Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jul 9, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – ELBTANK FRANCE

  • Southern Africa to get its second one-stop border post

  • Government admits responsibility for Tanzania’s rail inefficiencies

  • Namibian railway is ‘worn out’ says government

  • West African news – Ghana Cocoa Board plans expansion programme with Takoradi

  • Trade News: Maersk Logistics’ SupplyChain HealthCheck™ assists companies in releasing cash from their supply chain

  • Navy news – US Navy destroyer Arleigh Burke to arrive Durban next week; SA Navy sails into Knysna

  • Pic of the day – SMIT LOMBOK


    First View – ELBTANK FRANCE

    The German-owned and managed handysize products tanker ELBTANK FRANCE (23,332-gt, built 2009) seen moving away from her berth prior to saling from Cape Town last Friday. Picture by Aad Noorland

    Southern Africa to get its second one-stop border post

    Details of Southern Africa’s second one-stop border post have been announced. The one-stop border crossing will be at the Tunduna/Nakonde border between Zambia and Tanzania.

    This follows an announcement last month that SADC countries had agreed to open the first two one-stop posts to facilitate trade in the region – one on the border between Zambia and Tanzania and the other between South Africa and Zimbabwe at Beit Bridge. See that report HERE

    The latest announcement was made by Zambia’s President Rupiah Banda who described it as an effort on the part of the two governments to provide a conducive atmosphere for the private sector to carry out business.

    President Banda appealed to the private sector to take advantage of the situation.

    “It is in this regard that I appeal to the business sector of both countries to take advantage of the conducive environment to create joint ventures,” he said at a luncheon in Ndola in honour of visiting Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.

    Referring to the Tazara Railway that connects the two countries and the Tazama oil pipeline President Banda called for further infrastructural investments for the region, saying he was confident that the US$1.2 billion that has been pledged following the Comesa-EAC-SADC conference would be channeled into railway, road and energy infrastructure to improve trade among the countries of the region. source Times of Zambia

    The above news is to be welcomed by those trading and transporting between the respective countries of the region. It should be remembered that there have been repeated calls in recent years for the creation of a one-stop post at the South Africa – Mozambique border crossing at Komatipoort / Ressano Garcia.

    Government admits responsibility for Tanzania’s rail inefficiencies

    Tanzania’s government has admitted that poor rail infrastructure is the cause of ongoing inefficiencies within the Tanzanian Railway Limited (TRL).

    Acknowledging that quick improvements by the privatised TRL were not possible because of infrastructural problems, Joseph Mapunda, Publicity and Regulatory Manager for the state-owned Consolidated Holding Corporation (CHC) said the railway tracks required refurbishing even to the point of having to build new sections in order to cater for increased traffic demands.

    Speaking against a background of mounting criticism of the TRL operation since private concessionaires (Rites of India) became involved, he said it should be understood that TRL remained a joint venture owned by the government (49%) and the private investor (51%). The government owned 100% of the rail infrastructure, he pointed out, which the private investor is required to make use of.

    Meanwhile the theft of almost Sh10 billion (US$7.6 million) from the account of Tanzania Railway Limited (TRL) has been reported. The announcement was made in parliament after the concessionaire, Rites of Indian threatened to pull put of the concession to operate Tanzania’s rail network.

    The report in parliament was given by one of the MPs, a former Lands minister who said she had ‘heard’ of the theft and that employees had not been paid on account of the railway company not having sufficient money. Her statement follows in the wake of several rumours to the effect of a large theft having taken place, but is also set amidst negative reports about the privatised operation.

    One newspaper reported “the sudden departure of some of key Indian managers” from Rites.

    Additional criticism of the railway company has been directed at operational issues, including trains running out of fuel midway through a journey and general complaints that performance has remained below par.

    A spokesman for Rites said the criticism was unfair but if the government decided to terminate the concession it would have to give the required three months notice and then Rites would leave. He said TRL had not failed in its efforts to run the railway. Pointing out that there are two partners in the company, he said the railway was operating despite a lack of capital.

    “TRL is being run by shares only from a single party to the contract and yet there are two,” he said. “Since the signing of the contract in 2007, TRL has been run with capital from Rites alone, but it appears that MPs and ordinary citizens are not aware of this.”

    He added that when Rites took over the concession and began operating the railway it was in a very poor condition. There were no services between Dar es Salaam and Tanga or Kigoma, while the central railway ran only as far as Dodoma. Since Rites has taken over TRL has acquired 25 Class 73 diesel-electric locomotives along with 23 coaches which are leased from India.

    He accused the Tanzanian government of not informing the public about the facts of the contract, or that before privatisation the company was in a very bad condition. He said government needed to honour its part of the agreement instead of pointing fingers at the concessionaire. source The Citizen (Dar es Salaam) and other reporters

    Namibian railway is ‘worn out’ says government

    Namibia’s government has given the go-ahead to purchase new rolling stock and for the rehabilitation of the country’s railway network which is considered to be ‘worn out’.

    This follows reports that the northern railway between Usakos and Tsumeb was in urgent need of rehabilitation, which in turn was endangering the development of a rail corridor with both southern Angola and the proposed Trans-Caprivi railway to the Zambian border.

