Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 25, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – INGRID McCALL

  • Salvage contractor dies on board the MARGARET

  • News from the shipping lines

  • Cruise industry weathers storm - confident with new ships and innovation

  • New appointments at Maputo Port Development Company

  • US-Africa trade under AGOA stands at USD104 billion

  • News clips – Keeping it brief

  • Pics of the day – MAERSK NAHA


    First View – INGRID McCALL

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    The supply/crewboat INGRID McCALL which stopped in Cape Town last week for bunkers. Picture by Aad Noorland

    Salvage contractor dies on board the MARGARET

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    John Mitchell

    A contractor working on board the grounded barge MARGARET, 55-year old John Mitchell has been killed in an accident on board the vessel. Announcing this yesterday, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) said that all work on preparing the barge to have its cargo of smaller barges tipped into the sea by means of a controlled explosion, has been suspended until further notice.

    Mr Mitchell, who lived in Durban, was employed by the company Blasting & Demolition Services and was involved in preparing the vessel for a series of controlled explosions designed to topple the cargo of river barges and floating docks into the sea.

    No details have been revealed about how he died but a full investigation has been ordered by SAMSA.

    SMIT Amandla Marine and SMIT Salvage, which hold the contract to reduce the casualty, has extended their sincere condolences to his wife, family and friends, as well as to the salvage team based in Jacobsbaai. “John was a gentleman and consumate professional who was regarded as a highly respected and valued member of this team of specialists.”

    The barge Margaret ran aground at Jacobsbaai on the west coast on 24 June 2009 with a cargo of 12 river barges and two floating docks on board. The vessel was under tow at the time behind the tug SALVALIANT when it experienced heavy seas, leading to the tow being lost prior to the barge running aground onto a rocky shore.

    Initial efforts at refloating the barge failed and the operation was called off. The Chinese owner of the barge and cargo later abandoned the wreck, leaving any further action in the hands of the South African authorities. This week it was announced that SAMSA had appointed the firm of Smit Amandla Marine to undertake the salvage of the wreck, with the intention of using a series of small controlled explosions to loosen the barge from the rocks and tip the cargo into the sea.

    News from the shipping lines

    Hapag-Lloyd hikes freight rates

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    German container carrier Hapag-Lloyd has announced an increase of rates in the various trades as from 1 April 2010.

    1] From the Mediterranean and Africa ports to South America East and West Coasts and the Caribbean, rates will increase by Euro €250 per teu.

    2] From South America East and West coasts and the Caribbean to the Mediterranean and Africa, rates will increase by USD250 per teu.

    3] From Northern Europe to South America West and East Coasts and the Caribbean, rates will go up by Euro €250 per teu.

    4] From South America East Coast to Northern Europe, rates will increase by USD250 per teu.


    Wilhelmsen Ships Service completes major service for FSO ESCARVOS

    Wilhelmsen Ships Service (WSS) has completed a major safety system service for the Chevron FSO (Floating Storage and Off-loading unit) ESCARVOS in Cape Town. At the same time, WSS provided equipment and refrigerant to support the refurbishment of the vessel’s chiller systems.

    The project, valued at over USD450,000 was completed within tight deadlines through close co-operation between the company’s global network.

    The operation was coordinated by WSS’s Customer Services Group in Houston and involved an inspection of the FSO Escarvos’s CO2 and dry powder fire extinguishing system. The company also commissioned a complete new CO2 system to protect the FSO’s diesel generator room and supplied storage tanks, recovery units and refrigerant to support the refurbishment of the vessel’s chiller system.

    Completing the project in the challenging timetable was made possible through Wilhelmsen’s global network of customer service, technical and logistics specialists. The project was supported by personnel in Houston, Singapore, Belgium, and Cape Town, all of whom were able to contribute to the task allowing it to be completed within all deadlines.

    “The FSO Escarvos was called offsite in South Africa for special dry-docking,” explained Harry Muller, Account Manager at Wilhelmsen Ships Service. “While other work was being undertaken, the operators, Chevron, decided to upgrade the safety and refrigeration systems. Wilhelmsen Ships Service was called in and through a coordinated effort involving technicians from several sites we completed the project on schedule to allow the Escarvos to be put back in service on the planned date.”

    140 container ships cancelled

    Shipowners have cancelled 140 container ships since the start of the global economic downturn in September 2008. According to Alphaliner, the Paris-based analyst, this represented 6.7 percent of the total order book as it stood on 1 October 2008.

    Among the 140 ships cancelled were 27 container ships that were converted into other types. The balance is made up of ships actually cancelled or delayed. Ships in the 1,000-1,900-TEU range provided the largest share, involving 54 ships cancelled.


    Boskalis to bid USD1.5 billion for Smit

    Royal Boskalis Westminster will launch its agreed takeover offer of USD1.5 billion for Smit Internationale on Thursday, 25 February, the company said in a statement issued yesterday (Tuesday). According to Boskalis it has received commitments for 43 percent of Smit’s shares based on a €60 per share cash offer. It said the Smit Management Board and the majority of the Supervisory Board are recommending the offer be accepted.

