Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 6, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • South African port statistics for April 2008

  • Cape Town terminal expansion stays on track

  • Joint customs post declared a success

  • News from the shipping lines

  • Large timber import arrives in East London

  • EC Rail Conference to encourage people to use rail

  • Mona Lisa passengers leave ship

  • Pic of the day – MARIEKE


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    South African port statistics for April 2008

    Cargo figures for April have been made available by Transnet Ports Authority, showing that despite appearances to the contrary, the amount of cargo handled in the past month as well as the number of ships has actually been impressively high. Both Durban (7.57 million tonnes) and Richards Bay (7.12mt) experienced high volume months – the Durban figure being assisted quite markedly with 242,000 TEU handled at the various container terminals. During this period Richards Bay exported a total of 6.7mt of bulk cargo.

    The port of Saldanha also had an exceptionally busy month with almost 4 million tonnes of cargo handled.

    As is customary the figures shown here reflect an adjustment on the overall tonnage to include containers by weight – this is necessary because Transnet NPA no longer measures containers by weight, recording TEUs instead - for which PORTS & SHIPS makes an estimated weight adjustment of 13,5 tonnes per TEU to show the tonnages. This figure may be considered as conservative with 14 tonnes perhaps being a more realistic figure.

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

    Cargo handled by tonnes

    Richards Bay                         7.117 million tonnes (Mar 6.624Mt)
    Durban                                 7.514 Mt (Mar 5.634)
    Saldanha Bay                        3.915 Mt (Mar 3.111)
    Cape Town                           1.412 Mt (Mar 1.183)
    Port Elizabeth                        1.086 Mt (Mar 0.739)
    Mossel Bay                            0.027 Mt (Mar 0.099)
    East London                          0.212 Mt (Mar 0.193)

    Total monthly cargo in April 21.283 million tonnes (Mar 17.589 Mt)

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

    Durban                                   241,966 TEU (Mar 190,342)
    Cape Town                               79,183 (Mar 61,971)
    Port Elizabeth                            34,053 (Mar 30,495)
    East London                               4,218 (Mar 4,089)
    Richards Bay                                 450 (Mar 808)

    Total handled 359,870 TEU (Mar 287,705)

    Ship Calls

    Durban:              378 vessels 9.018m gt (Mar 345 vessels 8.492m gt)
    Cape Town:         250 vessels 4.321m gt (Mar 226 vessels 4.122m gt)
    Port Elizabeth:     103 vessels 2.615m gt (Mar 123 vessels 2.030m gt)
    Richards Bay:       146 vessels 4.858m gt (Mar 126 vessels 4.357m gt)
    Saldanha:             45 vessels 2,229m gt (Mar   35 vessels 2,060m gt)
    East London:         29 vessels 0.795m gt (Mar   27 vessels 0.799m gt)
    Mossel Bay:         287 vessels 0.233m gt (Mar   67 vessels 0.176m gt)

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

    Cape Town terminal expansion stays on track

    Cape Town, 6 May - Cape Town Container Terminal’s R4.2 billion expansion programme is moving full steam ahead since commencing mid-January 2008, despite early delays from the strong ‘Cape Doctor’ wind which hampered the terminal’s productivity earlier this year.

    Transnet Port Terminals Business Unit Executive Oscar Borchards said subcontractors at the country’s second largest container terminal were working hard to meet the port operator’s forecast capacity improvement from 740,000 TEUs to 1,4 million TEUs by the end of 2012.

    “We are currently blasting hard rock and initial earthworks are in progress. Danish subcontractor, Rohde Nielsen, has also completed soft dredging works at berth 601 as part of the move to enable larger vessels to pass through the harbour,” said Borchards.

    The key aspects of the project are:

  • Construction of a deeper terminal with new quay wall suitable for Super Post Panamax cranes
  • Replacement of the old ship to shore cranes with Super Post Panamax cranes with twin lift capability
  • Increasing stack capacity by moving from straddle carriers to a Rubber Tyred Gantry crane (RTG) operation

    A crane erection site will be assembled at the terminal during 2008. This site will be used for the delivery and assembly of two new Liebherr ship-to-shore cranes scheduled to arrive in June 2008. A total of eight new ship-to-shore cranes will replace the current fleet of four Demag and two Noell cranes at the terminal, with half of the new Liebherr fleet expected to be in place by December 2008.

    Before the end of 2008, the terminal marshalling yard would also be converted to a staging area.

    The deepening of the first berth, 601, is expected to be completed in February 2009. It will swing into operation at its new depth of 15.5m and will be served by the first four Liebherr ship-to-shore cranes.

