Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 25, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – BELUGA HOUSTON

  • Port Regulator rejects TNPA proposal for tariff increases

  • Grindrod expects sharp turnaround in financial results

  • News from Mozambique – Beira fire destroys two fishing vessels

  • Wärtsilä cuts jobs and announces relocation to China

  • Trade News – Volkswagen South Africa introduces new Polo range

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Today’s recommended Read – Boiling Point

  • Pics of the day – VLADIMIR IGNETUK icebreaker


    First View – BELUGA HOUSTON

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    On Thursday, 21 January we featured a report about the introduction of the new super heavylift project cargo vessel BELUGA HOUSTON (20,000-dwt, built 2009), little thinking that on the following day the ship would sail into Durban harbour to take bunkers. See last week’s report HERE.

    Beluga Houston is en route to Brazil with a heavylift cargo as can be seen on the ship’s deck. In this picture the ship is passing down the Durban entance channel with the new Point development in the background.

    Port Regulator rejects TNPA proposal for tariff increases

    Stakeholders across the country have welcomed the decision by the Port Regulator to reject Transnet National Ports Authority proposals for a 10,62 percent increase in port charges. Instead the Regulator has stipulated an increase of 4.42 percent.

    It transpires that numerous objections to the proposed TNPA increases were lodged, which the Port Regulator would have taken note of when making his decision.

    The Cape Chamber of Commerce said it welcomed the decision of the South African Port Regulator to limit increases in port charges to 4.42 percent. Albert Schuitmaker, Acting Director of the Chamber said that South African port charges were already among the highest in the world and it was pleasing to see the Regulator limiting the increase to a figure that is below the inflation rate.

    Schuitmaker said the decision gave credibility to the whole process and would enhance the status of the Port Regulator as an independent and objective office.

    In its submission TNPA pointed out that it handles 98 percent of the country’s imports and exports and plays a pivotal role in international trade by providing suitable port infrastructure to grow the country’s imports and exports.

    It says that like any other port authority it needs to generate revenue by charging tariffs for the services it renders. It points out that the South African system is distinct from most ports internationally where typically some port capital costs are funded through state or municipal budgets.

    Grindrod expects sharp turnaround in financial results

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    IVS Pinotage

    South Africa’s leading shipping and logistics group, Grindrod said in a trading statement issued last week that it expects its earnings per share and headline earnings for 2009 to decrease between 55 and 65 percent compared with the previous year.

    The company expects to release its final results for 2009 on or about 18 February.

    Earnings and headline earnings a share for the year 31 December, 2008 were 475,7c and 511,7c respectively.

    Grindrod – which has posted record results throughout most of the past ten years, said that this sharp turnaround is the result of considerably lower shipping markets, reduced profits on the disposal of its ships, and the impact on earnings of a stronger rand/dollar exchange rate.

    Much of Grindrod’s success has come from its shipping divisions, notably Island View Shipping and it remains to be seen if the about turn is a result of those divisions as well.

    News from Mozambique – Beira fire destroys two fishing vessels

    The Mozambique news agency AIM has reported that an enquiry is to be opened by the fishing company Pescamar as well as the Sofala provincial fisheries department into the causes of a fire that destroyed two of the company’s fishing vessels in the port of Beira.

    A third fishing vessel was damaged.

    The fire occurred last week on Tuesday night (19 January) and took 12 hours for the Beira fire brigade to extinguish. Apparently the fire brigade had inadequate equipment available and had to constantly stop fighting the fire to fetch more water. A low tide prevented the use of the fishing vessel’s own fire fighting pumps.

    There were no injuries.

    The three vessels, which were acquired new about three years ago were constructed mainly of fibre-glass. Two of the vessels are a write-off.

    Pescamar is a joint Spanish-Mozambique company which specialises in prawn fishing. With the approach of the new season the vessels were being prepared to go to sea once again when the fire broke out. – source AIM

    Meanwhile the fleet of ten Russian/Mozambique Krustamoz and Krustmaroc fishing vessels that have spent the summer months in Durban harbour are preparing to return to Mozambique for the new fishing season. The fleet spends every summer sheltering in Durban until the start of each new season.

    Wärtsilä cuts jobs and announces relocation to China

    Marine engineering company Wärtsilä, one of the leading providers of marine power plants, has announced it intends cutting 1,400 jobs from all branches throughout the world.

