Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 21, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – DISCOVERY

  • Renewed rioting in Kenyan shanty town cuts Uganda rail link

  • Concargo forms new heavy haul company and gains additional international recognition

  • SA stone fruit season is late but normal

  • East Africa beats global financial crisis

  • Suez and Panama may revise polls

  • Pic of the day – PRINCESS DAPHNE


    Tomorrow (Wednesday 22 April) is a public holiday in South Africa. The next PORTS & SHIPS news bulletin will appear on Thursday morning

    First View – DISCOVERY

    The cruise ship DISCOVERY (20,216-gt) called at South African ports during early March this year, having previously come this way in Princess Cruise colours as the ISLAND PRINCESS of Love Boat fame. While in Cape Town the ship was berthed in the V&A Waterfront. Picture by Terry Hutson

    Renewed rioting in Kenyan shanty town cuts Uganda rail link

    Renewed rioting in Nairobi’s Kibera township led to roads being barricaded and the main railway line from Mombasa to Uganda being torn up and preventing Mombasa trains from reaching Uganda.

    The railway leads not only to Uganda but also provides an important trade link with Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

    The cause of the rioting is said to be youth unrest over Uganda’s continued occupation of Migingo Island, a disputed island on the shores of Lake Victoria in Bugiri District. Uganda has denied allegations that it has taken military occupation of the island but admits to having a police post there.

    The dispute came to a head recently when Ugandan authorities were reported to have given 400 Kenyan fishermen orders to leave the island last year after they refused to pay a license fee allowing them to operate from Migingo.

    Why this matter should suddenly become the concern of youths in the shanty towns of Nairobi is not clear, unless agitators have been active. The net result is that an important trade link between Uganda and the seaport of Mombasa has been cut.

    Asked to comment Kenya’s foreign affairs permanent secretary Ambassador James Mugume said the matter required surveyors to determine exactly where Mugingo Island lay in relation to the disputed Kenya/Uganda border. A survey team is expected to submit a report by 15 May 2009.

    Concargo forms new heavy haul company and gains additional international recognition

    Concargo, specialists in Supply Chain Management activities, has formed a new company called Concargo Abnormal Heavy Haulage while also gaining two new international and prestigious memberships.

    “We are experiencing a growing need for these services and therefore it made sense to start a separate entity which can focus on these specialised services,” says David Kruyer, Concargo CEO.

    Bev Lloyd has been appointed as the Managing Director of Concargo Abnormal Heavy Haulage, which is based in Pretoria. With more than 25 years experience within the freight industry, Lloyd will be responsible for the project management of the facilitation of over-border, out-of-gauge, abnormal heavy haulage and domestic freight, as well as rigging and mobile cranage on site.

    Her previous experience includes having been involved with projects such as the Katse Dam Project, Orapa 1 project in Botswana, Gorongosa-Caia Road establishment project in Mozambique, and Road Establishments in Malawi. She also opened up operations for a freight company in the DRC where she was involved from inception on projects that are still the focus in that region.

    Projects the new company will be involved with include the facilitation of haulage and transport of material and plant equipment for predominantly mining projects in Zambia, Botswana and the DRC. Concargo provide a Road Haulage Service into Angola, Uganda and Kenya as well as into all SADC countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

    “With our reach and experience we are able to provide a cradle to grave service to our clients at the best possible rates,” says Lloyd.

    The two new international memberships are Executive Forwarders Network (www.efnetwork.com) and Global Project Logistics Network (www.gpln.net). They will facilitate all heavy lift transport and overland, outsize cargo movements, mobile crane operations, rigging, machinery installation, and large scale project forwarding into South Africa on behalf of the respective network members.

    Among other networks that Concargo already belongs to is The Heavy Lift Group (www.theheavyliftgroup.com) of which Concargo is the first African company to have been appointed. Concargo Sub-Saharan Africa in Zambia is also a member of Worldwide Project Consortium (WWPC).

    SA stone fruit season is late but normal

    This year’s stone fruit season will be late but normal and the crop estimate is 12.484 million equivalent cartons – which is 1% lower than last season, reports Cape Business News (www.cbn.co.za).

    The damage caused by the adverse weather conditions (hail, wind and frost) early in the Western Cape season impacted primarily on the Alpine nectarine and Pioneer plum harvest, says Sarel van Wyk of the Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB).

    The supermarkets have changed their packing requirements at a very late stage due to the recession.

    This means that producers are sitting with stock which they have purchased earlier in the season and which they cannot utilize (eg smaller pre-packs at cheaper prices).

    The combination of the late crop and the global economic crisis could have an impact on the 2009 season for the South African stone fruit.

    “The industry is concerned about how much the global credit crunch will affect the buying power of consumers. In addition, the traditionally early stone fruit is late this year, affecting early market supply,” van Wyk says.

    The demand is currently lower than last year and movement of stock is slower.

    He says producers in the pome industry are very positive due to the good past three seasons. This is due to the positive exchange rate and a short to fair supply position which translates to the most favourable marketing environment of the last few years.

