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Ports & Ships Maritime News

September 23, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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First View – MERLOT

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One of Cape Town’s harbour tugs, MERLOT heads off on another assignment. Picture by Aad Noorland


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Damen says it is in the mix for navy patrol boat contracts

The Sea Fisheries patrol vessel SARAH BAARTMAN, built by Damen. Picture by Ian Shiffman

Damen Shipyards in Cape Town says it is in the mix to build patrol ships for the South African Navy, even if some of the boats exceed the Cape Town yard’s present 60m length limitation.

And according to a report in the Engineering News which quotes Damen’s Cape Town director Frank Rebel, the Dutch-owned black empowered company is determined to bid for Project Biro (the Navy project of building six patrol ships).

He intimated that the larger offshore patrol boats, which will probably have a length of around 80m, might be built offshore at one of Damen’s other yards and completed in Cape Town.

The sea fisheries patrol boat SARAH BAARTMAN was built and completed in this way.

The smaller inshore patrol boats will present no problems for Damen at its existing facility.

Damen Shipyards in Cape Town came about from the acquisition of FarOcean Marine in early 2008 and since then the yard has completed a number of small craft, including a harbour tug for a Nigerian buyer.

Another South African shipyard in the running to meet the navy’s requirements is Durban-based Southern African Shipyards, which has been in a number of discussions with the South African Navy with regards its future requirements. Six of the former missile strike craft of the South African Navy were built at this yard when it was still known as Sandock Austral. The first three boats were built in Israel and were sailed to South Africa amidst intense secrecy at the height of international sanctions.

Several overseas shipyards have also shown interest in the Project.


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Maputo dredging begins with arrival of Pallieter

The trailing suction hopper dredger Pallieter which was working in Durban last year. Picture by Trevor Jones

With the arrival in Maputo harbour of the dredger PALLIETER on Sunday, 19 September, work on dredging the port’s access channels, basins and berths has begun.

The dredging is being performed by Mascarenes Dredging & Management Services (‘Mascarenes’) and will take between 4 and 6 months to complete and will result in the depth of the Port being increased from the current 9.4m to 11m.

The Port is currently restricted from realising the growth potential envisaged by the Port Master Plan because of its inability to consistently handle larger vessels, which are forced to wait for favourable tides at the present design depth. This project will allow the Port to handle fully laden Panamax vessels with a gross tonnage of up to 70,000 tonnes, greatly enhancing its attractiveness to potential port users through greater efficiencies, wider market access and improved port accessibility.

The project is a joint venture between CFM, Grindrod and DP World, the joint owners of port operating company MPDC. The project has been funded by equity contributions from the shareholders and by external debt provided by the Standard Bank of South Africa. The cost of the dredge will be recovered through a dredging tariff that is to be levied on port users. The tariff has been designed by an international port consultancy to ensure equitable distribution amongst port users so that those vessels that will benefit the most from the increased draught will bear a greater proportion of the cost.

The dredge will involve the removal of almost 2 million cubic metres of material, including a portion of rock identified in one area of the access channel. Mascarenes will be employing a brand new technology to deal with the rock outcrop. The new technology consists of a specially-designed disk cutter-head being fitted to the suction unit of a conventional trailing suction hopper dredger (TSHD). Although trial runs have been successfully performed, this will be the first time such a method has been utilized on a commercial basis.

The dredging project is the first major capital project undertaken following the extension of the MPDC concession agreement by the Government of Mozambique on 30 July 2010 and reflects the shareholders commitment to the Port of Maputo to fully implementing the Port Master Plan.


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Happy Birthday for local cruising specialists

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On Friday this week (24 September) South Africans celebrate Heritage Day and appropriately, two family-owned companies, the Italian styled Mediterranean Shipping Company and South Africa’s Starlight Cruises will be celebrating over 20 and 30 years respectively of successful cruising and shipping in Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands.

Starlight Cruises first started operating cruises ships out of South African ports in 1978, while MSC container ships and logistics have been operating in South Africa since 1988. The cruise ship division of MSC has brought luxury liners to the country every summer season since 2003.

“Our combined record as the only cruise companies to operate continuously out of South African ports over such a long period of time is an affirmation of our commitment to the growth and prosperity of our country,” said Allan Foggitt, marketing director of Starlight Cruises, the sales and booking agents for MSC Cruises in South Africa.

“It is something we are very proud of and Heritage Day presents the perfect opportunity for us to not only honour the diverse cultural heritages that link our own companies but also the contribution of all South Africans to the building of our great nation,” he said.

His sentiments are echoed by Stefano Vigoriti, managing director of MSC Cruises in South Africa, who says the company demonstrated continued confidence in the country by deploying MSC SINFONIA, one of the bigger and finest cruise ships in the MSC Cruises stable, to the region last year.

MSC Sinfonia returns to Southern Africa for a second season this summer and will be accompanied by the smaller, elegant MSC Melody cruise ship. The two ships will offer a bumper 69 departures out of local ports to present over 100,000 passengers with a greater variety of destinations than ever before.