    The company says it has "analyzed its manufacturing footprint" and plans to reduce its manufacturing capacity and to move the majority of its propeller production and auxiliary engine production to China. The current propeller manufacturing plant in Drunen and the component manufacturing DTS in Zwolle, both in the Netherlands, are to be closed. Wärtsilä 20 generating set production in Vaasa Finland will be closed and moved to China in order for the company to stay competitive in this market.

    “In the course of 2010 Wärtsilä plans to reduce approximately 1,400 jobs globally within the Group. Of these reductions 570 are planned to be in the Netherlands. The remaining reduction will impact various divisions, functions and countries and will be clarified during the first half of this year. Currently Wärtsilä employs 1,561 people in the Netherlands,” says a company statement.

    “The world has dramatically changed in a short period of time. China has become a strong maritime centre and its growth will continue. The low activity in the global marine market continued throughout 2009,” says Ole Johansson, President & CEO. “Wärtsilä Ship Power order intake was significantly lower than during previous years. Competition in the market will intensify. By developing our manufacturing footprint and our businesses for the future key markets Wärtsilä will further improve its competitiveness and service to our customers in the tightening markets. It is our responsibility to ensure Wärtsilä's leading position now and in the future.”

    During 2009 Wärtsilä cut 600 jobs leaving a workforce of 18,541 at the end of last year. The company will continue manufacturing large 4-stroke engines in Vaasa, Finland and at Trieste, Italy. R&D activities in Europe will also continue in their current locations and in the Netherlands Wärtsilä will establish a Propulsion Technology and Services Centre.

    The company says it grew its net sales 14 percent in 2009 and profitability improved when compared with 2008. However, it expects net sales to be impacted by the marine market situation and low order book, with net sales for 2010 decreasing by between 10 and 20 percent for the year.

    Trade News – Volkswagen South Africa introduces new Polo range

    With the introduction last week of the all-new Polo motor car to the South Africa domestic market, VWSA says it also expects to export 55,000 of the new generation vehicles in 2010, which will virtually double what VWSA exported in total in 2008.

    VWSA produces 100 percent of the world’s right-hand drive 5-door VW motor vehicles. The new Polo will be exported to Australia, Cyprus, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Malta, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom.

    The vehicles are manufactured at VWSA’s plant at Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape and exported through the harbour at Port Elizabeth.

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    WOLRAAD WOLTEMADE on the beach

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    Picture by Aad Noorland

    The tug WOLRAAD WOLTEMADE, sister vessel to the Cape Town-based SMIT AMANDLA has been beached at Alang in India prior to being cut up for recycling (to use the modern parlance). The vessel sailed recently from Cape Town, which was appropriately her last port of call.


    CMA CGM ship arrested outside Durban

    The 1,730-TEU container ship CMA CGM OKAPI remains under arrest in the Durban outer anchorage more than a month after the vessel’s owner, German Claus-Peter Offen brought an action against the charterer as security after CMA CGM instituted restructuring at its head office.

    A second ship under arrest but at Cape Town harbour this time is the general cargo vessel SUEZ which was detained shortly after arrival in the port this month.


    Suez Canal tariffs to remain unchanged for 2010

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    NASA image

    There will be no change in the tariffs charged by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) in 2010, the SCA has confirmed. It does however expect a small increase in the number of ships transiting the canal – by 2.4 percent. The SCA maintains that piracy in the Gulf of Aden has had little impact on the waterway and says the pegging of tariffs at 2009 rates will “support global trade movement and (help) shipping companies overcome this (financial crisis).”

    Today’s recommended Read – Boiling Point

    Once a quiet Somali fishing town, Harardhere has earned the dubious title of piracy capital of the world and its residents now fear their village is too small for its ruthless guests and their money. Like any gold rush town sitting on a rich vein, Harardhere has seen the arrival of a gaggle of armed, highly competitive “entrepreneurs” who have started buccaneering careers and are willing to die for a big ransom.

    Read the article HERE.

    Use your return or back button to return to PORTS & SHIPS.

    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 – VLADIMIR IGNATYUK icebreaker

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    Two more views of the Russian icebreaker VLADIMIR IGNATYUK (4391-gt, built 1983) which was in Cape Town last week. These pictures were taken by Ian Shiffman

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