Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 5, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • First View – EVER GENTLE renamed

  • News from the world of shipping

  • Cable landing sites in Kenya and Mozambique underway

  • African Free-Trade bloc will reduce cost of doing business, says SADC head

  • Illicit trade undermines single East African market

  • International trade hit by global financial crisis, says UN body

  • Pic of the day – TALISMAN


    First View – EVER GENTLE renamed

    The Evergreen container ship GENTLE (37,023-gt), which was one of those renamed by the dropping of the prefix EVER, seen here in Cape Town harbour. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    News from the world of shipping

    In yesterday’s News Bulletin we reported that K Line and PIL would be operating a joint service from Asia to east coast South America as from June 2009, but said it was not clear whether the ships would call at South African ports.

    It has been confirmed that the vessel will call at South African ports on the eastbound leg. PIL vessels are already employed on the service with MOL (although that agreement ends at the end of December when MOL goes it alone) and will be joined next June by K Line. In the meantime PIL vessels continue to call at South African ports on the eastbound leg, using ten ships of 1,700-TEU size and from June will be joined by K Line which will bring five ships to the agreement, enabling PIL to reduce the number of their vessels also to five.

    K Line currently operates on the Asia – east coast South America service via South Africa jointly with CMA CGM and Maruba on the SEAS 1 and SEAS 2 loops.

    Talking of PIL, one of their regular ships on the Far East – South and West Africa services, the 1,510-TEU KOTA ANGGERIK is to be withdrawn and will be replaced by a newbuild, the 1,802-TEU KOTA NALURI. PIL operates this service jointly with MOL.

    The owner of the Ukrainian Ro-Ro ship FAINA, which is being held for ransom along with the crew of 20 by Somali pirates, says that media reports that he is not interested in negotiating for the release of the ship are not true.

    The unnamed owner, quoted by the Russian news agency Itar-Tass called the reports groundless and described the physical condition of the crew as satisfactory.

    “The provision of food, water and fuel is discussed daily. The ship owner, the intermediary and other sides are doing their best to achieve a positive outcome and to speed up the release of the ship and crewmembers on acceptable terms,” he said.

    Meanwhile it is being reported that the pirates holding the ship have reduced their demands for the release of the vessel, which is carrying a cargo of Russian-made tanks and ammunition, from USD8m to USD5 million.

    Cable landing sites in Kenya and Mozambique underway

    Johannesburg, 4 November - The construction of SEACOM's 15,000 km fibre optic undersea cable, linking southern and east Africa, Europe and south Asia, is on schedule and is set to go live as planned in June 2009.

    Some 10,000 km of cable has been manufactured to date at locations in the USA and Japan and Tyco Telecommunications (US) Inc, the project contractors, has begun shipping terrestrial equipment with the cable loaded on the first ship in September 2008. Laying of shore end cables for each landing stations also began in September. This process comprises the cable portions at shallow depths ranging from 15 to 50m where large vessels are not able to operate.

    From October 2008, the first of three Reliance Class vessels started laying the actual cable. The final splicing, which involves connecting all cable sections together, will happen in April 2009, allowing enough time for testing of the system before the commercial launch in June 2009.

    The final steps of the Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) process are well advanced and all small archeological, marine and ecological studies, which required scuba diving analysis, have been completed, as well as social consultations with the affected parties.

    The cable, including repeaters necessary to amplify the signal, is stored in large tanks onboard the ships. The branching units necessary to divert the cable to the planned landing stations is then connected into the cable path on the ship just prior to deployment into the sea. The cable is then buried under the ocean bed with the help of a plow along the best possible route demarcated through the marine survey.

    The connectivity from Egypt to Marseille, France, will be provided through Telecom Egypt's TE-North fibre pairs that SEACOM has purchased on the system. TE-North is a new cable currently being laid across the Mediterranean Sea.

    Brian Herlihy, SEACOM President, said SEACOM was very happy with the progress made over the past five months.

    “Our manufacturing and deployment schedule is on target and we are confident that we will meet our delivery promises in what is today an incredibly tight market underpinned by sky-rocketing demand for new cables resulting in worldwide delivery delays.

    "The recently announced executive appointments combined with the project management capabilities already existent within SEACOM position us as a fully fledged telecoms player. We are able to meet the African market's urgent requirements for cheap and readily available bandwidth within less than a year."

    The cable will go into service long before the 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks-off in South Africa and SEACOM has already been working with key broadcasters to meet their broadband requirements. The team is also trying to expedite the construction in an attempt to assist with the broadcasting requirements of the FIFA Confederations Cup scheduled for June 2009.

    SEACOM, which is privately funded and over three-quarter African owned, will assist communication carriers in south and east Africa through the sale of wholesale international capacity to global networks via India and Europe. The undersea fibre optic cable system will provide African retail carriers with equal and open access to inexpensive bandwidth, removing the international infrastructure bottleneck and supporting east and southern African economic growth.

    SEACOM will be the first cable to provide broadband to countries in east Africa which at the moment relies entirely on expensive satellite connections. - SEACOM

    African Free-Trade bloc will reduce cost of doing business, says SADC head

    The secretary general of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Mr Sindiso Ngwenya, says the proposed free trade area and subsequently customs union will create a single market of more than 525 million people.

