Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 22, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • First View – NYK HAKONE in New Zealand waters

  • China freight forwarders to target Africa and other emerging markets

  • Mozambique: Railway to Marromeu reopened

  • SA Navy ships to visit Maputo

  • Piracy Report – another ship seized

  • Over 100 years of Liner Conferences in Europe comes to an end

  • Pic of the day – ACECHADOR


    First View – NYK HAKONE in New Zealand waters

    The elderly Japanese container ship NYK HAKONE (1983-built, 35,309-gt) arriving in Lyttelton, New Zealand on 28 September 2008. Picture Alan Calvert

    China freight forwarders to target Africa and other emerging markets

    China’s freight forwarders are refocusing their marketing efforts on developing countries in the emerging high-yield markets of Africa, Central Asia and Central Europe.

    This was disclosed by Henrik Christensen, chief executive of the China Logistic Club. Christensen is also chairman and co-organiser of the Sixth International Freight Forwarders and Logistics Cooperation Forum which meets in Ningbo, China from 5 – 7 November 2008.

    Trade between Africa and China exceeded USD75 billion in 2007, representing a compounded increase of 43% over the last five years. Organisers of the Forum point out that Africa’s GDP growth for 2007, which averaged 6.1%, owed much to the soaring trade between Africa and China.

    "With the falling freight rates and yield on the traditional Asia-Europe and Transpacific routes many of our members are now shifting their focus on higher yielding markets particularly in Africa," said Mr Christensen.

    "China has made significant investments in infrastructure projects and the manufacturing sector in Africa and the growth in that trade has been dramatic during the last two years. The same can be said of Central Asia where the new oil and gas industry has led to rapid growth in the regional economies and a corresponding increase in trade with China," he said.

    Speakers at the Ningbo forum will come from companies based in Hungary, Africa, Russia and Kazakhstan.

    The China Logistics Club is a forum specifically for freight forwarders and logistics companies. The Ningbo forum has been jointly organised by the China Logistics Club, Ningbo Association of Port-Of-Entry (NAP) and Jiangdong People's Government, Ningbo Municipality.

    Details of the 6th International Freight Forwarders and Logistics Cooperation Forum can be obtained from Henrik Christensen, email
    henrik@chinalogisticsclub.com or telephone +852 2528 3099.

    Mozambique: Railway to Marromeu reopened

    Maputo, 20 October (AIM) – The first train in 25 years reached the sugar town of Marromeu, on the south bank of the Zambezi, from the central Mozambican port of Beira on Sunday (19 October).

    According to a report in Monday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, this is the first test of the 200 kilometre line since its reconstruction. The line to Marromeu is a branch of the Sena line, which runs from Beira to the Moatize coal mines in Tete province, a distance of 625 kilometres.

    The Sena line was comprehensively sabotaged by the apartheid-backed Renamo rebels in the early 1980s, and the last train ran in 1983. The damage was so severe (with the tracks simply ripped up over long stretches) that there could be no question of repairing the line – from Dondo (30 kilometres outside Beira) to Moatize, plus the branches to Marromeu, and to the Malawian border, it had to be completely rebuilt. This work is in the hands of the Indian consortium, Rites and Ircon International.

    The administrator of Marromeu district, Henriques Ponjesse, confirmed to “Noticias” the reopening of the line. He said that in the initial stage, it will be used to transport sugar from the Sena Company, which runs the country’s most modern sugar mill, at Marromeu, timber from Cheringoma district and limestone (to feed the Dondo cement factory) from Muanza.

    For his part, the Sena Company's Public Relations Officer, Vita Assane, said that this is a major advance, since it is much cheaper for the company to send its sugar to Beira by rail, than by road. This year about 60,000 tonnes of Marromeu sugar will be taken by rail to Beira for export.

    Assane pointed out that, without the train, Marromeu becomes isolated during the rainy season when the roads are often cut.

    At the weekend, Filipe Paunde, the secretary general of the ruling Frelimo Party, was in Marromeu. He told a rally that the resumption of traffic along the Sena line will bring a new dynamic in the entire Zambezi valley and will create new jobs.

    The complete rehabilitation of the Sena line to Moatize is due to be completed by mid-2009. (AIM)

    SA Navy ships to visit Maputo

    SAS ISAAC DYOBHA, one of three South African warships visiting the Mozambique port of Maputo this week. Picture Terry Hutson

    Three South African Navy ships are to visit the Mozambique port of Maputo this week.

    The first ship to arrive is the strike craft SAS ISAAC DYOBHA (P1565) which is due in the port today (Wednesday). The strike craft will be followed on Friday (24 October) by the combat support ship SAS DRAKENSBERG and the new Type 209T/1400 submarine SAS CHARLOTTE MAXEKE (S102).

