Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 6, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – LUFAFA

  • Transnet says it is not to blame for airport fuel shortage

  • Nacala port and rail company appoints new chairman

  • Dar es Salaam container terminal strike ends

  • News from the shipping lines – it’s rate increase time

  • Dubai World cuts back in Africa

  • Trade news – NFS Industrial delivers three Konecranes reach stackers to Namport

  • Pic of the day – MOL DEVOTION


    First View – LUFAFA

    Transnet National Ports Authority’s latest pilot boats LUFAFA and JOJOSI arrived by sea in Durban yesterday afternoon to take up duty in the country’s busiest port. The two 115-ton boats will enter service as standy vessels for whenever the marine pilot helicopter is unavailable. The pilot boat TSITSIKAMA that has been been doing duty in the interim will now return to Port Elizabeth.

    The new 115-ton pilot boats were designed by the Durban-based naval architect firm of Naval Africa (Pieter Volschenk) and were built at the Cape Town V Craft shipyard.

    For more details of these new harbour craft see our news report in Ports & Ships of 20 July 2009, available by clicking HERE.
    This picture of the LUFAFA undergoing trials in Cape Town is by Ian Shiffman

    Transnet says it is not to blame for airport fuel shortage

    Johannesburg – Transnet has denied reports that it is responsible for a shortage of aviation fuel delivered to Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA).

    “The issues behind the shortage are part of a process between an inland refinery and ORTIA and Transnet Pipelines (TPL) is, therefore, in no way responsible for any of these supply issues,” Transnet said in a statement.

    However, the company acknowledged that Transnet Freight Rail (TFR)’s service from the coast had been temporarily interrupted in recent weeks due to some operational issues which it says have been subsequently addressed. The rail service of fuel is now normalised and TFR is delivering fuel to weekly orders, according to Transnet.

    The company adds that its petroleum and gas pipeline division, TPL has been operating as normal with no problems on the pipeline system and with orders delivered as placed. There had been a temporary shutdown of the pipeline between a Sasolburg refinery and the airport on Monday (3 July) because of a lack of supply from the refinery, which is owned jointly by Sasol and Total. This was a planned shutdown to allow a stock buildup at the refinery.

    “Transnet is a freight transport company, not a fuel producer; we don’t own product. If there’s product, we will move it. We have sufficient infrastructure capacity to meet demand to move what is supplied to us.”

    TPL had begun injecting 9 million litres of jet fuel into the Durban-Johannesburg Pipeline which is due for delivery at the airport within seven days.

    The statement followed a number of reports of a tight fuel supplybeing experienced by airlines at the OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA), and so-called delivery problems by Transnet Limited including a supposed temporary shutdown of the fuel pipeline and a “multi-product pipeline”. Airlines were asked to cut back on fuel intake in the supply network in South Africa.

    Meanwhile, Chris Bathembu of BuaNews reports that Energy Minister Dupio Peters is to meet with other role-players in the fuel industry today (Thursday) to discuss the shortage of jet fuel at the OR Tambo international Airport.

    The minister will be joined by representatives from Transnet Pipelines, South African Petroleum Industry Association, the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) and various oil companies.

    An Airports company ACSA spokesman, Solomon Makgale, claimed the shortage was a result of interruptions in the supply network in South Africa. He said media reports claiming that the airport may run out of fuel in two days were “untrue”, although he confirmed that airlines had been asked to reduce their intake by 30 percent.

    Makgale told BuaNews that there was no need to panic but a subsequent statement from the airports company indicated that should the situation not improve, rationing of fuel intake could be made compulsory.

    ACSA further advised passengers not to panic or change their travel plans in the wake of feared low fuel levels at the OR Tambo International Airport.

    In Durban the Sapref refinery (BP and Shell) began a planned maintenance shutdown on 31 July but the refinery has given assurances that this will not lead to fuel shortages in South Africa. In a statement the company said the shutdown was scheduled to last two months but an integral part of the forward planning was to ensure the uninterrupted supply of fuel and other products.

    PetroSA is also due to begin a programmed shutdown for maintenance of its gas-to-liquid plant at Mossel Bay.

    Nacala port and rail company appoints new chairman

    Nacala harbour tug SOLSKY

    Cesio Correia is the new chairman of the Northern Development Corridor (CDN), the consortium that owns the concession to manage and operate Nacala’s port and rail networks.

    Correia, chairman of the Insitec group of companies, takes over as CDN chairman from Alberto Chipande.

    Insitec has considerable interests in Mozambique, including a 19% stake in BCI, the country’s second largest commercial bank. The group also has interests in the construction of a hydro-electric project on the Zambezi River at Mepanda Nkuwa, and in other construction and property developments.

    In September last year the CDN concession was sold to Insitec and other Mozambican interests by its then foreign shareholders, the two US companies Railroad Development Corporation and Edlow Resources. This followed a period of mounting criticism from government and other local interests who complained of little progress having been achieved since the concession was awarded. See that report HERE

    With the current management the operation of the port and railway has now come under Mozambican control.