    The offer period will run between 25 February until 26 March. A 75 percent acceptance rate is required for the offer to take effect.

    In terms of the agreement Smit will continue to operate under its own name from its head office in Rotterdam should the takeover be successful.

    Cruise industry weathers storm - confident with new ships and innovation

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    Norwegian Cruise Line’s PRIDE OF AMERICA

    The cruise industry has weathered the most challenging 18 months in its history and is looking ahead with optimism and a proud sense of achievement, says the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which represents the majority of leading US cruise lines.

    In a statement CLIA said the industry’s story is one of impressive growth – 118 new ships since 2000, and since 1980, average annual growth in passengers of 7.4 percent.

    “In 2008/2009, the cruise industry was impacted by many of the same challenges facing all businesses. Fuel prices, H1N1, the stock market crash and continued fluctuations, the housing crisis, corporate restructuring, stimulus plans and bailouts, even the uncertainty of a presidential election and, certainly, declining and fragile consumer confidence.”

    CLIA said that unlike many other industries, cruising, with an impressive history of recession-resistance, has several advantages. “These include vessel mobility and redeployment, ability to quickly adapt to change, effective expense management and, above all, a product with the highest perceived value for money spent.”

    It said that combined with the excitement of new ships, a proactive travel agency sales network and promotional efforts to create incredible vacation values, member lines were able to drive consumer demand and operate at full capacity throughout the most challenging months.

    “CLIA's member lines and travel agents responded amazingly well to the economic crisis and have put themselves in a very strong position to succeed in 2010,” said Terry L Dale, CLIA's president and CEO.

    “In many important ways, if you have to have these challenges, cruising is the industry to be in. We have continued high cruise vacation interest and demand and an under-penetrated market of millions who have never cruised before; approximately 80 percent of Americans have yet to cruise and the opportunity is even greater in Europe and abroad where cruise vacation adoption is growing at an accelerated rate. Statistically, cruising exceeds traveler expectations and first-timers and past cruisers keep coming back. The industry's history of thriving through even the hardest of times gives our guests confidence that they are making a safe and rewarding purchase. And, most important, cruise vacations are perceived by virtually all consumers as very high value when those consumers are seeking value above all else,” he said.

    CLIA statistics show that the cruise industry has continued to grow. A total of 13.445 million passengers sailed during 2009, with US and Canadians accounting for 76.5 percent of the total. The CLIA fleet, made up from 25 member cruise lines, enjoyed an average occupancy of 104.4 percent and an average length of cruise of 7.2 days. The association is forecasting a total of 14.3 million passengers on its member’s ships during 2010, with 10.7 million coming from North America and 3.6 million sourced internationally.

    Direct spending in 2008 in goods and services by cruise lines and passengers amounted to USD19.07 billion. Factoring in indirect spending, the total economic impact of the cruise industry on the US economy was USD40.2 billion. This included the generation of 357,710 jobs paying a total of USD16.2 billion in wages and salaries across the United States.

    This report to be continued next week.

    New appointments at Maputo Port Development Company

    Maputo Port Development Company has made two new senior appointments to management with effect on 1 March.

    Ronnie Holtshausen will become chairman of Maputo Port Development Company for a period of two years. Holtshausen is a director appointed by Grindrod, which holds equal shares in MPDC with DP World. He is the current co-chairman of MPDC with Jorge Ferraz of DP World.

    Jorge Ferraz will become Chief Executive Officer of MPDC on 1 March. This position has been vacant since the departure of Ron Herman last year. Ferraz who previously headed up DP World’s southern Africa operations, including those in the port of Maputo and the former P&O Ports in South Africa, has resigned from DP World to assume his new role with MPDC.

    In South Africa P&O Ports Nationwide becomes DP World Cargo Services (Pty) Ltd. Ian Hall has been appointed the new managing director and general manager.

    US-Africa trade under AGOA stands at USD104 billion

    In the past eight years, US trade with sub-Saharan Africa has more than doubled as Africans improve their lives and livelihoods while exporting an ever-expanding list of goods to the United States, says Deputy US Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis.

    “At the same time, American companies and workers have found new opportunities to do business in Africa — providing inputs and expertise to aspiring African entrepreneurs, participating in joint-venture partnerships, and increasing American exports and investments,” Marantis said in a 16 February speech at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Makerere, Uganda’s largest and oldest university, was established in 1922 as a technical school and has gradually grown into a full university.

    The United States has helped foster Africa’s expansive trading capacity through the 2000 African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Marantis added, noting that US imports and exports from the 38 AGOA-eligible nations totaled USD104.52 billion in 2008, a 28 percent increase from the previous year. Complete trade figures for 2009 are being compiled, but give an indication of another good year, according to the US Commerce Department.

    The trade growth is being driven by several key economic sectors, including machinery, automotive vehicles and parts, wheat, non-crude oil products, aircraft, and electrical machinery, which includes telecommunications equipment.

