Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 17, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – MOHAVE MAIDEN

  • Mozambique raises money to begin dredging port of Beira

  • UNCTAD tells Africa to pull together

  • Productivity achievement for Walvis Bay Container Terminal

  • Trade news – TPT backs local supplier for trailer design

  • News from the shipping lines – MSC announces rate restoration on SA services

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Pic of the day – FUJI BAY


    First View – MOHAVE MAIDEN

    The American bulk carrier MOHAVE MAIDEN (17,056-gt, built 1984) called at Cape Town last Friday, 14 August. The ship which is flagged in the Phillipines was en route to Durban where she was due to berth at Maydon Wharf 5 on either Sunday or Monday. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    Mozambique raises money to begin dredging port of Beira

    The Mozambique government and state-owned transport company CFM have made approximately US$20 million available for the dredging of the port of Beira, ahead of the anticipated start of railing export coal to that port from the coal mines at Moatize.

    Tenders for the dredging have already been advertised and contracts could be issued within months, according to a government spokesman. The money has been made available by the Mozambique government and CFM, the country’s national port and rail transport company.

    Once dredging is completed the port should be able of handling ships up to 30,000-dwt with further dredging contracts expected in the future to both maintain the port approaches and possibly to deepen the channels even further. Until recently the only dredging that has taken place was performed by the parastatal dredging company Emodraga (Mozambican Dredging Company) which undertook maintenance dredging of the harbour entrance channels.

    UNCTAD tells Africa to pull together

    The global economic crisis makes it even more imperative for African countries to promote greater trade and investment with each other, argues the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

    Better regional integration has long been a goal of African leaders, notes UNCTAD’s report Economic Development in Africa 2009, released in late June, but the difficulties now confronting the continent add greater urgency to efforts to forge more links among African economies themselves.

    Currently, only 9 percent of African countries’ external trade is with other African states and just 13 percent of inflows of foreign direct investment come from Africa, the lowest shares of regional trade and investment in the world. But there is enormous potential to increase such intra-African relations, says the report, which is sub-titled “Strengthening Regional Economic Integration for Africa’s Development”.

    One of the greatest hindrances to improved trade among African countries is the poor state of the continent’s roads, railways, telecommunications and other physical infrastructure. An investment of US $ 32bn to improve the road network linking African countries could generate $ 250bn in trade over a period of 15 years, UNCTAD estimates.

    Besides generating more income, greater trade among African countries can have other development benefits, the report argues. Unlike Africa’s trade with Europe, Asia and other parts of the world, which is dominated by raw materials, trade within Africa is primarily in manufactured goods. Increasing intra-African trade can therefore help develop Africa’s manufacturing and promote greater diversification of its economies. Better transport and telecommunications and improved banking and insurance services across African borders can also strengthen investment among African countries.

    Africa, concludes the report, “needs to exploit opportunities within the continent which could help it achieve higher economic growth rates and development objectives”. - source UN Africa Renewal

    Productivity achievement for Walvis Bay Container Terminal

    The Port of Walvis Bay, a member of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, has reached its highest productivity level yet this year of 37.57 container moves per hour.

    This was achieved in terms of the number of containers handled from the vessel, MAERSK IZMIR on 9 August, which exceeded the targeted productivity level of moves per hour. Six hundred and eighty seven containers were handled while the vessel had more than 983 (Twenty Foot Equivalent Units) TEU’s onboard. The turnaround time for this specific ship was within 18 hours.

    The Port of Walvis Bay has invested steadily in the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment such as mobile cranes. This has enabled the port to align itself with international standards in terms of providing a world-class service not only to importers and exporters, but also to shipping lines ensuring that high productivity levels increasingly attracts more shipping lines to call at the Port of Walvis Bay.

    This continuous improvement levels efficiency is part of Namport’s strategic drive to increase the number of shipping lines at the Port of Walvis Bay and hence reduce the unit cost for seafreight and total logistics costs which will eventually reduce the cost of doing business in Namibia and the rest of the SADC region. This is imperative, especially for importers and exporters which are being served in SADC countries through the various Walvis Bay Corridors, said a spokesman for the Walvis Bay Corridor Group.

    “The ever increasing cargo volumes at the Port of Walvis Bay and along the Walvis Bay Corridors has led the port to continuously find ways to further improve productivity to exceed the customer service level requirements, as expected from a world class port, in handling container vessels.”

    The spokesman said that the Port of Walvis Bay envisages that with its port expansion programme which will commence in mid 2010, that there will be a further increase in efficiencies as new equipment such as Ship-to-Shore Gantry cranes (STS) will be acquired which will allow the handling of bigger vessels with a quicker turnaround.

    Trade news – TPT backs local supplier for trailer design

    With the support of Transnet Port Terminals (TPT), a local South African manufacturer has designed a trailer that will make it safer and easier to move containers from ship to shore. The mammoth delivery of a multimillion rand consignment of 66 new ‘cornerless bathtub’ trailers designed and manufactured by Pretoria-based Afrit, has brought to a close months of intensive market research, supplier scouting and short-listing in a collaborative effort between representatives of TPT’s procurement and technical teams.

    The trailers will not only streamline operations and speed up container turnaround times, but also provide a far safer method of moving containers from ship to shore. Sixty trailers have been delivered to Cape Town container terminal as part of the facility’s R4.2 billion capacity creation project while six were delivered to Pier 1 container terminal in Durban.

