Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 8, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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  • First View – BREEDE

  • Moatize is reached as rail rehab of Sena line presses forward

  • Cape Town Container Terminal Expansion off to a good start in third year

  • AP Moller-Maersk earnings plummet USD4.5 billion

  • MSC Cruises places order for new Fantasia class ship

  • Piracy – Ship highjacked off Madagascar

  • Paul Scannel and Felix Scheder-Bieschin elected as chairman and vice-chairman of SAASOA

  • PIL launches multi purpose China – Africa service

  • Margaret loses some of her cargo

  • Transnet issues statement on its pipeline tariff application

  • Today’s recommended Read – Killer wave strikes cruise ship

  • Pics of the day – LONDON


    First View – BREEDE

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    The Unicorn Shipping products tanker BREEDE (16,500-dwt, built 2009) sailing from Durban at the end of the ship’s first call to what is in reality her homeport. Picture by Trevor Jones

    Moatize is reached as rail rehab of Sena line press forward

    Rehabilitation of the railway from Beira to Moatize reached a new pinnacle last week when a train rolled into the Tete province town of Moatize for the first time in about 25 years.

    According to an article in the Maputo newspaper Noticias the entire 547km of railway track has been rebuilt although for a short while trains will only use the final section between Doa and Moatize in the event of emergencies, and trains will be limited to 25 km/ph until the laying of ballast is complete.

    Other work including final alignment, consolidation and some welding of the track remains to be completed but already further down the line towards the coast trains are operating between Beira and the Dona Ana bridge over the Zambezi and on the branch line between Inhamitanga and Marromeu.

    Reconstruction of the railway is being undertaken by the concession holders, Rites of India and Ircon International (RICON). Work commenced in 2006 and up until January 2010 the project has cost USD 137 million, the reconstruction being funded by a consortium of the World Bank, the European Development Bank, and the shareholders of the Beira Railroad Company (CCFB), which holds the lease on the entire central Mozambican rail system. These shareholders are RICON, which holds 51 percent and CFM, the state-owned port and railway transport company (49 percent).

    The reconstruction of the Beira - Moatize line, which is scheduled to handle coal exports from the Vale coal mining operation at Moatize, is about a year behind schedule. – source AIM and Noticias

    Cape Town Container Terminal Expansion off to a good start in third year

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    Moshe Motlohi, Terminal Executive of the Cape Town terminals, pictured in the Cape Town container terminal, which is currently in the third year of its expansion project to increase capacity from 720,000 TEUs to 1.4 million TEUs.

    Cape Town, 4 March 2010 - Transnet Port Terminal reports that its R5.6 billion, five-year investment plan aimed at increasing the capacity of the Cape Town Container Terminal is progressing according to schedule.

    Under its reconfiguration programme on the long quay, the container stacking yard is being converted from a straddle carrier operation to a rubber tyred gantry (RTG) operation.

    Over the past six months, 16 RTGs have been phased into the terminal and a further 16 RTGs are earmarked to arrive in the second half of this year.

    Says Moshe Motlohi, Cape Town Terminal Executive, “The strategic advantage of the RTG is dense stacking - six rows wide, five containers high and 30 deep - thereby providing better utilisation of space.

    “These converted RTG blocks boast stacking capacity of 6,900 TEU (twenty foot equivalent unit) slots in total, presenting an increase in stacking capacity of up to 40%. This will assist in increasing the overall container capacity of the terminal capacity from 740,000 twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) to 1,4 million TEUs by our end target of 2012,” he said.

    The first block was completed in October 2009 (Block 10) and two more blocks were completed by December (Blocks 9 and D4), in total utilising eight RTG’s.

    Additional buffer storage of 1,200 TEU slots is currently being provided in the old South African Container Depots yard which is located adjacent to the container terminal, to enable further reconfiguration work on the long quay to commence in April 2010 without unnecessary disruptions to operations.

    The remainder of the terminal’s equipment replacement programme of phasing-in RTGs to replace straddle carriers is also well underway, according to Motlohi.

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    The terminal has received the second and third batches of 25 haulers bringing the total number received to date to 47 haulers valued at R87m.

