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Ports & Ships Maritime News

November 4-5, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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First View – BIRCH 4

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The Chinese (Hong Kong) bulker BIRCH 4 (25,369-dwt, built 2000) arriving in Lyttelton, New Zealand to discharge a cargo of phosphate from Nauru. Under a different name the ship, then the JODIE F MILLENIUM earned a sort of notoriety when she grounded on a beach off the North Island port of Gisbourne. As can be seen from this image she was safely ’got’ off. Picture by Alan Calvert

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New SMIT Amandla Marine tug Smit Siyanda is named today

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Smit Siyanda

South Africa’s latest tug is due to be commissioned later this morning (Thursday) at a ceremony near the NSRI in the Port of Durban.

The new tug, to be named SMIT SIYANDA, represents an investment of some R160 million and will provide anchor handling, towing, fire fighting and dive support to the Single Buoy Mooring (SBM which is operated near Isipingo by Sapref.

Sapref operates on behalf of oil majors Shell, BP, Engen, Sasol and Total and imports approximately 18 million tonnes of oil a year through this facility, which is situated 1.5km offshore of the old airport.

Paul Maclons, Smit Amandla Marine’s managing director said the tug’s arrival symbolised another milestone in the company’s history.

“Fleet expansion is a key business strategy and supports our long term commitments to training and development of our seafarers and ongoing investment in the South African maritime industry. A key feature of the build project was the strategic partnership approach with SAPREF, ensuring throughout the design and building process that they had the opportunity to provide input. As a result, the project benefited from the latest technological advances in terms of vessel design and operation,” he said.

“The commissioning of this vessel is another example of continuous investment in the industry and demonstrates the serious nature of operating a key asset like the SBM,” said Sapref managing director Bart Voet. SMIT Siyanda has been designed with key safety and environmental priorities in mind and SMIT Amandla Marine will be pursuing a Clean Ship Notation for this class of vessel. She features a moon-pool, dive machinery space, decompression chamber facilities, medical treatment room and a fully integrated dive control room – ensuring that she is well equipped for dive support and that high industry safety standards are met. Smit Amandla says they intend registering her on the South African Ship’s Registry.

The tug is to be named later this morning by the Lady Sponsor, Mrs Ingrid Oosthuizen, wife of Engen Refinery general manager Willem Oosthuizen.

Smit Siyanda will be capable of providing offshore assistance as well as emergency support, if required, to tankers calling at the SBM to discharge cargo. In addition to state of the art fire-fighting equipment, the ‘Smit Siyanda’ also features an oil pollution abatement capability.

The choice of the vessel’s name rested with SMIT Amandla Marine’s Chairperson Mrs Manana Nhlanhla. “We decided to name her the ‘Smit Siyanda’. ‘Siyanda’ means ‘We are growing’. For the team at SMIT Amandla Marine this is indeed the case and the ‘Smit Siyanda’ heralds further modernisation of our fleet in line with SMIT International’s global fleet renewal programme,” she said.

The tug that Smit Siyanda is replacing on SBM duty in Durban, Smit Madura is to be redeployed to Cape Town and placed on the spot market for charters.

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Transnet faces having new CEO, new Chairman of the Board, new Board and new Minister, all in a matter of months

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Pretoria - Processes to appoint a new chairperson and board of Transnet are underway, the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) said yesterday.

This as Transnet also announced the departure of its Group Chief Executive Vuyo Kahla with effect from 1 December 2010. This follows on Monday’s announcement by Group Chief Executive Chris Wells of his resignation at the end of March next year.

Kahla, who joined Transnet in 2004, will join the private sector. Wells joined the parastatal as its chief financial officer in 2005 and in March 2009 was made the acting group chief executive, after former group chief executive Maria Ramos left the parastatal.

“We anticipate that this (new appointment) will be concluded shortly. The new board will then oversee the appointment of a new Group Chief Executive for Transnet,” said a Department of Public Enterprises spokesperson Ayanda Shezi.

“While it is regrettable that the situation has taken longer than desired to be concluded, the current management has done a sterling job in steering the company, and Transnet’s recent interim results are further proof of that,” said Shezi.

Last week the parastatal’s interim results showed that its revenue was up 7.6 percent to R18.7 billion due to volumes growth in most commodities transported. Its profit for the six months to 30 September 2010 was up 35 percent to R1, 7 billion.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Chris Wells for his selfless commitment to Transnet, and to wish him well in his future endeavours,” she said.

