Ports & Ships Maritime News

Dec 7, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – NORTH STAR

  • South African port statistics for November are now available

  • SE Shipping Lines going westabout via South Africa

  • Transnet calls R5bn cover-up report misleading

  • TPT switches focus towards developing people skills

  • Wescoal to export coal through Durban

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Today’s good read – China’s naval deployment priorities and challenges in the Horn of Africa

  • Pic of the day – MSC LAURA


    First View – NORTH STAR

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    The Cape Town launch NORTH STAR returning to port with a deck-load of bagged coal from the casualty SELI 1 which is aground off Table View beach in Table Bay. It is estimated that, weather permitting, it will take 2 to 3 months to remove the full 30,300 tons of coal from the ship. Picture by Aad Noorland

    See related article HERE

    South African port statistics for November are now available

    South African port statistics for the month of November 2009 are now available, courtesy Transnet.

    As is customary the figures shown in this report reflect an adjustment on the overall tonnage to include containers by weight – an adjustment necessary because Transnet NPA measures containers in terms of the number of TEUs and no longer by weight - for which PORTS & SHIPS estimates an adjustment of 13,5 tonnes per TEU to reflect tonnages. This figure is on the conservative side with 14 tonnes or even more being a more realistic figure, particularly in view of the increasing quantity of bulk cargo which is now being handled in containers.

    For comparative purposes readers can see statistics from 12 months ago (November 2008) by clicking HERE

    Figures for the respective ports during October 2009 are (with September 2009 figures shown bracketed):

    Cargo handled by tonnes during October

    Richards Bay 8.342 Mt million tonnes (Oct 7.591Mt)
    Durban 6.528 Mt (Oct 5.789
    Saldanha Bay 3.675 Mt (Oct 5.279)
    Cape Town 1.169 Mt (Oct 1.064)
    Port Elizabeth 0.898 Mt (Oct 0.938)
    Ngqura 0.057 Mt (Oct 0.026)
    Mossel Bay 0.110 Mt (Oct 0.060)
    East London 0.193 Mt (Oct 0.196)

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    Durban Container Terminals

    Containers (measured by TEUs)
    (TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Tranship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA)

    Durban 232,153 TEU (Oct 210,289)
    Cape Town 68,009 (Oct 56,760)
    Port Elizabeth 32,727 (Oct 27,491)
    Ngqura 4,230 (Oct 1,938)
    East London 4,206 (Oct 5,475)
    Richards Bay 2,302 (Oct 838)

    Total containers handled during November 343,627-TEU (Oct 302,791)

    Ship Calls for October 2009

    Durban: - 420 vessels 11.064m gt (Oct 363 vessels 9.461m gt)
    Cape Town: - 217 vessels 4.140m gt (Oct 215 vessels 4.218m gt)
    Port Elizabeth: - 86 vessels 1.985m gt (Oct 100 vessels 2.400m gt)
    Ngqura: - 8 vessels 0.554 gt (Oct 7 vessels 0.414 gt)
    Richards Bay: - 183 vessels 5.954m gt (Oct 178 vessels 5.761m gt)
    Saldanha: - 31 vessels 2.195m gt (Oct 52 vessels 2.990 gt)
    East London: - 21 vessels 0.554m gt (Oct 27 vessels 0.598 gt)
    Mossel Bay: - 40 vessels 0.127m gt (Oct 53 vessels 0.113m gt)

    Total ship calls for November 2009: 1,007 ships for 26,018,634-gt
    (Oct 998 ships for 25,540,969-gt)

    - source TNPA, with adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container weights

    SE Shipping Lines going westabout via South Africa

    Durban-based ships agent Seaclad Maritime has been appointed South African agent for Singapore-based SE Shipping Lines (SESL), which is introducing a multipurpose liner service styled ‘SE Three Oceans Line’ to connect North Europe via the Panama Canal with the Pacific islands, Oceania and Australia/New Zealand and onwards in a westerly direction back to Europe via South Africa.

    The service replicates the recently discontinued ‘West-about round the world/Bank Line’ service operated by Swire Shipping.

    The monthly service will load in Hamburg, Antwerp and Dunkirk for the Pacific Islands of Papeete and Noumea and then go on to Australia and New Zealand for discharge and to load for Durban and Europe (and providing a rare direct Australia/New Zealand to South Africa service).

