Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 2, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – SVITZER CELESTE

  • Port Maputo establishes port user forum

  • Traders concerned at EAC failure to sign Economic Partnership Agreement with Europe

  • South Africa posts R0.4Bn trade surplus

  • Uganda June balance of payments shows a surplus

  • Kei Rail Project's safety permit renewed

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Pics of the day – MAERSK DUBROVNIK


    First View – SVITZER CELESTE

    The Svitzer tug SVITZER CELESTE which arrived in Durban harbour on Monday towing a new floating dock that will go into service at Southern African Shipyards. Picture by Trevor Jones

    Port Maputo establishes port user forum

    Port Maputo’s new management has established a monthly port user’s forum to optimise resources and ensure greater productivity with higher service levels, reports the Maputo Corridor Logistics Initiative (MCLI).

    Acting under the joint chairmanship of Jorge Ferraz and Ronnie Holtshausen, the initial forum was held in Maputo recently in which the huge potential of the port was highlighted, taking especially into context the historic throughputs of Port Maputo, its locality in relation to South Africa and other neighbouring countries, and that the port operates as a general purpose port rather than a specialised one.

    Ferraz and Holtshausen are joint acting chief executives following the resignation of the former CEO, Ron Herman.

    In their presentation to the forum they stated the importance of the port community working together to grow Port Maputo’s throughput over the next 20 years from a projected 8.7 million tonnes for 2010 to 48mt at an estimated Capex of US$750 million.

    Holtshausen advised that Maputo will be further dredged in the next financial year (April 2010) from the present 9.4 metres to an 11m depth, which will, with the tide, enable the port to handle Panamax vessels.

    Jorge Ferraz, chairman of MPDC and joint CEO      Picture by Terry Hutson

    Traders concerned at EAC failure to sign Economic Partnership Agreement with Europe

    The East African Community (EAC), which comprises Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, are currently trading ‘free’ with the European Union after negotiations for a comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) fell through and the interim agreement then in force expired.

    The establishment of EPA’s for about 80 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries are intended to replace the Cotonou Agreement that ended in December 2007 and has since been outlawed by the World Trade Organisation. Since then however attempts to find binding agreement among the various trade blocs in many of the affected regions has stumbled more times than perhaps the WTO and the European Union foresaw.

    Several trading blocs or members from such blocs have refused to sign the EPA saying that it prejudices non-European countries. South Africa and Namibia feature among those that have declined to sign the agreement.

    The latest deadline for countries to have entered into binding agreements with the EU came and went on 31 July, leaving a significant number of countries in Africa theoretically unable to trade with the European Community.

    According to Kenya’s Trade Minister, Amos Kimunya, the EAC is unlikely to sign the agreement in the near future while there are outstanding issues involving the new European Commission, which only takes office in November, and a new European Parliament. He said the EAC could not act until these bodies had settled in.

    Kimunya said that East African exporters should not panic or worry because negotiations were still ongoing and no change to the existing status quo was likely until formal decisions had been taken.

    It is believed that the EAC wants a number of issues reconsidered, which will involve further talks before any signatures can be affixed to a binding agreement.

    There is strong concern in African circles, including in South Africa, that the proposed EPA’s are weighted in favour of the European Community. If various African trading blocs or individual member states refuse to sign they run the risk of reverting to less generous market access terms under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), with a number of commodities being exported now duty free attracting duties of between 8.5 and 15.7 percent. – source East African

    South Africa posts R0.4Bn trade surplus

    Pretoria, 1 September 2009 (BuaNews) - South Africa posted a record trade surplus of R0.4 billion in July, the South African Revenue Services (SARS) announced on Monday.

    The third consecutive surplus since May has been attributed to an increase in exports of 3.31 percent and an increase in imports of 10.54 percent.

    “Exports of R44.4 billion and imports of R44 billion accounted for the R0.4 billion surplus,” said SARS.

    It further said that between 2004 and 2008 there had never been three consecutive surpluses. “There were two consecutive surpluses in 2004 and three surpluses in 2005 during April; June and December,” said SARS.

