Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 8, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • IMO go-ahead for MARPOL sulphur oxide emissions reduction

  • Kenya Ports Authority calls on railway to take more cargo

  • Tanzania rail workers go on strike

  • South Africa, India solidify South-South relations

  • Scam at Mombasa port exposed

  • USD420 million profit for DP World

  • Show of confidence as UN peacekeepers dismantle Ivory Coast observation posts

  • Pic of the day – HARMONY SW


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    IMO go-ahead for MARPOL sulphur oxide emissions reduction

    The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee has given approval to proposed amendments to the MARPOL Annex VI regulations to reduce harmful ship emissions.

    In terms of the amendments there is to be a progressive reduction in sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions from ships, with the global sulphur cap reduced initially to 3.5 percent (down a percent from the current 4.5 percent) and taking effect 1 January 2012. This will reduce further to 0.5 percent as from 1 January 2020 subject to a review that must be held no later than 2018.

    Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA) limits are to be reduced to 1 percent as from 1 March 2010 (down from the current 1.5 percent) with a further reduction to 0.10 percent as from 1 January 2015.

    There are currently two SECA’s designated – the North Sea area including the English Channel, and the Baltic Sea.

    “The fact that representatives of some 100 Governments were able to reach decisions by consensus on complicated issues of great importance to the environment not only bears testimony to the responsible manner with which the members address environmental matters nowadays but also to the great results that can be achieved when states, with the same concerns and determination to produce meaningful solutions to global problems, work together under the auspices of IMO,” said IMO Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos.

    “The co-operation of the shipping industry and environmentalist groups has been of great value and I thank them for that. I am confident that, once adopted as amendments to MARPOL Annex VI in the coming October, the new measures will prove extremely beneficial to the environment and I commend the Committee wholeheartedly for its achievement in developing them. It will certainly be one of IMO's finest hours when this happens six months from now.”

    Support for the MEPC’s decision came also from the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which represents all sectors of international shipping.

    ICS Chairman Spyros M Polemis called it an impressive and decisive agreement by governments at IMO, which he said should ensure that coastal states can protect the health of their citizens while providing shipowners with the regulatory certainty needed to operate their ships on a global basis.

    “The ambitious timetable proposed for the introduction of low sulphur fuels - which in some coastal areas will require the use of 0.1 percent sulphur fuels by 2015 - will mean an unprecedented adjustment for the shipping industry, and will probably result in significant additional fuel costs. However, the oil refiners should hopefully have the time they need to make the necessary investment decisions in order to ensure the significantly increased availability of low sulphur fuels that will be required, at reasonable cost.”

    Polemis said that assuming the amendment is confirmed by IMO nations in October this should be sufficient to satisfy the politicians, especially in Europe and North America, that there is no need for unilateral regional regulations to be developed in variance with the IMO regime. That, he said, would result in operational chaos.

    “In view of the costs to industry, it will also be important for governments to take steps to ensure that short sea shipping does not become less competitive in comparison to other transport modes which are less environmentally friendly, particular in respect of carbon emissions.”

    Kenya Ports Authority calls on railway to take more cargo

    Co-Co Diesel-electric locomotive no.3001 comes across the side of the Emerald Sea at Durban’s FPT Terminal, shortly after the ship arrived from Brazil in 2006. The General Electric (Brazil) loco was the first of an order for 20 for the Sheltam Grindrod company, which were subsequently taken to the Randfontein Estates and other mines outside Johannesburg. There have been reports that some of these locos may be transferred to the Sheltam RVR operation in Kenya. Picture Terry Hutson

    Mombasa - Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has repeated earlier accusations that Rift Valley Railway (RVR) is responsible for the poor delivery of cargo from the port at Mombasa.

    According to KPA Managing Director Abdallah Mwaruwa the railway requires greater investment. He said that instead of handling 30 percent of the port cargo RVR was handling a mere 10 percent and this was affecting cargo working at the port.

    “Investors should come forward and help in the development of other infrastructures that are directly connected to the port in terms of cargo delivery,” he said.

    Mwaruwa defended Mombasa against other ports in the region, saying that the port could be more efficient with a vibrant rail network. He accused RVR of operating with outdated locomotives and rolling stock and pointed out that by replacing outdated marine craft at the port KPA had helped reaffirm Mombasa’s status as the dominant harbour in the region.

    Rift Valley Railway took over operation of the former Kenya and Uganda railway networks in November 2006 and has come under fierce local criticism for what is seen as a slow improvement in service delivery. The consortium forming RVR is headed by South African rail company Sheltam Rail.

    Tanzania rail workers go on strike

    Dar es Salaam – Tanzania Railways Ltd (TRL) workers have gone on strike over wage demands, resulting in a setback to hopes that Dar es Salaam might begin to attract shippers from neighbouring Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda to make use of the Tanzanian port.

    Rail workers last week accused TRL management of reneging on an agreement reached between management and the work force over a minimum wage, set to increase to Tsh200,000 as from August 2007. Workers say that only the payment of the agreed amount will cause them to return to work.

    Tanzania’s Labour Minister Juma Kapuya said the government and rail company management were looking for sources of funding to improve the company’s financial position, which would enable it to honour outstanding agreements.

    The workers’ representative, John Ominde, said there was no need to audit the rail company’s books “because management agreed to pay the contentious minimum salary.”

    “We don’t want to believe the government had no idea about how much revenue the restructured Tanzania Railways Corporation was generating when TRL was given 49 percent shares. That is why the new investors are managing the company in any way they deem fit,” Ominde said.

