Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 3, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • SAECS beefs up service with Reefer Express

  • Rate increase for India - East Africa service

  • Russia and India begin joint naval exercises

  • SA should be optimistic about weathering economic crisis

  • EC says shipping is set to rise despite downturn

  • Pics of the day – PYOTR VELIKY and SAFMARINE CUNENE



    The 4,000-TEU container ship SAFMARINE NOMAZWE, which entered service with Safmarine on the core South Africa Europe Container Service (SAECS) in December 2004. The ship was a replacement for one of the original ’Big Whites’ that served both Safmarine and SAECS for nearly 30 years. Picture courtesy Safmarine

    SAECS beefs up service with Reefer Express

    Cape Town, 2 February – SAECS (South Africa Europe Container Service) which operates a weekly liner service between South Africa and northern Europe, is about to introduce a new service operated by three vessels and specifically focused on accommodating the seasonal demands of reefer cargo. The new service is to be introduced during February 2009 but will operate only until approximately the first week of September.

    The existing service profile of the SAECS Intermediate service, which currently operates as a fortnightly, for vessel service, is to remain unchanged.

    By combining the new service and the existing Intermediate service SAECS will be providing a weekly, seven-vessel service for the peak reefer season period, which is presently anticipated to run from 13 April until the end of the reefer season in week 36 (1st week September).

    The three ships to be deployed on this new service will be phased in over a six week period, starting mid-February 2009.

    Rate increase for India - East Africa service

    French container carrier CMA CGM has announced a general rate increase for cargo moving on its ships from India to East Africa.

    The increase of US $ 300 per TEU will apply as from the sailing of the CC SERENGETI when that ship calls at the port of Jawaharlal Nehru on 16 February.

    According to CMA CGM the rate increase is necessary to offset a substantial increase in operational costs and to be able to provide reliable services to customers.

    It follows similar increases introduced by Mediterranean Shipping Company and Emirates Shipping Line who both announced similar increases effective from 17 February.

    Russia and India begin joint naval exercises

    Join naval exercises involving ships of the Indian and Russian Navies have been held along the Indian coast of the Arabian Sea.

    The exercise, codenamed INDRA is a biennial exercise between the two navies and focuses on countering piracy, terrorism, drug smuggling and enforcing maritime law. The first INDRA naval exercise was held in 2003.

    A total of six Russian warships participated in this year’s exercise. One of the more interesting aspects was the involvement of Russia’s nuclear-powered battle cruiser, PYOTR VELIKY, which recently visited Venezuela and South Africa en route to the Indian Ocean. The cruiser is from the Russian Northern Fleet while the remaining Russian ships come from its eastern Pacific fleet based in Vladivostok.

    Indian navy ships that took part included the guided missile destroyer INS DELHI.

    The ships visited Marmugao in Goa at the end of January, when the exercise was due to end. At the conclusion the Russian cruiser is expected to join other Russian vessels on anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden.

    Other Russian ships entering the Indian Ocean at this time were expected to include the YAMAL and AZOV which both sailed from the Black Sea port of Sevastopol on 16 January 2009. The two landing ships were last reported to be heading for the Gulf of Aden to take part in anti-piracy patrols.

    SA should be optimistic about weathering economic crisis

    Davos - While the International Monetary Fund has projected the worst economic prospects for 60 years and the International Labour Organisation projects 50 million job losses globally, South Africa will remain relatively unscathed by the global economic crisis.

    “We are optimistic about our ability to ride out the tough period ahead. It will not be easy - let's not be naive, however, as South Africans, we have come through more difficult times,” said South Africa’s President Kgalema Motlanthe.

    He was addressing a dinner at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday (29 January), where world leaders have gathered against the backdrop of a financial crisis and gloomy economic outlook.

    He described the scale of the financial crisis is unprecedented and said it came as a result of greed, self interest and recklessness. “It cannot and should not be tolerated for reasons we now very well understand.”

    South Africa's banking system has escaped the global economic crisis, but the global operating environment has been devastated leaving little capital available for investment.

