Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 7, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • South African port statistics for March

  • Annual SA port statistics reflect little growth

  • Safmarine names more ships in service

  • EC rail conference to improve public transport

  • French cruise yacht seized by pirates under the noses of coalition navy

  • Durban transport company invests in variable reach truck

  • Work starts on laying Eassy fibre optic undersea cable

  • Pic of the day –DELPHIN VOYAGER


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    South African port statistics for March

    Cargo figures for March and the financial year 2007/2008 are to hand, courtesy of Transnet National Ports Authority. As is customary we have adjusted the overall tonnage to include containers by weight (Transnet NPA measures containers by quantity only, recording TEUs, for which PORTS & SHIPS makes an estimated weight adjustment of 13,5 tonnes per TEU to give tonnages).

    During March 2008 the respective ports handled the following (with February figures between brackets for comparison):

    Cargo handled by tonnes

    Richards Bay                    6.624 million tonnes (Feb 6.131Mt)
    Durban                            5.634 Mt (Feb 6.150)
    Saldanha Bay                   3.111 Mt (Feb 2.963)
    Cape Town                      1.183 Mt (Feb 1.236)
    Port Elizabeth                   0.739 Mt (Feb 0.817)
    Mossel Bay                      0.099 Mt (Feb 0.169)
    East London                     0.193 Mt (Feb 0.253)

    Total monthly cargo in March 17.589 million tonnes (Feb 17.719 Mt)

    Containers (measured by TEUs)
    (TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Tranship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA)

    Durban                          190,342 TEU (Feb 222,429)
    Cape Town                      61,971 (Feb 63,445)
    Port Elizabeth                   30,495 (Feb 27,561)
    East London                      4,089 (Feb 5,676)
    Richards Bay                        808 (Feb 254)

    Total handled 287,705 TEU (Feb 317,365)

    Ship Calls

    Durban:              345 vessels 8.492m gt (Feb 362 vessels 8.932m gt)
    Cape Town:         226 vessels 4.122m gt (Feb 266 vessels 4.748m gt)
    Port Elizabeth:     123 vessels 2.030m gt (Feb 106 vessels 2.197m gt)
    Richards Bay:      126 vessels 4.357m gt (Feb 125 vessels 4.579m gt)
    Saldanha:            35 vessels 2,060m gt (Feb 35 vessels 2,130m gt)
    East London:        27 vessels 0.799m gt (Feb 28 vessels 0.741m gt)
    Mossel Bay:         67 vessels 0.176m gt (Feb 69 vessels 0.260m gt)

    - source TNPA, with adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container weights

    Annual SA Port Statistics reflect little growth

    South African ports handled a total of 181.367 million tonnes of cargo during the financial year ended 31 March 2007 (178.015mt in 2006/07), a growth of 1.88 percent. This figure however does not include the tonnage of containers handled which the National Ports Authority no longer records by weight.

    When containers by tonnage are included the ports handled a total of 231.779 million tonnes of all cargo, which reflects a growth of just 2.57 percent on the previous fiscal year figure of 225.97mt.

    These figures indicate a drastic slow down of imports and exports at the seven commercial ports, with this trend appearing at each port and across most commodities. The countrywide growth in containers has slowed to 5.12 percent, the lowest it has been for some years. Container growth at Durban, the country’s principal port for this item, was 7.57 percent compared with a growth of 19.38 percent the previous year.

    Including containers the respective ports handled the following tonnages:

    Cargo handled by tonnes

    Richards Bay                    85.280 million tonnes (prev yr 83.065Mt)
    Durban                            76.451 Mt (prev 73.006)
    Saldanha Bay                   40.338 Mt (prev 41.220)
    Cape Town                      14.400 Mt (prev 14.173)
    Port Elizabeth                   11.129 Mt (prev 10.641)
    East London                       2.440 Mt (prev 1.600)
    Mossel Bay                        1.736 Mt (prev 1.756)

    Total cargo handled at all ports in 2007/08 was 231.779 million tonnes ( 2006/07 was 225.97Mt)

    Containers measured by TEUs
    (TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers and subject to being invoiced by NPA)

    Durban                    2,511,704 TEU (prev yr 2,334,999) + 7.57 percent
    Cape Town                 759,481 (prev 764,753) - 0.69 percent
    Port Elizabeth             415,879 (prev 407,278) + 2.11 percent
    East London                 42,148 (prev 41,836) + 0.75 percent
    Richards Bay                  4,953 (prev 3,332) + 48.65 percent

