Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 15, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • Bizarre report of Transnet senior officials having to take lie detector tests

  • Nigerian Shippers Council hits out at port privatisation

  • SA Navy committed to empowering youth with skills

  • News from the shipping lines – Maersk announces rates increase to West Africa

  • Africa must cushion its people against economic crisis and work collectively to realise opportunities - Zuma

  • Pics of the day – MARGARET and SALVALIANT



    Last week (11 June) PORTS & SHIPS reported the commissioning of the Namibian Navy’s new patrol boat, the NS BRENDAN SIMBAYE and requested pictures. Here are two showing the new patrol ship. 
    FOR THE RECORD - our report last week gave the cost of the new patrol ship as 24 million Namibian dollars - this should read US dollars.

    Pictures courtesy INACE and thanks to Allan Hutty

    Bizarre report of Transnet senior officials having to take lie detector tests

    In a rather bizarre report in the Sunday Times it is claimed that members of Transnet’s Board as well as its operating division’s sub-audit committee are being forced to take lie detector tests to determine who is responsible for the leaking of a damaging internal audit report.

    The leaked audit report revealed financial mismanagement at Transnet and lack of control mechanisms and was partly the subject of a statement issued jointly last week by Mr Fred Phaswana, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Transnet Limited, and Prof Geoff Everingham, Chairman of the Audit Committee of Transnet Limited (see the report HERE.

    In the statement they said the leaked report was “part of a continuous internal process aimed at ensuring efficient and cost-effective delivery of the capital investment programme by helping us spot discrepancies and areas for focused management attention before they impact the cost or delivery of the projects.”

    The statement said that Transnet did not think there was any public interest to be served by commenting on the leaks, or on rumours and speculation regarding the succession process of appointing a new group chief executive, but when they are presented as facts to the detriment of the company’s reputation then it warranted a response.

    According to the Sunday Times article Transnet’s telephone and communication records are being examined to see if they reveal evidence of who leaked the audit report.

    Nigerian Shippers Council hits out at port privatisation

    Nigeria’s port privatisation exercise has not been in the best interests of the country and was done in a secretive manner, says the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Adamu Biu.

    Biu was speaking to journalists in Lagos and said that the concession process had been conducted by former President Olesun Obasanjo’s government with far too much secrecy. Very few people were given a preview of the concession rules, he said.

    He claimed the concessionaires were motivated only by maximising profits and said not enough of them are Nigerians, even though some have a Nigerian background.

    He questioned the process involving who is appointed to regulate terminal charges, saying that no consultation has ever taken place. “I can confirm that there was too much secrecy, nobody was given a copy to study and understand the concessioning of the ports.”

    Biu accused the concessionaires of having taken advantage of the situation by collecting arbitrary charges from shippers. He said the NSC Act stipulated there should be negotiations on the setting of tariffs. “Because the concessionaires carry out commercial shipping in the port, we should automatically negotiate with them but have not been consulted.”

    He blamed high costs in the ports for some of the recent congestion, pointing out that when freight forwarders withdrew their services from the port for three days recently, it was because they were demanding the removal of charges imposed.

    Biu said that if the proposed National Transport Commission Bill is eventually passed into law, it will turn the NSC into a commission with powers of sanction.

    “If the National Transport Commission Bill eventually becomes a law, it will change a lot of things. First and foremost, the bill is a private member bill. It wasn't a bill initiated by us but we chipped in through the Ministry.” source Daily Independent

    In neighbouring Benin President Boni Yavi has complained that Benin is losing trade to Nigeria because of Benin’s port reforms. He claimed that more Nigerians were shunning Benin’s ports and using Lagos instead. The president said that a panel had been set up to “ameliorate the effect of the global economic meltdown on the trading fortunes of both countries.”

    SA Navy committed to empowering youth with skills

    by Edwin Tshivhidzo (BuaNews)

    Cape Town - The Navy is committed to empowering youth with skills that will put them in good stead for a career in the South African Defence Force.

    Chief of the South African Navy, Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu said the reason behind the Navy introducing the Military Skills Development (MSD) programme was to hone the skills of young people for service in the military.

    He was speaking on Thursday (11 June) at the graduation ceremony for 500 young people from different parts of the country who had completed their six months MSD training.

    Admiral Mudimu urged them to treasure the opportunity and to accept the responsibilities and sacrifices of this chosen career that is dedicated to serving people.

    “You have been armed with the knowledge and skills that will guide you in your careers and as you stand on this threshold, the success of your future lays squarely in your hands,” he said.

    Admiral Mudimu told the graduates that they must have steadfast leadership, values, ethos and standards that are upheld through discipline because the Navy could not afford to have members that defied orders and refused to comply with standards.

    One of the graduates, Jacqueline Oliphant, 19, from Knysna in the Western Cape, told BuaNews that she intends continuing her training to be part of Maritime Reaction Squad (MRS) in the Navy.

    I intend staying in the South African Navy, she said.

    Oliphant has been interested in becoming part of the Navy since she was a child.

