and low outside debt, plus a sound banking system and a floating exchange rate. High commodity prices acted as a safety net, as did an inflation targeting regime.

    The cloud on South Africa’s horizon was its large current account deficit as a result of importing more than it exported.

    News from the shipping lines

    Alan Jones

    Safmarine’s Africa Region Executive Alan Jones is to step down at the end of this month as he prepares for retirement after a lifetime spent with Safmarine. The actual day of retirement however will only approach next year – from 1 May Jones becomes Key Account Executive looking after the company’s most important accounts.

    Into his shoes as Africa Region Executive steps Jonathan Horn, the current Human Resources Executive at the Cape Town office of Safmarine. Prior to that Horn, who joined Safmarine in 2004 was Regional Executive for KwaZulu Natal.

    The 3,600-TEU BAHIA CASTILLO in Durban on her maiden voyage, 22 August 2007

    Hamburg Süd has begun replacing the 3,630-TEU Bahia class container ships now familiar sights on the Far East – South Africa – East Coast South America service with much larger 5,900-TEU vessels, the first being RIO DE LA PLATA, with the attractive Bahia class vessels entering the company’s Far East West Coast South America service. The first vessel to move across is BAHIA CASTILLO, which replaces the smaller CAP SALINAS (2,456-TEU), which incidentally was also once on the Far East – SA – ECSA run. Other Bahia class ships to transfer shortly are BAHIA NEGRA (approx 1 June) and BAHIA BLANCA (approx 1 July), again as larger 5,900-TEU class ships come available on the Far East – SA – ECSA service. BY using these as a yardstick one can draw some conclusions as to the degree of business done by Hamburg Süd across its respective trades.

    Delmas, a subsidiary of CMA CGM has modified two of its Europe – West Africa services by adding Conakry as a port of call to its full Ro-Ro service and removing the port as a call on its Loop 2 container service, reports AXS-Alphaliner. Delmas now uses its RoRo service to offer inter Africa services for rolling stock on its Africa range, covering Dakar, Conakry, Abidjan, Pointe Noire, Port Gentil, Libreville, Douala, Takoradi, Abidjan and San Pedro.

    Niledutch Shipping (NDS the Dutch operator has taken delivery on charter of the newbuild 1,732-TEU H Augsburg which is being renamed NILEDUTCH TIANJIN. The vessel is to be deployed on Niledutch’s China – Southeast Asia – West Africa service and is the 38th vessel of the ‘Flensburg’ class inaugurated eight years ago.

    Singapore-based shipping line PIL (Pacific International Line) has taken on charter the 2,015-TEU OM AGARUM for a single round voyage on the company’s Asia – South Africa – West Africa service, reports AXS-Alphaliner

    Shrimp fishing faces extended closed season

    The Mozambican authorities are studying the possibility of extending the closed season on shrimp fishing in the Sofala bank in Mozambique to six months, according to newspaper Notícias.

    The director of the National Institute of Fishing Research (IIP), Domingos Gove said that the measure, which is at providing more time for breeding, included reducing the system and time available to catch the shrimp by semi-industrial and industrial fishing vessels.

    According to the paper, the new closed period could stretch from October to March every year, as compared with the two-month period in January and February.

    The project also includes the introduction of a second closed period of one or two months (July or August) in the middle of the year, as well as partial bans in areas close to the Indian Ocean coast at the beginning of the fishing season in April and March.

    The fishing administration has also decided to introduce a new system for licensing of shrimp fishing, which would make it possible to supervise fishing vessels more closely.

    The results of the shrimp survey carried out in January and February, showed that the Sofala bank has a potential catch of around 4,000 tons of shrimp.

    In terms of deep sea shrimp (Gamba), a survey carried out between 2004 and 2006 showed that stocks were currently at levels that would allow for fishing to increase gradually by a further 40 percent by 2009. – CorridorNet

    Mozambique expects delivery of 40 refurbished locomotives

    Mozambique's public-owned ports and railways company (CFM) - which recently announced that it is running at a profit - says that it will shortly have 40 completely rehabilitated locomotives available and will begin rehabilitating 670 wagons in its general workshops.

    Its chairman, Rui Fonseca, announced recently that the company is adopting a strategy to invest in rolling stock to guarantee that cargo is transported to and from Mozambique's ports reliably and securely.

    The company also intends to invest in new wagons to facilitate the transport of minerals and other cargoes from Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Botswana to the Port of Maputo. - CorridorNet

    Cost of Beira dredging disclosed

    The cost of dredging the approach channels to the port of Beira to enable the port to handle coal exports from Moatize is USD37 million.

    That’s the figure given by Mozambique port and rail transport parastatal, CFM which said the dredging was essential before Beira can start accepting coal exports.

    A new coal terminal would have to be built at the port but support work in the form of preparing the harbour entrance channels was necessary. According to CFM financial support for the dredging was available from the Netherlands and Denmark.

    CRVD, the Brazilian company that holds the concessions to exploit the Moatize coal reserves in Tete Province, expects to export 20 million tonnes of coal a year. In order to facilitate the delivery of coal to the harbour, construction is already well advanced on rebuilding and refurbishing the railway line between Dondo outside Beira and Moatize. Costing USD170 million the railway line will be completed during 2009 when the first coal can be expected in Beira.

    In addition to dredging the port of Beira also requires an upgrade of its navigation equipment, expected to cost CFM in the region of USD40m.

    Pic of the day – LYKES RAIDER AT DAWN

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The RoRo vessel LYKES RAIDER arriving in Durban harbour one morning shortly after dawn – May 2004. For over 50 years ships of the American Lykes Line were regular callers on the South African coast, until the company was taken over and absorbed into CP Lines. Picture by Terry Hutson

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