Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 27, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – CLIPPER

  • NYK and NileDutch link services between Asia, South Africa and West Africa

  • PIL finds new partners for West, East and South Africa services

  • Same air cargo companies deliver both humanitarian aid and weapons

  • Official - South Africa now in a recession as GDP drops by 6.4%

  • Angolan railway will reach DRC border by 2011

  • New cargo ship enters service on Lake Victoria

  • Pics of the day – SS USOGA


    First View – CLIPPER

    One of the attractions of Durban Bay is that it is still possible to conjure up scenes such as this which decry all impressions of Durban as a large, modern, bustling and busy port. With a wider lens opening on other side of this scene would be seen upwards of 30 or so large ships working cargo on their berths whereas all that can be seen here is the diminutive coastal vessel CLIPPER with one of Durban’s many mudbanks in the foreground, on which locals can be oberved catching cracker shrimps for use at bait. In the background is the Bluff peninsular. Picture by Terry Hutson

    NYK and NileDutch link services between Asia, South Africa and West Africa

    NYK and NileDutch have announced a new direct container service between Asia, South Africa and West Africa.

    The service will operate twice a month between the ports of Shanghai, Shekou (China), and Singapore in Asia and Durban (South Africa), Lome (Togo), Tema (Ghana) and Lagos (Nigeria). Both companies will deploy two vessels of between 2,200 TEU and 2,700 TEU nominal capacity.

    The service will commence on 17 June with the arrival of MV COMMODORE in Shanghai.

    “This new service is being introduced to support the huge inward investment by our Asian customers in West Africa, built upon growing demands of African consumers. It will also provide a direct service for African exporters to Asia,” said NYK Group Europe’s Liner Division senior trade director Yasunobo Suzuki.

    According to NileDutch’s Jan-Willem de Braal this development will further support the market’s recognition of his company’s leading role in West Africa and will provide an even better service range to it’s customers.

    This service is the first joint venture for NYK and NileDutch and it marks a return to West Africa for NYK. NileDutch will be expanding its presence in West Africa in addition to its current Asia – Angola service.

    Niledutch in South Africa will in future be represented by Crystal Pier Shipping. Contact the Durban branch manager Basil Ramsani on 076 963 7122.

    PIL finds new partners for West, East and South Africa services

    Pacific International Lines and Laurel Navigation (LNL), a division of Zim Line, are introducing a new direct link between West Africa, South Africa and East Africa to India, Pakistan and the Middle East.

    The new service will commence later in May, with each company providing three ships of 855-TEU capacity on a 70-day round voyage. The existing Indian Ocean service and the Africa-Middle East-India service operated jointly by PIL, LNL and MOL is to be withdrawn.

    In another development PIL, NYK, K Line, PIL and Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) have reached an agreement to laucnh a joint service between the Far East and East Coast of South America as from mid June 2009. No details regarding port calls have been announced.

    Same air cargo companies deliver both humanitarian aid and weapons

    Air cargo companies involved in illicit or destabilizing arms transfers to African conflict zones have also been repeatedly contracted to deliver humanitarian aid and support peacekeeping operations, according to a report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

    The report reveals that 90 per cent of the air cargo companies identified in arms trafficking-related reports have also been used by major UN agencies, EU and NATO member states, defence contractors and some of the world’s leading NGOs to transport humanitarian aid, peacekeepers and peacekeeping equipment. In some cases, air cargo companies are delivering both aid and weapons to the same conflict zones.

    Entitled ‘Air Transport and Destabilizing Commodity Flows’, the report shows how air cargo carriers involved in humanitarian aid and peacekeeping operations have also transported a range of other conflict-sensitive goods such as cocaine, diamonds, coltan and other precious minerals.

    The report also outlines some EU-centred solutions which can change the behaviour of some companies and put others out of business. According to Hugh Griffiths, one of the report’s co-authors, ‘The problems have been recognized by the EU, now it is a question of selecting from the available options and coming together as a community with coordinated measures.’

    The report presents a range of inexpensive options which could be adopted to tackle the problems:

  • UN agencies, governments, defence contractors and NGOs could make humanitarian aid and peacekeeping contracts conditional by requiring air cargo carriers to adhere to an ethical transportation code of conduct

  • The EU could utilize its existing air safety regulations to put companies involved in arms trafficking or destabilizing commodity flows out of business

  • The EU could provide specialized training for its civilian and military peacekeepers to better identify suspect air cargo carriers operating in Africa and Eastern Europe

    ‘A coordinated response by the EU and the humanitarian aid community could require companies to chose between transporting arms or aid to conflict zones while air safety enforcement could put hard core arms dealers out of business,’ said Mark Bromley, co-author of the report. ‘Our research shows that companies named in arms trafficking related reports have poor safety records. Safety regulations represent their Achilles heel, and can do to them what tax evasion charges did to Al Capone.’