    “Producers are still optimistic and the main concern currently is the huge price increases in chemicals, fertiliser, diesel and the current economic environment.”

    The feedback thus far for the new pome season is that it will be a normal season and the theoretical crop estimate is 38 million equivalent cartons which is 4% lower than last season. The canning price for Bon Chretien pears increased to R2,200 per ton and this will definitely influence volumes for export.

    The Pacham triumph crop looks very promising and the Forelle volumes are 8% higher than last year mainly due to new hectares that are coming into production.

    At least 10% (1 million cartons) of SA’s crop of Golden Delicious apples is reported to have been lost due to the misapplication of thinning agent, according to van Wyk. source www.cbn.co.za

    East Africa beats global financial crisis

    Nairobi, 20 April (BuaNews) - East Africa will come safely through the global financial crisis to record at least five percent growth this year, the highest on the continent, the African Development Bank has announced.

    The bank's chief economist, Louis Kasekende, has singled out Uganda as an example of East African states that were expecting healthy growth through regional trade and agricultural exports, as opposed to other African countries that are more dependent on oil and mineral exports.

    “East Africa might end up with the highest growth rate in Africa,” he told reporters during a workshop in Nairobi to assess the region's financial needs during the crisis.

    “Uganda will record 6 percent. Kenya, given its diversity in export markets, will grow by between five and 5.5percent.”

    Like the rest of Africa, the region enjoyed good growth for most of this decade on the back of relative political stability and a high appetite for resources by countries like China.

    Uganda grew by an average of 7.9 percent over the last half decade while Kenya grew by an average 5.5 percent in the five years that led up to its post-election violence in 2008.

    Mr Kasekende said the knock-on effects of the global financial crisis were mainly hurting growth in African economies that lacked a diverse base of economic activities. “Countries that have been heavily dependent on exports of minerals and oil are going through a very difficult period,” he explained.

    The collapse of commodity prices has forced a number of international mining companies to close, leading to rising unemployment, the Bank predicted at a meeting in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, last month.

    “The worst case may be in the Democratic Republic of Congo where more than 350,000 jobs are estimated to have been lost in the Katanga Province.”

    In contrast, nations like Uganda that mainly rely on regional trade and exporting agricultural products, could hold up well in the face of the global downturn, Mr Kasekende said.

    The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African community trade blocs remain Uganda's main trading partners.

    Exports to COMESA countries almost doubled in one year, from US$284 million in 2006 to $506 million in 2007.

    Particularly trade with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Southern Sudan has risen spectacularly since peace returned to these countries.

    Exports to Sudan increased more than ten-fold between 2003 and 2007, and to Congo eight-fold.

    Coffee remained Uganda's main export product in 2007, followed by fish, tobacco and tea.

    The chief economist said the East African countries had been pummeled by capital flight that wiped off nearly 40 percent of the value of regional stock markets last year. Local currencies also weakened sharply against the dollar.

    “But we have overcome that in most of these countries,” he said.

    “The second issue that could affect these countries is in terms of reduced inflows of remittances (from kyeyo workers). That is going to affect all the countries.”

    The Tunis-based African Development Bank last month announced a doubling of its annual lending budget to $11 billion to help countries deal with the global downturn.

    Suez and Panama may revise polls

    Faced with declining traffic levels and more and increasing numbers of ships and shipping lines opting to re-route around the Cape of Good Hope, the Suez and Panama Canal authorities are reported as giving strong consideration to revising recent toll increases.

    In the case of the Suez Canal services that have been re-routed have all been east-bound vessels returning to the Far East generally from Europe and with less than full loads of containers. Westbound loadings have remained of a satisfactory level that, with additional surcharges applying to cover the insurance risk of sailing through the troubled Somali waters, have enabled lines to make a profit by continuing on the shorter more direct route.

    In other instances shipping companies including several tanker firms have elected to send their ships via the Cape in both directions, rather than run the risk of pirates highjacking their vessel en route.

    All this has meant a severe loss in revenue for the canal authority, despite initial denials that traffic numbers are down.

    To a less extent the same now applies to the Panama Canal but for different motivations. The canal authority there recently introduced a substantial increase in fees, aimed at offsetting the cost of constructing new locks capable of taking post-Panamax vessels. At least one shipping line, CMA CGM has since opted to avoid the canal on the less lucrative return leg to the Far East from the Caribbean and Northern South America and instead is operating an easterly round-the-world service via South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope. source - AXL Alphaliner

    Pic of the day – PRINCESS DAPHNE

    The cruise ship PRINCESS DAPHNE (15,833-gt, built 1955) was one of the surprise visitors among the cruise ships listed to arrive in southern African waters this summer, when she operated a single cruise out of Europe and down Africa, visiting most of the South African ports en route. The former Ocean Monarch and one of the so-called Classic liners is seen here at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, in front of the Table Bay Hotel. Picture Terry Hutson

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