    The service also provides South African shippers with a new opportunity for exports to Europe. The service will cater for all cargoes including bulk, breakbulk, project and heavy lift cargoes utilising three geared multipurpose ‘tween deck ships with self-sustaining heavy lift cranes and a monthly frequency.

    SE Shipping currently operates a fleet of 13 ships of which three are employed on liner services. The latter includes the 13,327-gt ELBRUS, which has been a regular caller in South Africa in previous years. The company also has four 25,000-DWT newbuildings on order which are due for delivery between October and December 2010.

    Further information will become available in the new year but in the meantime details are available from the agents Seaclad Maritime, tel 031 327 9400

    Transnet calls R5bn cover-up report misleading

    Pretoria (BuaNews) - Transnet acting chairman Geoff Everingham has labeled as misleading a media report which alleges the transport parastatal is in a R5.4 billion cover-up.

    "Based on the inaccuracies in the 27 November article, it is clear that there is a well-orchestrated campaign being mounted by anonymous employee(s) to bring the company into disrepute.

    "This appears to be part of a campaign to discredit company processes, including its internal audit function, and divert the public's attention from the conduct of some individuals," said Everingham.

    The board of directors said it will continue to uphold the highest standards of corporate governance and will investigate and take action against any Transnet employees found not to uphold these standards.

    The article in Business Report said Transnet had overspent R5.4bn on its capital expansion programme and then tried to cover this up. Transnet is also alleged to have extended its internal auditing period contract without following the right procedures.

    "It is quite clear that the allegations are based on a fundamental, yet elementary, misconception: that the schedules published by the newspaper reflect amounts actually spent. This is incorrect. Instead, it shows forecasts to completion on a number of our major contracts. The contracts are incomplete," said Transnet.

    The parastatal further said that it has in place a detailed approvals framework and a policy to ensure that due process is followed at all times.

    The board also expressed its confidence in the company's executive management team that has seen the parastatal weather the economic downturn.

    "The company's performance to November 2009 is especially robust: revenues are up by 5.3% on last year's comparable numbers; costs are well under control; profits, as measured through earnings before interest, depreciation, tax and amortisation, are 12 % ahead; and cash generated by operations is strong," said Transnet.

    TPT switches focus towards developing people skills

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    Nosipho Damasane, TPT chief operating officer

    Transnet Port Terminals (TPT), which earlier in November announced a sweeping reshuffle of its port management team - see article HERE - says it intends re-jigging the way in which the port terminals operate and are managed and is in the process of including a national planning office with the express aim of improving supply chain efficiencies.

    Before embarking on these changes a team from TPT travelled overseas to look at similar models and says it came away impressed with the way the Australians plan their port and logistic operations. It says the intention of the new TPT planning department will be to help reduce the number of days that a ship spends in South African waters.

    According to TPT, when a ship arrives in South Africa it is common to call at a number of ports, such as with the Europe-South Africa services calling first at Cape Town, followed by Port Elizabeth and then Durban, with return calls in the reverse direction. There was often little or no co-ordination between the ports if a ship was delayed, nor were other operators in the supply chain such as the railway brought into the loop. As a result any delay affected the performance of the next port in addition to the shipping service.

    The new planning department is being set up to improve the co-ordination between the ports and lines and help to alleviate many of the hiccups, which often requires better communication in addition to an improvement in skills.

    Specialists from Sri Lanka have been contracted to assist with the training of personnel in the planning sphere and will be sending a team to South Africa for the next two years, says Nosipho Damasane, TPT’s chief operating officer. She said the time had arrived for TPT to invest in its people, after having focused on infrastructure and equipment in recent years. “We have made good investments and our technology and equipment is now world class – the time has come to spend more time and money on the development of our people.”

    Damasane said TPT needed strong people to make the systems work.

    The planning office will be looking at all kinds of liner services and will liaise closely with the respective shipping lines and will hold workshops with key customers to hear about their needs, although the bulk division at Saldanha will be excluded as it already has its own planning office which is working efficiently.

    In a related development, Damasane said that until recently TPT had a policy of employing outside consultants yet it possessed a wealth of experience among some of its own people, many of whom with years of service in South African ports. An Operations Excellence Centre will be established where these skills can be pulled into teams able to operate as ‘hit squads’ and be available at short notice wherever needed.

    “We’ll have a project team that can travel to the various ports whenever they are needed,” she said.

