Ports & Ships Maritime News

Dec 15, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – MARY ARCTICA

  • RBCT Phase V expansion gets the nod – new entrants will be exporting early in 2010

  • Transnet Freight Rail’s non-performance delays entrance of black coal exporters - RBCT

  • Concargo awarded Sishen South Project requiring 63 truck loads

  • Grindrod introduces new board members

  • Chinese ports accounts for a quarter of all container traffic

  • Maputo’s MIPS achieves record container moves

  • Cape Town FPSO sailing postponed

  • Today’s recommended Read – Cruising in the Dominions

  • Pics of the day – MAERSK ASSERTER


    This News Bulletin is our final issue for 2009 as the news team will be taking a short break until early January. If there is any important breaking news we will make every effort to place this online but no newsletters will be emailed during this period. We hope however to continue with the important ship movement reports so do keep monitoring PORTS & SHIPS.

    During 2009 we have topped 32,000 monthly readers. We thank you for your support and encouragement and would like to use this opportunity to wish everyone a very enjoyable and blessed festive season and a happy and prosperous 2010.

    In conclusion a special note of thanks to those who have provided so generously of their photographs for sharing with readers and to others who have supplied news, leads and items of interest for publication. Please continue with this support, it is appreciated. Thank you.

    First View – MARY ARCTICA

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    It’s the time of year when many of the permanent expeditions on the Antarctic continent are being relieved or replenished and a steady stream of specialised ships have been departing from ports in South Africa, South America, Australia and New Zealand. South Africa’s SA AGULHAS sailed for the South African forward base on the ice shelf last week and at the weekend another vessel, the Danish container vessel MARY ARCTICA (10,308-gt, built 2005) of the Royal Arctic Line was in Cape Town apparently preparing also to sail for the deep south. Picture by Aad Noorland.

    RBCT Phase V expansion gets the nod – new entrants will be exporting early in 2010

    Richards Bay Coal Terminal expansion will catapult emerging coal exporters to the global stage

  • Technical commissioning will result in 81 million tons terminal capacity by end of the month

  • Rail constraints identified and bottlenecks to be unclogged

  • Worldwide Coal Carolina, Mmakau, Arm Coal, Tumelo and South Dunes Coal Terminal agreements are in the final stages of concluding agreements with RBCT

  • RBCT will be 30% black-owned when the terminal reaches a capacity of 91 million tons

  • Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    Raymond Chirwa, RBCT chief executive

    Phase V on track for technical commissioning

    Richards Bay Coal Terminal’s R1.2 billion Phase V expansion is to be rolled out from April next year using an existing terminal control computer system.

    Once completed, the increased capacity is expected to earn South Africa more than R6 billion in foreign exchange revenues. The terminal will increase throughput capacity from 76-million tons a year to 91-million tons a year, consolidating Richards Bay’s position as the single largest export coal terminal in the world.

    “RBCT has embarked on technically commissioning Phase V on an upgraded and existing computer system at the latest by the end of the first quarter of 2010,” said Raymond Chirwa, RBCT Chief Executive.

    This means the terminal capacity will be 81 million-tons by the end of this month, progressing towards 91 million-tons during the first quarter next year.

    “The Phase V project has delivered on everything except for the new Terminal Control System with which we have had challenges. We are working on systems integration, which admittedly is taking time,” Chirwa said.

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    Chirwa said that as promised in 2006, RBCT is even more committed to opening up global markets to black players in South Africa’s coal export industry. Nine million-tons per annum of expansion capacity has been offered to other shareholders, nine new players and commercial users with black economic empowerment priority. Mbokondo, Umcebo, Exxaro and South African Coal Mining Holdings (SACMH) have concluded agreements with RBCT and are ready to rail coal, while Worldwide Coal Carolina, Mmakau, Arm Coal, Tumelo and South Dunes Coal Terminal agreements are in the final stages.

    “It is my belief that the remaining agreements will be concluded before the end of December 2009 so that all new exporters will join the existing shareholders in exporting coal as early as January 2010. I commend the existing RBCT shareholders for walking the talk. They have curtailed their export capacity to the new entrants, a bold, magnanimous and commendable step that accentuates their commitment to the transformation agenda and the success of a workable venture,” says Chirwa.

