Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 10, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • First View – RAINBOW under a rainbow

  • South African port statistics for October

  • Analysts expect a third of dry bulk newbuilds will be cancelled

  • Coastwatch tug SMIT AMANDLA goes into dry dock

  • Need to make Mombasa a 24-hour port

  • Piracy report – Danish ship taken

  • Pic of the day – LS JACOBA


    First View – RAINBOW under a rainbow

    Unicorn Tankers RAINBOW, under a rainbow. Picture by Chris Savage

    South African port statistics for October

    Port cargo figures for October 2008 are now available, courtesy of Transnet Ports Authority.

    South Africa’s seven ports experienced a combined decrease in total cargo tonnage handled against the previous month, including a general decrease in the number of containers processed through the terminals. The main contributory factor volume-wise was a sharp drop in volumes at the iron ore and oil port of Saldanha against somewhat higher than usual volumes at that port for the previous month.

    As is customary the figures shown in this report reflect an adjustment on the overall tonnage to include containers by weight – this is necessary because Transnet NPA no longer measures containers by weight, but does so by counting the number of TEUs - for which PORTS & SHIPS makes an estimated weight adjustment of 13,5 tonnes per TEU to reflect tonnages. This figure may however be considered as conservative with 14 tonnes or even more perhaps being a more realistic figure as more bulk cargo is handled in containers.

    Figures for the respective ports during October 2008 were (with September figures shown bracketed for comparison):

    Cargo handled by tonnes

    Richards Bay                     7.365 million tonnes (Sep 7.340Mt)
    Durban                             5.964 Mt (Sep 6.996)
    Saldanha Bay                    3.522 Mt (Sep 5.158)
    Cape Town                       0.859 Mt (Sep 0.946)
    Port Elizabeth                    0.845 Mt (Sep 1.137)
    Mossel Bay                        0.195 Mt (Sep 0.130)
    East London                      0.286 Mt (Sep 0.283)

    Total monthly cargo in October 19.036 million tonnes (Sep 21.991 Mt)

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

    Durban                            230,756 TEU (Sep 232,951)
    Cape Town                        52,231 (Sep 59,491)
    Port Elizabeth                     36,254 (Sep 42,480)
    East London                         5,774 (Sep 5,580)
    Richards Bay                           411 (Sep 2,015)

    Total containers handled during October 325,426 TEU (Sep 342,517)

    Ship Calls for August

    Durban:                 392 vessels 9.060m gt (Sep 392 vessels 9.060m gt)
    Cape Town:           254 vessels 4.109m gt (Sep 254 vessels 4.109m gt)
    Port Elizabeth:        120 vessels 2.861m gt (Sep 120 vessels 2.861m gt)
    Richards Bay:         150 vessels 5.289m gt (Sep 150 vessels 5.289m gt)
    Saldanha:               46 vessels 2.515 gt (Sep 46 vessels 2,515m gt)
    East London:           19 vessels 0.641m gt (Sep 19 vessels 0.641m gt)
    Mossel Bay:             69 vessels 0.273m gt (Sep 69 vessels 0.273m gt)

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

    Analysts expect a third of dry bulk newbuilds will be cancelled

    Analysts and insiders say they expect one third of orders for dry bulk newbuilds will be cancelled while other orders will be delayed as a result of the unfolding financial crisis, according to an article in Shiptalk.

    The cancelation of orders is expected to follow a fall-off in demand for commodities amid fears of world recession that has already seen freight rates plummet. As a result the analysts say they anticipate wholesale cancellations at the shipyards while insider information from the industry suggests the cut in orders may prove larger than expected.

    The full effect of this cut-back is likely to be felt only in 2010 and 2011. Carl Steen of Nordsea’s Norwegian shipping, offshore and oil service unit is quoted as saying at least one-third of ordered ships will not be delivered and that the number may still rise.

    The pessimistic forecast follows a 9-year low last week for the Baltic Exchange’s dry sea freight index. The London-based index which tracks prices for raw materials on top export routes, excluding oil, fell by 93% from its peak in May this year.

    However analysts say that tonnage reduction may help balance an industry that faces a massive oversupply. They point out that at least 40% of new orders have been placed at new and inexperienced shipyards, which are likely to struggle more than the established yards. Banks add that they are prioritising their relationships with established customers.