    In addition a number of Chinese-built locomotives have proved unsuitable and have been grounded - see related news report HERE

    The Namibian cabinet has given the go-ahead for the Ministry of Works to call for expressions of interest from the private sector to repair and upgrade the sections of railway requiring refurbishment.

    Apart from the Usakos - Tsumeb northern railway, the Aus - Lüderitz railway line is also reported to be in urgent need of repair and rehabilitation.

    This section connects the port of Lüderitz with Keetmanshoop, which is the junction for the lines to Upington in South Africa and Windhoek in Namibia. When Namibia attained independence from South Africa in 1990 the railway from Aus to the port was covered in several places by large sand dunes, forcing the port to rely solely on road transport. The line was subsequently cleared and returned to service but remains in need of upgrading.

    West African news – Ghana Cocoa Board plans expansion programme with Takoradi

    Ghana’s Cocoa Board has revealed plans for a large scale expansion involving the streamlining of its operations in Ghana and in particular in the country’s Western Region where most of the cocoa is grown.

    In future the Board says it intends making greater use of the port of Takoradi for the export of cocoa, with up to 70% of exports going through this port. Only 55% is currently exported through Takoradi with the balance exported via the port of Tema.

    Approximately 100 acres of land have been acquired at Kajebari, near Takoradi to facilitate this expansion programme. As part of the project clinics, staff bungalows and truck parks will be created. - source Ghanaian Chronicle

    In Nigeria it is reported that a cargo scanner costing ore than US$5 million has remained largely idle at the port of Calabar. The Nigerian News Agency quoted the Chief Executive of Global Scansystems, which supplied the scanner as saying that one year after the installation of the equipment, its utilization remains below 5%.

    Mr Fred Udechukwu said the reason was the lack of shipping using the port, which he blamed on a lack of dredging. Until the Federal Government agrees to dredging the port of Calabar its shipping activities will remain low, he warned. He said the company handled 20 Goods Declaration Forms (SGD) a month and the company had been forced to service a bank loan to pay salaries and buy diesel fuel to power its generators.

    Trade News: Maersk Logistics’ SupplyChain HealthCheck™ assists companies in releasing cash from their supply chain

    Cape Town, South Africa – 8 July, 2009: Maersk Logistics, a leading provider of global supply chain management solutions, says it recognises that in this current time of economic and financial challenges, even healthy companies are forced to change strategy in order to weather the storm.

    Maersk Logistics provides responsive supply chain solutions customised for integrated supply chains, warehousing and distribution, or multi-mode transport needs.

    Considering international supply chains tie up significant amounts of cash, - and logistics typically accounts for up to 8-10% of the cost of sales, supply chain optimisation deserves a closer look during these times, the company says in a statement.

    “By challenging how products are flown through the supply chain as well as how costs accumulate from factory gate to store door, Maersk Logistics has consistently enabled our clients to take out significant costs in supply chains while maintaining or even improving service levels towards their customers,” says Peter Smidt-Nielsen, Vice President and Global Head of Maersk Logistics.

    The SupplyChain HealthCheck™ is Maersk Logistics’ proven, fact-based and practical approach to supply chain design and optimisation. The service offers practical and implementable solutions such as:

  • Reduction of working capital and costs through the optimisation of order patterns against the strategic objectives and service versus cost considerations

  • Improvement of container utilisation and consolidation opportunities that most appropriately fit the sourcing patterns

  • Mitigation of supply chain risks, by addressing the financial and security aspects of your supply chain

    Further details are available at www.maersklogistics.com

    Navy news – US Navy destroyer Arleigh Burke to arrive Durban next week; SA Navy sails into Knysna

    In keeping with a long-held tradition, three little ships of the South African Navy this week paid Knysna a visit to help commemorate the annual Knysna Oyster Festival.

    The three ships visiting the former harbour are the mine warfare vessels SAS UMKOMAAS, SAS UMZIMKULU and the patrol craft SAS TERN, which were escorted through the Knysna Heads by units of the National Sea Rescue Institute during the course of Tuesday (7 July).

    Their arrival was delayed by a day owing to a technical problem with one of the ships, thought to be SAS UMKOMAAS which arrived after the others during the late afternoon.

    Also in the town was the Navy Band to give performances for tourists and locals attending the popular festival. The navy also took part in a street parade through the streets of Knysna.

    The navy’s presence in Knysna honours a promise made in the 1950s when the little harbour ceased to be a commercial port, with the navy agreeing to continue calls for as long as possible.

    In Durban the US Navy destroyer USS ARLEIGH BURKE (DDG51) is expected to arrive in port on Monday, 13 July as reported earlier by PORTS & SHIPS. See these reports HERE and HERE

    The ship, the first in the class of missile destroyers will berth at M Shed which is a restricted area and will not, as far as is known, be open to the public.

    There is still no official announcement of the ship’s arrival in either Durban or in South African waters. PORTS & SHIPS believes the vessel will continue on to Cape Town or Simon’s Town after spending four or five days in Durban.

    Pic of the day – SMIT LOMBOK

    The offshore supply vessel SMIT LOMBOK (1727-gt, built 2006) arrived in Cape Town recently prior to taking up her position at Mossel Bay as one of the service vessels attending PetroSA’s offshore interests along the southern Cape coast. The ship is on a three year contract with two years of options to provide support services to the oil company. Picture courtesy SMIT Amandla Marine

    See related article HERE

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