    Official - South Africa now in a recession as GDP drops by 6.4%

    By Neo Semono (BuaNews)

    Pretoria, 26 May 2009 - South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product in the first quarter of 2009 contracted by an annualised 6.4 percent, Statistics South Africa announced on Tuesday.

    The contraction is the second in a row since the last quarter of 2008 that contracted by 1.8 percent.

    According to economists, two consecutive quarters of negative growth means an economy is technically in recession.

    “The seasonally adjusted real GDP at market prices for the first quarter of 2009 decreased by an annualised rate of 6.4 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2008.

    “This is the first instance of two consecutive quarters of negative growth since the fourth quarter of 1992,” said Stats SA as the world is experiencing the pinch of the global financial crisis.

    The sectors that led to a reduced GDP figure in the first quarter were the manufacturing industry (-3.3 percentage points), mining and quarrying (-1.7 percent), finance, real estate and business services industry (-0.5 percent).

    According to Stats SA, executive manager of national accounts Joe De Beer said the mining sector recorded the second lowest level since the second quarter of 1967 at 31.9 percent.

    However general government services contributed to positive growth in the economy at 0.5 percentage points. This was followed by the construction industry at 0.4 percent and personal services at 0.2 percentage points.

    The figures come two days before the Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) announcement on interest rates

    The MPC has already cut rates four times since December, by a cumulative 350 basis points, in an effort to fight off a recession. - BuaNews

    In a related statement the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) said yesterday (Tuesday) it was “horrified at the revelation that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) dropped by 6.4% in the first quarter of 2009, even worse than the drop of 1.8% in the fourth quarter of 2008.

    “This means we are now officially deep in a recession, the first time this has happened in 17 years. And the fall is even bigger that the -0.7% to -5.2% that the so-called ‘experts’ predicted.

    “This proves that South Africa has indeed not escaped from the global downturn and the implications are frightening for jobs, living standards and economic growth.

    “This is a massive national crisis which requires an immediate response from government, labour and business to defend our jobs and livelihoods.”

    Angolan railway will reach DRC border by 2011

    Angolan news agency ANGOP reports that the rehabilitation of the Benguela Railways (CFB) is expected to completed as far as the town of Luau in Moxico province during 2011. Luau is on the Angolan border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) just north of the Zambian border.

    A Chinese company is busy rebuilding the line which fell into disuse during the civil war.

    A spokesman for the railway company said the line had already been rehabilitated from the port of Lobito to Santa Ria (Huambo), a distance of more than 400km. Work so far completed includes the construction or repair of 32 bridges, while 74 railway stations are in the process of construction.

    When completed the Benguela Railway is expected to provide a viable alternative to the mineral rich DRC and Zambian Copperbelts.

    New cargo ship enters service on Lake Victoria

    Uganda’s Works Ministry has launched a privately-owned cargo ship into service on Lake Victoria.

    The 100-tonne PATRICIA is owned and operated by Power Marine & Victoria Marine consultancies, a firm whose parent company is Power Consultants in South Africa. Patricia was built in 1935 and was previously owned by Kenya Railways but has been out of commission for 37 years. The cost of refurbishing the vessel and returning her to service was US$320,000.

    The new service will ply a route between Port Bell and Kalangala in Uganda, Kisumu in Kenya, and Mwanza on the southern banks of the lake in Tanzania.

    The lake has been without proper shipping for several years since the sinking of the MV KABALEGA in 2005 and the grounding of MV PAMBA and MV KAAWA shortly afterwards. Kaawa was involved in the collision that sank the Kabalega.

    Uganda’s Works Minister John Byabagambi said the intention is to continue with repairs to both the Kaawa and the Pamba. Both are docked at Port Bell and could be operational by next year. Hopes of refloating the Kabalega and returning her to service were dashed by the cost of recovery, which is said to be more than that of replacing the vessel with a new ship.

    The minister called on private enterprise to become involved in providing ship services on the lake. He said that even having barges at work could assist in the logistics of moving cargo at cost effective rates, including fuel, between the respective countries.

    Consultants had been hired to look into the operation and development of lake ports such as Jinja and Port Bell with a view to operating them more professionally.

    Brian Power, Chief Executive of the Power Group said his company intended returning a number of other ships into service on Lake Victoria in the coming months and would look at the feasibility of introducing larger ships capable of carrying numbers of containers across the lake. He said the Power Group was also looking at opening a maritime school in Uganda before the end of this year. – source New Vision

    Pics of the day – SS USOGA

    SS USOGA in her prime as a lake steamer plying the length and breadth of Lake Victoria

    The officers and crew of the lake steamer SS USOGA back in colonial days - a proud ship and an equally proud service 

    SS Usoga as seen in 2007, derelict and all but forgotten. Picture by Oliver Keeble

    SS Usoga in January 2009 - all that is left is hulk – a once proud ship gutted almost to the waterline. Picture by Oliver Keeble

    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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