    According to an article in the East African Business Week, the merger of the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and COMESA will help reduce the cost of doing business for companies within the 26 countries and boost foreign direct investment (FDI) to levels never seen before.

    Several weeks ago, leaders from COMESA, the EAC and, SADC agreed in principle to create a unified free trade zone. The merger is intended to eliminate complications from the existing structure of overlapping and conflicting blocs.

    Africa has 30 regional trade arrangements, and on average each country belongs to about four groups.

    There is hope that bigger markets and economies of scale will boost production and demand from Egypt to South Africa. But the FTA would initially benefit developed industrial sectors like Kenya, Egypt and South Africa. And small businesses will likely lose out initially to more efficient producers from the bigger economies. - East African Business Week

    See next report

    Illicit trade undermines single East African market

    By John Gahamanyi, Tralac

    Moves to establish the single East African market are being destabilised by illicit trade, according to a new business report. The research report released at the Commonwealth East Africa International Business Forum 2008 in Kigali Serena Hotel on Thursday (30 October) indicates that East African countries are threatened by counterfeit, undeclared production and smuggling. This illicit trade is believed to be rising eight times higher than legal trade.

    The report, which looks at the specific effects of illicit trade in tobacco estimates that British American Tobacco (BAT) - the region's largest cigarette supplier is losing around USD61 million in tax revenues annually from the East African Community (EAC), through border smuggling of genuine tobacco products manufactured in neighbouring EAC countries.

    The report which was produced to support the East Africa Business Council programme to combat illicit trade and counterfeiting to be launched next year calls for faster harmonisation of tax levels, better enforcement and tougher penalties, and public education amongst measures to combat illicit trade.

    International trade hit by global financial crisis, says UN body

    Review of Maritime Transport suggests early 2008 marked the high point of the shipping boom but a decline in the Baltic Dry Index indicates that the financial crisis has spread to international trade, with negative implications for developing countries, especially those dependent on commodities

    Unctad – 4 November - International seaborne trade in 2007, driven by emerging and transition economies, surpassed a record 8 billion tons, the Review of Maritime Transport 2008 (RMT) reports. Strong demand for shipping services helped push to unprecedented highs the cost of moving dry bulk commodities internationally, as echoed by the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) through the first quarter of 2008. (The BDI is a composite of shipping prices for various dry bulk products such as iron ore, grain, coal, bauxite/alumina and phosphate, and is a useful indicator of price movements.)

    More recently, however, the BDI has declined more than 11-fold: from 11,793 points in May 2008 to 891 as of early November. This shows that the unfolding financial crisis has spread to international trade with negative implications for developing countries, especially those dependent on commodities.

    More than 80% of international trade in goods is carried by sea, and an even higher percentage of developing-country trade is carried in ships.

    The Review, an annual publication prepared by the UNCTAD secretariat, is an important source of information on this vital sector. It closely monitors developments affecting world seaborne trade, freight markets and rates, ports, surface transport, and logistics services, as well as trends in ship ownership and control and fleet age, tonnage supply, and productivity.

    The Review contains a chapter on legal and regulatory developments and each year includes a chapter highlighting a different region. In 2008, the focus is on Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Key developments reported this year's Review include the following:

  • In 2007, world seaborne trade (goods loaded) increased by 4.8% to surpass 8 billion tons for the first time.

  • By the beginning of 2008, the total world merchant fleet had expanded by an impressive 7.2%, to reach 1.12 billion deadweight tons (dwt). The tonnage of oil tankers increased by 6.5% and that of bulk carriers by 6.4%. These two types of ships together represent 71.5% of total merchant fleet tonnage, a slight decrease from 72.0% in January 2007.

  • At the beginning of 2008, the average age of the world fleet dropped marginally, to 11.8 years. Containerships made up the youngest fleet with an average of 9 years.

  • By May 2008, the world containership fleet had reached approximately 13.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), of which 11.3 million TEUs were on fully cellular containerships. This fleet included 54 containerships of 9,000 TEUs and above, which were operated by five companies: CMA-CGM (France), COSCON and CSCL (both from China), Maersk (Denmark) and MSC (Switzerland).

  • World container port throughput grew by an estimated 11.7% to reach 485 million TEUs in 2007, the Review reports. Chinese ports accounted for about 28.4% of total world container port throughput.

  • Rail freight traffic for 2007 grew by 28% in Saudi Arabia, 12.6% in Viet Nam, 9.4% in India, 7.6% in China, 7.2% in the Russian Federation, and by 1% in Europe and the United States.

  • An important development in the field of security relates to the certification and mutual recognition of Authorized Economic Operators (AEOs), both at the EU level and under the World Customs Organization (WCO) Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade (SAFE Framework).

    In the area of environmental regulation is the intensive and expedited work by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on greenhouse gas emissions from ships. The aim is to develop a binding international regime for adoption in 2009.

    Pic of the day – TALISMAN

    The semi-submersible heavylift TALISMAN (42,515-gt) has been a caller in Table Bay and Cape Town harbour for several weeks during October. 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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