“Cruising is the fastest growing sector of the travel industry worldwide and a similar trend is evident in South Africa. We are attracting increasing numbers of foreign tourists to cruise and visit the region. We are also proud to play a positive role in sustainable job creation in related tourism and hospitality industries,” said Vigoriti.

MSC Cruises sets the global standard for Italian style cruises. The company is the world’s fourth largest cruise operator comprising eleven ships cruising five regions around the globe. In addition the company employs over 12,000 people and it is present in 43 countries.

In South Africa, the container cargo division of Mediterranean Shipping Company is by far the biggest user of local ports while MSC (Pty) Ltd is the biggest shipping organisation.

MSC Sinfonia hosts 777 cabins, of which 135 are suites with private balconies. The ship also boasts 3 restaurants, 7 bars, 2 pools, the MSC Aurea Spa, a business and conference centre, an internet cafe, casino, cigar room, disco, fitness centre, golf simulator, library, card room, mini club, teen's club, exchange office and medical centre. The facilities and onboard activities allow for travellers to tailor make their own experience whilst in the luxurious surroundings.

MSC Melody (35,143-gt) is the smallest ship in MSC Cruises’ fleet, and is designed to meet the highest standards of Italian style and sophistication, whilst offering a relaxed and informal cruise-ship experience. With a capacity of just over 1,500 guests, MSC Melody creates a welcoming, almost intimate feel on board, especially being the only ship designed with family in mind with 5-bed cabins available. Graceful public areas with grand high ceilings lend the MSC Melody to a sense of openness with comfortable, stylish staterooms, spacious and well-appointed. The ship's retractable, transparent Magrodome allows you to enjoy one of the two swimming pools and whirlpools even if the skies cloud over.


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SATAWU says it will campaign against AARTO

The South African Transport & Allied Workers Union (Satawu) says it intends campaigning to prevent the implementation of AARTO in its present form.

AARTO – the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences – is being introduced as a measure aimed at improving road safety, in which drivers committing offences will receive demerit points against their drivers’ licences. After 12 demerit points the licence is suspended for three months – after three suspensions a licence will be revoked.

Satawu says it intends lending its considerable weight to prevent the implementation of the Act and will go on a campaign to prevent the Act from being introduced in its current form, failing which it has threatened to bring all professional passenger and freight road transport services to a halt.

This threat comes about after the union claims it has tried without success to have a serious engagement about AARTO with the Minister of Transport.

“While Satawu has always welcomed any initiative to bring order and safety to our roads, AARTO represents a top-down punitive approach which has not been properly consulted, and which will impact negatively on South Africa’s 791,000 professional drivers,” the union says.

“AARTO, through the points system, will penalize professional drivers for vehicle violations over which the driver has no control. For example, an unroadworthy or overloaded vehicle will invite negative points to the driver’s record.” The argument is that drivers are coerced into using their vehicles over which they exercise little control as to roadworthiness.

Satawu says that the number of negative points allocated before a driver’s license is suspended is ridiculously small. “Despite every good intention of not committing traffic violations, a worker whose job it is to drive, will be exposed in a very short space of time to license suspension or cancellation. This is particularly in a context where traffic authorities have the habit of deliberately ‘entrapping’ drivers for reasons of earning revenue rather than for reasons of truly introducing road safety.”

The union says the Act threatens the livelihoods of almost a million workers in all sectors in South Africa. Over 50,000 of them are members of Satawu, while others are spread through every single sector. Satawu will be calling on COSATU and affiliates to support the campaign,” it said yesterday.


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SA economy to grow by 3.2%, says IMF

Pretoria - South Africa's economy will grow by 3.25 percent in 2010 - with growth reaching 4.5 percent by around 2014, according to an International Monetary Fund South Africa report released on Tuesday.

This is more optimistic than the latest growth forecast by the South African Reserve Bank of 2.8 percent for the whole of 2010. In the medium term, the IMF further sees the output gap being closed by around 2014. The output gap is the difference between the rate at which an economy is growing and the maximum rate at which it can grow.

However, the report also points to downside risks - the main risk being the impact on the South African economy of an interruption in the global economic recovery. In particular, the weakness of the Euro zone poses considerable risks to South Africa's economy.

South Africa emerged from the recession of 2008 in the third quarter of last year. The economy has been growing since then, but the recovery remains weak.

The speed of economic recovery in the country's major trading partners may also impact on the sectoral composition of South Africa's economic growth, with major implications for job creation. The country's exports to the Euro zone are dominated by manufactured goods while exports to China are dominated by commodities.

The IMF projects that employment levels are only likely to return to their 2008 peak by around 2015. However, if the economy grows at 5.5 to 6 percent a year, employment levels will return to their 2008 peak by 2013.

The National Treasury says South Africa needs to raise its growth rate to 6 percent, with this growth being more labour intensive, if it is to create jobs on a large scale.

This is further confirmed by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's assertions that South Africa needs sustained growth of at least 7 percent a year over a 20 year period to significantly reduce unemployment and poverty.

