Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 11, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • Durban Car Terminal opens inspection facility

  • Durban Maritime Cluster gathers steam as members sign up

  • Maputo port sets new ore records

  • Africa - China bilateral trade likely to top USD100 billion this year

  • Navy helicopters to take part in AAD2008 exhibition

  • Piracy off Somalia continues unabated

  • International guidelines to ease impact of fishing in deep sea areas

  • SACU’s exports to the US up 15% year on year

  • Coal line reopens after derailment

  • Pics of the day – ACONCAGUA BAY and CHAMAREL

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    Durban Car Terminal opens inspection facility

    An aerial view of the Durban Car Terminal with the pure car carrier HOEGH DETROIT coming alongside. Picture by Steve McCurrach

    The Durban car terminal has completed renovations to relocate and improve its vehicle inspection facility for vehicles entering and exiting the terminal. The new staging area, which went live at the beginning of September 2008, is expected to decrease traffic along Bay Terrace, where increased volumes being handled through the terminal had resulted in carrier congestion over the last few months.

    The facility now allows for dual lane operation of vehicles, both going into the terminal for export and import vehicles leaving the terminal which has effectively doubled the throughput capacity in comparison with the old facility, as well as a new ‘buffer’ area able to hold up to 50 units at a time. The buffer area allows for a continuous flow of vehicles through the inspection facility with a separate driver team taking units from buffer to stack.

    “The increased capacity now means that we have two teams working at all times eradicating the bottleneck experienced in the old facility,” says Kesvan Naidoo, Chief Logistics Officer at the terminal. “Whereas previously the old inspection area was used for both inspecting and scanning of vehicles, now all of the scanning is done at the new site by a separate team while inspections remain at the original site resulting in improved quality and throughput.”

    The larger inspection area has resulted in more vehicles being inspected at the same time. Positive feedback has already come in from customers whose units are already moving through the new inspection route. Transporters will now be encouraged to deploy more drivers to the terminals to meet the doubled throughput rate that the new facility has created.

    “The facility ties in with the car terminal’s overall objective of creating capacity ahead of demand. Besides building our capacity and improving our turnaround time, together with other new facilities like the carwash and fitment centre offered on-site, the new system simply adds substantial value to our overall service to customers,” says Naidoo.

    The Durban car terminal is the biggest and busiest in Africa and the current expansion project will further increase capacity by the end of the year.

    The new inspection facility off Bay Terrace. Picture Transnet

    Durban Maritime Cluster gathers steam as members sign up

    Durban Bay and its port facilities, which the Maritime Cluster seeks to support as the continent’s leading port and economic gateway. Picture Transnet

    The establishment of the Durban maritime cluster representing all facets of the maritime industry in Durban has advanced significantly as members began the process of signing up at a workshop meeting this week (Tuesday 9 September).

    The cluster is an initiative of the eThekwini (Durban) Municipality’s Economic Development Department which has the aim of creating a working association comprising all elements within the broader maritime industry that do business in the port and shipping. These include not only the private maritime industry stakeholders but also Transnet, the city and all other relevant authorities and bodies involved.

    The object is a forum that will overcome a perceived lack of liaison between the various stakeholders, something that has become all the more apparent in recent years with rapid growth taking place in the port and related business. There are numerous examples of this including congestion challenges in and around the port which are obvious even to the casual onlooker.

    The city also sees a need for an authoritative voice representing all stakeholders to ensure that decision-making taken at national level takes fully into account the wishes and concerns of the port and city of Durban. Although some liaison is taking place it has not been sufficient for people in Durban whose business is influenced by the port who need to feel that they are capable of providing a meaningful input into its future direction.

    The purpose of the cluster is an organisation that won’t supersede other industry associations already in existence, but one that is sufficiently all-encompassing to become the true champion of the port and city of Durban

    The importance of having such an organisation has been highlighted on several occasions – as has been pointed out previously Durban owes its existence to the port from which it has developed its own key industrial base while also becoming South Africa’s most strategically important economic gateway and logistics hub.

    No other port in southern Africa or within sub-Saharan Africa comes even close to achieving this importance, but there is an awareness that this can be placed at risk if action is not taken timeously to ensure that progress in the port and related city development is able to continue. This is one of the key challenges facing the eThekwini Maritime Cluster, of being able to advise and promote the continued evolution of a total logistics industry involving port, rail, road, pipeline and all other constituents while also raising the profile of Durban as the region’s major port and city within international terms.