    Total handled 3,734,165 TEU (prev yr 3,552,198) + 5.12 percent

    Ship Calls

    Durban:               4567 vessels 107.352m gt (4545 vessels 97.453m gt)
    Cape Town:         3057 vessels 49.453m gt (3003 vessels 47.208m gt)
    Port Elizabeth:      1261 vessels 29.792m gt (1647 vessels 28.183m gt)
    Richards Bay:       1639 vessels 57.173m gt (1575 vessels 57.150m gt)
    Saldanha:             452 vessels 24,920m gt (502 vessels 25,863m gt)
    East London:         319 vessels 8.687m gt (316 vessels 8.177m gt)
    Mossel Bay:         1534 vessels 3.122m gt (2506 vessels 3.018m gt)*
    * includes large number of fishing vessels

    Total vessel calls at SA ports:

    12,829 vessel calls for 2007/08 - total of 280,499,298-gt (2006/07 was 14,094 vessel calls - total of 267,052,719-gt)

    - source NPA but using Ports & Ships calculations to include container weights

    Safmarine launches more ships into service

    Safmarine Kariba and guests on naming day at the Hanjin Heavy Industry yards in Busan, Korea. Picture courtesy Safmarine

    Safmarine has had a busy time of late, with several new ships added to the fleet including the company’s largest container vessel ever, a 6,100-TEU’er. During mid March, as was reported in these columns last week, the official naming of the multi purpose vessel Safmarine Angela took place in Antwerp – the first of four newly built multi purpose vessels taken on charter for the company’s Europe – West Africa trades.

    “These new, versatile vessels, built to Safmarine’s specification in China, will be deployed on the multi purpose West Africa trades where their ability to carry break bulk commodities as well as heavy lift and oversized cargoes - in addition to containers - is much sought after by our growing customer base,” said Safmarine CEO, Ivan Heesom-Green at the naming.

    The self-geared 140m long tweendecker can carry up to 470 TEU (twenty foot container equivalents) and is highly suited to transport a wide range of cargo – from large bulk cocoa shipments to containerised reefer cargo and heavy lift cargo.

    Despite the advance of containerised shipping internationally there are still some regions where multi-purpose ships remain essential – West Africa being one of them.

    On 28 March Safmarine named another newbuild, Safmarine Nyassa at the Volkswerft shipyard in Germany. Safmarine Nyssa is to be deployed on the company’s AMEX service between Southern Africa and the United States East Coast beginning in May.

    Then on Friday, 4 April Safmarine Nyassa’s sister ship Safmarine Ngami arrived in Baltimore on her maiden voyage. What was notable about this event is that together with the ship’s arrival two days earlier in the US port of Newark, this marked a historic return of a fully-owned ship carrying the Safmarine logoscript on a white hull to the United States. The service had previously been served using chartered tonnage only.

    John Boudreau, Safmarine Inc President (for the US branch of Safmarine) recalled the early history of the company and its links with North America.

    “The original formation of our company resulted from a partnership between Henry Mercer, the president of the American Company, States Marine Corporation and Dr Hendrik van der Bijl, a well-known South African industrialist, back in 1946. The US Government provided the three ships which became Safmarine’s first owned, general purpose cargo ships on the US-South Africa trade and Safmarine’s first owned vessel, the Constantia arrived in Table Bay Harbour, Cape Town on 22 August 1947.

    “Just over sixty-one years later we are now celebrating the arrival of the first in a new fleet of Safmarine ships trading between Southern Africa and our shores.”

    Safmarine Nyassa and Safmarine Ngami each measure 210m long, have a deadweight of 33 915t and can carry up to 2,474 TEU. Their service speed is 22 knots and each ship has a crew compliment of 17.

    Safmarine Nyassa at the builders yard in Germany on 28 March 2008. Inset shows Mrs Linda E Burke, who named the ship. Mrs Burke is the wife of Richard E. Burke, President of Seamates Inc in the USA. Picture courtesy Safmarine

    While this was taking place, on 2 April on the other side of the world in Busan, South Korea the largest container ship to enter service with the Safmarine owned fleet was being named at a ceremony at the Hanjin Heavy Industries shipyard.

    This new ship is Safmarine Kariba, a post panamax container vessel with a length of 300m, a beam of 40m and a deadweight of 81,300t. Safmarine Kariba will carry up to 6,160 TEU and operate at a fast service speed of 25.1 knots. She has a crew compliment of 18 and will trade on Safmarine’s South Asia to Europe service. A second sister vessel will join her in June this year.

