Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 26, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • Safmarine names new ship SAFMARINE BENGUELA

  • Govt halts Transnet succession in its tracks

  • Nigeria’s FG gets tough over cancelled shipping charges

  • Train and retain staff now, says ICS

  • Piracy update : another shipping group heads off for the Cape

  • DP World increases profits by 48 percent

  • Pic of the day – BOW PIONEER


    Safmarine names new ship SAFMARINE BENGUELA

    The Safmarine Benguela, the second of two new 3,100-TEU containerships to be delivered to Safmarine in 2009, was named in Korea yesterday (Tuesday).  

    The vessel was named by its Godmother, Ms Elke Conrad, wife of Jörg Conrad, Owner and President of the Bremen-based freight forwarding company, Anker Leschaco Group.  
    The name of the new container vessel – which will be deployed on the Europe-South America service - was inspired by the Benguela current, which flows along Southern Africa's West Coast.

    Safmarine seastaff present at the naming included Captain Andrew Walker, Master; Chief Engineer, Stanley Broers; Chief Officer Debra Pienaar; Second Engineer Dmitry Pivovarov and Electrical Engineer Andries Lugar.

    Govt halts Transnet succession in its tracks

    Transnet said this week that following the direction of its shareholder – the South African government – it has had to delay any announcement of a successor to Mario Ramos as chief executive of Transnet.

    “It is important to place on record that this process has taken longer to finalise than we anticipated,” the company said in a statement.

    According to Transnet it went through a rigorous process to ensure that Transnet would be led by the best candidate available.

    “We widened the internal succession pool by including external candidates who were identified by an independent executive search agency in accordance with criteria set by the (Transnet) Board. At the commencement of the process, the Minister of Public Enterprises, Ms Bridgette Mabandla, MP, was consulted in her capacity as the representative of Transnet’s only shareholder.

    “As part of making a credible choice for the position of the group chief executive of this important institution, we formed a Selection Committee by expanding the Corporate Governance and Nominations Committee to include the chairman of the Board’s Remuneration Committee. All these committees are made up of non-executive members of the Board.

    “The rigorous selection process identified only one unanimous candidate for appointment on time before the departure of the former chief executive. The candidate, who had participated in the selection process, withdrew his candidature after his name was recommended to the Minister by the Board.”

    It is widely believed that the candidate selected, who subsequently advised his unavailability was Mr Pravin Gordhan, the highly respected South African Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner.

    It is thought that the candidate most favoured by political circles within government is Siyabonga Gama, CEO of Transnet Freight Rail and a former CEO of the National Ports Authority. There is some speculation that government intends waiting until after the election and the appointment of new ministers to announce who will head up Transnet.

    According to Transnet the Board had intended initiating a review process, on a fast-tracked basis, to identity a new candidate to be recommended to the Minister as Transnet’s new chief executive, but the Minister has since requested an opportunity to engage with the selection process further before the next steps are undertaken.

    Nigeria’s FG gets tough over cancelled shipping charges

    Nigeria’s Federal Government this week issued a stern warning to shipping companies and port terminal operators to adhere to a government directive cancelling a range of shipping charges.

    According to the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Capt Adamu Biu, the council has received information concerning some shipping companies that are flouting the directives issued by the Minister of Transport by continuing to levy certain charges on consignees.

    Earlier the Federal Government had ordered the cancellation of charges raised on sorting, the ISPS Charge, Port Administration charge, Tally Clerks charge, Turnover charge, Bank charge and Service charge.

    Biu said the Minister has indicated that any review of the charges or rates formerly levied must be negotiated with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and approved by the Minister before they come into effect.

    He said the Council was reporting any violations and that the Federal Government has indicated it will not hesitate to take action against “recalcitrant companies and terminal operators”.

    “We advise the affected parties to desist from this practice in the interest of the Nigerian Shipping industry and the economy.”

    Train and retain staff now, says ICS

    Improving the quality of life for all South Africans is possible with training and skills development. This is according to Carol Knox, Skills Programme Manager for the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS).

    “The recent events in the global economy have created the perfect opportunity for companies to work towards improving the life of people in this country – companies are about people, their lives and wellbeing, as well as the contribution they make to the success of the company – and training and skills development is core to all this,” she said.

