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Ports & Ships Maritime News

July 14, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

Shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa


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MACS Line (Maritime Carrier Shipping) bulker STELLENBOSCH (26,847-dwt, built 1978) which has been been operating to the South African coast for a number of years on behalf of more than one owner. Picture by Terry Hutson


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ICF steps in to help modernise customs administration in the port of Dar es Salaam


The Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF) is providing support for a project to modernise customs administration in the Port of Dar es Salaam that will be implemented by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA).

The project, which is being co-funded by ICF and TRA and is in response to pressure from the private sector, aims to significantly reduce the time and costs associated with releasing cargo in Dar es Salaam harbour, bringing tangible benefits to the domestic and international business community.

Currently Tanzania’s customs clearance involves complex procedures and expensive charges, which can be crippling for business owners and acts as a disincentive to investors.

The project will involve an integrated customs administration software aimed at streamlining procedures. Once the project is complete, it will take a maximum of eight days and 11 procedures to clear customs at the port, bringing important benefits to business.

“Tanzania Revenue Authority has already started the modernization process in the tax administration related to automation of key operations in tax administration and the setting up of a reliable database,” says Harry Kitilya, the Commissioner General of TRA.

“With ICF’s support we will now move on to work from a multi-software environment to an integrated system environment, exchange information in a more effective way between TRA and other government agencies and with procedures being streamlined, we will be able to provide the customers with a more efficient and timely service.”

The project has been designed in consultation with the private sector (banks, truck owners, custom brokers) and the Tanzanian Bureau of Standard.

According to Omari Issa, CEO of the Investment Climate Facility for Africa, streamlining customs systems is key to maximising the private sector’s impact on economic growth.

“We are delighted the Government of Tanzania has recognised the importance of getting the business environment right and are excited to be supporting this project which will not only improve customs clearance processes but will also stimulate long-term economic growth,” he said.


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CMA CGM welcomes 13,800-TEU flagship CHRISTOPHE COLOMB

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picture courtesy CMA CGM

French container line CMA CGM has welcomed and named its new flagship, the 13,800-TEU CHRISTOPHE COLOMB, which is now France’s largest container ship.

The vessel, which was delivered from the South Korean shipyard last November, was christened on Monday this week at Terminal de France in Le Havre by godmother Christine Lagarde, France’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Industry and Employment. The vessel is the first of a series of eight similar ships, all named after great explorers.

CMA CGM said in its welcoming statement that these very large ships will enable the group to improve CMA CGM’s competitiveness and are a symbol of the recovery in international trade.

Given the difficulties experienced by the French carrier over the past 18 to 24 months, the arrival of the first of a new series of VLCS ships – very large container ships – certainly acts as some sort of symbol.

Christophe Colomb is 365m in length and has a beam of 51m and has an operational range of 45,000 kilometres. She is one of the new generation vessels fitted with the latest environmental technology, including an electronic injection engine which is said to significantly reduce bunker fuel and oil consumption while enabling the ship to operate at what is dubbed ‘ecospeed’, with reduced carbon emissions. The ship has double-hull protected bunker tanks and a fast oil recovery system aimed at preventing marine pollution.

As with several recently introduced Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) container ships of a similar capacity, Christophe Colomb has been designed with her accommodation and bridge situated forward of the centre of the vessel instead of aft, with the engine room and stacks set back in the conventional position near the stern. This is said to improve visibility for those on the bridge while increasing the number of containers that can be loaded.

CMA CGM intends deploying Christophe Colomb on its FAL 5 (French Asia Line) service between Europe and Asia, which was launched earlier in July. She will call at the ports of Ningbo, Shanghai, Yantian, Tanjung Pelepas, Port Kelang, Le Havre, Hamburg, Rotterdam and Zeebrugge.

“The vessel was christened at a time when CMA CGM Group has confirmed the sharp recovery in its business since the beginning of the year,” the company said in a statement on Monday. “Over the first quarter of 2010, volumes carried rose 21 percent compared with the year-earlier period, while EBITDA stood at USD 380 million, up USD 640 million year-on-year and in line with first-quarter 2008. Quarterly revenue was up by 29 percent to USD 3.2 billion. Second-quarter results will exceed first-quarter figures.”