    Some of these key sub-programmes include Growth Enterprise, in which joint infrastructure planning and research services are able to combine. The cluster will also strive for excellence in the development of world-class logistics via best benchmarking practices. It is expected to focus on Enterprise Creation with business planning and transformation services and the setting up of Enterprise Improvement by way of labour productivity and skills development.

    The cluster will also provide marketing and information services for the advantage of Durban as a port city and economic hub and will place strong emphasis on the role of maritime education, where Durban has the opportunity to perform a unique role on the continent of Africa by way of providing maritime education facilities.

    It is not only the maritime industry that stands to benefit from this initiative but also a much wider spectrum of business and social activity across the Durban region, for the port impacts on so many people making their living in the greater Durban area and beyond that few in the city of millions can argue they are not affected.

    The aim of the maritime cluster is to become an independent organisation answering to its constituent members from across the full cross-section of the maritime industry of Durban. Included with the development of the Dube Tradeport at the new airport site on the north of the city and its linkages with the harbour, the maritime cluster is about to assume an even greater role to play in Durban’s economic evolution.

    Further details including application forms are available from talia@urban-econ.com

    Maputo port sets new ore records

    STAR ISOLDANA, a 33,228-gt, 198.5m length bulker which this week loaded a record 40,000t of chrome ore for China. Picture Yvonne de Kock

    The Port of Maputo is continuing to set records as improved infrastructure and logistics are introduced.

    One of the latest indicators of this came this week with a record shipment of 40,000 tonnes of chrome ore loaded onto a vessel bound for China.

    The cargo of chrome ore is the largest to have been handled at the port since Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC) took over the management and operation of Port Maputo.

    The shipment of ore from South Africa was loaded into the bulker ISOLDANA which entered port on 5 September.

    According to a port spokesperson this is the second record to be set in the past month. Over a five day period ending 9 August, the FerroChrome Terminal achieved a new dispatch record of 82,115 tonnes of ore which was loaded into five ships in five days.

    Volumes at MPDC’s FerroChrome terminal have shown constant growth and one million tonnes is expected to be handled for 2008 at this terminal. In 2007 the terminal was doubled in size to accommodate growing export volumes from South Africa.

    Africa - China bilateral trade likely to top USD100 billion this year

    The Chinese General Administration of Customs said last week that bilateral trade between China and Africa will exceed USD100 billion in 2008, two years earlier than originally expected.

    The forecast is based on figures for the first half-year, which indicate that bilateral trade increased by almost 66 percent year-on-year to reach USD53.14 billion. The growth rate was about 40 percentage points higher than in 2007.

    Total trade included Chinese exports to Africa worth USD23 billion (an increase of 40 percent), and imports from Africa worth USD30 billion (up by about 92 percent). The growth rate of imports was almost 85 percentage points higher year-on-year.

    The administration attributed the rapid growth rates primarily to an economic upturn in Africa as well as mounting Chinese demand for resources.

    Customs data in China shows that 19 African countries recorded trade worth over USD500 million with China during the first half of 2008, up from 14 African nations a year earlier.

    However, despite the rapid growth, Sino-African trade only accounted for 4.3 percent of China’s first-half foreign trade. source chinaview.cn/tralac

    Navy helicopters to take part in AAD2008 exhibition

    Cape Town, 10 September (BuaNews) - This year's Africa Aerospace and Defence 2008 (AAD 2008) Exhibition promises to be more exciting than previously with the participation of the Department of Defence's recently acquired state-of-the art helicopters.

    The AAD exhibition opens on 17 September at Ysterplaat Air Force Base in Cape Town for three trade days, with the public getting access on 20 and 21 September.

    The acquisition of the helicopters, including submarines and corvettes, is part of the Strategic Arms Procurement Package approved by Cabinet in 2001.

    The aircraft include Gripen and Hawk jet aircraft, Agusta A109 and the SA Navy's shipborne Super Lynx helicopters, as well as the Rooivalk and Oryx helicopters.

    Also taking part (but not at Ysterplaat of course!) will be a South African Navy submarine and frigate.