    “Towards the end of 2009, the terminal received the second and third batches of 25 haulers which brought the total number received to date by the terminal to 47 haulers valued at R87m,” he said.
    The road equipment replacement programme has also achieved further milestones with the introduction of 60 cornerless bathtub trailers to the terminal, all of which are currently operational.

    Transnet Port Terminals is aligning its human capital development programme at the terminal to meet the requirements of the expansion through an intensive operator training programme.

    To date 69 Operators for Lifting Equipment (OLEs) have been trained and signed off as competent - 43 on the Liebherr twin lift cranes and 26 on the Kalmar RTG’s.

    The training programme extends through to September 2010, by which time a total of 83 RTG Operators will have been trained.

    The five year expansion programme kicked off in January 2007 and is expected to be completed in 2012.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    Cape Town Container Terminal’s stacking yard is being converted from a straddle carrier operation to a rubber tyred gantry (RTG) operation, with 16 RTG cranes now in place.

    AP Moller-Maersk earnings plummet USD4.5 billion

    Shipping and logistics giant AP Moller-Maersk experienced its first ever loss in 2009 when the Danish company posted a USD 1.02bn loss, compared with a profit of USD 3.46bn in 2008.

    Group CEO Nils S Andersen said that while the loss was significant, 2009 had been an extraordinary year with historically low rates and demand. “We managed to limit the loss by saving about USD 2bn and we will continue to strengthen our competitiveness even further,” he said.

    In 2009, the AP Moller - Maersk Group was significantly negatively affected by the global economic crisis. Freight rates for the Group’s container activities were 28 percent lower than in 2008, resulting in a negative segment result of USD 2.1 billion for container activities. Tanker rates were also substantially lower than in 2008. The average price of crude oil was 36 percent lower in 2009 than in 2008, while the Group’s share of oil and gas production was at the same level as in 2008.

    Oil and gas activities, APM Terminals, Maersk Supply Service, Maersk Drilling, Damco and the Dansk Supermarked Group yielded positive results despite lower oil prices and lower demand as a consequence of the economic crisis.

    Cost reductions in the range of USD 2.0 billion were achieved in the Group’s business areas and group functions in 2009, of which USD 1.6 billion related to container activities. Savings were primarily achieved by restructurings, reducing fuel consumption, optimising networks and renegotiating supplier contracts.

    In 2009, it was decided to phase out shipbuilding activities at Odense Steel Shipyard as existing orders are completed and to sell Norfolkline to DFDS.

    Looking at 2010

    In the container shipping market, a 7-10 percent addition of tonnage is expected for the global container fleet while cargo volumes are expected to rise by 3-5 percent in 2010 relative to 2009 and freight rates are also expected to rise. This will lead to a significant improvement in results if the level of vessels taken out of service is sustained. However, rates are not expected to lead to an acceptable return in 2010.

    APM Terminals experienced a continued stabilisation of volumes in the beginning of 2010. The overall volumes are expected to rise moderately in 2010.

    The tanker markets have benefited from the cold winter and declining oil stocks in early 2010. However, rates remain unsatisfactory, and the addition of new tonnage combined with weak demand for crude oil and refined products is expected to cause challenging market conditions in 2010.

    In spite of rising oil prices and a positive outlook for the oil industry, offshore markets are expected to be negatively affected by excess capacity putting pressure on rates in 2010. Relatively good contract coverage ensures fairly high employment for Maersk Drilling, Maersk FPSOs and Maersk Supply Service also in 2010. However, several rigs and ships are not under contract at the beginning of 2010.

    Oil and gas activities are expected to maintain a high activity level with increased investments in exploration in 2010. The Group’s entitlement of production for the next four quarters is expected to be lower than in 2009 but on average slightly above the entitlement of production in the fourth quarter 2009.

    Overall, the AP Moller - Maersk Group says it expects to post a modest profit in 2010. Cash flow from operating activities is expected to be well above the 2009 level, while cash flow used for investing activities is expected to be well below.

    However, it warns that the outlook for 2010 is subject to considerable uncertainty, not least due to developments in the global economy. “Specific uncertainties relate to the container freight rates, transported volumes, the USD exchange rate and oil prices.”