    “Trade-capacity-building assistance is a critical element in the effort to help African countries turn trade opportunities like AGOA into exports,” Marantis said. “And the United States has worked hard to ensure that African nations have the resources they need to seize the benefits of trade.”

    At the 2009 AGOA Forum in Nairobi, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that “as Africa’s largest trading partner, we are committed to trade policies that promote prosperity and stability,” and the United States wants to be Africa’s partner and not its patron. Africa accounts for 2 percent of global trade; an increase of 1 percentage point would generate substantial additional export revenues annually that would be greater than the annual amount of assistance that Africa receives.

    Clinton added that AGOA implemented duty-free trade preferences for more than 6,000 African products.

    AGOA, signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton in May 2000, is designed to expand US trade and investment with sub-Saharan Africa, stimulate economic growth, promote trade and investment talks, encourage economic integration and help bring sub-Saharan Africa into the global economy. Currently 38 countries are participating in AGOA.

    At the centre of AGOA are substantial trade preferences that allow all marketable goods produced in AGOA countries to enter the US market duty-free. The US Congress requires the president to determine annually whether countries are eligible for AGOA benefits by meeting certain criteria, including progress toward the establishment of a market-based economy, rule of law, economic policies to reduce poverty, protection of internationally recognized worker rights and efforts to combat corruption.

    Marantis said that in addition to improved trade and investment since the inception of AGOA, the United States has established four regional trade hubs in sub-Saharan Africa with the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

    “The nearest of these, in Nairobi, Kenya, serves all of East Africa, including Uganda,” Marantis said. “At that hub, Ugandans can receive AGOA-related training and technical assistance.”

    “Trade support provided by the Nairobi hub is estimated this year to have produced well over USD 14 million in export sales for East African businesses,” he added.

    But Marantis also added that despite the progress achieved in the eight years since AGOA was first enacted, Africa benefits too little from global trade. “Because Africa lacks capacity, global capital is still too timid about most countries in Africa, fearing instability and uncertainty,” he said.

    Marantis said some progress in trade liberalisation has been made by sub-Saharan African nations, but Africa’s overall trade policies remain the world’s most protectionist.

    “Average African tariffs are nearly 20 percent. This is compared to just over 10 percent for the rest of the world, and 5 percent for industrialized countries,” Marantis said.

    “Many African countries lack manufacturing capacity and face challenges such as high energy and transportation costs. This makes products less competitive in global markets,” he said.

    To change this situation, Marantis said, African nations must continue to adopt broad economic and trade reforms to enhance their ability to attract foreign capital. “Success in this regard will address supply-side constraints, further integrate the region into the global economy, and pull millions out of poverty,” he said.

    New challenges are rising as other nations, especially in Asia, are becoming more competitive in the global textile and apparel markets, he added, and with the expansion of bilateral free trade and economic partnership agreements. The situation calls for new trade policies, and Marantis said the United States is committed to that.

    US-AGOA Trade

    In 2008, US imports from sub-Saharan Africa exceeded USD86.05 billion, which was more than quadruple the amount in 2001. US exports to sub-Saharan Africa more than doubled to USD18.47 billion during this period.

    In recent years, more than 98 percent of African exports to the United States entered duty-free.

    The Commerce Department annual report also said that the top five African destinations for US products were South Africa, Nigeria, Angola, Benin and Ghana. The leading nations for US imports were Nigeria, Angola, the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Chad and Gabon.

    [AGOA.info. note: Although the heading - from another publication - refers to USD104 billion worth of trade, this relates to 2008 data. For 2009, exports under AGOA were valued at USD 33 billion. America's exports to Africa do not fall under AGOA and are thus of no relevance to this statistic.]

    For Africa's exports under AGOA, follow this LINK - source tralac

    News clips – Keeping it brief

    CFM receives train simulator from Vale

    CFM, the Mozambique rail and port company has received a train simulator from Brazilian mining group Vale, which is involved in coal mining developments inland from Beira. The simulator will be used to help train CFM locomotive drivers and to verse them in modern rail technology, better equipping them for operations on the Sena railway between Beira and the coal lines at Moatize.


    Egypt’s Citadel acquires 49 percent stake in Sheltam Railways

    The Egyptian private equity company Citadel Capital has acquired a 49 percent stake in Sheltam Rail, the South African rail company that jointly holds the concession to operate Rift Valley Railway in Kenya and Uganda.

    Other members of the consortium are Mirambo Holdings, Primefuels Ltd, Centumas Investment, Babcock & Brown and Trans-Century. Sheltam is the largest shareholder in RVR with a 35 percent share. Citadel says it intends investing USD150 million in RVR over the next five years.

    Imperial Holdings reports 17 percent hike in earnings

    One of South Africa’s largest transport and logistics groups, Imperial Holdings has posted a 17 percent increase in earnings per share for the first half of the current financial year. Imperial said the increase was mainly due to a decrease in the cost of its motor dealership unit.

    Pics of the day – MAERSK NAHA

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    The 2,500-TEU container ship MAERSK NAHA (25,756-gt, built 2005) which called at Cape Town this past week. Pictures by Aad Noorland

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