Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 10, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – PRITA DEWI

  • Maersk may increase number of ships rounding the Cape

  • MOL announces series of rate increases

  • Bunker surcharge increase for Maersk Line on its Far East-South Africa service

  • ‘Israeli’ ship evades union boycott

  • DP World’s new Djibouti terminal opens


    First View – PRITA DEWI

    The Singapore-flagged products tanker PRITA DEWI (12,105-gt, built 2006) was in Cape Town harbour in January. Picture by Trevor Jones

    Maersk may increase number of ships rounding the Cape

    Maersk may be considering re-routing another five Europe-Asia services via the Cape of Good Hope, following the Danish company’s decision to sail eastbound ships on its important AE7 loop away from the Suez and Gulf of Aden.

    From all accounts Maersk regards the Cape route as a success, with slower steaming and the avoidance of canal fees and Gulf of Aden insurance premiums helping to bring about considerable savings. This assumption comes despite the first vessel to be re-routed, the 11,000-TEU ELLY MAERSK having only just rounded the Cape.

    It is reported that AP Moller-Maersk chief executive Nils Andersen and Maersk Line’s CEO Eivind Kolding recently met with the Suez Canal Authority officials to discuss the matter, which would no doubt have included the fees charged per ship to transit the canal.

    MOL announces series of rate increases

    Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) has announced a series of westbound rate increases on its Asia-Europe services amounting to US $ 300 per TEU as from 1 April, followed by a further $ 300 per TEU on 1 June and a similar increase on 1 August.

    Eastbound services from Europe to Asia will rise $ 400 per TEU, by way of a $ 200 per TEU increase on 1 April and a second $ 200 per TEU rise on 1 September.

    Referring to the increases as a ‘general rate restoration programme’, MOL said in a statement released yesterday, “While increased freight rates are never very popular, the current downward trend is completely unsustainable and MOL is confident customers will recognise the need to maintain stability and viability in their supply chain operations over the long term.”

    The Japanese company has previously made significant capacity reductions on its global liner services, including the Asia-Europe routes, which it says is an effort towards reducing imbalances between supply and demand.

    Bunker surcharge increase for Maersk Line on its Far East-South Africa service

    A bunker surcharge increase on the Far East – South Africa service has been announced by Maersk Line as from 1 March. As from that date the line will introduce revised bunker surcharges of $ 295 per TEU and $ 590 per FEU for services between the Far East and South East Asia and South Africa and the Indian Ocean islands. The previous surcharge was $ 265 and $ 530 respectively.

    Other bunker surcharges involve Maersk Line’s services between the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, the Red Sea and Europe, also applying as from 1 March.

    The increases are a result of ‘unsustainable rates and improved demand’, the company said in a trade advisory statement.

    “During the fourth quarter 2008, the industry experienced declining freight rates in the Europe-to-Asia trade which have continued into 2009." The advisory noted that demand was increasing as a result of recent strengths of sterling and the euro.

    “As a result of increasing costs associated with the growing demand and to ensure sustainable freight rates, Maersk Line will enact a commodity rate increases for export cargo from Europe to Asia. The increase is also necessary to ensure that we can continue to support the trade and provide our customers with the service reliability and customer service they are accustomed to when shipping with Maersk Line,” the company said. – source Schednet

    ‘Israeli’ ship evades union boycott

    Despite claims of a successful boycott by trade unions, the container ship JOHANNA RUSS entered the port of Durban on Friday (6 February) and completed cargo working before sailing later the same day.

    The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) said in various statements issued to the press ahead of the ship’s arrival that the union would ensure the container vessel, which it claimed is Israeli owned, would not be allowed to discharge or work cargo. The action was being taken in solidarity with the people of Gaza, the union said.

    “In a historic development for South Africa, South African dock workers have announced their determination not to offload a ship from Israel that is scheduled to dock in Durban on Sunday, 8 February 2009. This follows the decision by COSATU to strengthen the campaign in South Africa for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Apartheid Israel.

    “The pledge by SATAWU members in Durban reflects the commitment by South African workers to refuse to support oppression and exploitation across the globe. Last year, Durban dock workers had refused to offload a shipment of arms that had arrived from China and was destined for Zimbabwe to prop up the Mugabe regime and to intensify the repression against the Zimbabwean people. Now the union’s members are committing themselves to not handling Israeli goods.”

    “If it’s an Israeli product, we’re going to boycott it, plain and simple,” said SATAWU’s General Secretary Randall Howard.

    Local union representatives said later, after learning that the ship had entered port and worked cargo, that they were disappointed at what they called secrecy over the ships early arrival. Records held by PORTS & SHIPS however reveal that the ship’s arrival on Friday was as per schedule.

    DP World’s new Djibouti terminal opens

    The new DP World Doraleh Container Terminal at the port of Djibouti has been officially opened.

    Capable of handling up to 1.2 million TEU annually the terminal is said to be the most modern and largest in the East African region. Together with its 18-metre draught and quay of 1,050 metres it can now handle the world’s largest container ships.

    According to DP World the terminal capacity will be increased to three million TEU once trade requires it.

    “We have invested both financial and human resources in Djibouti over the past nine years as part of our long term commitment to our partnership here. That investment in efficient infrastructure has helped stimulate the economy and supported trade, which in turn has benefited our business," said DP World chairman Ahmed bin Sulayem.

    Apart from being strategically placed for hub port purposes in the Red Sea near the Gulf of Aden, Djibouti also acts as the main port of entry for landlocked Ethiopia. The port is operated by DPW on a 20-year concession.

    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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