    All three ships recently took part in Exercise Oxide, a joint naval exercise involving the South African and French Navies. This was followed by further exercises with ships of the US Navy carrier force comprising USS THEODORE ROOSVELT and cruiser USS MONTEREY.

    The Valour class frigate SAS ISANDLWANA which also took part in both the above exercises will not be visiting Maputo at this time.

    Piracy Report - another ship seized

    Within days of releasing two ships from captivity (see yesterday’s News Bulletin), Somali pirates seized another vessel in the Gulf of Aden, a small Indian vessel with 13 crew.

    According to International Maritime Bureau reports the ship, which has not been named, was sailing from northern Somalia bound for Asia. The IMB said it had not yet identified the vessel or the time and exact position where it was attacked.

    Meanwhile pirates have allowed the captured products tanker STOLT VALOR to be resupplied with food and water. The vessel which was seized last month and taken to an anchorage off the east coast near Eyl was running low on essential supplies.

    Kenya-based Andrew Mwangura reported that representatives of the company had been given permission by the pirates to take food and water to the vessel after on-and-off negotiations. There are a further six ships at anchor near Stolt Valor, all seized earlier by the pirates and awaiting ransoming.

    Mwangura reported that relatives of the Ukraine Ro-Ro ship FAINA have begun raising money in an effort to have the crew released. The pirates are thought to have lowered their demand to USD8 million for the release of the ship which is carrying a cargo of Russian made tanks and other weapons.

    As more ships continue to come under attack, the commander of the NATO task force which is sailing to the Gulf of Aden in a publicised effort of tackling piracy says he is unaware of the rules of engagement for his mission.

    US Admiral Mark Fitzgerald said there was little he was able to do militarily to prevent the pirates from attacking other ships because guidelines on how to prevent the attacks are not yet available.

    "You know, I don't think we've gotten the rules of engagement yet from NATO," Fitzgerald told reporters on Monday (20 October).

    "That's all still being debated in the North Atlantic Council. All we've been told is to prepare a plan to go down there. So (the rules) are going to have to be debated.

    "From a military standpoint, we certainly are limited by what we can do. How do you prove a guy's a pirate before he actually attacks a ship?

    "We have a problem from the military side at sea because we can't be omnipresent in the space, and the pirates operate at an advantage because ... they don't announce they're a pirate until they attack a ship."

    Six NATO members have provided ships to take part in the anti-piracy task force. This force has already entered the Red Sea through the Suez Canal and is steaming towards the Horn of Africa.

    Recently a Danish warship was forced to release pirates it had captured because there is no jurisdiction on where to take them for trial.

    Over 100 years of Liner Conferences in Europe comes to an end

    More than a century of Liner Conferences came to an end in Europe at midnight last Friday (17 October) following legislation that introduced a new era of deregulation.

    The effect of the new legislation is that container shipping lines may no longer discuss freight rates and other charges including bunker and currency surcharges. Nor may they publish common tariffs.

    Instead shipping lines will have to negotiate freight rates separately with shippers on a one-on-one basis.

    The ban on conferences comes at a time when freight rates on major routes have plummeted drastically. Freight rates between Asia and Europe have slumped from USD1400 per TEU a year ago to less than USD400 today.

    The system of Conference Lines was introduced in 1875 when the Calcutta Steam Traffic Conference was set up by British shipping lines in an effort to stabilise services. Other conferences soon followed.

    The British International Freight Association (BIFA) said in a statement this week that it welcomed the end of conferences, calling it a “new era for shipping and trade liberalisation”.

    BIFA has for years been involved in a programme aimed at lobbying the EU Commission against conferences. As from Saturday conferences may not apply to any form of trade within the EU.

    “Lines will also have to be very careful about what information they exchange with one another or risk litigation with competition authorities which can, in certain circumstances, conceivably result in fines amounting to 10% of a company’s global turnover, not to mention the legal recourse each customer may have,” said BIFA in a statement.

    BIFA Director General Peter Quantrill says that it is unlikely that anyone will know for certain what the impact of the demise of liner conferences in the EU will be.

    “Many of our members are understandably sceptical about the potential benefits. However, if we look at what has happened in the airline industry since deregulation, one can reasonably expect some form of additional restructuring in the sector over the medium term and impetus to new business models and innovation.

    “One can reasonably assume that this development in Europe will not have been lost on governments in other parts of the world, some of which are already considering whether to follow the EU’s lead. The abolition of liner conferences in Europe may prove the catalyst for a wider shake-up in the international shipping industry, in respect of the deep sea movement of unitised cargo.”

    Mr Quantrill said he accepted that the end of conferences may lead to fewer shipping carriers. He said it could lead to greater transparency and possibly further mergers and acquisitions.

    Pic of the day – ACECHADOR

    The 1989-built Spanish-flagged trawler ACECHADOR (230-DWT) seen arriving off Durban. Picture by Terry Hutson

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