Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 22, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson


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  • First View – CSC CYANITE

  • Search continues for Sundance’s missing mining executives

  • GoReefers cuts costs at Maputo

  • Shipping line news: bunker surcharges and container shortages

  • Piracy: former highjacked ship undergoes repairs

  • Brazilian Navy ships visit Walvis Bay

  • Pull up your trade socks, Clinton tells Africa

  • Pics of the day – TAGA BAY and UTOPIA ACE


    First View – CSC CYANITE

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    The Chinese (Hong Kong) products and oil tanker CSC CYANITE (49,999-dwt, built 2009) seen departing the port of Lyttelton after discharging petroleum products at the New Zealand port. Picture by Alan Calvert

    News continues below...

    Search continues for Sundance’s missing mining executives

    The search for a missing aircraft carrying a team of Australian executives from iron ore company Sundance Resources was being continued late yesterday over large parts of Cameroon and the Congo. By late afternoon no sign of the missing aircraft had been located. The area over which the plane was flying when it disappeared is heavily forested and hilly.

    The aircraft, a chartered CASA C-212 twin turboprop operated by Aero Service of Congo-Brazzaville, disappeared while flying the executives from the Cameroon capital of Yaoundé to Yangadou in the Republic of Congo. The last contact was made normally with the aircraft after 30 minutes into the planned one hour flight. There were reports of thunderstorm activity in the region.

    Among those on board was a director of Sundance, mining magnate Ken Talbot, who is one of Australia’s wealthiest men and the largest shareholder in Sundance which has extensive mining options in the region. Passengers included five others from Sundance - Chairman Geoff Wedlock, Chief Executive Officer Don Lewis, Company Secretary John Carr-Gregg and non-executive directors John Jones and Craig Oliver. The others on board were two passengers, a French and a British citizen, and two pilots also French and British.

    In Australia Sundance shares were suspended on the Australian stock exchange in Sydney.

    The missing men were on their way to visit Sundance’s Mbalam iron ore project which includes a planned rail and new port operation, the latter at Kribi in southern Cameroon, where construction was due to commence early next year. Cameroon’s existing railway system is built to a metre gauge but it was thought likely that the new railway would be constructed to a broader gauge.

    The new port was expected to take the form of a jetty at Kribi. In December 2009 OT Africa reported that research into the project was in its final stages, with South African technicians involved in the collecting of topographical data. Then in January this year it was announced that Sundance Resources had been selected to develop a USD 236 million iron ore export facility immediately south of the river harbour town of Kribi, which lies about 140km south of the Cameroon port of Douala. The new port, said the report, would be a multi-user facility serving the Mbalam iron ore project, where production is due to commence in 2012, as well as the Belinga Project and other services from neighbouring Congo and Gabon.

    The port’s iron ore terminal would be built by the Cam Iron consortium as a stand-alone facility but with further staged development involving other selected operators.

    Ships of up to 250,000-dwt capacity and a draught of 22m will be able to use the port terminal.

    See PORTS & SHIPS’ related article HERE

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    The port of Kribi as it looks now. Picture by Trucko

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    GoReefers cuts costs at Maputo

    The recent South African transport workers’ strike which caused mayhem in the fresh produce export industry and exacerbated the normal peak season congestion in the port of Durban, has again highlighted the need to develop alternative shipping solutions.

    “We have for some time been arguing that Maputo in Mozambique is a port which needs a new focus in this regard,” says Delena Engelbrecht, Managing Director of GoReefers Logistics, one of South Africa’s leading logistics service providers.

    “Now GoReefers has implemented new shipping logistics which has not only proved that Maputo is a real alternative to shipping through the port of Durban, but that it also saves money for growers and exporters,” says Ms Engelbrecht.

    “GoReefers Logistics understands just how critical it is to have the most competitive cost chain. Recently, when the South African industry faced its biggest challenge in recent history in the form of the national transport workers’ strike, we provided solutions in the midst of the crisis in order to keep the exports flowing.”

    According to Engelbrecht one of these was to increase use of the port of Maputo in order to alleviate the critical congestion in the port of Durban. “The strike in the container terminals, and possible disruption due to the Fifa Wold Cup finals, again confirms that chaos cost money. Congestion charges which were introduced as a result of the strike further exacerbated the problem for the South African industry.”

    She says the South African industry can ill afford the pressure on its bottom line which is already suffering as a result of the world recession and the strength of the South African currency.

    GoReefers says it is acutely aware of this and has again showed that solutions must be found to bring about greater efficiencies in the cost chain. It has not only stated this publicly, but claims it has also proved that it can be done.

    “Innovation is the key to creating competitive cost chains and this is what has been shown by the Maputo solution,” says Sharon Cilliers, GoReefers’ Executive responsible for Marketing.

    “By launching our new Back-to-Back store in Maputo, GoReefers has achieved significant savings for growers and exporters. More importantly, it has also proven that we have been right all along to promote developing the Maputo option.”