    MSC Cruises places order for new Fantasia class ship

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    MSC Fantasia, at 140,000-gt the largest cruise ship in the MSC fleet and soon to be joined by a third ship

    A letter of intent has been signed between MSC Cruises and STX France SA for the building at the St Nazaire shipyard of a new Fantasia class cruise ship for delivery in mid-2012.

    The announcement comes shortly after the handover by STX France of the latest Musica class ship, the 2,500-passenger MSC MAGNIFICA to MSC Cruises a few days earlier.

    The Fantasia class is larger than the 298m long Musica ships and measure 330m in length and have a gross tonnage of around 140,000-gt. The new ship will have 1,751 cabins, a hundred more than her two sisters already in service, MSC SPLENDIDA and MSC FANTASIA.

    The confirmation awaits finalisation of financial arrangements. The cost of the ship is believed to be in the region of USD700 million.

    Piracy – Ship highjacked off Madagascar

    Somali pirates have extended their range of activity and on Friday they captured the Norwegian tanker UBT OCEAN ((9,224-dwt, built 2009) off the coast of Madagascar, while en route to Dar es Salaam. The tanker is registered in the Marshal Islands but is owned by Norwegian company Ugland Brovig Tankers which has its offices in Singapore.

    The products tanker is carrying a crew of 21, nationalities unknown at this stage. The ship was reported to be on a heading for the Somali coast shortly after the highjacking. If these facts are correct this is the furthest south that a ship has been attacked by Somali pirates and indicates that pirates are prepared to operate even into the Mozambique Channel if the necessity arises.

    In other reports four groups of pirates were involved in shootouts with ships and military personnel. The sudden increase in pirate activity comes with the end of the monsoon period and calmer waters.

    In one of the incidents six pirates launched an attack on a ship before breaking off the engagement to chase the French fishing boat Torre Giulia. Two other French fishing boats came to the assistance of the Torre Giulia, the Trevignon and the Jalenduic and one of them, the Trevignon managed to ram the pirate skiff, sinking it. Four pirates were rescued from the sea but the other two remain missing.

    In a second incident pirates on a mother ship and two skiffs launched an attack on another French ship but were repelled by military personnel on board and the timely arrival of the French patrol frigate FNS NIVOSE. A helicopter from the naval ship followed the pirates and watched them throw evidence in the form of weapons into the sea. The mother ship and one skiff were sunk and the other with 11 pirates on board was taken into custody.

    The other two incidents involved Spanish tuna boats operating off the coast of Kenya. After monitoring the approach of a suspicious boat Spanish Naval forces in the area were contacted and an aircraft was dispatched to assist. Between the aircraft and private guards on board the tuna boats the pirates were repelled.

    On Thursday last week security guards on board a Spanish fishing boat returned fire with approaching pirates and during the skirmish the Spanish fishing vessel was set alight by a rocket propelled grenade. There were no injuries and the fire was extinguished but the International Maritime Bureau has expressed its alarm at the increased use of armed guards on fishing vessels, saying this will lead to an arms race between pirates and the fishermen. Pirates have begun firing at ships with increasing frequency, the IMB said.

    Paul Scannel and Felix Scheder-Bieschin elected as chairman and vice-chairman of SAASOA

    The South African Association of Ship Operators and Agents (SAASOA) recently held it second AGM, where members confirmed the election of a new chairman and vice chairman to serve for the next year.

    Mr Paul Scannell of Seaclad Maritime takes over from Mr Andrew Thomas of Ocean Africa Container Lines as chairman of the Association, with Mr Felix Scheder-Bieschin taking over as vice chairman for 2010. Scannel, who has over 30 years ships agency and ship operating experience, was previously vice president of ASABOSA and played a leading role in the ASL/ASABOSA merger which he has continued to do as vice chairman of SAASOA up to now.

    The SAASOA Board remains unchanged with Ms Thato Tsautse continuing in her position as CEO.

