Ports & Ships Maritime news

Jul 21, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • Call for comment on tonnage tax

  • Sturrock Shipping enters into major empowerment deal

  • Bunkering by pipeline ends at Durban container terminals

  • New super cranes arrive at Cape Town Container Terminal

  • SACU and US sign trade agreement

  • Mombasa port clogged again as containers mount

  • Maersk closes Mombasa container depot

  • Golar and Bluewater in South African venture

  • Coalition warships to the rescue of Lehmann Timber

  • Bad days for Kenyan ships agents and forwarders

  • West African security now a top US Coast Guard priority

  • Sena railway delay costs Marromeu sugar company

  • Food needs rise in Eastern Congo

  • South Africa backpeddles on paper imports

  • Team South Africa selected fro Tall Ships Race

  • Pic of the day – SANTA ANNABELLA


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    Call for comment on tonnage tax

    The National Treasury is calling for comment on the proposed Tonnage Tax which it is seeking to implement as a measure of improving South Africa’s trade and investment environment.

    “South Africa significantly depends on maritime trade for its international transport needs; however mostly foreign registered vessels provide this service,” it said on Friday (18 July).

    “The non-South African registered vessels which transport the country’s imports and exports translate into significant transport service payments by South Africa to the rest of the world. This amounted to more than R38 billion in 2007. It represents an opportunity cost to South Africa as ships transporting commodities and goods to and from a jurisdiction, create wealth for the country in which the vessels and the ship-owning company are registered. A sound economic argument thus exists to revive the declining domestic shipping industry.”

    The Treasury says that in 2005 government announced its intention of investigating the possible introduction of a tonnage tax regime in keeping with long-term facilitation initiatives.

    “This notional or presumptive corporate income tax system will align South Africa's shipping tax regime with the fiscal systems of other major maritime nations. The tonnage tax will also form an integral part of government’s Maritime Transport Agenda: 2010 which, inter alia, seeks to arrest the decline of the domestic shipping register.

    “By potentially bringing shipping companies’ key strategic management decisions back to South Africa the scope of secondary support activities will broaden. This includes a growth in crewing opportunities for South African seafarers. It also has the potential of reducing the sizeable transport service payments to the rest of the world, which in turn have a positive impact on the current account.”

    The Treasury said the proposed tonnage tax regime was based on the ‘Dutch model’, due to its design and administrative simplicity.

    "It is an elective system, taxing shipping companies at fixed rates according to the size of their ships and days operated during an accounting period, and not according to the company's business income results. Tonnage tax regimes had been successfully implemented in other countries such as Belgium, India, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.”

    The proposed tonnage tax used to calculate a notional profit is computed based on the number and size of ships operated during a year, using the following scale:

    for each 100t up to 1 000t, a fixed daily profit of R4;
    for each 100t between 1 000t and 10 000t, a fixed daily profit of R3’
    for each 100t between 10 000t and 25 000t, a fixed daily profit of R2;
    for each 100t above 25 000t, a fixed daily profit of R1.

    As a second step, the granulated formula of fixed profit per day would be applied to the net registered tonnage (NRT) of the vessel, taking into account only its carrying capacity and not its gross registered tonnage (GRT).

    In calculating the corporate tax liability, the current corporate tax rate will be applied to the notional profit.

    The public is invited to submit comments on the draft tonnage tax to marie.bertrand@treasury.gov.za or by fax to 012 323 2917 by 31 October 2008.

    Further details of the proposed tonnage tax may be found HERE

    Sturrock Shipping enters into major empowerment deal

    Sturrock Shipping, the largest privately owned shipping company in South and East Africa, has catapulted itself from a family-owned business into the ‘big league’, following the sale of 60 percent of its share capital to empowerment group Calulo, for an undisclosed sum.

    And, as a result of the deal, it is well placed to benefit from several opportunities in the fast growing ship’s agency and freight forwarding business in Africa.

    Andrew Sturrock, Managing Director of Sturrock Shipping, says the deal provides Sturrock Shipping with an ideal platform for future development.

