Ports & Ships Maritime News

Dec 15, 2008
Author: P&S

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  • First View – RFA BLACK ROVER

  • Höegh Autoliners and Grindrod enter into partnership over Maputo Car Terminal

  • Call for SA to promote agri exports

  • UN-backed meeting wraps up with call for greater action to fight piracy

  • K Line and PIL to go it together from March

  • Pic of the day – STENA VICTORY


    First View – RFA BLACK ROVER

    The British Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel, BLACK ROVER (A273), enters Simon’s Town Naval Harbour at 09h53 hrs on Thursday 11 December 2008 for a short visit.

    The ship was previously in Simon’s Town for a routine maintenance overhaul earlier this year, between June and September. She has very recently been in the Falkland Islands/South Georgia area. Her current visit is for stores replenishment and crew R&R (Rest and Recreation) before her redeployment as Atlantic Patrol Tanker (South).

    The Black Rover is designed to replenish ships underway at sea with fuel, fresh water, and stores in all weather conditions. She has a helicopter deck served by a stores lift and is capable of conducting helicopter replenishment. Displacing 11,500 tonnes, she is powered by twin diesels and has a ship's company of 56.

    Following some cost-cutting exercises announced in the past week by the UK government which follow a review of the Ministry of Defence equipment spending, it is becoming increasingly likely that plans to decommission Black Rover by 2010 may be delayed by a few years. This may be in spite of IMO regulations calling for the banning of single-hulled tankers.

    The announcement said that the review meant delays in the provision of fleet tankers under the MARS (Military Afloat and Sustainability) project and included the possibility of further delays of up to two years for two new aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy.

    Picture by David Erickson

    Höegh Autoliners and Grindrod enter into partnership over Maputo Car Terminal

    The pure car carrier Höegh Trooper in Durban harbour at the Durban Car Terminal. Höegh Autoliners announced last week they had entered into a partnership with Grindrod to further develop the port of Maputo in Mozambique as a major car terminal facility for the southern African market. Picture Terry Hutson

    Höegh Autoliners announced on Thursday (11 December) that it has entered into an agreement with Grindrod to acquire an interest in Maputo Car Terminal Ltda in Mozambique. The parties intend co-operating on issues such as cargo operations quality, with the objective of developing the terminal as a major hub port for the region.

    Grindrod commenced construction of the terminal in 2007 with a concession from the Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC) to build and develop a car terminal in the port of Maputo. The first phase of the car terminal with a capacity of an annual throughput of 57,000 vehicles was completed in November that year but the terminal has a potential capacity when fully developed of 255,000 vehicles annually.

    Höegh Autoliners recently announced a “test drive'' of the Maputo Car Terminal allowing customers to evaluate the terminal and its logistics.

    “Maputo represents an ideal point of access in southern Africa for import and export of rolling goods,” says Carl-Johan Hagman, CEO of Höegh Autoliners.

    “We see this region as very interesting in the long term and it is strategically important for us to secure access to further car terminal capacity to enable us to offer efficient supply chain solutions to our customers. We can support the development with our operational and technical expertise and are looking forward to working with Grindrod to develop a world class terminal operation.”

    In its statement Höegh Autoliners says it holds a leading position in the transportation of cars and rolling goods in South Africa.

    It claims that growing volumes of vehicles to and from southern Africa in general have put the existing ports and car terminals in South Africa under increasing pressure to handle current and future demand.

    “Höegh Autoliners’ core strategy is to be a port to port service provider, but when strategically important the company engages in other parts of the Ro/Ro supply chain.”

    Total vehicle imports to South Africa in 2007 were approximately 360,000 CEU (car equivalent units) while total vehicle exports from South Africa are estimated to be 290,000 CEU in 2008. Höegh Autoliners says its market share of the imports is 33% while the market share of exports is 9%.

    Höegh Autoliners says the volumes to and from this area are expected to grow significantly in the future as South Africa is ranked as one of the markets with the most potential in terms of sales growth and the local automotive vehicle production is expected to grow towards 1 million vehicles per annum in the next 3-4 years, with approximately 50% expected to be for exports.

    Höegh Autoliners

    Höegh Autoliners is a leading global provider of Ro/Ro vehicle transportation services. The company operates approximately 70 Pure Car and Truck Carriers (PCTCs) in global trade systems while vessels already ordered by the company will grow Höegh Autoliners’ carrying capacity to 85 ships in 2012. Main customers are major manufacturers of new cars, heavy machinery and rolling stock as well as second hand vehicles. In 2007 Höegh Autoliners carried about 2 million CEU annually, making 3,000 port calls.

    Based in Oslo, Höegh Autoliners has a global network of 30 subsidiaries and representative offices in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa. Company turnover is about US$ 1.3bn (2007) and it has approximately 600 employees ashore and 1,500 seafarers. Höegh Autoliners is privately owned with Leif Höegh & Co as majority shareholder with 62.5% and AP Møller–Maersk with 37.5%.

    Call for SA to promote agri exports

    South Africa’s agricultural processing sector needs to be viewed as one of the more important to develop because it is such a large employer and is one in which rural areas can benefit, says an East London IDZ researcher.

    Writing in the Daily Dispatch, researcher Chris Ettmayr points out that South Africa does well in certain products and it can boast being the fifth lowest- cost producer of sugar cane in the world, and eighth largest producer of wine globally.

    “Agri-processing also contributes 17.7% (or R50.2 billion) to total manufacturing sales, making this the third largest manufacturing sector in the country, and it employs 2.6% of South Africa’s economically active population.

    “The employment creation on investment is also good in this sector because for every R1million invested, 13 jobs are created, demonstrating strong labour intensive properties.”

