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Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 5/6, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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As Monday 9 August is a public holiday, our next News Bulletin will appear on Tuesday

Click on headline to go direct to story – use the BACK key to return




First View – DENEB PRIMA



The Singaporean livestock carrier DENEB PRIMA (50,947-gt, built 1980) sails from Lyttelton harbour, New Zealand bound for Mexico. Picture by Alan Calvert


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Zuma eyes stronger ties with Russia

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma met on Wednesday with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev during an official visit to that country as part of his stepped-up trade offensive aimed at members of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China).

Zuma's three-day visit to the Russian capital, Moscow, is part of his plan to push new trade and investment routes to the fast- growing emerging economies who are also members of the BRIC.

Both Presidents are set to discuss among other things, ways to enhance cooperation and relationships that already exist between the two governments and look at opening new markets which will boost growth and create jobs.

Zuma has already visited Brazil and India and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva also visited South Africa on his Africa tour in July.

According to Zuma's office, the visit takes place within the context of strengthening North-South cooperation with the aim of consolidating cooperation and partnership on culture, education and skills development.

During the visit, Zuma who is accompanied by six cabinet ministers as well as a business delegation, will sign high-tech contracts between the South African Space Agency and the Russian Federal Space Agency on cooperation in the Field of Earth Observation.

An agreement on cooperation in the Field of Plant Quarantine is also on the cards as well as issues such as direct air links, visa processes and the marketing of South Africa as a tourist destination.

South Africa already considers the Russian Federation as an important strategic partner in the promotion of development, socio-economic and political progress, as well as stability in the globalising world.

Given the similarities of development challenges in South Africa and Russia, especially poverty and inequality, quality of education and health, challenges of HIV and AIDS, it is expected that the two Presidents may reinforce the importance of a development partnership for MDG promotion between the two countries.

Russia, which has highly skilled people in science and technology, offers huge opportunities for trade and investment partnerships especially in minerals energy, agriculture, education and skills development among others.

Meanwhile, the two countries have already agreed to increase their cooperation technology and trade.

International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane, together with her counterpart Yuri Trutnev, signed a trade deal, on Tuesday.

This emerged during the 9th Joint South African-Russian Inter-Governmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation also held in Moscow.

Under the protocol, the two countries agreed to increase trade and investment while lowering obstacles to bilateral economic co-operation.

The two ministers also reaffirmed their determination to intensify and deepen mutually beneficial bilateral social, economic and technical cooperation and noted the important role that ITEC can play in achieving these objectives and supporting national programmes of Russia and South Africa.

Under the auspices of ITEC, they also committed, to exploit new trade and investment opportunities and to resolve obstacles to bilateral economic cooperation.

At the same time, the sides acknowledged that the bilateral trade volume falls short of the existing potential and agreed to take steps to increase trade and to shift the structure to high value added products, as well as to enhance cooperation in high-technology areas. – BuaNews


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Maersk says it hasn’t placed orders for new super ships... yet

Picture by Ian Shiffman

Maersk Line has denied a report in Lloyd’s List that has been in talks with shipyards to build 10 super container ships.

According to Maersk it is simply monitoring capacity at the respective shipyards in China and South Korea and that this doesn’t signify an intent to place orders.

“We have not ordered 10 vessels,” A.P. Moller-Maersk's Head of Group Finance Jan Kjaervik told Reuters. “It is a matter of fact that as a normal procedure we are looking at the capacity at the yards and the situation there. No decision has been taken to order vessels.”

Kjaervik said that Maersk had a large fleet with a roughly 20-year replacement cycle and would eventually need to replace vessels.

The article in Lloyds List stated that Maersk had requested yards to tender for 10 container ships each with a capacity of 16,000-TEUs, which would make them the largest capacity afloat.

As the markets recover from the recession several shipping lines, notably Taiwan’s Evergreen and Singapore’s Neptune Orient Line and several German owners have placed substantial orders for new super container ships.


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Uganda stands to lose out in Common Market because of the railway - claim

As the consortium headed by Egypt’s Citadel Capital sets about raising USD 250 million to inject into the Kenyan Rift Valley Railway (RVR) operation, mounting criticism is being received from landlocked Uganda regarding inefficient transport from the port at Mombasa.

Earlier this year Citadel Capital, TransCentury and a local Ugandan shareholder gained control of the former Kenya and Uganda railway companies from South Africa’s Sheltam Rail and immediately announced that USD 250m would be injected into restructuring the railway between Mombasa and Uganda.

In 2009 RVR posted a loss of USD 17.5 million on a turnover of USD 56.1m, amidst critical feedback from stakeholders over the lack of visible improvement in the rail service. According to Citadel, speaking through its Ambience Ventures subsidiary the USD 250m will be used to upgrade the rail track, the locomotives and rolling stock.