    Intensive Research

    According to Ernest Bell, Commercial Specialist in TPT’s Procurement Department, the size of the order meant that it was critical for TPT to work with the actual manufacturer, rather than a third party who would be unable to provide adequate after-sales service and maintenance to meet TPT’s stringent requirements.

    Afrit was shortlisted after a nationwide search and eventually scooped the contract due to its competitive pricing and a significantly shorter delivery time frame of just four months, backed by a sound track record.

    The new Afrit trailers offer a simple but effective change in design - they do not have the closed corners of traditional trailers which made it difficult to load containers directly onto trailer vehicles and access the corner cone fasteners.

    “Containers stacked on a vessel have twist lock cones at each corner to secure them while in stack. In the past this meant we could not load the container directly from a vessel onto the old trailers until the twist lock cones were physically removed from the container. The container would have to stay suspended at least two metres in the air for a long period of time so the cones could be physically removed,” said Harry Dickinson, Project Manager at TPT.

    With the Afrit-designed bathtub trailers, the sides are raised and curved inwards to enable the crane operator to lower the container on to the trailer, where it will locate itself without the operator having to conduct a series of manoeuvres. This saves time in the loading procedure. The new rounded design is already in use at major European ports.

    The trailers are of heavy duty construction with a capacity of 65 tons to carry two six metre containers with a combined weight of 60 tons or one fully laden 12 metre container. The axles are supplied by Henred and are 40 ton walking beam design with heavy duty leaf springs. Solid puncture tyres are fitted which have minimal deflection under impact loading and also provide Transnet with a large cost saving by way of lowered tyre replacement and puncture repairs.

    “Equipment like this would usually have to be imported from the country that had perfected this unique design. Working with a local supplier throughout this process meant that the end result was beyond all expectations,” Dickinson said.

    A prototype was initially provided for testing in operations before the final design was approved.

    News from the shipping lines – MSC introduces rate restoration on SA services

    Calling it a matter of survival, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is leading the way among container carriers by introducing a rate restoration on its major container services to South Africa.

    “Shipping remains in a very bad way, all the lines are equally affected and have lost millions since September and October last year,” said Captain Salvatore Sarno, MSC chairman in South Africa. “Since then nothing has gone down in price, there have been increases in just about every service and commodity, except for the cost of shipping a container. This has actually decreased this year. On top of this, container volumes have decreased by an average of 20% on the South Africa services.”

    According to Sarno shipping lines have been losing between one and two million dollars each voyage and it has become a question of survival. Rate restorations have begun taking place on the major east/west services and he said it was inevitable for it to happen here with the north/south service between northern Europe and South Africa, and also on MSC’s Cheetah service between the Far East and South Africa.

    As a result MSC is implementing a rate restoration of US$200 per TEU ($400 per 40ft) with effect from the northbound voyage of MSC ELA, sailing from Durban on 18 September (voyage 01R), and the southbound voyage of MSC INDEPENDENCE from Antwerp on the same date (voyage 05A).

    MSC LISBON        picture by Ian Shiffman

    German container carrier Hapag-Lloyd is reporting a loss of US$274.3 million in the second quarter of 2009 compared with a profit of $164m for the same period last year. This follows a quarterly loss in revenue of 26% to $1.57 billion while freight rates dropped 25% compared with the second quarter of 2008. For the six months of this year freight rates show a decrease of 20% compared with 2008. First half revenue is down one billion dollars from $4.14Bn last year. The cumulative loss for the first half of 2009 amounts to $627.1 million, compared with a profit of $190m in 2008.

    Meanwhile parent company TUI, Germany and Europe’s largest travel company has reported increased losses during the second quarter as a result of the cost of making loans to Hapag-Lloyd.

    Another shipping line to report losses for the first half of 2009 is Chilean shipping line CSAV, which posted a loss of US$412.6 million for the period.

    The company cited lower volumes and reduced freight rates as the reason for the poor returns. Revenue for the half-year was down 36.7% to $1.54m. The company said it was hoping to raise fresh capital in order to remain afloat and has sold its 26.77% stake in the port services company Agunsa which raised $36.8 million. A further $145 was raised in July as new equity from current shareholders.

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    Uganda has suspended operations of its last remaining state-owned lake ship in service, MV KALANGALA, built 2005. According to reports the suspension may be only temporary but was necessitated by an expired insurance. Kalangala operates between the Nakiwogo Landing Site in Entebbe to Lutoboka, Ssese Islands. – Daily Monitor

    The Indigenous Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN) says it intends intensifying action against foreign vessel operating illegally in Nigerian waters. “Today we have the influx of foreign vessels and there is the need to stop it. The cabotage enforcement must now wake up,” said Isaac Jolapamo, president of ISAN. He said foreign vessels, especially those of Greek origin, were threatening the existence of Nigerian shipping companies. In the past two weeks two ships, the MAKHAMBET and the LOVELL SEA have been arrested for contravening Nigeria’s cabotage act. - Daily Independent.

    Mystery continues to surround the disappearance of the ARCTIC SEA (3,988-gt, built 1992) which disappeared after sailing from the Baltic with a cargo of timber. The ship was recorded in the English Channel and later off the Portuguese coast, with the latest unconfirmed report saying that a ship of her description has been seen in the vicinity of the Cape Verde islands. On Saturday Finnish police said the owners had received a ransom message. However there is mounting doubt whether piracy is involved.

    Pics of the day – FUJI BAY

    The Liberian-registered reefer vessel FUJI BAY (11,540-gt, built 1990) in Cape Town harbour this past weekend. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

    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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