    The remaining berths 602 to 604, together with the Ben Schoeman Basin, will also be deepened to 15.5m. These works will be carried out in sections throughout the five-year programme by a consortium comprising Southern African construction firm WHBO and locally based Civil and Coastal. This staggered approach would ensure that overall terminal productivity would be maintained during the construction programme.

    “We are slowly but steadily transforming the container terminal into a modern four berth facility that is able to cater for larger new-generation vessels, which require more water and upgraded quay facilities,” said Borchards.

    A major aspect of the expansion programme is the move from straddle carriers to an RTG operation. The cranes will be a huge first for the Western Cape, given that Pier 1 in Durban is the only other terminal to boast this type of crane. The RTG contract is due to be awarded in June 2008 and the delivery of the first RTGs is expected to commence mid 2009.

    By the end of the expansion programme in 2012 the Cape Town Container Terminal will boast no less than 32 RTGs with ergonomic features to enhance operators’ comfort and productivity, including an air-conditioned driver’s cabin at the top of the crane.

    The cranes will span five containers and a roadway and are capable of stacking five high. They will be supplied with a Global Positioning System (GPS) which will update the operating system as each container is stacked in its specific location.

    A team of trainers, already trained by Sri Lankan experts at Pier 1 in Durban, will be tasked with passing on their skills and knowledge to lifting equipment operators at the Cape Town Container Terminal. Once the first RTGs arrive next year, they will be used to offer further operator training within the terminal environment.

    In its entirety, the Cape Town Container Terminal expansion project includes the demolition of nonessential infrastructure and buildings, reconfiguration of the terminal to maximise stack capacity, a reefer-point expansion programme and extension of the quayline by 10 metres to accommodate the new gantry cranes.

    Borchards said Transnet Port Terminals was currently diverting container vessels with their own ships’ gear to Cape Town’s Multipurpose Terminal to maintain productivity. In addition two additional berths, berth 502 and 700, are being used to cater for vessels with their own ships’ gear.

    The five-year construction programme is an element of parent company Transnet Ltd’s R28 billion investment into port-related projects, from an overall R78 billion planned for investment over the next five years to decrease mounting pressure on the country’s port system.

    Joint customs post declared a success

    A joint customs control post between Uganda and Kenya is proving highly successful in reducing delays to transit cargo, reports Uganda’s acting Customs manager for the eastern region, Stephen Magera.

    Interviewed by the East African newspaper he said the time taken to clear transit goods at the border has been cut from five days to just three hours.

    The joint border facility was created in September 2006 with the closure of the post on the Uganda side which transferred operations to a single border post on the Kenyan side of the border. The single border post houses the Uganda Revenue Authority, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Railways Corporation, Uganda Railways Corporation and Rift Valley Railways.

    As a result between three and four 22-wagon trains can now be cleared per day, whereas previously only one or at the most two trains would complete the formalities in a single day. The result is not only faster delivery of imports and exports but increased revenue for both countries.

    The facility makes use of a computerised system known as RADDEX which enables customs officials and clearing agents to share information, making it possible for documentation to be prepared in advance of a train’s arrival.

    The single customs facility is housed in a refurbished railway building in the town of Malaba on the Kenyan side of the border and will serve as a model on which other border posts in the region will be developed.

    Magera pointed out some anomalies however, saying that delays are sometimes caused by unprofessional clearing and forwarding agents not fully conversant with Customs regulations. He said some of these agents were not well trained and were learning on the job and often rely on what customers tell them rather than studying the documentation.

    He said that an unreliable internet connectivity was also causing problems. In addition Magera highlighted that the Customs post was open 16 hours a day until 10pm at night whereas commercial banks where payments must be deposited to clear the cargo continued to work an 8-hour day.

    Another anomaly involved truck drivers sleeping over at the border, making nonsense of the new speeded up services. – source East African

    News from the shipping lines

    The SAECS (South Africa Europe Container Service) consortium (Safmarine, Maersk Line, MOL, DAL) says that in order to improve on the schedule integrity, it has been decided to drop the southbound Cape Town call for SAECS’ Intermediate Service. Import cargo will now be discharged on the Cape Town export port call.

    As a result the new port rotation will be Cape Town – Lisbon – Thamesport – Antwerp – Bremerhaven – Le Havre – Lisbon 2 – East London – Durban – Port Elizabeth – Cape Town. The changes commence with the voyage of the MOL Komati voyage 804B.

    CMA CGM meanwhile has decided to drop Durban calls on the line’s Asia – South Africa – West Africa (AFEX) service effective 26 May 2008. The reason given for the omission is over capacity leading to stiff competition on the Asia – South Africa leg. The final call on this service will be made with CMA CGM Accra.

    Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has taken delivery of the second of six 4,254-TEU container ships, MSC Kim, which the company has purchased from Conti Reederei. The first vessel of this class, built at the Chinese Zhejiang Shipbuilding yards is MSC Tamara, which was delivered in January.

    Hoegh Autoliners has announced that its UK and Europe – South Africa service will include a monthly call at Maputo as from September 2008. The call is in the nature of ‘testing the market’ – in this case the new car terminal at Maputo which has the potential of providing stiff competition for Durban, where the existing facility has had to take over additional space from the City (breakbulk) Terminal to cope with demand. The berth at Durban’s M-Shed berth which previously handled rice and other bagged commodities is now used exclusively as a car terminal berth.

    Safmarine has taken delivery of the 800-TEU capacity multipurpose ship Safmarine Akwaba from the Chinese Xingang Shipyard. The vessel which is currently on her maiden voyage from China to West Africa is on long-term charter from Swiss owner Swiss Cargo Line (SCL) and is the third of eight similar multipurpose ships of two classes taken on charter.

    Large timber import arrives in East London

    The port of East London regularly receives a variety of cargoes ranging from grain to plush Mercedes Benz motor vehicles but a shipment of West African timber has excited recent interest, reports the Daily Dispatch.

    The 1300 tonnes of Okoueme timber from Gabon has been imported by an East London joinery group in conjunction with a Durban agency. A spokesman for East London Joinery said it had been sourced from Gabon as a suitable replacement for Meranti timber which is now becoming scarce. Another reason for switching to West Africa for its supply of timber is the discontinuation of charter vessels from Malaysia, he said.

    East London Joinery has built two kilns to dry the timber before it can be supplied to timber merchants across South Africa.

    The newspaper quoted port spokesman Terry Taylor as describing the shipment as surpassing the previous largest import shipment of timber.

    EC Rail Conference to encourage people to use rail

    Port Elizabeth, 6 May - The Eastern Cape Rail Conference, which got underway in Port Elizabeth yesterday (Tuesday), aims to encourage commuters in rural areas of the country, and the poorer regions in South Africa to use rail services to help reduce road traffic congestion.

    MEC for Safety, Liaison, Roads and Transport, Thobile Mhlahlo said people are encouraged to use rail as there has “been an increase in the levels of road traffic from freight, public passenger and private passenger vehicle transport causing congestion around our cities and damage to our roads.”

    The conference is themed: ‘Back to Rail - Connecting the Eastern Cape’.

    The MEC said there was a dire need to put measures in place to ensure the strengthening of rail infrastructure for the 2010 FIFA World Cup to transport supporters and to create new tourism opportunities.

    The objectives of the conference are to understand the framework that governs the rail industry in South Africa, specifically with regard to legislation, regulations and key stakeholders in the industry and to identify what is required to make rail viable in the Eastern Cape based on lessons learnt from other rail initiatives.

    This includes current planning initiatives and understanding the needs of local government, the private sector and other key stakeholders.

    “This important event is an opportunity for all stakeholders to identify what is required to make rail viable in South Africa, within the framework that govern rail in South Africa.

    “Moreover, it represents an opportunity for the private sector to take part in the exciting initiatives that are expected to boost economic development in the Eastern Cape, truly an opportunity to connect the Eastern Cape,” MEC Mhlahlo said.

    The conference will feature an exhibition of the Kei Development Corridor Mega Project, which extends from East London to Umzimvubu. The exhibition is aimed at showcasing various projects before the 300 local, national and international delegates who include possible investors.

    Specific projects in the corridor cover mega projects and various sectors such as agriculture, tourism and industry.

    These include the Wild Coast Meander, N2 Toll Road, Kei Rail, Ugie-Langeni Road and mass food production.

    At the conference, MEC Mhlahlo was joined by Transport Minister Jeff Radebe, Eastern Cape Premier Nosimo Balindlela and international rail experts and investors. – BuaNews

    Mona Lisa passengers leave ship

    The Latvian coastguard has evacuated over 650 passengers from the cruise ship Mona Lisa, which is aground off the Baltic country’s coast.

    Mona Lisa went aground on Sunday while en route to Riga and although there was no immediate danger to passengers or crew there was also no immediate likelihood that the ship could be pulled free from its sandy anchorage.

    Pic of the day – MARIEKE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The dredger MARIEKE in Durban harbour on 2 May, shortly before transferring to Richards Bay to undertake a spell of maintenance dredging at that port. In the meantime yet another Belgian hopper dredger, ORWELL has arrived in Durban and after a short spell at the Elgin Brown & Hamer ship repair yards was seen yesterday on the ‘dredger berth’ at the Point.     Picture by Trevor Jones

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