    A new addition to the show is a dedicated section for Light Sports Aircraft (LSA), which include home-built and kit aircraft, microlights and gliders.

    According to the organisers, more than 400 exhibitors from at least 25 countries will be exhibiting at the show.

    The show is also expected to attract around 17,000 trade visitors and 70,000 visitors on each of the two public days.

    The last show, AAD 2006 in Cape Town, drew more than 22,000 professional trade visitors from Africa and beyond. The public days with the air show featuring some of the world's most advanced aircraft drew 90,000 spectators.

    This year's show also coincides with the South African government's strategy for strengthening, growing and forging worldwide alliances for its domestic aerospace, air transport, maritime, land systems, security and space industries.

    AAD 2008 will provide a unique opportunity for industry and the media to get to grips with the opportunities unfolding on the African continent, particularly as South African industry joins hands with its international partners.

    More than 200 foreign and local journalists have applied for media accreditation to cover AAD 2008.

    AAD 2008 is co-owned by the South African Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association (AMD), Armscor, and the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA) and fully supported by the Department of Defence.

    "With more than 30 countries exhibiting, all exhibition space in the nine halls and the static aircraft park has been 100 percent sold out," said Mr Geoff van Hees, AAD show organiser.

    "This is exceptional and we are grateful for the huge support we're getting for the Cape Town venue."

    The general aviation sector is also well represented with the latest aircraft like Dassault's 7X business jet (able to fly non-stop from Europe to Johannesburg) and NAC's brand new Hawker 4000. It is expected Brazil's Embraer will bring one of its regional airliners.

    Those interested in viewing can avoid the queues by purchasing pre-paid tickets that are available from all Cape Town Tourism and National Sea Rescue Institute Offices.

    Tickets cost less than the gate price (R40 for adults and R30 for pensioners and children under 12). Entrance, gates will open from 6am on public days.

    Kiosks on site will provide ample refreshments and therefore picnic baskets will not be allowed.

    For security reasons at Air Force Base Ysterplaat, alcohol, gas braais or open fires, firearms and pets are prohibited.

    Piracy off Somalia continues unabated

    Piracy continues unabated in Somali waters with reports of several new attacks on shipping operating in international waters.

    In one of the latest incidents a Norwegian crude oil tanker, the FRONT VOYAGER (88,946-gt) came under attack by a group of pirates in an open speedboat who raced alongside, opened fire with automatic weapons and grenade launchers and attempted to board the vessel as she sailed through the Gulf of Aden last Saturday.

    Quick action by the ship’s crew, consisting of 25 Russian and Filipino seafarers, prevented the pirates from getting on board. The seafarers used high pressure water cannon to repel the boarders. Meanwhile a radio call for help had gone out and was answered by one of the Coalition warships on patrol in the area. The Danish navy ship ABSALON responded by dispatching a helicopter. Reports indicate the pirates were captured by the Danes and later handed over to a US warship also operating with the coalition forces. This has not been confirmed.

    In another incident a Thai bulk carrier, a Singapore-registered liquefied gas tanker and a Chinese general cargo ship all came under attack in the past week but each managed to avoid being taken hostage. A spokesman for the International Maritime Bureaus (IMB), which monitors worldwide piracy, said that early detection by the ships helped them avoid being taken.

    The Chinese ship reported being under attack from a blue painted tug, which had been previously identified by the IMB as a mother ship to the pirates. Although the Chinese ship came under fire from rocket-propelled grenades it managed to evade the pirates and escape by increasing speed.

    The Thai ship came under attack from two speed boats but was also able to out-manoeuvre and increase speed to get away.

    It has also been reported that the French two-masted yacht which was captured recently is now being used as a mother ship by pirates. The two crew from the yacht have been taken ashore and are being held for ransom.

    Three Malaysian Navy ships and a number of highly trained commandos have arrived in the area following the capture by pirates of two MISC tankers, the MISC BUNGA MELATI DUA and the MISC BUNGA MELATI LIMA. Some 63 Malaysian crew members are being held for ransom along with their ships near the town of Eyl in northern Somalia.

