Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 2, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – SEVAN DRILLER

  • EU Commission critical of US plans for 100 percent scanning of containers

  • Elgin Brown & Hamer downsizes in Walvis Bay

  • News from the shipping lines

  • Views from the cruise ship AMSTERDAM

  • Transnet projects to create 300,000 jobs

  • Richards Bay stowaways arrested in Denmark

  • Today’s recommended Read – EU criticises US legislation for 100% scanning of containers

  • Pic of the day – MSC AURELIE


    First View – SEVAN DRILLER

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    The sun setting off Sea Point, Cape Town helps to silhouette the circular drillship SEVAN DRILLER as it lies at anchor off the port. Picture by Sharon Malcolm

    EU Commission critical of US plans for 100 percent scanning of containers

    A report just issued by the EU Commission is critical of US legislation that aims to enforce the scanning at foreign ports of all containers destined for the US. According to the EU it is impractical and cannot be the way forward.

    The document points out that, if 100 percent scanning of exports was implemented in European ports, it would be excessively costly, would be unlikely to improve global security, would absorb resources currently allocated to EU security interests, and would disrupt trade and transport within the EU and worldwide. It suggested that as an alternative, priority should be given to investing in enhancing multilayered risk management systems for targeting and inspecting dangerous cargo, and to strengthening international cooperation to facilitate this process.

    “Global maritime shipping routes form the backbone of international trade. Strengthening the security of the supply chain via effective security measures is a major European Union priority. Yet, implementing 100 percent scanning would require sizeable investments, increase transport costs significantly and entail massive welfare losses,” said Algirdas Šemata writing in the report’s foreword.

    Šemata, who is a member of the Commission, said that more importantly, such burdens to port authorities, companies and ultimately consumers worldwide would be for no proven security benefit.

    “This cannot be the way forward.”

    for the full EU report see ‘Recommended Read’ below

    Elgin Brown & Hamer downsizes in Walvis Bay

    Despite indications that an economic recovery is on the way, it would appear that the downturn has finally caught up with Namibia and Walvis Bay in particular.

    Last week marine ship repair company Elgin Brown & Hamer, which operates two floating docks at the port and a substantial ship repair yard, announced that it was reopening an offer for voluntary retrenchment packages among its personnel.

    According to the Namib Times between 80 and 100 employees will be affected.

    The paper quoted Elgin Brown & Hamer’s Namibian managing director Anton Pretorius who said the company’s immediate challenge was to consolidate its business focus and reduce overheads. He said the past few months had been difficult due to global economic pressures.

    Pretorius said he was confident that the company would now be in a position to respond timeously to any significant upturn in demand. EBH remains committed to overcome these business challenges, he said.

    News from the shipping lines

    Maersk shares rise as confidence returns

    Shares in Danish shipping and oil services company AP Moller-Maersk rose by as much as 2.5 percent on Denmark’s blue-chip index, signifying a turnabout in confidence with container shipping. Maersk Line operates the world’s largest number of container ships. And according to Dutch bank ING, container freight rates for the Asia-Europe trades have returned to 2007 peak levels while Pan-Nordic bank Nordea says AP Moller-Maersk is its top pick among shipping companies. “We have already seen that freight rates and volumes have begun to rise.”

    AP Moller-Maersk is due to report its 4th quarter and full-year 2009 financial reports on Thursday, 4 March.


    Hamburg Süd invests in reefer containers

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    Hamburg Süd’s MONTE OLIVIA (69,1320gt, built 2004) in Durban harbour. Picture by Trevor Jones

    German container carrier Hamburg Süd has increased its fleet of reefer containers with 3,000 new reefer boxes fitted with PrimeLINE container refrigeration units. The company undertook extensive research and testing before settling on the Carrier Corp refrigeration technology. The new energy efficient units are expected to save enough energy during their operational lifetime to avoid approximately 70,000 tons of carbon emissions.

    Hamburg Süd maintains a global inventory of almost 350,000 containers and operates 146 ships.


    CMA CGM denies that bad management brought it down

    French container carrier CMA CGM says that allegations that bad management brought it close to ruin are false and points out that most container lines are losing money but more than a few are propped up by their governments.

    Financial director Jean-Yves Shapiro said at the Marine Money conference in Hamburg last week that Chinese operators were losing far more money than CMA CGM but still have the full backing of the Bank of China. Government support from South Korea also distorted competition, he claimed, while pointing a finger at Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd, which was bailed out last year by the city government’s of Hamburg and Berlin. However, Shapiro admitted that his company had underestimated the fall in freight rates.

    Turning to CMA CGM’s efforts to raise loans, he told the conference that CMA CGM would not be receiving any conventional state aid from the French Government. His company was still in talks with FSI, France’s sovereign wealth fund. He acknowledged that efforts to attract loans from private investors had failed, largely because the investors were “too greedy”. CMA CGM also remained in discussion with South Korean shipyards to defer or cancel orders for about 30 vessels.


    Freight Rate & Bunker surcharge increases

    The following shipping line notifications have been received:

    Maersk Line announces rate increases on services from Asia to West Africa.