On the management of capital inflows, the IMF report supports the flexible and floating exchange rate system but notes that the volatility of the rand has been very high.

"This is accounted for by the fact that non-residents account for nearly 75 percent of the daily turnover of US$10 to US$12 billion in the South African foreign exchange market. The size of the market and its dominance by non-residents limits the government's ability to influence the level of the rand," it said.

The report notes that while increasing foreign exchange reserves may not have much effect on the level of exchange rate, it could be helpful in absorbing large shocks. Similarly, a small tax on inflows might help slow down the volume of inflows or change its composition. However, taxing inflows might be easily circumvented and its effectiveness eroded overtime.

The IMF reinforces the prudent fiscal and monetary policies government has been implementing since 2002. These policies cushioned the country's economy to some extent from the full impact of the global economic recession. “Now that the recession is over, government can use the fiscal and monetary space to support the economic recovery,” said the report.

The report commends South Africa for its solid regulation and the strength of its financial services sector, a point also noted by the 2010 Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum earlier this month.

The National Treasury said though government does not share all the views expressed in the IMF report, the report is a "fair assessment" of the economic conditions in South Africa.

“The government will consider the recommendations made by the IMF and other international organisations. Many of the issues raised by the IMF report mirror the list of priorities that government is already addressing, including work on inclusive growth and policies aimed at tackling youth unemployment.”

Regarding the volatility of the currency, the, National Treasury has agreed to support the South African Reserve Bank to accumulate foreign exchange reserves. Government will update its macroeconomic forecasts when Gordhan tables his Medium Term Budget Policy statement next month. – BuaNews


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Alphaliner's Top 50 container lines

picture by Terry Hutson

Alphaliner, the online information platform for the maritime industry, reports on the rankings of the world’s top 50 container companies, as of September 2010:

1) APM-Maersk, with 2,124,326 TEU capacity, was up 4%
2) MSC, 1,752,229 TEU, up 28%
3) CMA CGM, 1,168,395 TEU, up 21%
4) Evergreen, 613,966 TEU, down 4%
5) APL, 607,514 TEU, up 31%
6) Hapag-Lloyd, 585,318 TEU, up 16%
7) CSAV, 539,313 TEU, up 92%
8) Cosco, 527,675 TEU, up 9%
9) CSCL, 469,635 TEU, up 9%
10) Hanjin, 465,521 TEU, up 24%
11) MOL with 390,875 TEU capacity was up 4%
12) NYK, 384,152 TEU, down 9%
13) Hamburg Sud, 359,274 TEU, 23%
14) OOCL, 358,888 TEU, which showed zero growth
15) Zim, 329,803 TEU, up 10%
16) "K" Line, 323,238 TEU, up 6%
17) Yang Ming, 319,241 TEU, up 8%
18) Hyundai MM, 282,272 TEU, up 12%
19) PIL, 250,582 TEU, up 36%
20) UASC, 212,116 TEU, up 55%
21) Wan Hai with 175,987 TEU capacity was up 22%
22) HDS Lines, 100,430 TEU, up 4%
23) MISC Bhd, 80,288 TEU, down 17 per cent
24) TS Lines, 77,029 TEU, up 87%
25) Sea Consortium, 57,365 TEU, up 1%
26) CCNI, 55,857 TEU, up 13%
27) RCL, 52,454 TEU, down 9%
28) Grimaldi, 50,271 TEU, down 12%
29) KMTC, 46,267 TEU, up 19%
30) SITC, 38,300 TEU, up 16%
31) STX-Pan Ocean with a 37,977 TEU capacity was up 116%
32) Matson, 36,514 TEU, up 16 per cent
33) Seaboard Marine, 36,066 TEU, up 2%
34) UniFeeder, 35,667 TEU, up 30%
35) Scholler Group, 34,224 TEU, up 1%
36) Horizon Lines, 34,150 TEU, up 4%
37) NileDutch, 33,392 TEU, up 22%
38) Emirates, 32,310 TEU, up 14%
39) Sinotrans, 29,409 TEU, up 70%
40) Arkas Line, 29,207 TEU, down 10%
41) Samudera with a 28,289 TEU capacity was down 2%
42) SC India 27,503 TEU, up 57%
43) Hainan POS 26,049 TEU, new so no change
44) Swire 25,985 TEU, down 32%
45) Grand China Shg 22,286 TEU, new so no change
46) Linea Messina 21,321 TEU, down 5%
47) Sinokor 21,276 TEU, zero growth
48) Crowley 19,995 TEU, up 8%
49) OEL/Shreyas 19,835 TEU, down 13%
50) Turkon Line 18,325 TEU, up 30%.

Source Alphaliner




The container ship NORTHERN PROMOTION (47,855-gt, built 2010) on charter to MSC sails from Durban almost fully loaded. Picture by Trevor Jones

Another container ship, this time the smaller HELENE S (27,213-gt, built 2006) operating for ‘K’ Line, sails from Durban. Picture by Terry Hutson




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