    “With Calulo as our partner we have created a focused, aggressive and empowered organisation with the skills and financial clout to achieve our vision of being the regional leader in ship’s agency and freight forwarding services.

    “There are significant synergies and complementary elements to our businesses, which, once exploited, will promote growth on a scale that we could not have achieved on our own,” he said.

    “The deal with Calulo, which has been a customer of Sturrock for several years, provides excellent benefits for both companies and an exciting new milestone in Sturrock history. We are delighted to announce the partnership and are very positive about our future together.”

    Founded in 1969, Sturrock Shipping provides comprehensive ship’s agency services, customs clearing, international freight forwarding and the marketing of global tanktainer services. It enjoys a significant presence throughout South Africa and in Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania, and is currently investigating opportunities to expand its operations to countries along the coast of West Africa. Internationally, it is part of the WIN organisation, consisting of 66 independent forwarding and logistics companies with 280 offices worldwide.

    Calulo is an investment company with interests in the petrochemical, resources, logistics services and property sectors. Calulo also enjoys an important presence in the shipping and logistics industry through holdings in Calulo Shipping, Calulo Shipping DryCargo and Fuelogic. In January 2008, Calulo entered into a joint venture with Unicorn, a Grindrod subsidiary, to further develop its maritime activities in southern Africa.

    According to Calulo Group Executive Chairman Mkhuseli Faku, Sturrock Shipping provided a natural partner for the group in its quest to provide the full range of logistics services to the chemical and petroleum industries.

    “Sturrock Shipping is a soundly managed company with an impressive track record. I am extremely pleased to welcome Sturrock on board as a member of the Calulo Group and have no doubt that both organisations will benefit enormously from the deal that we have concluded,” he said.

    Bunkering by pipeline ends at Durban container terminals

    Durban’s Joint Bunker Services (JBS) has announced that it will cease bunkering ships by pipeline from the Durban Container Terminal with effect from Monday, 11 August.

    The berths concerned are DCT 108 – 109 and DCT 200 – 205 and New Pier (Pier 1 CT) 104a – 107.

    By that time JBS says it expects to have adequate barge delivery capacity available to cover the volumes currently supplied by pipeline in the area.

    Pipeline delivery elsewhere in the port is expected also to be withdrawn and further notices will be issued when appropriate, but will be conditional on the required barge delivery capacity.

    New super cranes arrive at Cape Town Container Terminal

    Oscar Borchards and the Cape Town Container Terminal, with new crane components waiting to be assembled

    The Cape Town Container Terminal has taken delivery of components of the first two brand new Liebherr Super Post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes, purchased as part of the terminal’s R4.2 billion expansion programme. The massive equipment arrived at the Port of Cape Town during the first week of July 2008 and will be fully assembled by the end of September following a huge logistical effort at the terminal’s newly constructed crane assembly site.

    The Super-Post Panamax crane is among the largest modern ship-to-shore cranes in the world, with a span capacity catering for new generation vessels of 19 container rows wide and six containers high. These cranes have twin lift technology which will enable two 20 twenty foot containers to be either loaded or discharged at once. The cranes are expected to assist significantly in the terminal’s plans to increase capacity from 720,000 TEUs to 1.4 million TEUs by the end of 2012.

    “With their capacity to handle the world’s largest cargo vessels, the economic impact to the region of the Western Cape and South Africa as a whole will be tremendous,” said Oscar Borchards, Business Unit Executive.

    Each crane has a length of nearly 28m, a height of over 118m with its boom raised and a weight of between 980 to 1000 tonnes. They have a lift height of 37m and an outreach of 48m, while their lifting capacity is 60 tons under the spreader bar and 70 tons under the cargo beam. Their operating speeds are 90 to 175 m/min for hoist, 220 to 240 m/min for trolley and 45m/min for travel.

    Two further cranes of the same type are due to arrive at the end of July 2008 and will be assembled by October 2008. A total of eight new Liebherr Super Post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes will replace the current fleet of four Demag and two Noell cranes at the Cape Town terminal.