    The port of Nacala is situated in what is considered to be the deepest natural harbour in Africa and is connected by rail to Malawi in the west, providing that landlocked country with its only active rail link to the sea.

    Dar es Salaam container terminal strike ends

    Last week’s strike at the Dar es Salaam container terminal, operated by Tanzania International Terminal Services (TICTS) has been ended after management and workers reached agreement. See related Ports & Ships report HERE

    According to Tanzanian sources an allowance amounting to US $ 300,000 has been or will be paid to workers following meetings held to find a solution to the industrial action.

    In a statement issued after the agreement had been reached TICTS said that all containers that would have been handled during the two-day shifts had been taken care of by the end of last week. TICT Chief Executive Officer Neville Bissett gave an assurance that the company was just as committed to the welfare of its employees as it was to making improvements in its operations. – source The Citizen (Dar es Salaam) and own sources.

    News from the shipping lines – it’s rate increase time

    Maersk Line yesterday (Wednesday) confirmed earlier reports of rate increases on services to and from West Africa. According to Maersk trading conditions for the carriers operating in these markets are still subject to unacceptable rate levels and the situation is unsustainable in the longer term.

    “The rate increases are necessary to continue to operate our services with the high level of reliability our customers have come to expect from Maersk Line.”

    Rates increases are:

    India and Sri Lanka to West Africa

    US$250 per TEU effective 1 September 2009, applicable to all dry & reefer cargo and commodities.

    Asia - West Africa Trade Agreement (AWATA)

    Far East to/from West Africa: US$250 per TEU effective 15 August 2009.
    Middle East (UAE, Oman, Qatar, Iran, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen) & South Asia (Pakistan, Bangladesh) to West Africa: US$250 per TEU effective 1 September 2009.

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

    Safmarine Container Lines, a member of the AP Moller-Maersk Group, says it intends withdrawing from the transpacific trade at the end of June 2010, on account of weak demand.

    The shipping line said in a letter to customers that the move had been made necessary due to expectations that the poor market conditions on the transpacific trade routes would continue. Because of its small size in that market which made it difficult to be profitable, Safmarine had decided to withdraw.

    The company would however honour all existing contracts and will assist customers with finding replacement carriers.

    Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is the latest shipping line to announce rate increases on its Atlantic and Pacific routes with effect from September and October. The rate hikes range from between US$120 per TEU to $500 per FEU on different services.

    MSC also announced rate increase on its East Coast South America to northern Europe and the Mediterranean services of $175 per TEU or $350 per FEU for both dry and reefer boxes.

    Dubai World cuts back in Africa

    Dubai World says it intends cutting back on most of its planned African projects because of the global downturn and credit crunch.

    In a statement issued yesterday Dubai World said it has put on hold a number of projects until the market improved. Most of these projects are in the tourism field.

    The about turn comes just months after the group said it expected double-digit growth from the emerging market of Africa. Back then, in May, the company was expecting to invest more than US$1.5 billion on the continent over the next five years. Three of these projects were to be in South Africa, with others in Rwanda and Ethiopia.

    The group’s real estate division, Nakheel, has also cut back on a number of planned projects, including the proposed Nakheel Harbour and Tower development for Dubai.

    Nakheel is the company responsible for wanting to move the passenger liner Queen Elizabeth 2 from Dubai to Cape Town for an eighteen month period.

    Trade news – NFS Industrial delivers three Konecranes reach stackers to Namport

    Cape Town-based NFS Industrial recently delivered three new Reach Stackers to Namibia Port Authorities (Namport) at its Walvis Bay and Luderitz ports. With the latest delivery Namport now operates 11 Konecranes Reach Stackers – nine in the Walvis Bay port and two in Luderitz.

    The Namibian ports industry has shown a significant growth in containerisation, increasing its demand for reliable, cost effective container handling equipment. This demand was further fuelled by it objective to becoming a gateway to Southern Africa via its west coast ports.

    Anton van Rhyn (Technical Services Manager-Namport) says the Konecranes Reach Stacker came out tops in their evaluation process. “It is an excellent, trusted product; with good product support and low lifecycle costs.”

    The evaluation for the new equipment was very detailed involving the assessment of a variety of manufacturers with a focus on quality, track-record, performance and ongoing service and support. NFS delivered three Konecranes 4531TB5 Reach Stackers which have the ability to stack laden containers of 45 tonnes five high in the first row, 31t four high in the second row and 16t three high in the third row. The Konecranes Reach Stacker boasts fast moves, with high efficiency.

    The load-sensing hydraulic system adapts the lifting power to the weight of the goods. Less power is needed for lifting at the same time and more power is available to move the truck, resulting in lower fuel consumption and less wear.

    Alistair Chalmers (NFS Group Managing Director) says that NFS have enjoyed a strong relationship with Namport.

    “Securing this business has further cemented an enduring and positive partnership for both businesses. This is really pleasing for NFS as we look to build our partnership further and play a bigger part in supporting the expansion of the ports of Walvis Bay and Luderitz.” – source Cape Business News

    Pic of the day – MOL DEVOTION

    The container ship MOL DEVOTION in Cape Town harbour earlier this month. Picture 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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