Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 2, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – HANSA REGENSURG

  • Maersk extends its Far East - West Africa service

  • Enough, say TransNamib workers

  • Angola looks to Germany for naval ships

  • Trade news: Anchor Industries tied up mooring line deal with Scarebeo 7

  • Hapag Lloyd sale back in doubt

  • Pics of the day – RIO NEGRO



    The container ship HANSA REGENSBURG (18,327-gt, built 2008) heads off from a berth at Maydon Wharf en route to the Durban Container Terminal. The ship was described as being a an apparent great hurry when this picture was taken last week - ”really moving fast”. Picture by L Rip Riphagen

    Maersk extends its Far East - West Africa service

    Maersk Line has announced an extension to its Far East – West Africa FEW1 service which now includes calls at Shanghai and Ningbo in China.

    The Danish company says that by offering direct calls to the West African ports of Lome in Togo, Cotonou in Benin and Pointe Noire in the Congo, it is able to ensure a more reliable and competitive product combined with one of the fastest transit times in the market from China to West Africa.

    The new revised service also provides improved transit times from Nansha in China, Hong Kong and Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia into Lome and Cotonou.

    Service reliability will be ensured by adding a vessel to FEW1 while the new rotation will be Shanghai (China), Ningbo (China), Nansha (China), Hong Kong (Hong Kong), Tanjung Pelepas (Malaysia), Lome (Togo), Cotonou (Benin) and Pointe Noire (Congo). The first call in Shanghai will be with the MAERSK NORWICH (voyage 0901), which will arrive on 11 March 2009.

    Maersk has a service history dating back 47 years with West Africa.

    Enough, say TransNamib workers

    TransNamib employees say they are fed up with what is taking place at Namibia’s rail and port parastatal, particularly regarding salary scales, alleged corruption, and threats made against them by certain members of management.

    A meeting was held recently with the Minister of Works and Transport, Helmut Angula to raise concerns about TransNamib Holdings in Walvis Bay but questions are also being asked why much of the work at the company is being outsourced to private companies following the closing down of railway depots in Otjiwarongo and Gobabis. In addition they maintain marketing activities have also been outsourced.

    The unrest at TransNamib has been simmering ever since the suspension of chief executive officer Titus Haimbili, who was effectively removed from office in November last year following an investigation by Ernst & Young. A total of six charges of mismanagement and misconduct were brought against the CEO who was asked to vacate his office. Employees state they are not happy about how the company has been managed since Haimbili’s suspension and have suggested he was removed because he paid too much attention to their complaints.

    They also claim that Haimbili was removed from office because he was acting against those involved in corruption and that he challenged managers to provide meaningful reports of their operations and activities.

    In addition rail workers say that salary scales are kept too low, with locomotive drivers maintaining they are paid below the market rate. They have threatened to go on strike if wage increases are not announced by 16 March 2009.

    Angola looks to Germany for naval ships

    Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who visited Germany last week, was expected to have signed contracts for up to four naval warships for the oil rich African country.

    A Luanda news report suggested the president would confirm orders for three patrol boats but other independent reports say that Angola will also be ordering a corvette of the Meko type A200 class. The three patrol boats would be coastguard type vessels suitable for inshore patrolling along Angola’s long coastline, either Guardian or Sentinel OPVs.

    An amount of €750 million has been mentioned for the three patrol boats.

    The Guardian, which is designed and built by TKMS is a 1,850-tonne patrol vessel with a length of 80m and built to commercial standards and capable of carrying light armament, nominally a main gun up to 40mm but has a flight deck for a 12-tonne helicopter, and is designed specifically for police and civilian patrol purposes. The ship has a crew of 30 with accommodation for another 60, and a top speed in the range of 20 – 25 knots. Interestingly the ship has a cargo hold capable of taking 12 20ft containers.

    The Sentinel is basically a Meko A100 type corvette of 2,000 tonnes adapted for naval and policing missions. The ship would carry a crew of about 36 with additional accommodation for another 38 and up to 120 troops that can be housed in additional containerised accommodation. The Sentinel also has a flight deck for a 12-tonne helicopter and has a top speed in the 25 knot range and a range of 4,000 miles at cruising speed (12knots).

    The firm of Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems (TKMS) is currently under the spotlight of an anti-corruption investigation in Germany being undertaken by German police which is investigating a tender between the company and Angola. South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper referred to the investigation as “A whiff of rot in Angolan arms deal”.

    TKMS is also involved in the supply of four Meko A200 frigates to the South African Navy, a deal in which suspicions and reports of corruption refuse to go away.