    The June to July change in imports reflected increases in mineral products, vehicles, vessels and aircrafts as well as original equipment components, while the change in exports reflected increases in mineral products, base metals and articles thereof, machinery and electrical appliances as well as vehicles, aircraft and vessels.

    From January to July 2009 the progressive deficit comes to R17.4 billion which was attributed mainly to the deficit in January of R17.5 billion. The progressive deficit from January to July last year was R48.09 billion.

    Uganda June balance of payments shows a surplus

    Uganda recorded an encouraging surplus in its balance of payments during June of US$19 million, compared with a deficit in excess of $100m for the same period of 2008, Uganda’s central bank has announced.

    The Bank of Uganda said however that it expects the balance of payments for the period 2009/10 will show a deficit of $134.77m after a $21.84m deficit the previous year.

    “The economy continued registering a trade surplus in June 2009, driven largely by robust performance in the informal cross border trade,” the bank’s monthly report stated. During the month exports increased almost 50 percent in June to $333.29m, with much of the informal cross border trade consisting of industrial products. Imports during this period decreased 5.3 percent to $314.28 million.

    In an unrelated report, it is being claimed that Uganda’s recently discovered oil deposits have reached two billion barrels and may exceed six million barrels as exploration expands. So far 34 wells have been drilled, with 32 striking oil and/or gas. If the projections prove correct Uganda could become one of Africa’s top producers, exceeding Sudan which is currently the continent’s third largest producer after Angola and Nigeria.

    Kei Rail Project's safety permit renewed

    Railing of timber through the rolling hills of the former Transkei to the harbour at East London is one of the scenarios for Kei Rail

    by Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

    Bhisho, 1 September 2009 (BuaNews) - The Rail Safety Regulator has renewed he safety permit for the Kei Rail Project's line from Mthatha to AmaBhele for three years.

    It had awarded a one-year permit on March 2008, which is now extended to 2012.

    “This means that the regulator was impressed with our safety standards and how we execute them,” said Eastern Cape MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison, Ghishma Barry on Monday.

    She said it was a major achievement for the Kei Rail Project. “It means that Kei Rail offers a safe, affordable and reliable public transport service.”

    The MEC said their success could be attributed to the Kei Rail Safety Strategy, which aims to increase safety on the railway, increase the amount of effective safety communication to customers and staff, create a safety culture amongst stakeholders and ensure adherence to the technical and operational requirements in terms of the National Railway Safety Regulator Act 16 of 2002.

    Editor’s Note: Kei Rail currently operates a passenger service between AmaBhele (the junction for East London) and Mthatha. The intention is to introduce a freight service which could ultimately carry export cargo (timber, logs, etc) from what was formerly known as the Transkei to the port of East London. Motive power for the service is provided on contract to the Eastern Cape Provincial Government Department of Transport by Sheltam Rail.

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    Egypt has introduced two high speed Austal-built ferries which will operate between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Austal has been awarded a three-year technical management and maintenance contract for the two 88-metre catamarans. Each vessel will operate six return trips a week between Safaga in Egypt and Dibba in Saudi Arabia, a distance of about 100 n.miles. The service is popular with pilgrims travelling to Mecca as well as business people and workers. The catamarans convey motor vehicles in addition to passengers.

    The Moma titanium mineral mine in Mozambique is ‘virtually complete’ and is on target for full production by the end of this year, says the chairman of Ireland-based Kenmare Resources, which is developing and owns the mining operation. The mine is expected to produce 800,000 tonnes of ilmenite, 21,000t of rutile and 56,000t of zircon by the time it reaches full production. Exports will be handled through the offshore transhipment facility at Moma, and Kenmare says it has acquired a second transhipment vessel and tug to handle the increased output. Until now the mine has managed with one transshipment vessel, the BRONAGH J (4,054-gt, built 2007).

    Note: Moma lies approximately 270km northeast of the river port of Quelimane and south of Angoche in central Mozambique.

    Pics of the day – MAERSK DUBROVNIK

    Two views of the impressive MAERSK DUBROVNIK (53,481-gt, built 2007) while the ship was in Cape Town last week. 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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