    All new, approved Phase V users will be accommodated within the current terminal capacity until critical business challenges are met. By the end of this year the new entrants would have concluded their contracts in order to start exporting early next year.

    “In 2004, less than 1% of RBCT was black-owned. This will rise to more than 30% when the terminal reaches a capacity of 91-million tons. Transformation remains one of my key priorities at the helm of this organisation and I’m delighted with developments to date,” Chirwa says.

    Transnet Freight Rail’s non-performance delays entrance of black coal exporters - RBCT

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    Richards Bay Coal Terminal stockpiles

    The RBCT Phase V expansion programme has not progressed as expected due to Transnet Freight Rail’s (TFR) non-performance in meeting our rail capacity requirements, says RBCT CE, Raymond Chirwa.

    “This bottleneck has delayed the integration of black players into the system and has threatened our competitiveness, a situation we cannot permit. More than 80% of our coal exports land in Europe and the Indian sub-continent. Government, existing shareholders and ourselves are keen to ensure entrants share in these lucrative markets and become a part of the South African coal story,” he said yesterday.

    Chirwa said that for its part, TFR has admitted it has not delivered on its mandate but is now engaging with industry and drawing in additional technical resources in order to ramp up capacity.

    “We do realise that growing our coal exports requires a collaborative effort. RBCT and its shareholders are appreciative of TFR’s genuine efforts to finding a solution to the problem of limited throughput capacity while also fast-tracking the social agenda,” Chirwa says.

    Of key importance is clearing up bottlenecks and improving scheduling and efficiencies.

    “Coal is one of South Africa’s strategic selling points. At RBCT we are committed to maintaining this position and playing our part in meeting customer demand in all of our markets,” Chirwa said.

    Concargo awarded Sishen South Project requiring 63 truck loads

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    Concargo (www.concargo.com), Southern Africa’s leading expert in Supply Chain Management activities, in association with their strategic business partners, has been commissioned by its client, World Groupage Services (a sea freight and forwarding company), to handle the transportation of a Bucket Wheel Reclaimer and two Ore Stackers from Saldanha Port to a mine in Postmasburg over a total distance of approximately 850 km.

    The total shipment weighs in at 840 tons and measures 6200 cubic metres. Sixty-three trucks were required to transport the equipment of which 42 are Abnormal Out-of-Gauge loads, 4 of which are Superloads up to 9.54 meters wide. These had to be loaded onto a mix of 100 ton Lowbeds, Step decks and Extendable trailers. The balance of the load was made up of Tri-axles and Superlinks truck tractor articulated vehicles.

    The shipment arrived in the port of Saldanha in November from the Far East on a special charter vessel and has been the biggest project shipment ever handled by the Port.

    The Abnormal Load Project proved no small task as it is subject to the issuing of permits by the Department of Transport and Public Works. The loads have had to staggered in such a way to keep the disruption of general traffic flows to a minimum with provincial traffic escorts to ensure the safety of other road users.

    The most challenging part of the route has been Piekenierskloof Pass. Route surveys and traffic accommodation plans were carried out prior to the transportation of the larger loads, and in the case of the Superloads, which are currently underway, periodical closure of the roads have been necessary.

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    Grindrod introduces new board members

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    Alan Olivier, Grindrod CEO

    Durban, 14 December - Grindrod Limited, the JSE listed shipping and logistics group, today announced the appointment of three additional non-executive directors effective 15 December 2009. They are Mkhuseli Faku, Michael Hankinson and Sandile Zungu.

    In keeping with the recommendation of the King III Report, and international best practice, a majority of non executive directors on the Grindrod Limited board will be achieved by these appointments. In addition, the majority of non-executive directors will be independent.

    Mr Faku currently holds directorships on various ‘fuel and energy’ related institutional boards and is managing director of Calulo Investment Holdings. Grindrod, through its subsidiary Unicorn Shipping, has a joint venture business with Calulo, providing petrochemical coastal shipping and in port bunker deliveries. Calulo have a 15% share in Grindrod (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, a subsidiary of Grindrod Limited.

