Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 24, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – ER CANBERRA

  • Dorbyl takes control of Globe Engineering in Cape Town merger

  • Transnet Port Terminals introduces Navis SPARCS system across multiple sites

  • Piracy update: more ships escape as UN chief says restoration of law is required

  • Transnet cuts back as downturn bites deep

  • New joint Far East-South Africa-East Coast South America service announced

  • Pic of the day – BERG


    First View – ER CANBERRA

    The container ship ER CANBERRA (35,980-DWT, built 1996) was a recent visitor to Cape Town. The ship is currently en route to Singapore. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    Dorbyl takes control of Globe Engineering in Cape Town merger

    The Competition Tribunal has approved the merger between DCD Dorbyl Marine and Globe Engineering, two Cape Town-based ship repair engineering companies. The approval is however subject to a number of conditions.

    Dorbyl thus acquires full ownership of Globe through a share transaction and the joint companies are expected to move ahead with the proposed development of A berth in Cape Town harbour as a specialist repair quay for oil and gas ships and rigs.

    The two companies had earlier entered into a lease agreement with Transnet National Ports Authority and Germany’s MAN Ferrostaal to lease the facility for a minimum period of ten years. The facility is to be developed by means of an industrial offset investment involving the German submarine consortium that won the contract to build three submarines for the South African Navy, which will spend an estimated R60 million on developing the berth for oil rig and tanker repairs. The berth will be sublet back to Dorbyl/Globe.

    However, the Competition Tribunal has stipulated that certain concerns of competitors must be taken account of, including access to the facility for other ship repair companies. Following a letter sent by Dorbyl to customers, it has been claimed that it was clear that the merger meant A berth would become a sole operator facility, with anyone wanting to use the facility being forced to work through Dorbyl.

    Also at issue was the question of the number of retrenchments by Globe following the merger with Dorbyl which according to the Competitions Tribunal has also to be addressed, with any retrenchments being confined to white collar workers only within the next 12 months.

    Transnet Port Terminals introduces Navis SPARCS system across multiple sites

    Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) and Zebra Enterprise Solutions (ZBRA) have become the first port operator to manage the Navis SPARCS N4 terminal operating system from one location across multiple sites. Ultimately TPT will have the system operating across 21 port and rail terminals – it has currently gone live at three marine terminals at Durban’s Pier 1 Container Terminal, Port Elizabeth Container Terminal and the East London Multi Purpose Terminal.

    The central system is located in TPT’s Durban head office and will be implemented across seven TPT and 14 rail terminals by next year to offer a single point-of-entry to customers irrespective of where they do business from within South Africa.

    “Ultimately this will result in a single invoice to the customer for services performed by multiple operating divisions within Transnet,” said Mark Wootton, Executive Manager of ICT Capital Projects and Technology at Transnet Port Terminals. “For the customer, the cost of doing business should decrease and the competitiveness of South Africa increase through a more effective, integrated supply chain.”

    The web-based SPARCS N4 operating system governs the movement of all container logistics and operations from gate to yard to vessel and offers users improved customer support, lower operating costs and increased stacking yard capacity. It enables greater control over resources for operations to quickly and intelligently respond to changes or disruptions in the flow of cargo.

    “Our progress has been watched with keen interest by global terminal operators like Dubai Port World,” Wootton said. “This latest version of Navis is currently used by just over 10 ports worldwide including those in New Zealand and Australia. Although Navis offers this multi-site, single-server functionality, South Africa is the first to take advantage of it to run more than one site off a single system successfully. This is something we can be very proud of.”

    He said that customers should start to enjoy the benefits of migration to Navis, including centralised visibility of information between TPT as the operator and its customers, as well as enhanced communication with TPT via web-based electronic data interchange. The system supports paperless operations and reduces costly errors through its real-time tracking of terminal operations from vessel to yard.

    Wootton said the system would in the future also allow better integration between the port operations of TPT and the rail operations of sister company, Transnet Freight Rail. The integration will be in line with Transnet’s focus on corridors or routes of port-rail integration to improve the service offered to customers.

    “Navis also allows inter-terminal integration and synchronised planning, so if a vessel is scheduled to call at several terminals across the country every link in the chain can track its progress and plan efficiently,” he added.

