Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 5, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • New vehicle sales continue downward trend

  • Kenya Ports Authority scraps scanning charges

  • Nigeria to commence dredging of Niger River

  • Piracy report - Spanish fishing vessel seized

  • Request for help - anyone know what happened to ZANSHIP?

  • News clips - Keeping it brief

  • MOL provides the ocean transport of mobile library vehicles to South Africa

  • Pics of the day - JUMBO VISION



    The reasearch vessel PROFESSOR KHROMOV (1764-gt, built 1983) in Lyttelton harbour, New Zealand. The Russian ship, although still owned and managed by Far Eastern Research of Vladivostok and flying the Russian flag, has since been renamed SPIRIT OF ENDERBY ¨C about as un-Russian a name as is possible. Picture by Alan Calvert

    New vehicle sales continue downward trend

    Pretoria (BuaNews), 4 October - New vehicle sales for September continued its downward trend, reflecting a decline of 22.4 percent compared to the same time last year.

    "Vehicle sales for September came in at 31,726 units reflecting a decline of 9,132 vehicles or 22.4% compared to the 40,858 units sold during the corresponding month last year," the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) announced, on Friday.

    Out of a total of industry sales of 31,726 vehicles reported by Naamsa, 77% or 24,420 units represented dealer/retail sales, 13.6% of sales represented the car rental industry, 5.7% were sales to Government and 3.7% of sales went into auto industry corporate fleets.

    New light commercial vehicles, bakkies (LDVs) and minibus sales were at 9,867 units during September 2009, reflecting a decline of 2,770 vehicles or 21.9% compared to the 12,637 units of September 2008.

    Sale of vehicles in the medium and heavy truck segments of the industry had also registered falls in September 2009.

    "Sales of medium commercials at 551 units and sales of heavy commercials at 1,042 units had registered a fall of 307 units or 35.8% in the case of medium commercials, and 987 units or 48.6%, in the case of heavy and extra heavy trucks and buses compared to the same month last year."

    Continued weakness in medium and heavy truck sales reflected ongoing lower investment spending in the economy, said Naamsa.

    Turning to exports, the impact of the global financial meltdown was felt in September with aggregate industry export sales at 13,974 vehicles. This reflected a decline of 13,595 vehicles or a fall of 49.3% compared to the 27,569 vehicles exported in September 2008.

    "No significant improvement in export sales was anticipated in the short to medium term. It was clear that until the domestic recession subsided and an economic recovery gained some traction, it would continue to be difficult for a sustainable rebound to develop in the South African automotive market," Naamsa said.

    The domestic operating environment would remain difficult in the short to medium term and any improvement would depend on a revival in consumer spending and lower interest rates.

    Any improvement in vehicle exports would depend on a recovery in global economic conditions and higher levels of confidence in international financial markets, said Naamsa.

    Kenya Ports Authority scraps scanning charges

    Port of Mombasa

    Kenya Ports Authority has announced the immediate ending of scanning charges for containers through the port of Mombasa.

    The scrapping took effect on 1 October along with several minor tariff adjustments which James Mulewa, KPA managing director said was being made to keep abreast of developments in the maritime industry.

    These adjustments include the scrapping of charges for scanning, verification, inspection and associated stripping or stuffing of containers.

    Mulewa also announced that the free storage period for containers will now be five days while containers in transit get a free stay of 11 days.

    Licence fees for private mooring, buoys and jetties has been reduced from US$500 to $200 per annum. - source The Nation

    Nigeria to commence dredging of Niger River

    The news that the River Niger is to be dredged to enable the navigation of small ships will be welcomed after having remained on the country's drawing boards since 1960, reports the Daily Trust.

    According to Transport Minister Alhaji Ibrahim Isa Bio, the river will be dredged between Warri in Delta state to Baro in Niger state, with the initial dredging scheduled for completion by the end of 2009 and a further two years of maintenance dredging already approved.

    The extent of the dredging programme aims at helping decongest the ports in Lagos and Port Harcourt while also reducing pressure on Nigeria's road system throughout the region which is already in disrepair and under severe pressure from high traffic volumes. The dredging will span eight states - Niger, Kogi, Anambra, Imo, Edo, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa, with river ports being provided at Lokoja, Oguta lake, Degema, Onitsha, Owerrinta jetty, Ndoni Jetty, Idah, Baro, Ondo waterways and Idogo.

    In addition to the construction of the river ports, the report says that some navigation channels including those of Lokoja in Kogi to Makurdi in Benue to Ibbi in Taraba, and Yola in Adamawa states are to be opened up while a navigation channel will be opened from Baro to Jebba in Niger state to Yelwa in Kebbi state. Another will be opened from Wuya in Niger state to Kaduna and other water channels in the country will also undergo maintenance dredging to make them navigable to larger vessels.

    The newspaper commends the Federal Government on its decision but says it hopes that the 'monster called corruption' will not stall the execution of this important project on schedule. - source Daily Trust

    Piracy report - Spanish fishing vessel seized

    A photograph released by the Spanish Ministry of Defence shows the ALAKRANA which was captured by pirates on Friday, with what is believed to be one of the pirates highlighted in the inset.

    Spanish Radio station La Ser reports that a Spanish-owned fishing boat, the ALAKRANA has been highjacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean.