    The minister said that auditing of the company was going on and new salaries would be paid with the arrears for last month. – New Vision

    South Africa, India solidify South-South relations

    New Delhi, 4 April 2008 - South Africa is to participate in the Africa-India Partnership Summit this week with the aim of strengthening Africa's ties with the emerging giant in the east and promoting South-South cooperation.

    Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on Saturday jetted off to attend the Ministerial Meeting ahead of the annual summit which opens on Monday.

    The ministerial session of the summit will lay the basis for discussions during the Heads of State and Government Summit to which President Thabo Mbeki will lead a delegation on Tuesday (8 April).

    The changes taking place both on the African continent and in India have opened new possibilities for a closer partnership.

    Countries on the African continent and India need to work closely to address common goals and challenges.

    Therefore the summit is intended to consider the strengthening cooperation ties between Africa and India in respect of economic, political, science, technology, research and development, social development and capacity building, tourism, infrastructure, energy and environment, and media and communication

    The summit will for the first time provide an opportunity for Africa, under the leadership of Africa and India to collectively evolve a comprehensive roadmap for the multifaceted expansion and deepening of a mutually beneficial partnership.

    Heads of State and Government of Algeria, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia are expected to attend the Summit.

    The summit will also be attended by African Union (AU) representatives including the current Chairperson of the AU, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, and the Secretaries General of the eight Regional Economic Communities.

    India and Africa maintain multi-sectoral relations which are reflected in numerous initiatives concluded with a number of African countries in respect of political, economic, security, science and technology, social and cultural issues.

    These initiatives should result in much needed skills transfer in specific sectors, such as Information Communication Technologies (ICTs), Foreign Direct Investment into Africa, cooperation in peace and security efforts, and good governance.

    Poverty eradication and development will feature prominently on the agenda as well as the writing off of debt owed to India by the poorest countries of the world, the majority of them being African. - BuaNews

    Scam at Mombasa port exposed

    Kenya’s Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) is investigating a scam involving the illegal release of goods from the port in Mombasa without payment of duty and port levies.

    According to media reports in Kenya at the weekend (Saturday Nation), imported goods are allowed to remain at the port beyond the required 21 days in which importers are supposed to clear them. In the normal course of events the Kenya Revenue Authority then seizes the cargo and in due course it will be auctioned.

    However, according to the report businessmen have colluded with employees working in various government agencies to have the imported goods condemned as unfit for human consumption and subsequently released for disposal, without any duties and port fees having been paid.

    A spokesman for the KACC confirmed that investigations were underway but declined to give details, saying the case was under investigation.

    The newspaper reported that it had independently learned that three containers had been intercepted as they were in the process of being released from the port, classified as having condemned goods for destruction. On opening the containers they were shown to be carrying imported sugar which was perfectly fit for human consumption.

    During last year there were a number of reports of illegal shipments of imported sugar being distributed in the country.

    The UN International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has reported that Kenya is being used as both a transit point for international drug traffickers and also as a transshipment centre for chemicals used in the manufacture of illegal drugs, with the port of Mombasa being identified as one of the leading transit ports being used by drug cartels to move drugs into Europe and the USA.

    According to the newspaper the US State Department has said that drug barons have been covering their tracks in Kenya by paying off law enforcement and government officials and politicians. - The Nation

    USD420 million profit for DP World

    Dubai, 7 April - Port operator DP World today reported a profit of USD420 million for the 2007 year, which is up 52 percent on the previous year. Revenue from 42 terminals in 22 countries increased 32 percent to USD2.7 billion.

    “This is an excellent set of results driven by DP World’s well-positioned portfolio which benefits from the strong Asia to European trade routes and the growth of container cargo in the faster growing economies of the emerging markets,” said DP World chairman Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem.

    During the year in review DP World raised USD4.96 billion representing a 23 percent share in the company which were listed on the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX) last November. The dollar-based stock has since fallen more than 20 percent and Bin Sulayem said was not performing to expectations.

    Nevertheless the company said it expects DP World’s container growth to be above the average industry growth predictions of 12 percent. In 2007 DP World terminals handled 43.3 million TEU, an improvement of 18 percent on the previous year. – Gulf News

    Show of confidence as UN peacekeepers dismantle Ivory Coast observation posts

    4 April 2008 – The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast has now dismantled almost all of its military observation posts in the former zone of confidence separating the Government-held and rebel-controlled areas of the country as part of last year’s accord ending active hostilities between the two sides.

    Only two of the original 17 observation posts built inside the zone in the West African country remain operational, according to Colonel Mustapha Dafir, the military spokesperson for the mission, which is known as UNOCI.

    Col Dafir told a press conference in Abidjan that the dismantling process was being done progressively “after an assessment of the security situation and in consultation with all the concerned parties,” adding that the mission was satisfied with the progress so far in implementing the 2007 Ouagadougou Political Agreement.

    Named after the capital of neighbouring Burkina Faso, where it was signed, the agreement calls for the abolition of the zone of confidence and the removal of the observation posts, as well as the formation of a new transitional government involving the two sides, the merging of the Government forces and the rebel Forces Nouvelles, and the holding of free and fair national elections later this year. - UN News

    Pic of the day – HARMONY SW

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The Taiwanese-owned but Panamanian flagged general cargo ship HARMONY SW (7,271-gt, built 2008) in Cape Town on 30 March. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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