Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 19, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson


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  • First View – SALVERITAS

  • Strike today may affect ports and railways

  • Somali pirates face trial in Germany

  • IBSA summit ends on high note

  • Concern over Obama’s pirate executive order regarding payment of ransoms

  • South Dunes comes on board with RBCT

  • Global container traffic to reach 411.7m TEU by 2015 - report

  • Transnet’s BEE procurement hits 65 percent

  • Much ado over single ‘toxic’ container in Nigerian port

  • Spanish warship destroys pirate mother ship

  • Today’s recommended Read – The Eco, a single currency for West Africa – what’s in it for investors?

  • Pics of the day – HONG EXPRESS and HIGH STRENGTH


    First View – SALVERITAS

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    The POSH tug SALVERITAS in Cape Town this month before taking in tow the oil rig Neptune Finder. Picture by Aad Noorland

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    Strike today may affect ports and railways

    The United Transport & Allied Trade Union (Utatu) has given warning of a strike that will affect all Transnet’s freight, pipelines, harbours and engineering operations.

    Utatu said on Friday that it has declared a dispute following a number of unsuccessful bargaining sessions with Transnet involving both Utatu and the larger South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu).

    The two unions met earlier in April with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. A follow up meeting has been set for today (19 April).

    The two unions are demanding a 15% pay hike, citing fuel and electricity hikes that they say have “ravaged” members’ disposable income. Transnet’s response has been an offer of 7%.

    Meanwhile, members of South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) within the Road Accident Fund (RAF) have also announced they will also be embarking on a legal and protected strike action today (Monday 19 April). The strike was supposed to have commenced on Wednesday 7 April 2010 but RAF’s Executive Committee Management successfully approached the Labour Court in Bloemfontein which sought an urgent order declaring the strike illegal and unprotected.

    A ruling declaring today’s strike legal and protected has since been issued by the court.

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    Somali pirates face trial in Germany

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    Dutch marines boarding the captured container ship Taipan – picture EUNAVFOR

    Ten Somali pirates who seized the German-owned container ship TAIPAN on 5 April, and who were subsequently taken prisoner by Dutch marines after the ship was recaptured, have been taken to the Netherlands and now face extradition to Germany where they will stand trial under German law.

    The Dutch marine were able to recapture the ship because the crew had secured themselves in a safe location after stopping all engines (see that report HERE.

    Providing an extradition order is granted the suspects will appear in a German court at a date still to be decided.

    News continues below…

    IBSA summit ends on high note

    Pretoria - South Africa, India and Brazil have agreed to jointly develop a satellite and forge closer cooperation on global issues like UN reforms, climate change and world trade talks.

    This emerged at the conclusion of the IBSA summit held in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, which was attended by Brazilian President Luiz Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and South African President Jacob Zuma.

    Briefing the media afterwards, leaders lauded progress made among the three countries in promoting people to people contact.

    Zuma said the decision to develop the satellite jointly was symbolic of the fact that the forum has entered a new phase.

    “We see this initiative as an opportunity to reinforce our shared development objectives. A joint satellite could lend support to areas like agriculture, education energy and health information and communications.”

    Zuma said that IBSA has a natural dialogue forum and he has great confidence in its future.

    “But we are yet to fully explore the full potential of this forum,” he said.

    Noting that all the three IBSA countries were influential in their own regions, Zuma said: “We are in a position to make contributions to a global debate. This became clear at the Copenhagen Summit on climate change when IBSA and China played a key role in reaching an agreement.”

    He said the IBSA countries were key for reform of global bodies like UN to make them more democratic and more responsive to the poor.

    Zuma said the three countries also needed more coordination on climate change to ensure legally binding agreement on the issue in the next summit in Mexico next year.

    “By working together we can build a better world and bring better future,” he said.

    The summit also saw agreements on solar energy, science and technology, intellectual property and cooperation between diplomatic academies signed.

    India's Singh said this has been a very useful round of discussions for IBSA, reaching agreement on several important global issues.

    “The IBSA framework has become the embodiment of south-south cooperation,” he said, naming reform of the United Nations Security Council and other multilateral forums and a need for satisfying conclusion to the Doha round of world trade talks among them.

    South Africa will host the next IBSA summit in October next year. - BuaNews-Xinhua

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    Concern over Obama’s pirate executive order regarding payment of ransoms

    US President Barak Obama’s executive order signed last week forbidding American corporations and their overseas subsidiaries from having financial dealings with groups which “…directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security, or stability of Somalia,” has set the cat among the pigeons among ship owners over the payment of ransoms.

    President Obama’s order specifically mentions piracy in the Indian Ocean: “I hereby determine…acts of piracy or armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia threaten the peace, security, or stability of Somalia. I…determine that…the making of donations…would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in this order, and I hereby prohibit such donations…”

    Although it is believed that the executive order is specifically aimed certain groups such as Islamists and warlords engaged in fighting against the Somali government, ship owners fear that it could also be taken as meaning the payment of ransoms to secure the release of ships and crews.

