Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 22, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • Industrial plan to create 2.4 million jobs

  • Overhead cable theft causing serious disruptions to rail services

  • IVS’ Tim McClure to retire

  • TPT satisfied with progress at Ngqura

  • Trade News - Anchor Industries to participate in Oil & Gas Africa 2010 exhibition

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Today’s recommended Read – Jewel of Muscat sets sail

  • Pics of the day – HORIZON and BREEDE



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    The offshore tug SANKO CROCUS (2,450-gt, built 2009) made an unexpected call at Durban on the weekend to take bunkers a refuel. The recently built tug was towing an even more newly built accommodation barge, AFRICAN LIFTER (8,252-gt, built 2010), from Singapore to Angola where the Norwegian owner of the barge, Marine Subsea has a 5-year contract with Sonangol, the state-owned oil company. The tug and tow sailed again on Saturday morning, presenting this view as they progressed down the widened entrance channel towards the open sea. Pictures by Terry Hutson

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    Industrial plan to create 2.4 million jobs

    Cape Town - Government aims to create 2.4 million jobs by 2020 with the launch of the new Industrial Policy Action Plan, said the Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies.

    Presenting the second Industrial Policy Action Plan at a media briefing last week, Davies said the plan, which comes into effect in April, would focus on four key areas to boost industrial capacity.

    The areas include looking at ways of strengthening the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), revising procurement legislation, the deployment of trade policies more strategically and targeting anti-competitive practices.

    Davies said the example of Brazil's development bank BNDES had shown that capital at the IDC was relatively expensive - at an average of about eight percent compared to less than one percent for the Brazilian organisation.

    The Brazilian development bank was also recapitalised regularly while the IDC had last received recapitalisation in the 1950s, he said.

    The lesson, he said, was that the Brazilian example was able to leverage much more finance.

    The Industrial Policy Action Plan would also help the country to leverage more local procurement to raise domestic production by overhauling the Preferential Policy Framework Act and assigning points in the tender process to those firms that procure locally.

    Added to this, more planning and strategising would go into the procuring of goods and services.

    Davies said procurement was done on a more ad hoc basis, meaning it was harder to build local production because often goods had to be imported at the last minute.

    Through the release of long-term procurement plans, investors would be better informed on what goods were in demand by government and this would in turn help promote jobs at home.

    Added to this, the Proudly SA campaign would be revived, he said.

    Davies said eight to 10 products, such as railway equipment, would be identified to form part of the long-term procurement plan.

    The government would also look at cracking down on anti-competitive practices, particularly those that affected labour-absorbing, downstream sectors as well as consumer goods to low-income households.

    Davies said the action plan also aimed to boost sectors such as metals fabrication, capital and transport equipment, green and energy saving industries and agro-processing linked to food security and contribute to rural development.

    The plan would also look at scaling up existing interventions that were identified in the first Industrial Policy Action Plan.

    These sectors included the automotive components sector, downstream mineral beneficiation, pharmaceuticals, tourism and Business Process Services and the clothing and textiles sector.

    Davies said support would be sharpened around the clothing and textiles sector, while the South African Revenue Service (Sars) would continue to crack down on illegal imports.

    The government would move away from the duty credit certificate model, to a system based on credits that can then use the IDC for accessing finance.

    Davies said he believed there was a real future for clothing in areas such as fast fashion and sports goods.

    The plan would also look at promoting long-term sectors to develop capabilities such as aerospace, nuclear and advanced materials.

    Davies noted that though the first Industrial Policy Action Plan, released in 2007, had recorded some successes, by for instance strengthening competition legislation and lowering some tariffs, it had unwittingly fallen short by tackling the easier-to-do things.

    The new action plan would be a three-year rolling one and would be updated next year.

    He said the document was a product of a large amount of work and engagements by his department with trade unions and business, Nedlac partners and industry associations and discussions within the economics cluster. - BuaNews

    Overhead cable theft causing serious disruptions to rail services

    We recall reporting a similar story about 12 to 15 years ago and yet since then it seems little has been achieved in preventing what is becoming a chronic problem for rail logistics in southern Africa.

    Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) reported last week that cable thefts in the Sentrarand complex, on the Natal corridor and the Eastern corridor (which incorporates the export coal line) on Tuesday, 16 February 2010, seriously disrupted TFR’s traffic flow between Johannesburg and Durban; the export coal line from Ermelo to Richard’s Bay; and Bethlehem to Harrismith.