    860 bulk ships are due to be delivered during 2009 followed by a further 2,231 from 2010 onwards. In a different sector, 699 oil tankers are expected in 2009 and 947 in 2010. Analysts suggest that only 10% of these are likely to be cancelled. - Shiptalk

    Coastwatch tug SMIT AMANDLA goes into dry dock

    The South African coast is without a salvage tug on standby after the SMIT AMANDLA entered dry dock at East London last week for emergency repairs.

    The tug is contracted to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) to be available on station along the coast in the event of a shipping emergency that might endanger the environment. The arrangement dates back to the construction of the two tugs JOHN ROSS (now Smit Amandla) and WOLRAAD WOLTEMADE in the mid 1970s.

    SAMSA is apparently unwilling to accept the cost of having a second tug placed on standby while Smit Amandla remains in dry dock and as a result the South African coast is left without cover for approximately ten days while the Smit tug is out of service. However there are a number of other salvage and offshore tugs currently available on the coast if required.

    Despite being over 30 years old Smit Amandla has another 5 – 7 years of serviceability ahead, a Smit spokesman told a Marine Emergency Response Seminar last week. He said this was a result of the relatively light work that the tug has faced while remaining on station on the coast.

    A replacement tug is expected to cost in the region of €38 - €42 million (R450m – R500m).

    Need to make Mombasa a 24-hour port

    The chairman of the Commonwealth Business Forum, industrialist James Mulwana says the port of Mombasa needs to operate 24 hours a day.

    Speaking at the East Africa International Business Forum in Kigali recently, Mulwana said the port was not operating a 24-hour day because of a lack of modern equipment and personnel.

    “Clearance and discharging of goods is slow at the port, yet in East Africa we import 70% and export less. As a result a number of ships are being diverted to other ports, which increases the cost of doing business.”

    In a paper titled ‘Trade Facilitation in East Africa. One Market, One Destination’, Mulwana said the East African Community should put in place policies to facilitate trade and speed up the growth of the region’s economies.

    “If clearing of goods takes weeks, this increases the costs to the manufacturer, the trader and the customer who does not get the product at the required time,” he said.

    Piracy report: Danish ship taken

    An unidentified Danish cargo ship has been seized by Somali pirates near the coast of Somalia.

    Crewed by eight Russian, four Estonian and one Georgian seafarers, the Bahamas-flagged dry-cargo vessel was seized despite the presence in Somali waters of a number of warships on anti-piracy patrol in the area, including the recently arrived Russian frigate NEUSTRASHIMY.

    The attack on the Danish ship, which was en route from the Middle East to Asia, took place in the Gulf of Aden on Friday, 7 November at 12h40 GMT.

    It is not yet known where the captured ship is being taken. So far this year more than 80 ships have come under attack off the Somali coast. Of these 11 ships and more than 200 crew remain in pirate hands awaiting ransoming and according to an American government source over USD100 million has so far been paid out to pirates to secure the release of ships and their crews in 2008 alone.

    In a recently published report Piracy in Somalia: Threatening Global Trade, Feeding Local Wars a London-based firm of analysts refers to Somalia as the perfect breeding ground for pirates.

    "With little functioning government, long, isolated sandy beaches and a population that is both desperate and used to war, Somalia is a perfect environment for piracy to thrive," writes author Roger Middleton.

    The problem is exacerbated by Somalia not having a maritime force to deal with the problem. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi highlighted this when meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in September, when he said that unchecked piracy could destabilise the region.

    "We very much hope the international community will respond," said Zenawi.

    By the end of 2008 the international navies will have more than 20 ships on station in the area helping to conduct anti-piracy missions. In addition the Arab League is considering forming a military force to deal with the pirates.

    SVITZER MUSSELWICK in Cape Town harbour. Picture by Aad Noorland

    Meanwhile it appears the reason why several Svitzer newly built tugs have recently appeared in Cape Town while on their delivery voyages is that the company has instructed all its vessels to travel via the Cape instead of through the Gulf of Aden.

    In the past fortnight the newbuilds SVITZER GELLISWICK and the SVITZER MUSSELWICK both passed through Cape Town (see our news reports for 4 November and 28 October respectively).

    Pic of the day – LS JACOBA

    Two views of the Gibraltar-registered products tanker LS JACOBA (10,811-gt, built 2006) in Cape Town last week. The vessel is owned by a Belgian company Oiltrans and managed by Dutch shipmanager Lauranne Shipping BV. Pictures 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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