    SACU and US sign trade agreement

    The South African Customs Union (Sacu) and the US last week signed a co-operative trade agreement that aims at strengthening trade and investment ties as well as boosting development in southern Africa.

    With a focus on Customs co-operation, sanitary and phytosanitary standards and technical barriers to trade, a consultative team will explore specific issues and projects, according to Bruce Neuling, deputy economic counsellor for the US Embassy in Pretoria.

    He said the agreement will contribute to economic growth in Sacu by encouraging exports and investments.

    Sacu countries already enjoy certain benefits such as duty free market access into the US under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

    Mombasa port clogged again as containers mount

    The backlog of containers accumulating at the port of Mombasa is again climbing, according to reports and last week had topped 15,000 boxes.

    This is up from 9,000 containers a couple of weeks ago and signifies further complications and possible congestion. The backlog is a result of the new port automation system that came into effect on 1 July, leading to a number of operational delays and a lowering of productivity. Part of the problem is believed to be with labour unhappiness over the new system, resulting in a temporary reinstatement of the old manual system.

    In addition however a strike by railway workers further exacerbated the problem which saw no containers leaving the port by rail for more than a week.

    Maersk closes Mombasa container depot

    According to a report in the Kenya Business Daily, Maersk Kenya Limited has closed its Mombasa Logistic Container Centre and has laid off 123 employees.

    The company’s empty container handling is now to be handled by three local companies, says the report.

    The lease for the property on which Maersk Kenya Limited operated is owned by the Kenya Ports Authority and expires on 31 July 2008.

    Golar and Bluewater in South African venture

    Golar LNG has entered into a South African venture with Bluewater Energy Services of the Netherlands, in which they intend bidding for an offshore storage and regasification unit venture South Africa’s PetroSA.

    Golar LNG is a leading independent owner operator of LNG transportation and operates with a fleet of about 13 vessels. The company is a part of the John Fredriksen shipping empire.

    According to a Golar statement Golar and Bluewater have agreed to acquire a 1977-built, Moss-type 126,000m³ carrier HOEGH GANDRIA which will be converted to an FSRU.

    The move comes days after Golar announced the sale of the 2004-built Golar Frost of 137,000 m³ capacity to OLT Offshore LNG Toscana for USD 231 million.

    Coalition warships to the rescue of Lehmann Timber

    After being released from captivity by Somali pirates, the German cargo ship LEHMANN TIMBER has had to call on coalition warships to come to its further rescue after the ship had an engine breakdown and began running low on water and food.

    USS MOMSEN, which forms part of the Coaltion Task Force 150 stationed in the Horn of Africa region has attended the ship and remained on standby until a tug arrived to take the vessel in tow to Salalah in Oman.

    The Lehmann Timber was highjacked by Somali pirates on 28 May and taken to an anchorage south of Mogadishu until a ransom of three quarters of a million US dollars was paid over by the vessel’s owners. The crew consisting of Russian, Ukrainian, Estonian and Burmese nationals were released unharmed with the ship and commenced sailing away until the engine failure brought everything to a halt.

    Bad days for Kenyan ships agents and forwarders

    Despite an increase in cargo volumes Kenyans ships agents and forwarders are finding the times to be tough, according to the Kenya International Freight & Warehousing Association (KIFWA).

    The association reports that KIFWA members are down to 750 compared with more than 1500 in 2004. Of the remaining agents half are based in Mombasa.

    KIFWA says that the loss in numbers is a result of the shipping lines which have gone out of their way to open fully fledged clearing and forwarding divisions, at the expense of local agencies. But is also acknowledges that many local agencies have been unable to cope with modern agency practices and stringent customs regulations, which led to many suspensions by the Kenya Revenue Authority.

    In addition there has been a trend for major importers to form their own in-house clearing and forwarding offices, or ‘shipping departments’.

    West African security now a top US Coast Guard priority

    The US Coast Guard cutter Dallas recently completed a three-day visit to Sekondi in Ghana where joint exercises with the Ghanaian Navy and National Port Police were held to provide training in maritime law enforcement tactics, small boat operations, search and rescue procedures and port security operations.