    Safmarine Kariba was named by Philomena Aranha, wife of Martin Joakim Aranha, Managing Director of Globelink West Star Shipping Services LLC of the United Arab Emirates.

    “Back in April and May 2003 we celebrated with our customers the maiden calls of the Costamare-owned chartered ship Safmarine Antwerp in Nhava Sheva, Jebel Ali and Antwerp. She was a Hanjin Heavy Industries-built ship of a similar size and bore the same Safmarine script and colours, and served many of our customers here today on the Prime Express service between Southern Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Five years later we are delighted to now have the Safmarine Kariba join our fleet as a fully-fledged Safmarine-owned vessel and look forward to having a second sister vessel join her in June this year,” said Torsten Hartmann, outgoing Liner Director for Safmarine. Hartmann is the newly-appointed Area Manager for Maersk Line’s Latin America Region.

    Background to the ships

    Safmarine Nyassa is named after Lake Nyassa (also known as Lake Malawi), an East African lake bordered by Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania.

    Safmarine Kariba is named after a man-made lake bordering Zambia and Zimbabwe and formed by the Zambezi River flowing through it.

    Technical specifications of Safmarine Nyassa and Safmarine Ngami

    * Length: 210.54 m
    * Breadth: 29.80 m
    * Deadweight: tdw 33915
    * Service Speed: 22.10 kn
    * Container Capacity: 2474 TEU (nominal)

    Technical Specifications of Safmarine Kariba

    * Length: 300 m
    * Breadth: 40 m
    * Deadweight: tdw 81,300
    * Service Speed: 25.10 kn
    * Container Capacity: 6160 TEU (nominal)

    EC rail conference to improve public transport

    by Luyanda Makapela

    Eastern Cape, 4 April - The country's rail industry will come under the spotlight when the provincial Rail Conference kicks off in May.

    The conference, hosted by the Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Transport, will be aimed at understanding the framework that governs rail industry in the country.

    It will also identify what is required to make rail viable in the province, based on lessons learnt from past initiatives.

    Transport MEC Thobile Mhlahlo, addressing TransMEC, said the conference will discuss legislation, regulations and key stakeholders in the industry.

    TransMEC is a structure established to provide platform for interaction between his department, municipalities and transport sector role players in the province.

    The MEC said there were many initiatives in store for the people of Eastern Cape guided by the Back to Rail Strategy.

    “We have delivered the Kei Rail Passenger Service between East London and Mthatha, which will be followed by freight and tourism services later this year.

    “We will further commence a passenger service between East London, King William’s Town and Alice with a particular focus on Bhisho and King William’s Town-based civil servants and students from the University of Fort Hare,” said MEC Mhlahlo. – BuaNews

    French cruise yacht seized by pirates under the noses of coalition navy

    Quite what the point is of having coalition navy ships patrolling off the coast of Somalia is again an issue, after Somali pirates seized a passing French cruise yacht.

    At least 30 members of crew on board the 32-cabin, four deck LE PONANT have been taken hostage and are now the subject, together with the ship, of negotiations for their and the ship’s ransom. The yacht was attacked in the Gulf of Aden opposite both Yemen and Somalia, one of the region’ hot spots, on Friday 4 April as the vessel was returning to the Mediterranean minus passengers, who had disembarked in the Seychelles.

    Le Ponant is owned by the French container shipping company CMA CGM and is one of several small cruise vessels operated by them. Most of the crew are reported to be French citizens although there are some other nationalities on board.

    It doesn’t appear that any weapons were discharged during the attack and there are no reports of injuries.

    Shortly after the attack took place a French helicopter was dispatched from Djibouti and flew over the captured yacht but was unable to do anything to secure its release.

    France maintains a small force of patrol boats and aircraft at nearby Djibouti (as do the Americans) and is said to be monitoring the situation. The French Navy is also a part of the coalition naval force operating in the area. But as with other recent attacks such as the Danish tug Svitzer Korsakov which was seized in February and subsequently released only after a ransom had been paid, these same naval forces in the area show up as impotent when it comes to piracy, apart from monitoring the situation and later escorting the released ship out to sea.

    The French prime minister Francois Fillon called the latest attack a ‘blatant act of piracy’ and said the French defence and foreign ministries had mobilised to react to the situation. “I hope in the coming minutes or hours to try to win the freedom of these hostages,” he said on Friday but by Sunday afternoon the situation remained unchanged with the yacht still in the hands of the pirates, who no doubt are already negotiating a fat reward for their efforts.

    The French claim they are monitoring the situation with their warships on the scene as the yacht heads towards the pirates lair at Eyl, but say it is too early to think of storming the vessel and their priority must be the lives of the crew.