While the raising of the money needed for the refurbishment of the railway takes its course, stakeholders in Uganda and Kenya remain impatient at the delays, saying that as a landlocked country Uganda is forced to rely on expensive road transport and stands to lose out on opportunities possible in the Common Market, which came into force on 1 July.

According to Ramathan Ggoobi, a financial lecturer at Makerere University Business School, the government remains locked into feasibility studies and is depriving the railway of any financial input. “It is surprising that railway transport was not allocated anything in the budget,” he pointed out.

He said that countries like Kenya has easier access to the coast and its ports and stood to benefit from the Common Market because they had less of a transport problem than Uganda. He pointed out that the railway concession was granted back in 2006 and little or no progress had been made since then.


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2010 Most Influential Women awards held

With this coming Monday being National Women’s Day in South Africa, a public holiday, it is appropriate to acknowledge the contribution being made to the maritime industry by women.

This also coincides with the recent announcement at a glittering event held at Gallagher Estates in Gauteng of ‘The 2010 Most Influential Women’ (MIW) in business and government.

The event was the start of a MIW roadshow that headed for Durban (2 August), Port Elizabeth (4 August) and Cape Town (6 August), during which well-known television presenter Fiona Coyne acted as Master of Ceremonies at the respective breakfast events.

The independent judging panel was made up of well-known businesspeople – Dr Raymond Patel of merSETA, Dr Snowy Khoza of the Development Bank of South Africa, Tina Eboka of Standard Bank, Riah Phiyega and Terry Boysen, and chaired by Yvonne Finch, who selected winners in 22 separate categories.

We won’t list all the winners and categories here but of special interest to the maritime and transport industry was that Ingrid Masson, founder and managing director of Haulcon (Pty) Ltd won the Logistics, Shipping and Transport category.


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Cruising: Europe the new growth market

Europe is the new growth market for the cruise industry. Not only are the Europe-based cruise lines growing their capacity by introducing new ships, the U.S.-based cruise lines are also sourcing more passengers in Europe and dedicating ships to European markets.

Both Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International are deploying ships year-round in Europe.

The growth trend in Europe follows the American model whereby the bigger companies increasingly dominate the market with new ships forcing the smaller operators and their older ships to the sidelines.

More European homeports are also being introduced, along with ports of call, as the cruise lines tap more different markets and introduce new itineraries and sail longer seasons. This year, the European fleet counts 116 ships, compared to 152 in North America. In addition, among the 27 newbuildings on order at press time, 11 are being built for European operators.

The picture that is emerging is that of the largest cruise brands, Costa Crociere and MSC Crociere, catering to pan-European markets, and a second tier of brands dedicated to national markets, such as P&O Cruises and Cunard Line in the UK and AIDA Cruises in Germany. These are the dominant brands.

Then follows a third tier with other brands being built up by the major companies, dedicated to the Spanish, German and French markets.

In addition are other, smaller national brands in mainly the British and German markets, as well as a number of smaller operators in niche markets, offering luxury or exploration type cruises at higher per diems.

The exceptions to the rule are Thomson Cruises in the UK and Louis Cruises in the Mediterranean, both with large fleets, offering low cost cruises.

Thomson’s success can be attributed to its infrastructure whereby the company also owns travel agencies, airplanes and destination hotels, in addition to ships, which it charters, thus minimizing its financial exposure. Louis, meanwhile, may be last vestige of the traditional Mediterranean cruise lines with older, smaller ships (minimizing capital costs), but benefitting from a unique business model, being part of a large hotel and resort company in Cyprus, and also chartering ships to European and South American tour operators.

Nearly 5 million European passengers cruised in 2009, according to the industry sources.

Source - the Summer 2010 Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine.


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RBCT has good July but still looks to lag behind at year end

After the negative effects of the Transnet strike during May and early part of June, RBCT has posted much healthier export figures of 5,93 million tonnes of coal for the month of July, compared with 5.44mt for the same month in 2009.

“The nine-day (RBCT) strike had no impact on RBCT operations, which continued as normal, while RBCT and the unions settled on a 9,5 percent increase with a three-year wage agreement," Raymond Chirwa, RBCT CEO said.

Chirwa said that reserves stocks remained at a good level of 3.19mt.

In 2009 TBCT exported a total of 61.14mt of coal but it is not likely to reach more than 60mt in 2010 at the present rate. The terminal’s capacity was this year extend to 91mt a year.



The Bulker ENDURANCE II (70,003-dwt, built 1994) seen in Cape Town during 2007. The ship currently sails under the name Pioneer Pacific). Picture by Ian Shiffman

NYK’s LNG tanker GRACE ACACIA (100,341-gt, built 2007) seen on a 2008 visit to Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman




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