Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 24, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • HOKUETSU USHAKA greeted with traditional Kagamiwari ceremony on arrival in Durban

  • Still no definite word of China’s ship of shame

  • TICTS calls for speedier clearance of cargo from Dar es Salaam

  • Driver of the year competition to improve skills

  • Mpumalanga and Maputo advance economic ties

  • Butiaba to be redeveloped as oil port

  • Pic of the day – MAERSK CONSTANTIA


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    HOKUETSU USHAKA greeted with traditional Kagamiwari ceremony on arrival in Durban

    Breaking open the casket of sake in the traditional manner. Picture Terry Hutson

    NYK Line’s latest wood chip carrier, Hokuetsu uShaka arrived in Durban on Tuesday (22 April) on her maiden voyage to load wood chips at the NCT Durban Wood Chips Terminal (DWC) at Maydon Wharf 8.

    The arrival of the ship was celebrated in true Japanese style with a performance of the Kagamiwari ceremony, in which a barrel of sake wine was ceremonially broken open to drink the health of the ship and those who sail in her.

    Performing the Kagamiwari ceremony were from left Mr Graham Burnett of DWC, Mr Masaaki Miwa, chairman of Hokuetsu Paper Mills, Mr Xolani Mthembu of DWC who came up with the name for the ship, Dr Carl Seele of NCT, Mr Volly Keyser of DWC and slightly out of picture, Mr Ferdie Brauckmann of DWC.

    The ceremony consisted of breaking open the barrel with simultaneous blows from wooden mallets (see picture) after which guests are invited to drink the health of the ship from special square wooden mugs, another tradition.

    Mr Miwa said that when a name was being sought for the new ship it was decided to invite suggestions from the public, “so that we could forge stronger ties with the people of South Africa.” During the process, he said, the name ‘Hokuetsu uShaka’ was suggested by Mr Mthembu of DWC and later adopted.

    “On 26 March Hokuetsu uShaka began sailing after being officially named by Len O’Haughey (DWC), whose wife Dorne kindly cut the tape for us. Today we are delighted to be here in Durban for this ceremony in honour of the vessel’s first voyage,” said Mr Miwa.

    He said that in September, Hokuetsu Paper will begin operating its number 9 papermaking machine, which will then produce 350,000 tonnes of the highest quality coated paper every year.

    “Our main factory in Nigita, Japan, produces 1,400,000 tonnes a year, so our overall volume will soon increase to 1,750,000 tonnes. We are proud to be the leading producer in Japan, but we unfortunately have to battle it out with others for the supply of (wood) chips that the machines require.”

    Mr Miwa said this was his second visit to Durban, the first being in February 2005 when DWC began exporting chips. “One of our employees recently reported to me that DWC has made such great progress in producing and loading wood chips that the company is now considered to be a specialist in exports from South Africa. When I toured the factory, I also felt that DWC had shown great growth.”

    “In particular, I admired how clean the factory was. Factory cleanliness is often the sign of a safe workplace. At the same time, high-quality wood chips free of impurities will produce high-quality paper. Let me kindly request that you continue to make every effort to maintain such an excellent workplace environment and a stable supply of chips.”

    Wood chips for the Hokuetsu manufacturing plant in Japan are brought to the Maydon Wharf terminal as logs from the NCT Forestry plantations in the KZN midlands, converted to chips and transported to Japan by NYK Line, with Hokuetsu uShaka becoming the eighth and largest vessel under contract to Hokuetsu.

    “We ask the captain and crew to continue to place the utmost emphasis on safety, for which NYK is recognised, during these shipments between Durban and Nigata,” said Mr Miwa.

    Hokuetsu uShaka was built at the Oshima shipyard in Japan for Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) Line and is managed by Sato Steamship Co of Hiroshima. The keel was laid down on 14 October 2004 and the vessel launched on 10 December 2007, with delivery following on 26 March of this year.

    Listed as a flush deck woodchip carrier the vessel has a gross tonnage of 49,186t and a summer deadweight of 60,526 tonnes and is 210m in length overall with a beam of 36.5m. Her depth measured to the poop deck is 22.95m and the summer draught is 11.5 metres. Her cargo capacity is 122,153 cubic metres.

    The 6-hatch ship’s main engine is a Mitsubishi 7UEC50LSII providing a laden service speed of 13.8 knots. Including the ship’s master, Capt Rli Gang-Hyeang the crew complement numbers 20 made up of three Korean senior officers and 17 Filipinos.