CMA CGM said the entry into service of these ‘giants of the seas’ is a major, critically important factor for the Group and its future. “Today’s christening is the symbol of a new momentum.” The ship flies the French tricolour.

In a related matter Jacques Saade, Chairman of the CMA CGM Board announced that the proposed investment by Qatar Holding had been ruled out. He described the conditions set by the Qatar royal family’s investment division as being “too hard” and added that another possible investor, the US Colony Capital had also withdrawn from the bidding.

Saade expressed confidence that CMA CGM would be able to complete its recapitalization by the end of this July with the help of the French government-backed Strategic Investment Fund, as well as another as-yet unnamed investor.

CMA CGM faces an estimated USD 5.3 billion of debt during 2010.


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YESTERYEAR – those classic ships – HARBOUR TUGS

With the planned launching today (Wednesday) of Transnet’s latest harbour tug the PHOLELA at the Southern African Shipyards in the Bayhead, it is appropriate to feature a couple of other tugs that once plied their trade in Durban harbour back in those ‘yesteryears’.

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The 1938-built harbour tug JOHN X MERRIMAN of 621 gross tons was named for the last Cape prime minister before the Union of South Africa was formed in 1910. The tug saw service in several ports, among them Durban during the 1960s when this picture was taken. She was withdrawn in 1981 and broken up in Cape Town. Picture by Trevor Jones


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Of later vintage, the diminutive 111 gross ton JE EAGLESHAM was of Italian build and entered service in 1959 along with four sister tugs. She was named for James E Eaglesham DSC, a former Durban port captain in the latter part of World War 2 who was later appointed Nautical Adviser. After withdrawal from service the tug was taken to the Midmar Historical Village outside Pietermaritzburg and placed on display, a better finish than her various crew might have given, so unpopular were all five of her class. Incidentally, one of this class, the SJ HARRISON can still be found in Durban where she has been considerably modified into a workboat and renamed FURY. Picture by Trevor Jones


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Angola invests USD 350m in Luanda port as CFL railway gets set to reopen

USD 350 million is being invested in the Port of Luanda, one of Africa’s most congested, in an effort to restructure the harbour and its facilities.

This was disclosed at a meeting between port and government officials and a visiting US delegation to Luanda, which included US Assistant Trade Representative for Africa, Florie Liser.

In a statement issued to the media after the one-day meeting, Francisco Venancio, Chairman of the Luanda Port Board of Directors said the port authority had issued concessions to various operators, mostly of 20 year duration and that investments in accordance with the concessions was underway.

The US delegation said it was encouraged by the investments as there was a need for efficiency. Angola was complying with various requirements that would enable the two countries to trade in a positive fashion.

The US delegation also held a meeting with Angolan officials to discuss bilateral trade and investment opportunities. This was the first held under the US – Angola Trade and Investment Framework Agreement which was signed just over a year ago and which is designed to provide a means of improving opportunities in both trade and investment.

“Angola is one of the United States’ most important trade and investment partners in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Liser. “Angola’s international partners and investors recognize that the country is moving in the right direction and has great potential. The work plan we developed will guide our efforts over the coming year on a wide range of issues.”

Angola is now the United State’s third largest trading partner in Africa, behind Nigeria and South Africa. Bi-lateral trade amounted to USD 10.7 billion in 2009, of which USD 9.3 was imports to the US from Angola, largely oil. Angola is also a leading beneficiary of AGOA.

Meanwhile it has been announced that the Luanda railway will begin operating along a 400-km stretch of rehabilitated line between Luanda and Malange. The railway, Caminhos de Ferro de Luanda (CFL) faces speed restrictions of 50 to 60 km/h at least initially.

Most of the CFL, which was built by the Portuguese in 1909 was destroyed during the Angolan civil war. In 1970 the line carried 300,000 tonnes of cargo – in 1990 the total was 54 tonnes.


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Pic of the Day – BREEDE


Unicorn Tankers’ chemical and oil products tanker BREEDE (16,500-dwt, built 2009) seen here arriving at Cape Town. Picture by Aad Noorland


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