Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 31, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – IN SUNG 8

  • Promising start for Ngqura Container Terminal

  • APM developing Apapa Container Terminal to be the best in the world

  • African economies should unite - Zuma

  • RVR shareholders agree on redeveloping 1200-km Uganda to Kenya railway

  • Transnet gets into the spirit of the 2010 soccer world cup

  • Fishy Story..... US Court stops closure of canal

  • Expert warns East Africa against replacing rail gauge

  • Pic of the day – BALMORAL


    First View – IN SUNG 8

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    The South Korean fishing vessel IN SUNG 8 in Durban harbour en route to the open sea. Picture by Terry Hutson

    Promising start for Ngqura Container Terminal

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    Ngqura Container Terminal. Picture by Terry Hutson

    The Ngqura Container Terminal has exceeded all expectations and latest estimates suggest the terminal, which opened for business last October, will end the second half of the current financial year ending today at 53,000-TEUs – slightly up on the budgeted 50,000-TEUs.

    Members of the media who were briefed at the port yesterday heard that, based on client input and results to date, Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) now expects Ngqura Container Terminal to finish its first full year ending 31 March 2011 at 286,000-TEU, against a budgeted 100,000-TEU. More importantly, these estimates indicate that this trend will remain solid for the next three years, with the terminal achieving 380,700-TEU for the 2013/14 financial year as against a budgeted 232,470-TEU – a 63.76% increase if realised.

    Another positive sign is that approximately 70% of all boxes currently handled at Ngqura have been transhipment boxes, the very area in which the terminal is being promoted. These include a sizeable number of containers being transhipped to the Angolan ports and for ports in East Africa – more or less as hoped for by TPT.

    Yet at the same time an encouraging number of containers have already been railed inland to Gauteng – trains peaked at 48 during December, with each train consisting of 50 wagons equal to 100 TEUs.

    At the end of March a total of 88 ships had been handled at the two-berthed container terminal. All of these ships have been from either MSC or MOL, the two companies that have so far negotiated contracts with TPT at Ngqura. Journalists were told that several other container carriers were currently in discussion with TPT and could be expected to begin using the new port in the near future.

    Some facts about Ngqura Container Terminal

    In Phase 1 the terminal consists of two berths totalling 630 metres in length and with a draught alongside of 15.5m.
    The terminal currently has 6 Mega Panamax Ship-to-Shore STS) cranes each with an outreach of 61m, capable of reaching across 22 containers on deck. The STS cranes have twin lift capability (2x6m or 1x12m).
    There are 22 Rubber Tyre Gantry cranes (RTGs) of 41-ton capacity, capable of stacking 1 over 5 in height.
    There is a fleet of 36 haulers and 36 trailers.
    2 x Empty Container Handlers.
    4 x Reach Stackers.
    2 x RMG cranes (Rail Mounted Gantries), capable of handling block trains of 50 wagon sets.
    The terminal has 4 rail tracks inside the perimeter and 1 loco run-around track.

    APM developing Apapa Container Terminal to be the best in the world

    The Apapa Container Terminal in Nigeria has been fully developed to compete with any container terminal facility anywhere in the world. That’s the word from managing director and CEO of APM Terminals in Nigeria, Martin Dirks.

    In an interview with a local newspaper, the Vanguard, Dirks is quoted as saying that the terminal has what it takes in terms of modern equipment, technical-how-know and human capital resources similar to what is obtainable in developed economies. “In the last two years, concessioning has been successful in Nigeria because the image of the port has been improved and congestion is gone. So it has been a great success,” he said.

    The report stated that an investment of USD 200 million had been made in Apapa Container Terminal, equipping it with new and functional infrastructure, new cargo handling equipment and a modern electronic gating system, which promotes efficiency at the terminal on a daily basis.

    Dirks said that port concessioning would contribute greatly to economic growth and development in Nigeria. “For instance, we have doubled the capacity since we took over. We are working tirelessly to ensure that Apapa is not congested anymore. Aside from this, we are mapping our new strategies to handle the necessary capacity to grow the business and to get more containers into the country. This involves investments not just in the terminal, but also in people to enhance capacity building required to propel growth in the industry.”

    Dirks intimated that poor electricity supply and the ongoing occupation of a part of the concessioned area by three different companies in the last four years were hampering operations. “These are serious issues that are still pending and we are losing money. We spend about five million dollars a year on diesel just to generate electricity, and old NPA equipment is still taking up considerable space within the terminal.”

    He described this as not only a big problem for APM Terminals but for everyone in the country. – source The Vanguard

    African economies should unite - Zuma

    Pretoria (BuaNews) - President Jacob Zuma has called on the developing world, to work together to find innovative ways to advance an alternative economic order that supports development.

    Addressing the Ugandan parliament during his recent state visit, Zuma said this would ensure a better quality of life for all Africans.

    “A more integrated and economically organised Africa is good for our collective economies and livelihood of our peoples,” he said.

    Zuma called on African leaders to seek an economic unity that surpasses borders that were laid down during the colonial era, adding that common markets were far more effective at bringing countries together than common declarations.

    He said Africans should be able to invest in each other's economies and draw on each other's skills and expertise.

    “We have to overcome lines drawn on a map; lines that reflect more the differences between the nations of 19th century Europe than between the peoples of today's Africa,” Zuma said.