    Andrew Roth, 22, from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, intends continuing with training to become part of the Military Police. “I have been looking for something challenging, I'm glad that the MSD programme had made it possible for me to become part of the Military Police.”

    He said the MSD programme was challenging and exciting.

    The Navy's MSD is a two-year voluntary youth empowerment programme initiated by the Department of Defence to provide military and essential skills to South African youth who aspire to follow a military career in the South African National Defence Force.

    The MSDS is also aimed at rejuvenating the SANDF, providing it with scarce skills as well as serving as a feeder system for the Defence Reserves.

    Since its commencement in 2003, more than 10,000 youth from all over South Africa have been recruited by the South African National Defence through this system.

    The Navy absorbs more than 1000 recruits in January and July per annum respectively as part of the Programme.

    According to the department, graduates become pilots, engineers, air navigators, military doctors and combat officers, boosting the country's scarce skills demand.

    The programme gives youngsters, who achieved good marks in school but have been unable to further their studies at tertiary institutions or had to drop out due to financial constraints, a chance in life.

    The department engages in a process of selecting school learners who apply to take part in the programme. They then sign an initial two-year contract, after which they are considered for further service in the permanent force.

    News from the shipping lines – Maersk announces rates increase to West Africa

    Maersk Line, a member of the Asia – West Africa Trade Agreement (AWATA) has announced rate increases on services from Asia to West Africa. The increases affect the following services:

    Middle East and South East Asia (excluding India) to West Africa:

    US$150 per TEU effective 1 July 2009

    Far East to West Africa:

    US$300 per TEU effective 1 July 2009
    US$250 per TEU effective 15 August 2009

    The AWATA members are China Shipping Container Line, CMA-CGM, Delmas, Gold Star Line, Maersk Line, Mitsui O.S.K. Line, Pacific International Line, and Safmarine Container Line.

    Announcements can be expected from the other members separately.

    Africa must cushion its people against economic crisis and work collectively to realise opportunities - Zuma

    Cape Town (BuaNews) - Africa needs to work as a collective to realise the opportunities that have arisen as a result of the global economic crisis, says President Jacob Zuma.

    Speaking at the closing plenary of the 19th World Economic Forum on Africa on Friday (12 June), President Zuma said the continent needed to work as a collective to see through the crisis, adding that the crisis presented opportunities for the continent.

    “Yes I agree that Africa seems to have more opportunities given what it has in the continent,” he told delegates, who had gathered at the closing of the three-day forum.

    The President however said the challenge that comes with opportunity is whether leadership is able to see the opportunities.

    "The challenge again comes back to the leadership. Are we able to see the opportunity? Are we able to utilise what we have as structures?" asked the President.

    He also emphasised on the operation of regions, adding that they should enhance the development of the continent as a whole.

    He said that the crisis affected the entire continent, adding that the resolution should come from everyone.

    "What I've taken away is that the crisis which we are faced with affects all of us and there are initiatives to discuss the ways and means to try and address this crisis. There must be partnerships so that we resolve the problems," said Mr Zuma.

    The World Economic Forum on Africa attracted over 800 participants from 50 countries.

    Five African leaders took part in the meeting.

    They were Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga, Lesotho's Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosislili, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, newly-elected South African President Jacob Zuma and his Zambian counterpart Rupiah Bwezani Banda.

    Participants of the forum tried to seek practical solutions to foster better business practices and greater investment across the continent.

    Earlier when he opened the Forum President Zuma said that Africa needs to cushion its people against the effects of the global financial crisis or face increased starvation and poverty.

    "For most African countries, that are still highly indebted and dependent on aid for their revenues, the continuation of the current crisis will mean increased starvation, poverty and child mortality," said the President.

    "We must cushion our people against the impact of the crisis as best we can," he said, adding that the continent had its own mechanisms to respond to the crisis just as other regions do.

    He said no region would respond in the same way as others and that he viewed the economic downturn as both a challenge and opportunity for the continent and the developing world in general.

    Nations need to respond in the spirit of planning for a recovery, said the President.

    He said that one of the critical lessons learnt as a result of the global meltdown was the need for a transformed global financial system.

    "Financial systems cannot be self-regulatory and governance of financial institutions must be global in nature," said the president.

    The core elements of South Africa's response to the crisis is the Expanded Public Works Programme that is earmarked to provide job opportunities to around four million people over the next five years; increasing social grants and implementing the rural development strategy.

    The president also welcomed delegates to South Africa, saying that over the course of the three-day meeting, the African continent would benefit from the knowledge of the delegates. – report by Neo Semono, BuaNews

    Pics of the day – MARGARET and SALVALIANT

    Barges loaded with river barges are not uncommon along the South Africa coast but still attract considerable interest when they enter port for the towing tug to take bunkers and supplies or for possible small ‘ running’ repairs and maintenance. The latest ‘collection’ to arrive was the barge MARGARET loaded with what looked like 15 or so river barges, presumably for the river systems in Europe. The vessels were berthed at the Point and sailed again on Sunday.

    Pictures 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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