    Mr Hankinson, previous chief executive of Dunlop, is also the non-executive chairman of Spar group and a non executive director of Illovo Sugar.

    Mr Zungu has experience as director in various companies including his previous directorship with Barnard Jacobs Mellett Holdings, the listed financial services company.

    “We are pleased with the appointments and believe that the experience each of these individuals have in their respective fields will add significant value to the Grindrod board”, said Alan Olivier chief executive Grindrod Limited.

    Chinese ports accounts for a quarter of all container traffic

    If you were ever in doubt as to the value of the Chinese markets and that nation’s value to world shipping, consider this. UNCTAD, the UN Conference on Trade and Development has issued data that shows that Chinese container terminal throughput in 2009 has accounted for a quarter of total world container traffic.

    During 2008 container throughout globally increased by 4 percent to reach 506 million TEU. Of this Chinese mainland ports handled 22.6 percent and with the addition of the port of Hong Kong the figure goes beyond the quarter mark.

    UNCTAD’s Review of Maritime Transport 2009 acknowledges that the global economic downturn has slowed world seaborne trade and says that an increase in the number of ships has resulted in freight rates remaining depressed.

    At the start of 2009 there were 4,638 container ships available for service, with a total capacity of 12.14 million TEUs, an increase of 8.5 percent in the number of ships or 12.9 percent in TEU capacity.

    “This growth was the result of vessel orders placed before the financial crisis, when the industry was still expecting continuing high growth rates in demand - which did not materialise,” UNCTAD said in its report. The organisation then points out:

    “As the world's shipping capacity continues to increase, the industry finds itself confronted with a surge of oversupply and tumbling freight rates.”

    According to the UNCTAD, these challenges are further compounded by other developments, including maritime security at sea and the need to address the climate change challenge.

    Maputo’s MIPS achieves record container moves

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    The Port of Maputo’s container terminal, MIPS or Mozambique International Port Services, which is operated on a concession by DP World, has achieved a record 13,700-TEUs handled during the month of November, its highest number ever.

    During the month of September MIPS handled 12,500-TEU and in October the number was 11,400-TEU, giving a pointer as to why several container lines have begun making regular calls at the Mozambique port. In 2008 Maputo’s container throughput exceeded 90,000-EU for the first time and plans are now included to further expand operations at the terminal.

    At last week’s PMAESA Conference held in Durban it was revealed that further capital dredging of the port will take place from April 2010 when the port channel will be deepened from the current 9.4m to a planned 11m draught, which with the tide will permit access of Panamax vessels to Maputo.

    Cape Town FPSO sailing postponed

    The planned movement of the FPSO BARGE ESCRAVOS from Cape Town’s Sturrock Drydock has been postponed until today (Tuesday, 15 December), weather permitting, when the vessel will be shifted to the Eastern Mole No.1 berth.

    The port harbour master Captain DD Naicker says that shipping delays will be kept to a minimum as a result of the shifting.

    Today’s recommended Read – Cruising in the Dominions

    Years ago, the Commonwealth countries of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa were known as ‘the Dominions’ - indeed Canada called itself the Dominion of Canada until the 1950s.

    The Dominions, which had been served by lines such as Union-Castle, Canadian Pacific, Cunard, White Star, P&O, Shaw Savill, and New Zealand Shipping, came to the aid of the UK in two world wars, long before the United States entered either.

    Today, however, very few people realise that these four countries contribute about 1.3 million passengers to the world cruise market. This is more passengers than Germany, Italy or Spain and almost as many as the UK. So let's have a look at the cruising market in these Commonwealth countries today. Read on HERE.

    If you have any suggestions for a good read please send the link to info@ports.co.za and put GOOD READ in the subject line.

    Pics of the day –XXXXXXXXXXXX

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    The large offshore tug and supply ship MAERSK ASSERTER (6,536-gt, built 2004) of Maersk Supply Services which called at Cape Town this past week for bunkers and supplies. The vessel was en route to Equatorial Guinea in West Africa. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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    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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