    The trading conditions for the carriers operating in these markets are still subject to deteriorating rate levels and the situation is not sustainable in the longer term, says the company. The rate increases are necessary to continue to operate services with the high level of reliability its customers have come to expect from Maersk Line.

    Far East to West Africa
    USD 250 per TEU effective 1 April 2010


    Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) advises that following a review of the applicable bunker surcharge against the present fuel oil prices, MOL wishes to announce a revision to the present bunker surcharge applicable in the Europe/Southern Africa/Europe trade.

    With effect from 1 April 2010, the revised bunker surcharge will become as follows: -

    USD 422.00 per TEU for General Purpose Cargo
    USD 558.00 per TEU for Reefer Cargo

    The revised bunker surcharge will be effective as of the B/L date and remains in force until further notice.


    CMA CGM has announced a broad range of freight rate restoration increases affecting most regions and becoming effective during March. Those affecting Africa are:

    From the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, Black Sea and North Africa to the US East Coast trades, rates will increase USD 300 per 20ft and USD 400 per 40ft.

    From Asia to West Africa, rates will increase USD 250 per TEU.

    From Europe to the Indian Ocean, rates will increase 250 Euros or USD 340 per TEU.

    From all origins except Europe to the Indian Ocean, rates will increase USD 350 per TEU


    Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) has also announced a wide ranging general rate increase that becomes effective on 1 April. Details of the various trade route increases can be seen HERE but those affecting African trade routes are what MSC calls ‘relay movements’ from North America. These take effect on 1 April and relate to rate increases of USD 150 per 20 foot container and USD 250 per 40 foot container from US and Mexican ports, and USD 200 per 20 foot container and USD 350 per 40 foot container from Canada.

    They refer to shipments from the United States, Canada and Mexico to Israel, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Greece, Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus, Egypt, Ukraine, Georgia, Bulgaria, Russia, Romania, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Yemen, Jordan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Djibouti, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Algeria, Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Gambia and Guinea.

    Views from the cruise ship AMSTERDAM

    Instead of cruise ship reports as was intended for this space, we’ve decided today to include in the section some pictures that have just come to hand of the Holland America cruise ship AMSTERDAM, which visited Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban last week while on her world cruise. See yesterday News Bulletin for a report on this visit. In line with the belief that a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a number of images taken on the ship while in Cape Town. Pictures courtesy Magna Carta, Cape Town

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    A scenic view of Cape Town from the ship

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    From one of the restaurants

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    Another perspective

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    One of two swimming pools on the Amsterdam

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    From the open deck

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    Casual dining

    Transnet projects to create 300,000 jobs

    Cape Town, 1 March - Infrastructure investments by transport parastatal Transnet are expected to create over 300,000 jobs and boost economic growth in four provinces in the country, says Transport Minister S'bu Ndebele.

    Briefing the media on Monday on the work done by government's Infrastructure Development Cluster, Ndebele said the utility's projects would contribute to just over 4.8 percent of the country's GDP by 2018.

    He said the R93.4 billion Transnet will spend on ports, rail and pipelines, will have the greatest impact in KwaZulu-Natal where it is expected to add 18 percent to the province's GDP and create 143,704 employment opportunities over the next eight years.

    In the Northern Cape, Transnet investments are expected to contribute 54 percent of the province's GDP and create 57,463 work opportunities by 2018, he said.

    In Mpumalanga, the parastatal's projects would contribute 15 percent to that province's GDP and create 46,016 work opportunities, while in the Eastern Cape the projects would contribute 14 percent of the province's GDP and create 62,435 work opportunities.

    Ndebele said more details on the impact of Transnet's projects would be revealed during the first quarter of the next financial year. - BuaNews

    Richards Bay stowaways arrested in Denmark

    Four African stowaways, who hid away on board a ship in Richards Bay, have been arrested in the Danish port of Enstedværket on charges on illegal entry.

    The four men, aged in their twenties, stowed a way on the bulk carrier CAROUGE (149,383-dwt, built 1992) on 18 January. The ship was loading coal in Richards Bay. They arrived in the Zululand port as stowaways on board another ship from Tanzania and on both occasions they were able to elude port security.

    Even on board the Carouge they evaded discovery until long into the voyage and were finally discovered only when the ship was approaching the Jutland port of Aanbenraa. They spent most of their time hiding in a waste oil container in the large engine room and were soaked in oil when apprehended. They said they were trying to get to Europe to further their education and to create a better life as conditions in Africa were hard.

    After their discovery the Portuguese master of the Carouge took them on as temporary crew and they went to work cleaning and cooking.

    The four men have appeared in a preliminary court hearing and have been held in custody for trial.

    Today’s recommended Read – EU criticises US legislation for 100% scanning of containers

    In a paper just released the European Commission has been critical of US legislation calling for the scanning of every container being exported to the US. The EU points out that this will prove highly costly and even impractical.

    The report is summarised above in our first news story. For the full pdf document go 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.

    Pic of the day – MSC AURELIE

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    Mediterranean Shipping Company’s MSC AURELIE (37,328-gt, built 1979), which arrived in Durban last week on a scheduled call, must be one of MSC’s oldest ships. The 2,544-TEU ship was built in Taiwan in 1979 and has operated previously as the OOCL Envoy. Comments anyone? Picture by Trevor Jones.

    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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