    The narrowing of the demand for South Africa's imports in the United States, European Union and Japan is expected to have a direct impact on the country's manufacturers and the labour force. Around 60 percent of the country's exports were headed for these regions.

    Further to this, the decline in commodity demand and prices also has a negative impact on those sectors in South Africa.

    However, President Motlanthe said in 1994 South Africa's economy was in a decline, with high debt and high unemployment. It was also an isolated state with few trading partners in the world.

    The largest contribution to Gross Domestic Product came from the extraction industries with little or no manufacturing footprint to speak of.

    “Today, South Africa is an integrated and responsible member of the global community. South Africa enjoys preferential market access into traditional markets like the EU and US, but also into emerging new poles of demand like India and China.

    “We transformed the economy through fundamental macroeconomic reforms and created the enabling environment for the majority of South Africans to participate in the mainstream economy.”

    Mr Motlanthe said government had been able to reverse the country's debt to zero and now over 70 percent of the GDP was derived from manufacturing and services. “Direct mining now contributes around 6 percent to GDP. We have created three million new jobs since 2004.”

    The President conceded that government still had a long way to go in terms of employment.

    He attributed the country's success to sound fiscal management, consistent and coherent policy formulation and implementation. However, he said the lessons from the current crisis must be absorbed.

    It is critical for the world community to get together and agree on new and higher standards of global governance, particularly in the financial arena and there needs to be more transparency and accountability, said the President, adding that there was a need to ensure that all nations are involved in the process as the time has passed where a few nations can dictate to the many.

    “South Africa is in a difficult but very different position to other emerging economies. We envisage a strong public sector investment in infrastructure projects valued around $ 69 billion in transport, construction, roads, ports, energy and ICT over three years to be a major stimulus to growth and development.

    “This will be funded from the state and does not depend on borrowing. The large investment into the 2010 FIFA World Cup for stadia and related infrastructure is also on track and not dependent on borrowing.

    “We have also encouraged our Development Finance Institutions to use their very healthy balance sheets to invest in projects where traditional credit is no longer available. We are working with the manufacturing sector to develop programs to assist them on a sustainable basis.

    “We recently introduced a support program for the ailing automotive sector. Though growth figures have to be revised, we are confident that we could realise 4 percent growth if we implement our programs of actions properly.”

    Mr Motlanthe said South Africa remained a global leader in the resources sector and its industrial policy would seek to enhance beneficiation. Special emphasis is being placed on labour intensive sectors and in diversifying competition. We are prioritising those sectors that will maximise the multiplier effect on downstream industries.

    “Now is a very good time to position and prepare for the upswing. The African continent has been the least affected by the global financial crisis,” he said, adding that after the global recovery, there would be a new order.

    “We hope that this development is embraced constructively by the developed world...the new global economic order must see Africa at the centre and not on the periphery. As the richest continent on the planet in terms of resources, it is an economic and social imperative that Africa be an integral player in turning the global fortunes around,” said President Motlanthe. - BuaNews

    EC says shipping is set to rise despite downturn

    According to a European Commission study, world shipping will continue to multiply until at least the year 2018, despite current gloomy predictions and forecasts.

    In its maritime transport study just released, the EC predicts that the world fleet will increase from 77,500 ships in 2008 to 100,000 by 2018, which is an increase of 29%. As far as shipping’s capacity in terms of deadweight is concerned, the total fleet will have reached 2.1 billion dwt compared with 1.15bn dwt at present.

    The EC sees this as normal growth meeting future cargo requirements. However it points out that such growth also means that ports, harbours, rail and road infrastructure must also gear up for these increased volumes, along with other related services..

    Pics of the day – PYOTR VELIKY and SAFMARINE CUNENE

    The Russian nuclear-powered battle cruiser PYOTR VELIKY (Peter the Great) backs away from the Cape Town pier where she had berthed a few days earlier, following a visit to Cape Town in January. The impressive looking ship of 25,000 tons is now in the northwestern Indian Ocean having taken part in INDRA – joint naval exercises with ships of the Indian Navy. See report above. Picture Trevor Jones

    SAFMARINE CUNENE (27,322-gt, built 2002) sails from Durban in this 2003 picture. Picture Terry Hutson

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