    Zuma said the continent was rich in minerals, produce and people, yet it remained very poor.

    Zuma added: “It is only by uniting our peoples, by pooling our resources and combining our efforts that we will overcome this devastating legacy.”

    RVR shareholders agree on redeveloping 1200-km Uganda to Kenya railway

    Shareholders in Rift Valley Railway (RVR), which holds the concession to operate and redevelop the 1,200-km railway from the port of Mombasa to Uganda, have agreed on a joint policy and way forward after much wrangling and disagreement.

    The Kenyan-based Trans-Century and Ambience Ventures, a subsidiary of Egypt’s Citadel Capital, have agreed to invest USD250m million to put new life and impetus into the concession and even facilitate the development of a standard gauge railway linking Kampala with Mombasa.

    “Trans-Century and Citadel Capital are committed to ensure that the railway service, which is a crucial part of the region's infrastructure, delivers on its promise,” the two companies said in a statement released on Tuesday. “Both Trans-Century and Citadel Capital realise that the joint railways concession is critical for the economic development of the region and have agreed to a negotiated solution to help fast-track the turnaround of Rift Valley Railways for the benefit of the peoples of Kenya and Uganda.”

    Trans-Century, which holds 20% of RVR shares, initially opposed Citadel Capital’s acquiring a majority stake in the consortium after having bought out Sheltam Rail’s 39% stake. Sheltam was previously the majority shareholder in the consortium.

    In terms of the agreement, brokered in London, Citadel Capital will hold 51% of the shares, Trans-Century 34% and 15% will be held by an unnamed Ugandan investor.

    Citadel’s Managing director, Karim Sadek said in an article recently that by having control of RVR, Citadel would gain access to a market of over 100 million consumers in the Eastern DRC, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and Tanzania.

    Transnet gets into the spirit of the 2010 soccer world cup

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    Chris Wells

    Transnet has enthusiastically embraced the spirit of the 2010 Soccer World Cup by ordering and distributing an initial batch of 15,000 soccer T-shirts to its employees around the country.

    It was a logistical challenge, but one that the organisation has pulled off with aplomb. The order for the soccer shirts is believed to be the largest in the country and no single supplier could fulfill it.

    It was worth it, says Acting Group Chief Executive, Mr Chris Wells. “Yes, it was definitely a challenge, but we felt it imperative to show our enthusiasm and support for both the World Cup as well as the national team, Bafana Bafana. Our employees have been particularly vocal in showing their support for the amazing event and we felt we needed to do something to encourage that enthusiasm. It is, after all, for South Africa and we urge all other employers to do the same.”

    The soccer shirt initiative is in support of the Football Friday campaign. Distribution of the shirts has started, and is underway.

    Apart from the soccer shirts for its full-time and contract employees and board members, Transnet is also participating in various multi-stakeholder forums dedicated to ensuring that there is security of fuel supply during the tournament.

    Transnet was one of the companies that financially supported the bid by the country to host the Soccer World Cup.

    Fishy Story..... US Court stops closure of canal

    The US Supreme Court has stepped in to prevent the State of Michigan from closing the Chicago Canal in order to block the entry of Asian carp which are considered to be an invasive species that could threaten the Great Lakes Environment.

    Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox (Republican) claimed the Obama administration had promised zero tolerance towards invasive species in the Great Lakes.

    Had the canal been closed it would have cost an extra USD70 million to transport cargo by other means. The barge industry meanwhile is happy with the decision saying that it safeguards the tug and barge industry, which moves millions of tonnes of household fuel and road salt along the waterway.

    Counter claims from academics maintain the losses from lock closure would not be as high as claimed by the State of Illinois. The State however says it is concerned over the condition of the Great Lakes and its own Lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior.

    The carp have made their way up the Mississippi River from the Gulf of Mexico and grow up to 100 pounds and eat 40 percent of their weight in a day.

    Expert warns East Africa against replacing rail gauge

    A Canadian expert on railways has warned that replacing the East African railway gauge with the wider European standard gauge would be a costly mistake.

    Peter Kieran, President of the Canadian Pacific Consulting Services says that to replace the gauge will cost in the region of a whopping USD 13 – 29 billion.

    Even though cargo volumes to be handled by railways is expected to reach 16 million tonnes annually by 2030, the amount would not justify the colossal investment, he said.

    Although increasing the rail gauge (East African railways operate on metre gauge) would increase the wagon capacity by 15 to 20 percent, this would not effect sufficient savings in operating costs. Prevailing financing and market realities make rehabilitation of the existing railway networks the most economic option, Kieran said.

    Improving the existing railway network would cost in the region of USD 1 billion and would pay off handsomely, he said. He referred to South Africa where a ‘narrow gauge’ (1067mm) handles over 200 million tonnes of cargo each year with a high efficiency.

    Referring to the appeal of high-speed passenger trains, he said: “Long-distance, high-speed passenger systems are extremely expensive to operate. So it will require massive subsidies.”

    He proposed instead that the old railway system be rehabilitated to match with current global trade competition and enhance economic ties in the region and an adequate investment to address shortcomings of the narrow gauge system in East Africa. – source The Citizen

    Pic of the day – BALMORAL

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    Fred Olsen Lines’ BALMORAL which visited Durban last week. Picture by Terry Hutson

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