    Dallas, a 378ft cutter is currently deployed off the coast of West and Central Africa in support of the Africa Partnership Station.

    “We are very familiar with search-and-rescue, but it was a good experience to come aboard Dallas and learn new techniques and procedures,” Lieutenant Nicholas Owusu, a Ghanaian naval officer told the Africom News website. “We would like it if we could stay aboard longer and learn more next time. We made many friends here today, and we look forward to their return.”

    Earlier, Dallas’ engineering personnel provided technical assistance to their Ghanaian counterparts to correct equipment casualties on board the 180-foot former US Coast Guard vessels Woodrush and Sweetbriar, which were transferred to the Ghana Navy in 2001 and 2002.

    “The Ghanaian Navy members were incredibly knowledgeable about the equipment on board the ship, and it was nice to share knowledge between our crews,” said Petty Officer First Class Michael Hardy, a Dallas crewmember. “I was very impressed with the cleanliness of the ship, especially the engine room. It showed how much pride they have in their work and themselves.”

    The exercise follows a similar one involving the US Coast Guard and ships and personnel of the Equatorial Guinea Navy off Equatorial Guinea. The Dallas was again involved during which crew form the US ship teamed up with Equatorial Guinea naval officers to train.

    Naval exercises including counter-terrorism and search and rescue drills were held along with participation of a security vessel from a local commercial oil facility.

    Sena railway delay costs Marromeu sugar company

    Sugar production at the central Mozambique mill at Sena has been severely affected by delays in rebuilding the railway line to the mill at Marromeu on the south bank of the Zambezi River, according to a report from the weekly independent newspaper Savana, as quoted by AIM, the Mozambique news agency.

    The Sena line is an 82km branch running from Inhaminga on the Beira, Dondo – Moatize mainline to Marromeu and was supposed to have been completed by April this year. The reopening of the line would have allowed the sugar company to recommence large scale exports of sugar through the port of Beira. Instead the company has been forced to resort to road transport or using barges down the Zambezi River.

    A spokesman for the company said it was costing USD 60 a tonne to move the sugar by road or barge at present, which he felt would be considerably reduced once the railway reopened.

    One of the reasons for the delay in reopening the line is said to have been the flooding in the Zambezi Valley that occurred earlier this year.

    Food needs rise in Eastern Congo

    Kinshasa – The United Nations World Food Programme has warned that greater numbers of people fleeing fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo were stretching the agency's resources to the limit as thousands gather in camps in search of safety.

    Despite a peace agreement signed in January this year, North Kivu province remains a tinderbox of intimidation and violence, with at least 100,000 people forced from their homes in recent months in Rutshuru district alone, bringing the total displaced in the province since March 2007 to over half a million. New camps have sprung up almost overnight, many of them still lacking proper assistance.

    WFP has already cut rations in half to some displaced people, particularly those camped close to the provincial capital Goma, in an effort to reach those in most desperate need at the heart of the current conflict zone in the mountainous hinterland.

    “Thousands more people have run for their lives in recent months and are now in urgent need of help,” said WFP DRC Country Director Charles Vincent. “There are enormous and growing needs across North Kivu in particular, and we urge the international community to step forward and help us get a very difficult job done.”

    Since July last year, when WFP planned to distribute 800 tonnes of food per month, steadily increasing displacement now means that WFP plans 10,000 tonnes per month – an enormous challenge given the volatile security situation, extremely limited road and transport infrastructure and fluctuating supply of food.

    WFP staff who have visited the worst affected areas in the Birambizo area of Rutshuru have witnessed mass new displacement, impromptu camps lacking the most basic facilities, including clean water and proper shelter, and heard terrifying testimony from people who have fled attacks and looting by armed groups.

    Malnutrition is now running at alarming levels, threatening the lives of thousands of young children. Across Masisi and Rutshuru, surveys indicate rates for acute malnutrition of over 17 percent – well above emergency levels. WFP is working with specialised NGOs to establish a large number of new feeding centres in an effort to stem the rising tide of malnutrition.