    Any company with an American interest and which becomes a victim of Somali piracy is now advised to consult with the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) before making arrangements to pay a ransom.

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    South Dunes comes on board with RBCT

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    Image courtesy TNPA

    In a joint statement South Dunes Coal Terminal (SDCT) and Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) say they have found “common ground by concluding discussions regarding SDCT’s right to export coal from RBCT.”

    A formal agreement, to be ratified by non-Phase V RBCT shareholders will see SDCT commencing the export of up to 6 million tonnes of coal from RBCT, probably during May.

    SDCT is the largest participant in RBCT’s Phase V R1.2 billion expansion project.

    “We are delighted to welcome SDCT as a valued coal exporter from RBCT,” said RBCT’s chief executive, Raymond Chirwa.

    He said that South Dunes would add to the “much needed” tonnage in reaching RBCT’s target of exporting 91 million tonnes of export coal a year.

    SDCT’s rights to export coal will, however, be determined by the rate at which Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) actually provides rail freight tonnage to all RBCT exporters. TFR owns and operates the rail line connecting the various coal exporters’ coal mining operations with RBCT.

    According to Trevor McGiddy, CEO of SDCT, the settlement is a compromise on the part of both parties and like all good compromises neither party is particularly happy.

    “However, SDCT is satisfied the agreement is the best option from a business perspective and the result is the most practical and realistic resolution. The shareholders of RBCT, including the new entrants, can now concentrate on working constructively with TFR to increase the rail capacity to RBCT and enable South African exporters, especially the new empowered exporters, to participate more fully in the growing global coal market,” he said.

    All of Phase V capacity will be allocated to new empowered entrants once the respective agreements have been concluded, increasing the terminal’s export capacity from 71mt to 91mt annually. In addition to exporting coal from empowered producers, RBCT is, in its own right, a level 3 contributor in terms of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act.

    “Looking ahead, we are committed to growing sustainable and efficient coal exports as we strive to lower the cost base and invest in long term plant recapitalization projects,” says Chirwa.

    In 2009 RBCT exported 61.14mt of coal, with approximately 30% going into the Indian market. China has also become an emerging importer of South African coal.

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    Global container traffic to reach 411.7m TEU by 2015 - report

    According to a new report on the container industry issued by Global Industry Analysts (GIA), global maritime container traffic will reach about 411.7 million TEUs by the year 2015.

    The report says that growth in the market is being driven by factors such as an increase in exchange of services and goods worldwide, increase in demand for imported goods, liberalization of the transportation sector, and technological improvements such as e-commerce and containerization.

    San Jose, CA April 15, 2010 - Maritime transport is crucial to the movement of goods in national and global supply as well as distribution chains. Worldwide maritime container traffic (empty and loaded) nearly tripled in volume during 1995 through 2008. The persistent long-term growth in maritime container freight indicates the sustained global economic activity. The up tick in the worldwide maritime container traffic is credited to a number of other factors including volume of merchandise trade transported via containers, rising trade with Asian trading partners, and the rising importance of merchandise trade to global economic activity.

    The maritime containerization sector is sensitive to economic cycles, as international globalization and trade is economically driven. Sales volume and revenues of manufacturers is directly proportional to general economic conditions and loaded container TEUs. A nation's GDP stands out as a key growth driver in the container shipping industry, and historic analysis shows definite correlation between economic cycles and container maritime trade. In fact, the container trade tends to be more erratic than GDP trend. The recovery of economy and favorable merchandise imports-exports scenario will cause a resurgence of container throughput at worldwide seaports.

    US maritime container traffic accounts for nearly 9.7% of the total global market estimated in 2009, as stated by the new market research report on Maritime Containerization. Despite the deteriorating business conditions in the shipping industry in Asia-Pacific, the region promises higher growth than in comparison with the Western countries, which are presently bearing the brunt of the subdued world economic climate.

    Container shipping in emerging nations such as China and India showcases a stabilized picture, and promises a quick rebound in terms of container traffic, and new builds. The maritime container traffic posts positive growth patterns for the upcoming years, backed largely by increasing use of containerization for shipping bulk cargo, use of advanced computer technology for automating processes and activities, key partnerships among terminal operators, and incremental advancements in technologies governing alternative fuels, and pollution control systems. The growing awareness of energy efficient and environment friendly products among the shippers and consumers along with the government initiatives and legislation are set to generate more opportunities in the market.

    Key players in this marketplace include ACC Logistics Ltd, Agility, American Stevedoring Incorporated, A.P. Moller-Maersk Group, Dubai Ports World Limited, Evergreen Shipping Agency Corp, Metropolitan Stevedore Company, and SSA Marine Inc, among others.