    Still no definite word of China’s ship of shame

    Picture by Clinton Wyness

    The Chinese arms ship An Yue Jiang – some are calling it the Chinese ship of shame, remained in limbo last night off the South African coast amidst unconfirmed reports that the vessel was returning home to China.

    At the same time SADC member nations have begun closing ranks in saying the vessel is not welcome in their ports. The latest leaders to speak out include Zambia’s President Levy Mwanawasa, who is also SADC chairman, and Tanzania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Bernard Membe.

    The Tanzanian foreign minister said the Chinese ship, owned and operated by COSCO, was barred from entering any Tanzanian port because its cargo of weapons could only deepen the crisis in Zimbabwe.

    ’’Tanzania wants to see peace restored in Zimbabwe, therefore we cannot allow this ship to unload its weapons cargo in our country,’’ Membe told a local newspaper, This Day, in Dar es Salaam.

    President Mwanawasa urged southern African states to join with civil society across the region in barring the ship from entering their waters, saying that its presence only deepened the Zimbabwe election crisis.

    “I hope this will be the case with all the countries because we don't want a situation which will escalate the (tension) in Zimbabwe more than what it is," Mwanawasa said.

    Mozambique’s President Armando Guebuza broke ranks with other African states when he said his government had not been approached and he had not instructed Mozambique ports to turn away the ship.

    “We will take a decision when we have something concrete and not abstract, or based on allegations,” Guebuza said.

    A Chinese foreign office spokesperson Jiang Yu said on Tuesday that because the ship was having difficulty in discharging its cargo the An Yue Jiang may return back to China.

    TICTS calls for speedier clearance of cargo from Dar es Salaam

    Dar es Salaam terminal operator Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS) has called for a speedy clearance of cargoes from the container terminal as boxes begin to overwhelm the port’s resources.

    TICTS terminal manager Cassian N’gamilo said that dwell time was one of the most important factors causing congestion in the port. “Long dwell times add to the constraints resulting from the limited space in which we have to work the ships as well as manoeuvre and stack the containers,” he said.

    Importers have called for a speeding up of the process of clearing documents including their pre-clearance. They also made a call for an improvement to Tanzania’s road system linking the port of Dar es Salaam and neighbouring countries in the Great Lakes region.

    The statement comes at a time when the neighbouring states have increased discussions with Tanzanian authorities over the use of Tanzania’s ports as opposed to remaining reliant on Mombasa in Kenya. The point out that large losses occurred following the post election disturbances in Kenya which effectively blocked all access to Mombasa for several weeks, resulting in huge bottlenecks and shortages.

    Uganda’s Minister for Finance, Ezra Suruma said that Uganda was determined to explore the use of its southern corridor with Tanzania and the port of Dar es Salaam. The corridor involves the use of lake steamers on Lake Victoria as well as rail and road transport from Port Mwanza to the coast.

    Tanzania is in the throes of upgrading its rail and road network which has been allowed to deteriorate in recent years.

    Shippers in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi acknowledge that the southern corridor will cost more than the shorter northern corridor through Kenya but say that the port of Mombasa has become the most expensive in the region. In addition the Kenyan system of clearing goods is becoming cumbersome as a result of new regulations by the Kenya Revenue Authority, they say. source - The Citizen (Dar es Salaam) and Business Daily (Nairobi)

    Driver of the year competition to improve skills

    by Gabi Khumalo

    Eastern Cape, 22 April - The Eastern Cape annual Provincial Driver of the Year Competition which aims to improve driving skills of heavy motor vehicle drivers is expected to kick off next month in various districts.

    According to spokesperson for Safety, Liaison, Roads and Transport, Ncedo Kumbaca, the large number of heavy motor vehicle accidents occurring on public roads has led to a situation where the role of driver education and fitness has become under scrutiny.

    “It is for this reason that the Department of Transport in partnership with all nine provinces and private sector invests knowledge in people with the hope that they will emerge with better skills and driver professionalism,” said Mr Kumbaca.

    He added that many companies know that money spent on proper training of drivers has proven to be a good investment, as that may result in less damage to vehicles and few accidents.

    The possibilities, he said of being recognised in an in-house competition as not only the best driver in the company, but also a provincial and national ambassador.

    During the competition drivers will showcase their finest, safest driving skills and road safety knowledge.