    Aggravating the situation is the fact that many families have now been displaced several times as they continue to suffer violence and harassment by armed groups. In many cases, household food supplies have been looted and farming equipment destroyed or stolen. Women in particular face the constant threat of violence when they try to cultivate their fields. Many of the displaced have now missed three successive planting seasons, reinforcing their reliance on outside assistance.

    Much of the displacement has taken place in the heart of the region's breadbasket, causing food prices to spike sharply in urban areas such as Goma that rely on the hinterland for much of their supply.

    "There is a very real risk of a complete disintegration in the nutritional status of the people we are trying to reach. WFP has the ability to save lives and make a very real difference – we just need the means," said Vincent.

    WFP requires USD142 million for its operations in eastern DRC over the next 12 months. Donors to the current operation include United States (USD62 million), European Commission (USD25 million), UN CERF (USD16 million – for CERF, France (USD8.7 million), Canada (USD6.4 million), Belgium (USD6.2 million), Japan (USD5 million), Norway (USD3 million), Switzerland (USD 2.5 million), Germany (USD1.1 million), Greece (USD615,000), Luxembourg (USD506,000), Republic of Korea (USD500,000), Spain (USD455,000), Finland (USD433,000) and Poland (USD200,000). - WFP

    South Africa backpeddles on paper imports

    South Africa has been forced to quickly withdraw anti-dumping duties imposed on paper imports from Brazil and Indonesia after the latter country instituted a consultative process in the World Trade Organisation – the first step towards declaring a trade dispute.

    Analysts said this may herald the start of the withdrawal of a number of other anti-dumping duties which can affect up to 19 different commodities. The matter arose after the South African Revenue Service (SARS) lost a court case in 2007 regarding the collection of customs duties.

    An anti dumping duty was first imposed on white A4 paper from Indonesia in 1999 and under WTO laws the duties must be lifted after five years unless it can be proved that the importing country will suffer loss or injury by the removal of the duty.

    Team South Africa selected for Tall Ships Race

    SASLA (South African Sail-training for Life-skills Development) has announced Team SA 2008 – four young, highly committed Capetonians who will represent South Africa in the 2008 Tall Ships’ Race.

    The team will be aboard the Norwegian Tall Ship Christian Radich and the voyage will start in Bergen (Norway) on 11 August sailing to Den Helder (Netherlands) where they will arrive on 22 August.

    Over a 100 vessels from 15-20 countries, crewed by between 5,000 and 6,000 young people from over 30 countries worldwide, take part in this unique event. The South African team will sail together with 70 trainees from 16 different countries: they will work together closely and are involved in watch keeping, climbing the yards, setting the sails, steer the vessel, but also cooking and cleaning.

    There is also a formal youth exchange programme on board and the SA Team has to proudly represent their home country and to inspire as many people as possible to visit their beautiful country.

    The team is:
    Sakhekile Qoyi, 18, from Delft, Trinity Project International
    Valentino Scholtz, 17, from Lotus River, Christel House SA
    Shafeeqah Salie, 25, from Bokaap
    Claire Bouah, 25, from Fish Hoek

    These trainees were chosen among 15 applicants, who made it to the final round. They had to go through different assessment tasks and finally had to prove themselves in an interview with the SASLA committee. The successful applicants impressed the SASLA committee in particular with their high level of commitment to the project as well as their communication skills. The decision by SASLA was also based on the ability of each team member to represent their country during the international youth exchange and their potential to support the initiative to make Tall Ship sailing widely available to South African youth in the future.

    South Africa’s participation in this unique event is made possible by SASLA, the South African Sail Training for Life Skills Association. SASLA promotes and assists the provision of opportunities for training under sail to youth and adults to foster the development of sustainable life skills, constructive citizenship and the art of seamanship.

    SASLA is also assisting the campaign towards a South African owned Tall Ship and would like to thank all sponsors who have come on board of this project so far: These include Sail Training International, UK; Jewish Maritime League, SA; as well as a number of local and international individuals committed to the cause of SASLA.

    Pic of the day – SANTA ANNABELLA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The container ship SANTA ANNABELLA in Cape Town harbour. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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