    SAASOA says it is in the process of setting its priorities for the year. “Amongst others, this will include a greater focus on engagement with its members whilst not losing sight of the on-going need to ensure that decisive action is taken to ensure that meaningful productivity improvements are achieved in our Ports as a matter of urgency. This latter point will be addressed by continued collaboration with all stakeholders concerned as well as other initiatives which are under consideration,” said the association in a statement.

    PIL launches multi purpose China – Africa service

    Pacific International Lines (PIL) will launch a multi-purpose service between China and Africa later this month.

    The monthly service rotation is Xingang, Shanghai, Huangpu (all China), Durban, Tema, Lome and Lagos (all Africa). The first sailing leaves Xingang on 25 March.

    Vessels to be deployed are four chartered 20,000-dwt multi purpose vessels.

    “The service will be upgraded to provide a wider market coverage and increased frequency at a later date,” PIL said in a statement.

    PIL started business as a general cargo carrier and later moved into containers. Now it makes a return to multi purpose traffic.

    Margaret loses some of her cargo

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    explosive charges detonate on the barge Margaret with the intention of reducing the wreck. Picture by Rob Parkinson

    Controlled explosions aimed at reducing the wreck of the barge MARGARET which is perched on top of large rocks in Jacobsbaai, proved successful last week when about half of the barge’s cargo of river barges and two floating docks was blown free and were tipped into the sea.

    The barge went aground in June 2009 while carrying a deck cargo of river barges and two small floating docks from China to Rotterdam. The wreck has since been abandoned by the barge owner and cargo owners, leaving SAMSA with the expense and responsibility of cleaning up the wreck, which has remained intact for eight months with little signs of deterioration.

    Following the explosion the barge is left with what appears to be two layers of barges remaining on the vessel, which remains firmly on the rocks at Jacobsbaai.

    Transnet issues statement on its pipeline tariff application

    Transnet says in a statement issued on Friday (4 March) that it has applied to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) for a pipeline network allowable revenue increase for the 2010/11 year in terms of the Nersa tariff methodology that allows it to recover its costs and earn a fair return on its assets.

    “A public hearing was held today (4 March 2010) at which Transnet explained its rationale and addressed all issues raised by the stakeholders on its application.

    “Transnet has previously applied to Nersa for revenue increases. Nersa has previously made the following tariff determinations regarding Transnet’s pipeline tariffs:

    Nersa’s decisions:

    2007/08 : 0 percent
    2008/09 : 4.43 percent
    2009/10 : 10.4 percent
    2010/11 : pending

    “These decisions will result in spikes in tariffs when new assets are commissioned. Further, Transnet has respectfully indicated to Nersa that the regulator’s calculation of the return on equity is not aligned with sound technical principles and normal project investment practice.

    “In its 2010/11 tariff application, Transnet has applied for a revenue increase of 51.3% compared to the 2009/2010 determination of Nersa. This increase is largely due to new assets being commissioned in this financial year (2010/2011) as well as application of sound technical and widely accepted regulatory principles.

    “The pipeline component of the retail price of 93 ULP for Gauteng tariff levied by Transnet is currently approximately 2 percent. If the proposed increase is approved by Nersa, the pipeline transport tariff component of the retail price will increase to approximately 2.4 percent.”

    Today’s recommended viewing – Killer wave strikes cruise ship

    Two passengers, a German and an Italian died when three massive waves struck the cruise ship LOUIS MAJESTY of Louis Cruise Lines while en route to Barcelona in the Mediterranean last week. The wave broke through large glass windows near the front of the ship, knocking people, furniture and fixtures over as it washed through a lounge section of the vessel. Fourteen other passengers among the 1350 and 580 crew on board the ship received injuries.

    Louis Majesty was off the coast near Marseilles at the time.

    For a brief clip of amateur video taken aboard the cruise ship as the wave smashes through windows and floods part of the vessel, go HERE

    If you have any suggestions for a good read (or video clip) please send the link to info@ports.co.za and put GOOD READ in the subject line.

    Pics of the day – LONDON

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    The Svitzer Ocean Towage tug LONDON (2,708-gt, built 1975) pulled into Cape Town last week apparently to undergo some repairs. As always Aad Noorland was on hand to capture the moment on film.

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    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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