    Piracy update: more ships escape as UN chief says restoration of law is required

    Japanese Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) has reported that the Ro-Ro car carrier JASMINE ACE (13,038-gt, built 1995) came under attack from Somali pirates on Sunday, 22 March. The ship was approximately 480 miles east of the nearest Somali coast at 16h10 local time when two high-speed motor boats approached and opened fire using automatic weapons and grenade launchers. The ship took evasive action and began zig-zagging while increasing speed and after a chase lasting 40 minutes the pirates gave up and left the scene. The ship was en route to Mombasa with a cargo of 377 used cars, and sustained some damage to the ship’s hull and wheelhouse but none of the 18 Filipino crew on board were injured.

    In another incident, the Indian ship ASV RAFIQUEL, thought to be a motorized dhow, was seized by pirates off the Somali coast on Saturday but was released some eight hours later. The Indian crew on board the dhow were apparently roughed up and had their cell phones stolen along with petrol and diesel. The vessel was en route from Dubai to Mogadishu at the time with a cargo of refined oil, wheat and general cargo.

    The Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon says in a UN report just issued that despite the launching of one of the largest anti-piracy flotillas in modern history, the clan-organised seizure of ships off the Somali coast will only cease when order is restored to the country.

    Secretary-General Ki-Ban-moon’s report can be seen in full HERE

    “There is a critical need to tackle the problem of piracy with a multifaceted approach" to ensure that the political process, the peacekeeping efforts of the African Union (AU) and the strengthening of institutions work in tandem, Mr Ban writes to the Security Council.

    The S-G encouraged Member States to place increased emphasis on ending lawlessness in war-torn Somalia through support to the Djibouti peace process and the AU Mission in the country, known as AMISOM.

    He also expressed concern over the safety of vessels carrying food and other aid to the Somali population, which has come under threat from pirates in recent years.

    The report emphasises how the most prominent pirate fleets are based in the fishing communities of north-eastern and central Somalia and are organised in a way that reflects clan-based social structures. It describes the "Eyl Group" based in Puntland, which at the end of 2008 was holding six vessels hostage with their crews and was estimated to have earned million in ransom up to that point.

    “It is widely acknowledged that some of these groups now rival established Somali authorities in terms of their military capabilities and resource bases,” says Mr Ban.

    Transnet cuts back as downturn bites deep

    In spite of assurances given only weeks ago that Transnet intends going ahead with its R80 billion investment programme SEE REPORT HERE, the company appears to have had a change of heart and is postponing several projects.

    According to Transnet Capital Projects, Transnet now has to limit its capital spending and spread the expenditure carefully across all the various projects. As a result some of the projects have become the subject of a review, which has become necessary because the pressure on existing facilities is no longer there.

    A spokesman said some of the projects would be postponed by between eight months and a year and others could be delayed by as long as five years but would remain on the list.

    The major projects underway or planned include the harbour widening at Durban, extensions to the Cape Town Container Terminal, and the development of the Container Terminal at the new port of Ngqura, which is scheduled to open this October. Other projects that may be delayed include the sand bypass at the Durban harbour entrance, upgrading of Maydon Wharf, the Durban car terminal, Island View tanker terminal and the widening of Durban’s Bayhead Road.

    The cut-backs and reassessments come at a time when cargo volumes at South African ports are decreasing dramatically although the drop in February was not as severe as the month before. Shipping lines however have also begun rationalising their services with several cutbacks already announced and an increasing number of ships placed on laybye, including some lying in South African anchorages.

    New joint Far East-South Africa-East Coast South America service announced

    Four shipping lines have entered into an agreement to operate a joint container service between the Far East and the East Coast of South America, which includes a call at Cape Town in South Africa on the eastbound leg.

    The service is to be operated by NYK, K-Line, PIL (Pacific International Lines) and HMM (Hyundai Merchant Marine) as from mid June 2009.

    Ten ships are being deployed on a 70-day rotation, each of around 4,250-TEU, which will enable a weekly service to be maintained at the following ports: Shanghai, Ningbo, Hong Kong, Shekou, Singapore, Santos, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Navegantes, Paranagua, Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

    The Cape Town call will be made only by K-Line and PIL.

    NYK, K-Line and PIL will each contribute three ships and HMM one vessel.

    Pic of the day – BERG

    The recently built Unicorn tanker BERG (11,271-gt, built 2008) has become a regular sight in South African ports as she plies her trade delivering oil and chemical products along the coast. Here the ship is in Cape Town. Picture 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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