    She added that one of the messages in Minister of Finance Trevor Manual’s 2008 budget speech was that it was not just about numbers, but also about the lives of people.

    “Given the economic downturn it is now the best opportunity for companies to train and retain their staff – the people – who form the heart of an organisation’s success or failure,” said Knox.

    This was a sentiment echoed by Manuel when he said the ship was stronger and the country was better prepared than during previous episodes of global turmoil. According to the Minister, Skills Development Levy revenues are set to rise to R9 billion by 2010/11.

    Knox said one way for companies to really obtain benefits and make the most of the economic quiet time was to train and retain their staff.

    “Upskill your staff and employees with training and developing their skills, and in that way really make a difference in people’s lives and their wellbeing, benefitting companies simultaneously,” said Knox. Companies need to get away from the mindset that skills levies are just another tax to pay and be done with. Making a real difference to the economy requires training to redress past inequities.

    Experts believe most companies in the current times should conduct a workplace skills audit.

    “It is essential,” says Knox. “when completing a Workplace Skills Plan, companies will qualify to claim back 50% of skills levies, if the training is done in accordance with this plan, and accredited providers are used, who offer accredited courses.”

    Know said that the ICS has put together a strong team of facilitators and assessors to make a success of this venture. “ICS will provide continuing high quality education to learners. It’s all hands on deck to open new doorways for the youth of today to become the captains of industry tomorrow,” she said.

    Details of the training available from the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers can be obtained from 157 Problem Mkhize (Cowey) Rd, Morningside, Durban, or PO Box 6005, Durban, 4000. Tel: +27 (0)31 207 8115, Fax: 086 604 2894, Email: carol@ics.za.org and Website: www.icssa.co.za

    Piracy update : another shipping group heads off for the Cape

    It’s not strictly speaking a piracy issue, although the costs incurred for piracy insurance in the Gulf of Aden play a significant role, but shipping line members of the Grand Alliance – Hapag Lloyd, NYK, MISC Berhad and OOCL have become the latest to avoid the Suez Canal and make use of the longer but safer and cheaper route around the Cape of Good Hope on the eastbound direction.

    The re-routing applies to the Grand Alliance’s EU3 service between Northern Europe and South East Asia. The revised service will take an additional seven days to complete with an eastbound rotation of Southampton, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Port Klang, Singapore, Shekou, Hong Kong, Ningbo and Shanghai. In keeping with the trend for other lines the westbound transit will continue through the Suez Canal. Ten ships each in the 8,000-TEU range are deployed.

    An alert has been issued for a Seychellois yacht that has gone missing and is now believed to have been highjacked by Somali pirates. The yacht, which has not been named, is carrying two Seychellois nationals as crew and sailed from the Seychelles in February but has since not been reported.

    The news coincides with another report of an attack on a yacht off the southern Thailand coast this week in which the two people on board, a British husband and wife crew, were attacked by what police described as ‘migrant’ workers. The husband was beaten to death and his body thrown overboard after the attackers tried to steal the yacht’s dinghy.

    DP World increases profits by 48 percent

    DP World, the Dubai-based terminal operator which is now the world’s fourth largest port operators, has posted a 48% increase in profits to US$621 million for 2008, up from $420m in 2007.

    DP World has achieved this by growing its revenue 20% to $3.23 billion for the year. The group’s terminals increased container throughput 15% to 27.7 million TEU, up from 24m TEU the year before.

    Net cash from operating activities increased 12% to $1.06bn and pro-forma earnings per share increased 53% to 3.45 cents. The company has declared a dividend of 0.69 cents a share.

    According to DP World Chairman, Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem, 2008 was a year of excellent performance made possible by DP World’s focus on the faster growing emerging markets, which enabled them to outperform the market. He warned that volume deceleration seen over the last quarter of 2008 is continuing into early 2009 with little signs of easing in the foreseeable future. Demand for new capacity is much diminished, he said.

    “Taking into account our existing pipeline of committed capacity the company has decided to defer much of our planned new capacity until such time as higher utilisation rates return.”

    Pic of the day – BOW PIONEER

    After completing her discharge at Maydon Wharf the Odfjell products tanker BOW PIONEER (14,627-gt, built 1982) heads off down the Esplanade Channel for Island View to load new cargo. Picture L Rip Riphagen

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