    The three navy ships are the new patrol boat KD PAHANG, the frigate KD LEKIU and a support vessel KD SRI INDERAPURA. A Malaysian Navy spokesman said the purpose of the three vessels was to escort Malaysian ships through the Gulf of Aden and prevent any further attacks. The ships would not take part in the negotiations for the release of the two captured vessels, he said but would be available to escort them home afterwards.

    Meanwhile Malaysian authorities and the shipping company have been critical of media reports which said that one of the MISC ships was very low on food and that the crew was facing starvation.

    Radio Garowe reports that a delegation from the Puntland government in northern Somalia has visited the town of Eyl where a total of 10 ships are currently being held for ransom. The purpose is to hold talks with the pirates, which are thought to belong to at least four local militia groups. Local inhabitants of the towns in the region are said to be supportive of the pirates as their success so far has helped alleviate poverty in the region. However Eyl town leaders have also claimed they are powerless to prevent the pirates from operating from their area.

    International guidelines to ease impact of fishing in deep sea areas

    New York (BuaNews) - Two years of negotiations have resulted in the adoption of new international guidelines to limit the impact of fishing on fragile deep sea fish species and habitats.

    Making the announcement last week, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said managing deep sea fisheries in high seas areas outside of countries' exclusive economic zones has always been difficult.

    According to FAO since it requires multilateral solutions involving not only nations whose vessels are engaged in deep sea fisheries but other interested countries as well.

    "Until now, there really has not been an international framework for tackling this issue," said Ichiro Nomura, Assistant Director General of FAO's Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

    "These guidelines represent one of the few practical instruments of this nature, and are a breakthrough in that they address both environmental and fisheries management concerns in an integrated manner," he added.

    Stating that all fishing activity in deep sea areas should be "rigorously managed," the guidelines contain measures to be taken to identify and protect vulnerable ecosystems and provide guidance on the sustainable use of marine living resources in deep-sea areas.

    They also recommend that fishing nations assess the deep sea fishing being undertaken by their fleets to determine if any significant adverse impacts are involved, and if there are adverse impacts, the fishing activity should stop.

    The guidelines also set out steps for improving information on the location and status of vulnerable marine ecosystems and deep sea fisheries.

    Because deep sea fishing is a relatively new activity and requires considerable resources in terms of investment and technology, few countries have so far developed policies and plans specifically related to managing it, even in their own waters, according to FAO.

    SACU’s exports to the US up 15% year on year

    SACU’s exports to the United States were up 15% year on year during the first six months of 2008, an analysis of recently released trade data shows. 2008 exports were worth USD5,58 billion against USD4,86 billion over the same period last year.

    Commodity-type exports lead the way, with platinum the region’s most valuable export category (USD1,78bn so far in 2008). However, this product line has seen a year on year decline of almost 7% with US-bound exports. Diamonds, at USD690mn is the next largest category with a 9% rise. Ferroalloys, the third most valuable commodity export, has achieved year on year growth of 123% and is worth USD524mn in exports from the region.

    The largest manufactured product is from the automotive industry, with vehicle exports benefiting from the remission of duties under AGOA. These exports were valued at USD913m over the first 6 months of 2008, compared with only USD214mn over the same period in 2007 (representing a 327% increase over 2007). Other significant exports were centrifuges as well as ash and residues.

    The difficult trading conditions in the textile sector see exports in key categories down significantly in the half year to June. Sweaters and pullovers (category HS 6110) from the region are down 23% (to USD67mn) while suits (category HS 6203) reveal a 24% decline from USD53mn to USD43mn. source Tralac

    *SACU: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland

    Coal line reopens after derailment

    Tuesday, 9 September - Transnet Freight Rail said it has reopened the section of coal line to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal which was closed by a derailment last Thursday (4 September).

    A total of 42 wagons came off the tracks spilling a large amount of coal and damaging sections of the track and infrastructure, closing both the up and down lines. There were no serious injuries reported by Transnet. The train involved in the derailment consisted of 200 loaded wagons of export coal.

    Pic of the day – ACONCAGUA BAY and CHAMAREL

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The Dutch reefer vessel ACONCAGUA BAY (9,074-gt) in Cape Town August 2008. Picture Ian Shiffman

    The Mauritius-flagged cable layer CHAMAREL (5,924-gt) which is a regular sight in Cape Town where the ship is based for much of the year. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    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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