    The report titled "Maritime Containerization: A Global Strategic Business Report" announced by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., provides a review of industry overview, product overview, key market trends, profiles of major players, and recent industry activity. The report analyzes market data and provides analytics in million TEUs for regions such as US, and Rest of World.

    For more details about this market research report, please visit HERE.

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    Hamburg Süd’s 5,560-TEU MONTE TAMARO (69,132-gt, built 2007) in Durban harbour. Picture by Trevor Jones

    Transnet’s BEE procurement hits 65 percent

    Cape Town - Transnet has boosted its procurement of goods and services from black empowered and black-owned enterprises from 37 percent of its total spend three years ago, to 65 percent, totalling R13.5-billion in the last financial year.

    Briefing media ahead of her Budget Vote on Thursday, Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Enoch Godongwana said of this amount, Transnet spent R2.7 billion on small enterprises with an annual turnover of between R5 million and R35 million.

    He said the R13.5-billion spend also included R1.9 billion which was spent on small firms with an annual turnover of below R5 million and R837 million on black women-owned businesses.

    Eskom is procuring 50 percent of the inputs it needed for its build programme from local suppliers. These included turbines, water treatment and electrical work.

    He said state-owned enterprises were focusing on skills development, with Eskom looking to train over 2,700 artisans through its build programme and Transnet aiming to invest between three and four percent of its personnel costs training technical staff.

    State arms manufacturer Denel would train 210 people, including unemployed youth, in various apprenticeship disciplines in the area of aerospace, engineering and defence industries. – BuaNews

    Much ado over single ‘toxic’ container in Nigerian port

    Nigerian newspaper reports at the weekend highlighted a story alleging that the American President Lines (APL, a subsidiary of Neptune Orient Lines)) vessel NASHVILLE, had been arrested on arrival at Tin Can Island on suspicion of importing toxic waste into Nigeria.

    Some of the articles maintained that the ship was ‘laden’ with toxic waste even though the same reports indicated that a single container had been identified as carrying 70 used lead storage batteries and a number of broken television sets.

    The alert was sounded by a Dutch agency, VROM-Inspectorate along with the International network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE), which advised the Nigerian Federal Government of the ship’s cargo. When the Nashville docked last Wednesday National Ports Authority security and other personnel were waiting to go on board and serve the arrest papers.

    According to the NPA Managing Director, Malam Abdulsalam Mohammed, the detention of the ship was affected alongside other security agencies which included the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the State Security Service (SSS).

    He said the ship’s manifest claimed the ship was arriving with harmless cargo. “In the manifest relating to the voyage, the container is said to contain a vehicle, microwave ovens, pressing irons, vehicle parts, television sets, children’s clothes, conservator tomatoes, dishes and cargo lift.

    “Relevant agencies are collaborating to determine the actual content of the container and take necessary measures.”

    Spanish warship destroys pirate mother ship

    Last Thursday the Spanish Navy frigate ESPS VICTORIA (F82) tracked, boarded and destroyed a pirate mother ship operated by a group of Somali pirates. The incident took place just off the Somali coast and demonstrated EU NAVFOR’s more robust aggressive strategy of stopping the pirates before they can reach the commercial shipping lanes.

    On Thursday morning a helicopter from the ESPS Victoria detected a whaler with three suspected pirates on board. The Spanish ship called on the whaler to stop but got no response, after which warning shots were fired and a boarding party went on board the whaler.

    The pirate boat was found to possess large amounts of fuel and ammunition. The three men on board claimed they were fishermen but a search disclosed no fishing equipment on board.

    The decision was then taken to dispose of the whaler and the three men were taken ashore before the whaler was destroyed.

    Victoria is taking part with the EU NAVFOR (European Union Naval Forces) forces operating in the area of the Horn of Africa, with the intention of escorting and protecting ships engaged with food and humanitarian aid. The EU NAVFOR forces have also taken on the duty of providing protection for other vulnerable ships in the region.

    ESPS Victoria F82 is a modified Perry class frigate.

    Today’s recommended Read – The Eco, a single currency for West Africa – what’s in it for investors?

    In December 2000, five West African countries (Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone) came together to form the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), with the objective of establishing a second strong monetary bloc, with the ‘Eco’ as the single currency to rival the CFA franc.

    You can read this article 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 – HONG EXPRESS and HIGH STRENGTH

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    The Chinese bulk carrier HONG EXPRESS (96,018-dwt, built 1990) seen alongside the E-mole in Cape Town harbour where the ship took bunkers. Picture by Aad Noorland

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    The Singapore-owned oil products tanker HIGH STRENGTH (46,592-dwt, built 2009) seen sailing from Durban’s Island View. Picture by Terry Hutson

    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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