    Durban transport company invests in variable reach truck

    The new Meclift variable reach truck imported for Natro Freight.

    The Durban branch of Natro Freight, a national heavylift transport company which specialises in transport logistics, abnormal loads and project cargo, has imported a new variable reach truck to provide swifter, more efficient and safe container stuffing and handling.

    “Unlike conventional forklift trucks, this flexible Meclift variable reach truck is able to drive into containers and reach out into a container for easy loading and unloading,” says Clinton van den Berg, products manager, Big Lift Trucks. “This new compact reach truck has increased efficiencies during container handling at Natro’s Durban operation and has significantly reduced operating times. This robust machine has also improved safety on site.”

    The Meclift ML 1612R reach truck has a lift height of 6m and a 16 tonne lifting capacity. The machine is powered by a diesel engine making it economical to run and requiring minimal maintenance. The lift carriage has a hydraulic side shift for accurate and effortless positioning.

    Another important feature is that fork positioning can be altered from inside the cabin, without the operator having to get out to manually adjust the gap between the levers.

    The cabin’s hydraulic vertical movement facility enables the operator to comfortably drive into a container. Horizontal booms extend the performance of these machines and also ensure excellent visibility for the operator. By extending, lifting and lowering these booms, containers can be safely handled at a distance from the cabin.

    The reach truck is also able to stack empty containers three high. Other safety features include service, parking and emergency brakes.

    Meclift variable reach trucks are available from Durban-based Big Lift Trucks, which offers a technical advisory, spare parts and support service.

    Work starts on laying EASSy fibre optic undersea cable

    The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, announced last week that construction has started on the East African Submarine Cable System, a landmark fibre-optic cable project that will connect 21 African countries to each other and the rest of the world with high-quality Internet and international communications services.

    The necessary funds have been provided by the consortium of 25 telecommunications operators, which include 19 African companies.

    The cable will be installed by Alcatel-Lucent along the seabed off Africa's eastern seaboard. It is expected to be operational by the first half of 2010.

    “We are pleased to work with the EASSy consortium in laying this new cable that will expand communications capabilities and help reduce the digital divide in the region,” said Etienne Lafougère, president of Alcatel-Lucent's submarine network activity.

    Five major development finance institutions are partnering to provide the project's long-term loan financing of USD70.7 million, with USD18.2 million coming from IFC. The balance of the project cost, USD247.1 million, will be provided by the EASSy consortium members.

    “We are very pleased that this long awaited submarine cable has formally been sponsored by the majority of the regional operators and by some of the leading international industry players,” said Mohsen Khalil, IFC director for global information and communication technologies.

    “This is a very important milestone toward implementation of the EASSy cable, which will transform the telecommunications landscape in the region. It will provide Internet and other communications access for 250 million Africans and substantially reduce costs for consumers and businesses.”

    Consumers along Africa's eastern seaboard typically pay between USD200 and USD300 a month for Internet access via satellite. These prices, among the world’s highest, create a barrier to usage and restrict economic activity and growth.

    Once the EASSy cable is in place, prices for international connectivity are expected to drop by two-thirds at the outset, and the number of subscribers will increase rapidly. Because the project gives open access to service providers, prices will fall farther as volume and competition increase.

    This is expected to stimulate the development of new knowledge-based industries, call-centres, and similar ventures. Educational and health activities in the region will also benefit from access to low-cost Internet.
    In a separate initiative, the World Bank Group is assisting with the implementation of regional distribution networks to connect landlocked countries in East Africa to each other and the EASSy cable, helping maximise access.

    The cable will run 10,000 km from the continent's southern tip, around the Horn of Africa, and into the Red Sea, connecting South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti and Sudan.
    Another 13 adjoining countries will also be linked to the system as terrestrial backbone networks are completed through the broader World Bank Group initiative.
    These are: Botswana, Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. – East African

    Note: The laying of a fibre optic undersea cable resembles a 19th century race to build a continental railroad. EASSy’s competitors are the East African government-backed East African Marine System (TEAMs) and the private-sector led Seacom, each trying to be the first to the finishing post which is the international fibre optic network.

    Pic of the day –DELPHIN VOYAGER

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The cruise ship DELPHIN VOYAGER made her first visit to a South African port at the weekend. The ship arrived in Durban on Saturday, 5 April to spend three days in the port – a much longer stopover than is normally the case with visiting cruise ships calling at Durban but no doubt more than welcomed by tourism bodies. Picture by Trevor Jones

    Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – please email to info@ports.co.za

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