    The report says the fishing vessel operates out of the Basque Country in northern Spain with a crew of 36 on board. The crew is made up of 15 Spaniards, eight Indonesians, four Ghanaians, three Senegalese, two Ivorians, two from Madagascar and two from Seychelles.

    The ship was apparently operating in the waters between Somalia and the Seychelles and when seized was some 400 n.miles from the Somali coast. The Spanish Ministry of Defence said the attack took place far removed from the area protected by Spanish navy ships on patrol with other naval forces. It said a coordination committee had been established to work out a rescue plan for the ship and its crew and a Spanish warship, the CANARIAS was en route to the scene and was expected to be in contact with the captured vessel during Sunday (4 October).

    Spanish trawler owners have since ordered 17 ships of their tuna fleet to depart from Somali waters.

    Request for help - anyone know what happened to ZANSHIP?

    A reader from Germany is researching old German harbour ferries and is hoping someone who also reads PORTS & SHIPS will have some knowledge to share of the former Hamburg harbour ferry ALSTERDORF, which was later renamed Le Plaisir (suggesting a French link) or ZANSHIP.

    During the latter period the ferry was in use between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, which is why he is hoping that our readers may be able to shed some light on what happened to the little vessel. He describes her as being ˇ°pre-catamaran-timeˇ±.

    Details are carried on the website http://www.elbdampfer-hamburg.de/lebenslaeufe-hadag-typschiffe/lebenslauf-alsterdorf.html which he says is unfortunately only in German. A warning though, to access the site you have to solve a silly arithmetical problem first which is designed to prevent spam but may also irritate readers from wanting to go there.

    Apart from that does any reader know anything of this former Tanzanian ferry?

    News clips - Keeping it brief

    MSC CATANIA alongside the Ngqura Container Terminal on Sunday, 4 October 2009

    According to Transnet Port Terminals the new port of Ngqura was inaugurated successfully yesterday (Sunday) with the arrival of the container ship MSC CATANIA, which had earlier been delayed by adverse weather in Durban. Three gangs of operators were on hand to handle the ship's cargo which was originally scheduled for Port Elizabeth.

    According to other sources there were a total of 300 containers to be discharged and loaded on and off the ship, which TPT said was expected to take between eight and 12 hours.

    The full press release of this event can be seen on the special TPT news page carried on PORTS & SHIPS HERE


    The Harbour Master of Cape Town has advised that the FPSO BARGE ESCRAVOS is scheduled to dock in Cape Town harbour today (Monday, 5 October), weather permitting. Shipping delays will be kept to a minimum, the statement says.


    The Dutch-based shipping company RMR Shipping has introduced a new Ro-Ro service between Dublin in Ireland and Tin Can Island in Nigeria. Although Lagos is given as the primary port of call in West Africa, additional calls at Monrovia will be possible.


    Workers at the Grindrod Coal Terminal at Matola near Maputo in Mozambique have returned to work after going on strike on 24 September. This followed mediation by the provincial Labour Directorate, which resulted in Grindrod being given 60 days to resolve the workers' complaints. According to the trade union Rui Saveca the dispute resolves around disparity in wage issues, a lack of career opportunities and a lack of transparency on certain issues.

    MOL provides the ocean transport of mobile library vehicles to South Africa

    MOSEL ACE in Durban - Picture Terry Hutson

    Tokyo, 2 October Mitsui OSK Lines, Ltd (MOL) today announced that MOL attended the departure ceremony for the South Africa Mobile Library Vehicle Project, which MOL supports with ocean shipping, held on 1 October 2009, at Tokyo's Harumi Pier.

    The ceremony was hosted by NPO Sapesi-Japan (South Africa Primary Education Support Initiative), which jointly operates the project with the South African Ministry of Education. Gert J Grobler, the Ambassador of South Africa in Japan, attended the ceremony as the guest of honour, along with MOL and the Society for Promotion of Japanese Diplomacy as special supporters to the project.

    The project is part of the South African Ministry of Education's push to raise literacy levels within the country. Retired library vehicles given to the project are transported to South Africa, where they go around to the elementary and middle schools with no libraries, which dot the nation, and lend books to teachers and students.

    The MOL Group uses its ocean shipping resources to supply all manner of commodities to people around the world, thereby supporting their living standards and helping boost their industries. The company says it believes its transport of critical materials is an important part of its Corporate Social Responsibility activities. Through ocean shipping, MOL continues to cooperate with this project, which helps educate the children upon whose shoulders the future of South Africa rests.

    MOL has cooperated in the ocean transport to South Africa of 21 mobile library vehicles since 1995.

    This time, in the celebration of the 12 library vehicles loaded aboard the MOSEL ACE (and one other car carrier), bound for Durban, Sapesi-Japan hosted a departure ceremony. The Mosel Ace will depart the Port of Yokohama on 7 October and is scheduled to arrive in Durban in early November. - source MOL media release

    Pics of the day ¨CJUMBO VISION

    It is always a little surprising to discover that South Africa has felt obliged to order harbour cranes from overseas suppliers when the country already has a proud record of manufacturing similar equipment locally. One such example was this ship-unloader that was manufactured and assembled on site at DurbanˇŻs Bayhead, with a co-operative effort between Gauteng and local companies. The ship-unloader was not the first to have been built here for Canadian interests. The ship carrying this interesting cargo is the Dutch heavylift JUMBO VISION (7,966-gt, built 2000), the photographs having been taken in April 2003 by Terry Hutson

    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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