    The central planning office, staffed by tested experienced port operators and liaising closely with shipping lines, will focus on reducing the time spent by ships in SA ports. Planning offices will be retained in each port with an overriding planning office in Durban.

    Damasane said workshops with customers were being held to discuss these plans and to examine what customers say their needs are. “We have a task team criss-crossing the country to give feedback on our new strategy to stakeholders and to the media.”

    Wescoal to export coal through Durban

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    Bluff Connections bulk terminal in Durban stands to score from additional coal exports of 80,000t a month

    Junior coal producer Wescoal says it plans to export 80,000 tonnes of coal through the port of Durban each month in conjunction with an unnamed partner that has a monthly allocation at the KZN port.

    For the JSE-listed Wescoal, which until now has focused mainly on trading, this marks its entry in to coal mining by way of its recently acquired open cast Khanyisa Colliery in Mpumalanga Province. Wescoal expects to produce 1.2 million tonnes of coal annually and will be selling to Eskom as well as for export. Khanyisa was acquired in June from Nucoal Mining.

    The mine is close to the Kendal Power Station and has measured coal reserves of 4.5-million tonnes and a further indicated resource of 0.5m tonnes.

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    Port Elizabeth Festive Season working times

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    Port Elizabeth harbour

    Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) port Elizabeth has announced the following marine working arrangements over the forthcoming Festive Season:

    Christmas Day:
    Thursday 24 December marine ops stop at 22h00.
    Friday 25 December no marine services available.
    Saturday 26 December marine services resume at 06h00.

    New Year’s Day:
    Thursday 31 December marine ops stop at 22h00.
    Friday 1 January no marine service available.
    Saturday 2 January marine services resume at 06h00.

    Port Elizabeth Port Control will be available at all times on 041 507 1909/10/11

    Tanker vessels may remain in port during Christmas and New Year.
    No vessels permitted in the port of Ngqura on Christmas and New Year days.


    Looking for a picture of KING ROBERT

    James Costley, former marine pilot with Transnet, is looking for a photograph of one of the King Line ships, KING ROBERT that called at Durban to load sugar back in 1957. Does anyone have a picture in an old album perhaps? Contact Capt Costley on tel 031 702 2669 or through Ports & Ships.


    Near disaster for Mombasa tanker

    The German tanker VOGE TRUST (38,341-DWT, built 2009) with a cargo of 35,000 tonnes of diesel fuel on board had a near miss in Mombasa harbour last week when she developed a severe list while under pilotage. The vessel apparently grounded on the harbour bottom in the port entrance channel and had to wait until high tide for tugs to pull her clear. There were no leakages or pollution reported.


    South Africa elected vice-chairman of IMO Council

    South Africa was elected vice-chair of the council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London last week. Dumisani Ntuli will take his seat as vice-chairman of the IMO Council under the chairmanship of Jeffery Lantz of the United States. South Africa is one of 40 members elected to the Council – see related article HERE

    Today’s good read – China’s naval deployment priorities and challenges in the Horn of Africa

    For a few days in mid-November, it looked like the Chinese government was prepared to take the unprecedented step of leading a multinational security operation involving the armed forces of Russia, the United States, the EU, and other countries. Following the seizure of yet another Chinese commercial vessel by Somali-based pirates, Beijing convened a two-day conference to enhance international coordination of the many foreign fleets currently seeking to defend shipping around Somalia from pirate attack. Participants included senior navy officers from EU and NATO countries along with representatives from India, Japan, Russia, and other navies whose warships have joined the maritime patrols around the Horn of Africa (BBC, November 6).

    What are China’s priorities and challenges involving her naval deployment in the Horn of Africa? Read more HERE.

    We welcome suggestions for a good or interesting read, even if you don’t necessarily agree with the opinions being stated. Send the link to info@ports.co.za and put GOOD READ in the subject line.

    Pic of the day – MSC LAURA

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    MSC LAURA, displacing 112,943-gt is one of the larger container ships on the regular South Africa service with Mediterranean Shipping Company. The 300m long vessel (75,590-gt, built 2002) is capable of carrying 6750 TEUs and is a sister ship to MSC Florentina, MSC Ludovica, MSC Luisa, MSC Maureen (which is also on the Europe-SA service) and MSC Vanessa. Picture by Aad Noorland

    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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