    The commodities affected varied from cement, coal, iron ore, cars, and container traffic and also included passenger trains.

    The theft of overhead cables on the rail line has reached unprecedented levels, the company said, with an average of 10 trains cancelled per day due to cable thefts. The direct cost to TFR (replacement cost for cable only) is more than R42 million per year and the consequential losses due to the knock on effect runs into many millions more.

    “This hurts not only TFR and its customers but South Africa as a whole, because when consignments fail to reach their international destinations on time the country’s reputation suffers because overseas markets view us as unreliable and inefficient and could switch to other suppliers,” said TFR in a statement.

    The consequence of cable theft is not limited to financial losses but can also result in human disaster and tragedy. Cable thefts also often lead to the destruction of Freight Rail assets such as locomotives and wagons and can cost the company millions of rands in repairs and replacement.

    “Transnet Freight Rail’s “production floor” is the entire South Africa and the Company is faced with the challenge of having to secure some 20,000 km of rail track. The Company runs some 800 trains per day with more than 8,000 loaded wagons on this network.

    “The sheer size of this operation calls for meticulous planning and what is not often appreciated are the implications on operations following overhead cable theft. Each incident necessitates re-planning and re-allocation of resources which lead to delays for which TFR pays the ultimate price in reputation damage.”

    TFR says that hot-spots have nonetheless been identified, several syndicates arrested and innovative technology applied, such as replacing the overhead copper wire cables with tiger wire which doesn’t have a high resale value. The Company is also working closely with the criminal justice system to ensure that the full might of the law is applied to those found guilty.

    Perhaps it is a sign that TFR also needs to resurrect the old railway police – a dedicated police force with full jurisdiction and its own investigative detective element to help focus on such problems. Anyone remember the old green uniforms on every station?

    IVS’ Tim McClure to retire

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    Tim McClure – picture by Terry Hutson

    Grindrod has announced that Tim McClure, executive director responsible for Island View Shipping, which is a subsidiary of Grindrod Limited, will retire at the end of July 2010.

    McClure has been in charge at Island View Shipping since before Grindrod took over IVS from the Tiger Group at the end of the 1990s. He together with Ivan Clark, then managing director of Grindrod, brought about the sale of IVS to the Durban-based shipping and logistics group as well as its expansion, which subsequently played such a significant role in the turnaround of fortunes of both companies. As IVS prospered so too did Grindrod.

    Grindrod has appointed Martyn Wade to succeed McClure. Wade has 32 years international shipping experience and has worked for ship owners, operators and brokers and was a member of the original Baltic Exchange for 10 years.

    He assumes the position of Chief Operating Officer responsible for drybulk shipping on 1 March 2010 and succeeds McClure at the end of July. Wade will be part of the executive committee of the group but will not serve as a director of the listed company.

    TPT satisfied with progress at Ngqura

    Transnet Port Terminals appears to be satisfied with operations at the new port of Ngqura and says that by the end of January 43 ships had called at the port and container terminal, bringing the handling of containers during this period to 35,403-TEU since the terminal was launched early in October. The TNPA records 40 ships and 16,796-TEU.

    According to TPT, this is in line with predictions of handling 50,000-TEU in the first six months.

    Based on official statistics provided by Transnet National Ports Authority, Ngqura handled 18 container ships during the month of January, 7 ships in December, 8 in November and 7 in October, making 40 in all.

    Despite the euphoria, only two shipping lines are so far making use of the port – MSC which has agreed to divert ships originally calling at Port Elizabeth, and Mitsui OSK Line (MOL).

    Trade News - Anchor Industries to participate in Oil & Gas Africa 2010 exhibition

    Anchor Industries, supplier of marine and offshore mooring as well as lifting and rigging equipment in Southern Africa, will be participating in the Oil & Gas Africa 2010 exhibition from 16 to 18 March at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

    Well established and now in its fourth year, the Oil & Gas Africa is an exhibition for service providers to the upstream oil and gas industry. Anchor Industries will be amongst the local and international role players tackling various topics that relate to the industry.

    In conjunction with their suppliers, Anchor Industries will coordinate seminars on topics such as heavy lifting in the oil and gas market, manufacturing and certification processes, towing lines and rental mooring equipment. The following topics will be discussed by the relevant industry experts:

    Edwin Jefferies, United Offshore Services Exports Sales Manager, will discuss the manufacturing and certification process of heavy lifting products in the oil and gas market with specific reference to grommets.