    She says the GoReefers solution has shown that in Maputo there is a saving of R3.57 per carton in loading containers from the Maputo Cold Store compared with the cost in Durban. “By loading containers in Maputo according to the GoReefers Back-to Back option a saving of R6.06 per carton has been achieved compared with Durban and savings of R2.83 per carton are achieved in Maputo in loading specialized reefer vessels compared with the same in Durban.”

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    Port of Maputo

    She says compared to Durban, the Maputo Back-to-Back loading operation has shown considerable advantages. There is a quicker turn-around time of trucks, with trucks from Malelane sometimes managing three trips in a 24 hour day. There is a saving on transport cost and there is no congestion.

    The Citrus Growers Association (CGA) last week indicated that delays incurred in the port of Durban are costing the growers in the region of R72-million a season. This is estimated to be based on a minimum of 12 hours delay per load (R3600 per load) and the fact that some 20,000 trucks enter the Durban port with citrus during the peak season.

    “Apart from avoiding congestion by using Maputo, there are now also shipping opportunities available from Maputo to the United Kingdom and the Northwest Continent, Russia, the Middle East, the Far East and the Mediterranean countries,” says Deidre de Klerk, Executive responsible for Commercial Services.

    “And it will make all of us sleep better when we realise that loading from the Maputo ambient store also reduces the carbon footprint of the fruit we load on the vessels. Not to speak of the drop in emissions resulting from the much shorter road trip to Maputo compared with Durban,” she says.

    “With South Africa’s DAFF also set to commence with fruit inspections in Maputo from 17 June, this is the place to be if you are a citrus exporter in the North-Eastern side of the country.”

    Engelbrecht says GoReefers Logistics is committed to continually develop new solutions and support the South African industry as their leading logistics partner. “We have experienced staff, which has already proved that it can save growers money back on the farm.”

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    Shipping line news: bunker surcharges and container shortages

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    MACS Line Golden Isle. Picture by Terry Hutson

    A number of bunker surcharges have been announced. Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) says it is revising its present bunker surcharge on the Europe/South Africa/Europe trade with effect 1 July. On that date the bunker surcharge will become USD430 per TEU for general purpose cargo and USD 569 per TEU for reefer cargo, both effective as of the B/L date.

    MOL has also advised of bunker surcharge adjustments on the US/South Africa trades, effective 15 July 2010. At that time the bunker surcharge becomes USD 758 per 20ft and USD 1516 per 40ft including high cubes to and from the US West Coast.

    On the US/South Africa service with the US East Coast the surcharge becomes: USD 586 per 20ft and USD 1172 per 40ft including high cubes.

    MACS Line has advised that with effect 1 July it will be adjusting its bunker surcharge as follows: USD 414 per TEU for OT containers and flat racks; USD 414 per TEU for lost slot in case of over height and/or over width; USD 550 per TEU for reefer containers; and €22 freight ton for breakbulk cargo.

    Macs Line surcharges will take effect with the sailings of GOLDEN ISLE, voyage 0220 (southbound) and AMBER LAGOON, voyage 0123 (northbound).

    Maersk Line says it expects that with the advent of the peak season internationally and the anticipated increase in cargo volumes, a pronounced and serious shortage of containers will occur in the coming months.

    As a result Maersk Line has initiated production and leasing of new containers and has also reactivated laid-up container ships to assist in repositioning containers as fast as possible, such as from the east coast of North America and Latin America to Asia.

    The company says it expects the equipment shortage to last through the third quarter of 2010 but will work closely with stakeholders and reduce equipment turnaround times.

    Norwegian tanker company Odfjell has sold another coated parcel tanker to be recycled (broken up) in China. The most recent vessel to go is the 45,655-dwt BOW PRIMA, at one time a regular caller in Durban and Richards Bay. Odfjell says that as with other sales, the ship carried a Green Passport and the buyers have undertaken to submit a working plan corresponding to IMO guidelines for ship recycling. Bow Prima was sold for USD 3.3 million.

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    Piracy: former highjacked ship undergoes repairs

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    The German container ship Taipan at the moment when Dutch marines went on board to recapture her from Somali pirates, during which the ship received considerable damage. Picture EU NAVFOR

    Repairs have been completed on the German-owned container ship TAIPAN which was captured recently by Somali pirates and then retaken by Dutch marine. During these episodes the ship sustained considerable damage.

    The vessel has been repaired by Drydocks World at its Jebel Ali Port in Dubai – work that involved the filling in of almost 300 bullets holes in 80 spots, as well as replacing smashed tempered glass windows, including 18 full panels on the bridge. Bulkheads and parts of ceiling and doors also had to be renewed. Once bitten is twice shy - the owner has given instructions for the 140m vessel to be fitted with anti-piracy razor wire aimed at deterring further attacks.

    It now turns out that one of the seamen on board the Bulgarian-flagged ship PANEGA was wounded when the vessel was highjacked, having been struck by a ricocheting bullet. The news leaked out after the crew of the car carrier ASIAN GLORY reached home and were able to talk to the media. Eight of the crew on board the Asian Glory are Bulgarian. They disclosed that they had spoken by radio with the master of the Panega who requested advice about how to treat the injured man, who was not seriously hurt. Bulgarian authorities said they had not disclosed this information previously because they feared it would endanger the crew who were still in custody.