    The M&G reported that Rear Admiral J Kamerman, the project director of the South African Navy corvette acquisition programme (actually the supply of frigates, which were disguised as corvettes), and who is now employed by TKMS, played a key role in marketing the German ships to Angola. According to German sources Kamerman, who the police say is not a suspect in the investigation, had his premises searched in raids carried out by the German police and his laptop seized.

    German newspapers quote the price tag for the Angolan corvette as €290m with another €290m for the three patrol vessels, with the balance being for logistics and simulators and other associated equipment.

    Trade news: Anchor Industries tied up mooring line deal with Scarebeo 7

    Anchor Industries recently completed the manufacture of six 96mm and eight 120mm Euroflex Mooring lines for the Scarabeo7 vessel, a semi submersible drilling rig, which was moored at A Berth in the Cape Town harbour.

    Manufactured in various lengths to keep the vessel alongside when in port, 14 mooring grommets had to be manufactured for this vessel. It was of great importance that Anchor Industries manufactured these grommets to strict quality standards and control because of their crucial function in a rig’s fixture within the hazards of a confined harbour environment.

    The company stocks mooring ropes, and is able to cut and splice these ropes to match their clients’ exact requirements.

    “Offshore supply projects are cyclical by nature and difficult to predict. For instance, we have seen a significant increase in our October turnover of 80%, compared to the month of the previous year. We have been able to supply all the equipment that was needed for these projects and with the decision to increase our stock holding earlier last year, it has enabled us to be competitive in this high demand period”, says Dale Hutcheson, managing director of Anchor Industries.

    Anchor provides services including testing, repair, re-certification, onsite socketting and splicing, mooring design and spooling of steel wire rope.

    In line with its emphasis on quality and reliability, Anchor Industries has formed partnerships and alliances with major equipment suppliers worldwide. All Anchor Industries equipment is available for rental, sales and testing. source – Cape Business News

    Hapag Lloyd sale back in doubt

    The sale of German container line Hapag Lloyd was placed in doubt once more when the Hamburg-based investors group Albert Ballin proved unable to raise the necessary finance – another victim of the economic downturn.

    According the agreed deal with Hapag Lloyd’s owner, TUI AG, which wants to focus on its main core travel business, the Hamburg investors group had to come up with €4.45 billion in order to take over control of the container shipping line.

    The Hamburg group, which includes the logistics group Kuehne & Nagel International AG as well as several wealthy investors, warded off a determined bid by Neptune Orient Line (NOL) which for a period in 2008 appeared to be the favourite to take over the German company after parent group TUI said it wanted to concentrate on the travel side of its business.

    Hapag Lloyd has had an unhappy time since it took over CP Ships, a move that saw the German company become the fourth largest container carrier after Maersk Line, MSC and CMA CGM. Parent company TUI AG initially operated the container line independent of its other operations but in January 2008 reports began circulating about a merger to bring the twio divisions closer and which would see TUI’s head office move from Hanover to Hamburg, where Hapag Lloyd is based. There were also suggestions that the merger between the tourist and the shipping divisions was intended as a defence strategy aimed at making hostile bids for the shipping line more difficult.

    Nevertheless during the year reports circulated suggesting a possible merger between Hapag Lloyd and Neptune Orient Line, while the name of Maersk Line was also mentioned. Instead of these mergers, TUI AG announced in March 2008 that after a protracted period of investor pressure it intended placing Hapag Lloyd on the market while refocusing itself in the tourist business. TUI’s chief executive Michael Frenzel said that continuing to expand in both business areas would present too much of a strain on resources, “…in particular since we will have to invest significantly in shipping over the next few years in order to keep pace with market growth.” He said that all options for the separation of the shipping company would be explored.

    These options led to the Hamburg-based consortium making its successful bid for the company late last year.


    Journal of Commerce Online reported at the weekend that TUI had salvaged the sale of Hapag Lloyd by agreeing to increase its stake in the container line while also providing loans after the deal closes. TUI would now increase its stake in Hapag Lloyd to 43.33% after the sale to the Hamburg-based group of investors, up 10% from its former agreed figure.

    TUI would also provide Hapag Lloyd with credits of up to €1 billion for a limited period to ensure the shipping lien ahs sufficient liquidity.

    As a result of the new deal TUI will receive €400 million less in cash for the sale than originally agreed. The deal is now expected to be closed in March.

    Pic of the day – RIO NEGRO

    Hamburg Sud’s magnificently liveried container ships, such as the RIO NEGRO (73,899-gt, built 2008) are regular callers in Durban harbour as they ply the Far East – East Coast South America trades for their German owners. Picture by Trevor Jones

    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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