    GN Rope Fittings Sales Manager, Frank Schuurman, will do a presentation on wire rope fittings, heavy duty shackles and special SPM shackles.

    Rodger Webster from Bridon will share his expertise on A&R ropes, towing and mooring lines, new Bridon products within the oil and gas market and their manufacturing capabilities.

    Duncan Cuthill, the Viking Moorings UK Country Manager will do a presentation about the value and use of rental mooring equipment and having an in-house specialised mooring design facility within the oil and gas industry.

    All seminars will end with a Q&A session.

    Additionally, industry experts Wolfgang Wandl, Chief Executive; Eric Witton, Operations Manager; Barry Silver, Business Development Manager – Asia Pacific and Paul Crichton from Viking Moorings will be attending the Anchor Industries stand at the exhibition. They will be available to assist attendants with information and advice on request.

    A complete seminar programme will be available in the Anchor Industries website, visit the website or contact David Pratt on 021 – 531 0525 to book your seat as space is limited.

    In line with their continued emphasis on quality and reliability, Anchor Industries has formed partnerships and alliances with major equipment suppliers worldwide; and is the only stockist and supplier of anchors in Southern Africa. All Anchor Industries offshore mooring equipment is available for rental or sale and testing services are an integral part of Anchor Industries’ service offering. All equipment and procedures are strictly controlled through the DNV approved ISO9001:2000 Quality Management System.

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    Construction of London Gateway Port begins

    DP World has given an undertaking that work will commence in March on building the London Gateway port, when dredging gets underway. The project to build a new port has been under review since 2008. London Gateway is situated at the former Shell Haven installations some 25 miles downstream of the City of London. On completion the London Gateway Port will be a state-of-the-art fully automated deepwater container port capable of handling the latest generation container ships. The project is being funded by DP World.


    BP calls for review of Coega refinery

    BP Africa is calling for a review of the proposed new PetroSA refinery to be built near the port of Ngqura, and says that a look at all supply-side options, including the expansion of existing refineries, is in order before any action is taken. BP Africa’s CEO Sipho Maseko has urged the South African government, which is the stakeholder in PetroSA, to exercise caution and not be hasty in pursuing the project, which he says may not be in the interests of taxpayers and was likely to cost far more than the advertised price tag of USD10 billion. He reminded the government that there is surplus refinery capacity internationally which will remain until after 2020.


    Famous Tall Ship sinks near Brazil

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    SV Concordia off Cape Town in April 2009. Picture by Aad Noorland

    The Canadian Tall Ship SV CONCORDIA, which acts as a floating college for the West Island College Afloat based out of Montreal, has sunk off the coast of Brazil. All 63 crew and pupils on board the ship are safe and have been taken ashore, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said on Friday. He thanked Brazilian maritime authorities for acting swiftly and laying on a search and rescue operation, as well as the three merchant ships that picked up the crew and passengers who had taken to liferafts. They were later transferred to a Brazilian Navy ship and taken ashore in Rio de Janeiro. The Concordia was en route to Uruguay when she encountered strong winds which blew her over onto her side in 15 seconds, after which she sank.

    Today’s recommended Read – Jewel of Muscat sets sail

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    A replica of a ninth century merchant sailing vessel set sail last Tuesday from Sultan Qaboos Port bound for Singapore. The model of the wreck of a timber-and-coconut rope dhow, salvaged in 2004 in Indonesia's Belitung Straits, will first go to Kochi, India, then stop at Sri Lanka and Malaysia before reaching Singapore.

    Amidst the festive atmosphere, wind was the only cause for concern. “The wind was not very good as the boat left,” Tom Vosmer, the boat designer and project director told Gulf News, as the 17-member crew steered the boat away from the Muscat shores. Read the rest of this Gulf News report 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 – HORIZON and BREEDE

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    Two ships in Cape Town each with its own distinctly South African background – the container ship HORIZON above (15,783-gt, built 1991) which is on charter to Ocean Africa Container Lines and is deployed on the west coast service operating from Durban through to Angola. Ocean Africa is half owned by the Grindrod Group, which fully owns Unicorn Shipping and the products tanker BREEDE (16,500-dwt, built 2009). Breede’s colours of red and blue are typically reminiscent of Unicorn Shipping. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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