    He adds that with such good features in this sector it is “hard to believe that South Africa is now witnessing a negative trade balance. The amount of imports have overtaken exports for the first time in years and this is cause for concern. Our exported products are not growing as quickly as the growth in imports, and this exacerbates the effect.

    “With all the land that lies under-utilised, surely there is something that could be done? After all, we have some of the most suitable and fertile land for certain crops. A good starting point would be to encourage the participation of rural areas in a shared form of crop production.

    Ettmayr points out that this has been tried in the past and failed due to the limited access to markets. Programme design into this form of production will not only have to consider the growing of crops, but also the production costs, transport to market, and sale and quality issues that will ensure that imports of the same product are no longer required.

    “A concerted effort into the development of this sector will not only see South Africa move away from the need for imports, but it will also assist in reducing our trade balance deficit, increasing employment and bridging the gap between the first and second economies.” - source Daily Dispatch

    UN-backed meeting wraps up with call for greater action to fight piracy

    New York – A United Nations-backed meeting concluded on Thursday (11 December) with participants calling for greater cooperation to combat the rampant piracy off the coast of Somalia, emphasising that a durable solution to the problem requires peace and stability in the war-ravaged Horn of Africa nation.

    A communiqué issued at the end of the two-day gathering in Nairobi, Kenya, stressed “the importance of enhancing coordination and cooperation in the fight against piracy,” welcoming recent steps taken by nations and organisations to fight the scourge.

    The European Union (EU) last week launched Operation Atalanta, an anti-piracy task force seeking to protect merchant ships from pirate attacks off the Somali coast, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been escorting UN World Food Programme (WFP) vessels carrying life-saving aid for the Somali people.

    The participants at the Nairobi event also underscored that resolving the piracy issue necessitates having a functioning government in Somalia.

    “Somali leaders who impede the stabilisation of their country creating conditions to breed and escalate piracy will be individually and collectively” placed under sanctions by the African Union (AU) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), also in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.

    The previous week, the Security Council called on all countries and regional organisations with the necessary capacity to deploy naval ships and military aircraft off the Somali coast to fight piracy which is impeding UN efforts to feed millions of hungry civilians in the strife-torn country.

    In a unanimously adopted resolution, the Council asked Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to report within three months on ways to ensure long-term security off the coast of Somalia, notably for WFP deliveries, and on a possible coordination and leadership role for the UN in rallying Member States and regional organisations for such a goal.

    Acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, authorising the use of force, the 15-member body called for the “seizure and disposition of boats, vessels, arms and other related equipment” used or suspected of being used for piracy, which has recently reached a peak off the coast of the Horn of Africa country with the hijacking of a Ukrainian arms ship and a Saudi oil tanker.

    Meanwhile, the 15-member UN Security Council is due to meet this week to discuss a resolution calling for member states to have the right to pursue pirates into Somali territory. This is an extension of a previous resolution that expires this month and follows a speech given by the IMP Secretary-General, Efthimios Mitropoulos in which he told the Security Council that piracy was a matter of grave concern. He called for a series of actions by the Security Council and on member states to “take part actively in the fight against piracy and armed robbery against ships (including 'mother ships') off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden."

    Mitropoulos said that with over 12% of the total volume of oil transported by sea using the Gulf of Aden, widespread diversions around the Cape of Good Hope would bring about a series of negative repercussions.

    "Such diversions would almost double the length of a typical voyage from the Gulf to Europe thereby increasing fuel consumption, emissions and transport costs, which would have to be passed on eventually to consumers everywhere," he said.

    In a related issue the commander of the US Navy’s 5th Fleet based in the area expressed concern about the wisdom of launching attacks against Somali pirates on land, which is a proposal being circulated to the UN Security Council by the US.

    Vice Adm Bill Gortney said that striking pirate camps would create problems because of the difficulty in identifying them along with the potential of killing innocent civilians, which he said “cannot be overestimated.”

    The answer lay in helping to improve the security, stability and government in Somalia and to clear up legal hurdles standing in the way of prosecuting pirates that have been captured.

    He pointed out that since August coalition ships operating in the area have disrupted pirate attacks 50 times, throwing guns overboard and sinking small skiffs, but in many cases had to release the suspected pirated who were captured because of the legal hurdles.

    It was also not possible to institute a naval blockade along the coast, he said, because of the shortage of naval ships available. In any case it would be an act of war to do so but the size of the coastline meant that the number of ships required to be effective made it very difficult. Despite having between 12 and 14 ships patrolling the area it would require in the order of 62 to reasonably protect the coastline, he said.

    K Line and PIL to go it together from March

    Chang Jiang Bridge (48,237-gt, built 1992), one of K Line’s container ships currently deployed between Asia and South Africa. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    The combined service by Japan’s K Line (Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha) and Singapore’s PIL (Pacific International Lines) between Asia and South Africa is set to start in March 2009, the two companies have announced.

    The lines currently operate a service between Asia and South Africa jointly with Malaysian company MISC Berhad, which will be dissolved at the same time.

    Seven vessels to be deployed on the combined K Line/PIL service will be in the 3,300 – 3,800 TEU range, with five to be provided by K Line and two by PIL.

    The port rotation will be: Shanghai - Ningbo - Kaohsiung - Shekou - Hong Kong - Singapore - Port Kelang - Durban – Cape Town - Port Kelang - Singapore - Hong Kong – Shanghai.

    Pic of the day – STENA VICTORY

    The ULCC STENA VICTORY paid a bunker visit to Cape Town yesterday (Sunday 14 December 2008) and despite a day of rain and overcast the sun made a brief appearance in the late afternoon to permit these pictures of the giant oil tanker. Stena Victory (163,761-gt, 312,679-dwt, built 2001) has a length of 335m – note her twin rudders. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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