    The long-term aim is to promote driver education in Southern Africa, and consequently improve standard of driving heavy motor vehicles and ultimately reduce the resultant road accident, said Kumbaca.

    The competition will start on 17 May at Alfred Nzo District in Maluthi Military Base, Chris Hani District on 23 and 24 May at Public Works ground, Amathole District on 6 and 7 June at IDZ, Ukhahlamba District on 3 and 4 June at Maletswai Testing Centre and Cacadu District on 20 and 21 June at Beach front Kings Beach.

    On 11 and 12 July, the competition will be held at O R Tambo District in Leeds Road Umtata Town Hall and Magistrate Office.

    The Provincial Driver of the Year will be selected on 31 July to 2 August 2008 in Port Elizabeth.

    This year, the Eastern Cape will host the National Finals from 21 to 24 October 2008 in Port Elizabeth at Beach Front Kings Beach. – BuaNews

    Mpumalanga and Maputo advance economic ties

    by Luyanda Makapela

    Nelspruit, 22 April - As part of the ongoing efforts aimed at advancing geo-political and economic objectives, Mpumalanga's Premier Thabang Makwetla will sign a renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Maputo's Governor Exa Telmina Pereira.

    According to the Mpumalanga provincial government, the MoU which will be signed on Tuesday forms part of the objectives of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

    The original memorandum between the two provinces was signed in 2001 in pursuit of the general agreement entered into between South Africa and Mozambique.

    A Mozambican delegation is expected to arrive in Mpumalanga and will be visiting the Matsamo Cultural Village and the Samora Machel crash site in Mbuzini.

    On the second day, the delegation will tour the 2010 FIFA World Cup Mbombela Stadium.

    They will then proceed to sign the renewed MoU at the provincial government complex.

    The primary focus of the pact will be on creating institutions and maximising investment opportunities arising out of the flagship Maputo Development Corridor.

    This links Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Maputo provinces with the Mozambican harbour.

    The flagship project aims to position the corridor as an attractive route for trade and export. Other new areas of cooperation will include tourism, agriculture, local government and efforts towards the world cup.

    In March this year, Premier Makwetla was invited by the South African High Commissioner in Mozambique Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe to address a business lunch in Maputo.

    The event hosted key South African investors in Mozambique to discuss opportunities and challenges in their business endeavors.

    Invited South African private investors operating in Mozambique include Sasol, First National Bank, Avis, Engen, South African Airways and Spoornet. - BuaNews

    Butiaba to be redeveloped as oil port

    The steamship ROBERT CORYNDON at Port Butiaba on Lake Albert – picture from EAR&H Magazine 1955/56

    Bulisa, 21 April – The moribund port of Butiaba on the Uganda side of Lake Albert is to be redeveloped as an oil port, it has been learned.

    The port has hardly existed as such for the past 48 years but now Tullow Uganda Operations Pty Ltd will reopen activities for the transporting of heavy machinery for offshore drilling in Lake Albert.

    The land on which the port is situated is owned by Uganda Railways Corporation but the harbour ceased operating in the 1960s when the URC abandoned the port which was subsequently vandalised as residents encroached on the area.

    In terms of the agreement with Tullow Oil the company will develop the port on a Build and Operate basis with occupancy for a set period after which the port will revert to the Uganda government. The time period has not been divulged.

    Pre 1960’s Port Butiaba was a prosperous gateway for goods and produce from the northern Congo as well as southern Sudan which found its way to the markets of Europe. Lake steamers, including the steamship Robert Coryndon which wreck can still be seen near Butiaba, ferried cargo and people across the lake, with cargo being trucked from the port to the town of Masindi and then on to Masindi Port on Lake Kyoga from where it was again shipped across to the town of Soroti near the railway line which in turn led across Uganda and Kenya to Mombasa.

    Pic of the day – MAERSK CONSTANTIA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    Maersk Constantia makes a final call at the Durban Container Terminal this week (Tuesday, 22 April), only days after we published a story recording her ‘final’ departure. As can be seen that report proved to be premature – the container ship went as far as the Durban outer anchorage and then this week re-entered harbour for, we think, the final time.
    We recall in the days of South African steam trains how many a ‘last steam trip’ along a certain line would take place, followed weeks or months later by yet another ‘definitely the last trip’ as permission was granted for another last fling by enthusiasts. With Maersk Constantia this is something different and we doubt there’s much nostalgia involved in the unexpected call this week, only business. Picture Terry Hutson

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