    Analysts are warning that ship owners can expect to pay out higher amounts of ransom to Somali pirates in the future as the Somalis increase their demands. In 2008 a total of USD 80 million in ransom money was reported to have been paid over to pirates or their representatives, but this figure could have been higher as many ransom payments went unrecorded, according to Marie Bos, an analyst with Control Risks in Dubai.

    She said the average reported payment was USD 2m to USD 3m. She believed ransoms could top USD 120m this year. “Pirates realise they have more room for manoeuvring,” she told a conference in Abu Dhabi.

    News continues below…

    Brazilian Navy ships visit Walvis Bay

    Two Brazilian Navy warships have arrived in Walvis Bay for a visit. They are the recently commissioned frigate/corvette BARROSO (V34) and the oiler/tanker ALMIRANTE GASTAO MOTTA.

    During their visit the ships have been opened for the public – always a great attraction at any port and especially so at Walvis Bay.

    Barroso is one of the Brazilian Navy’s most recent additions, having been designed and built in the Arsenal de Marinha Shipyard in Rio de Janeiro and utilising approximately 70 percent Brazilian content. The 103m long ship has a maximum speed in the region of 30 knots and a crew complement of 126. The ship is powered by two cruise diesel engines producing 11,780hp and driving two shafts and is boosted by a gas turbine engine producing 27,500hp.

    The frigate has an aft helicopter deck and hangar for a single Lynx helicopter. Other armaments consist of 4 MM40 Exocet Ship to Shore Missiles, one 114mm gun, one 40mm Anti Aircraft weapon and two triple 12.75 inch torpedo tubes. The ship also carries SLQ-1A radar warning, a SLQ-2 jammer and a chaff system. She displaces 2,350 tons fully loaded.

    The original intention was to build a number of this class but it is understood the programme has been delayed.

    The second Brazilian Navy vessel is the oiler Almirante Gastoa Motta, also built in Brzail but in 1991. She displaces 10,300 tons loaded.

    At the conclusion of their Walvis Bay visit the two Brazilian ships will visit Luanda in Angola and later go on to several other West African ports.

    Another naval visitor to the Namibian port has been the US survey ship USNS SUMNER which has been operating in African waters for some time. USNS Sumner forms part of the US Military Sealift Command and is designed to provide the US Navy with accurate survey material on ocean currents and seabed formation.

    Pull up your trade socks, Clinton tells Africa

    Washington – African nations must stop seeking handouts and begin tough structural reforms, especially on trade, if they truly want to improve their economies, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.

    “Most of the work that needs to be done needs to be done in Africa,” Clinton told a forum about US diplomacy on the continent.

    “If you look at trade between African countries, it is abysmally minimalistic,” she said.

    “African countries don’t trade with themselves. They have barriers and tariffs and customs problems that stand in the way of developing their own economies.”

    Clinton’s sharp comments were in response to a question about broadening the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a measure passed by Congress in 2000 which gives favourable access to US markets to dozens of African countries.

    While many African governments hope the benefits can be made permanent, Clinton signalled Washington was going to look for signs that African countries are serious about improving their own domestic economic policies.

    “The United States will do our part, but African countries have to start doing their part and making the changes that will grow the economies in the sub-Saharan region,” she said. “It means doing things that are going to run afoul of special interests and government bureaucrats and businesses that already have a lock on a market,” Clinton said.

    “They’d rather have the biggest piece of a small pie than a smaller piece of a big pie.
    So if you are going to have that mentality, it is really hard to utilise the incredible tool that AGOA is,” she said.

    Both Clinton and US President Barack Obama have used trips to Africa to stress good governance, saying local leadership is as important as foreign help in the drive to stamp out war, corruption and disease on the continent.

    Despite big improvements under AGOA, overall US trade with sub-Saharan African countries remains small, accounting for just slightly more than one per cent of total US exports and about three per cent of total US imports in 2008.

    US imports from sub-Saharan Africa grew about 28 per cent in 2008 to USD 86 billion, but higher oil prices accounted for a large chunk of that increase.

    Sounding almost exasperated, Clinton indicated that Africa’s arguments for the redress of economic imbalances left by colonialism were beginning to wear a little thin – at least in Washington.

    “For goodness sakes, this is the 21st century. “We’ve got to get over what happened 50, 100, 200 years ago and let’s make money for everybody.

    “That’s the best way to try to create some new energy and some new growth in Africa,” she said. – The Namibian

    Pics of the day – TAGA BAY and UTOPIA ACE

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    The container ship TAGA BAY (9,957-gt, built 2007) of the ill-fated SAILS company seen departing from Durban’s Maydon Wharf in January 2008. Picture by Terry Hutson

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    MOL’s car carrier UTOPIA ACE (60,175-gt, built 2004) was one of three car carriers in Durban port together on that day in March 2008. Picture by Terry Hutson

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