On Sunday, President Jacob Zuma announced that former Home Affairs Deputy Minister Malusi Gigaba would replace Barbara Hogan as Minister in a Cabinet reshuffle. – BuaNews

Comment – What this latest statement amounts to is that Transnet will shortly have a new Board, a newly appointed Chairman, and a newly appointed Chief Executive, with a newly appointed Minister of Public Enterprises who will exercise oversight. Hardly a good situation for a strategically important organisation like Transnet, one that has enjoyed a relatively long period of calm and steady management, which is something that is in short supply with state-owned enterprises as a rule. - Editor

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First index-priced coal deal from South Africa to China concluded

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The first index-priced term deal that will see South African coal being exported to China has been concluded by an international company active in physical coal trade. The deal involves around 2 million tonnes a year, sources close to the seller said.

The seller, which declined to be identified for reasons of commercial confidentiality, said Chinese forward demand for South African coal has been increasing. “There's going to be a lot more South African coal shipped to China going forward,” another source said.

A deal that is indexed against benchmark prices allows sellers to use coal derivatives to mitigate price risk.
The significance of the first such deal is that if more Chinese counterparties adopt indexing, it will encourage many more sellers to weigh the margins offered by China and India against those offered in Europe, traders and producers said.

“If index-pricing starts to be possible into China, then selling South African [coal] there will be a no-brainer,” one of South Africa's largest exporters said on Monday.

Expectations of rising prompt demand from China have pushed benchmark South African prices to US$ 100 a tonne FOB Richards Bay from $ 85/t a month ago.
Although spot demand is rising, some importers are looking much further ahead - a big change from the past year when most deals were for no further ahead than the next month.

China is expected to import around 6 million tonnes of South African coal in 2010, out of total South Africa exports of 65 million tonnes .
China began ramping up coal imports from outside the Pacific region in late 2009 - from Colombia and South Africa - to meet booming power demand in its southern coastal regions but has historically bought on a fixed price basis, delivered to port. - Seatrade Asia

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New appointment at Maputo port

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Port Maputo from the air. Picture by Terry Hutson

Portus Indico, the 51 percent shareholder in Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC), which holds the concession to manage and operate the Port of Maputo, has appointed Mr Osario Lucas as Projects Coordinator and Legal Executive.

Lucas has a Masters degree in Law and has had 15 years of experience in working for CFM prior to joining Portus Indico, which included him serving a three year term as CFM Executive Board Director. He has also served on the boards of a number of companies including MPDC.

Portus Indico (Sociede de Servicos Portuarios SA) has as its shareholders DP World and South Africa’s Grindrod Group, which each hold 48.5 percent of the shares, and local Mozambican company Gestores SARL which owns the balance of 3 percent. In 2008 DP World confirmed that it spent US$ 32 million on buying its stake in MPDC. The balance of 49 percent of MPDC is owned by CFM, the state-owned port and railway company.

DP World also owns a majority 60 percent share in MIPS – Mozambique International Port Services, which operates the port’s container terminal. CFM owns the other 40 percent.

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YESTERYEAR – those classic ships - JOLANDA

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Well-known Durban shipping personality Jerry Hookins submitted today’s image for the YESTERYEAR folder and says he was trawling through many old boxes that he brought home after he retired 16 months ago and came across this picture of JOLANDA, one of Ian Rennie’s ‘Rennies Coasters’, which he says was a very regular customer of Maydon Wharf 7 and 8 in the late 1960s and early ‘70’s.

“This would have been 1971, when I was Master in her, sailing down the Maydon channel towards the harbour entrance,” he says. Picture from Jerry Hookins

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Of ships and shipping lines

MSC MAEVA, largest container ship to call, arrives in Durban today

It has now been learned that a second Mediterranean Shipping Company vessel of 8,100-TEU capacity has been deployed to the Far East – South Africa ‘Cheetah’ service.

The first ship, MSC MAEVA is currently outside port and will enter Durban between 14h00 and 16h00 today (Thursday) before berthing at DCT 108. When she sails on Monday she will be loaded with over 7,000 containers, the biggest container load ever lifted on one ship out of Durban.

She is to be joined on this service by a sister ship MSC LUCY. MSC Maeva has been displaced from the Far East – Mediterranean service as a result of the cascade affect, as deliveries of 14,000-TEU ships continue to enter the major east-west services. MSC Lucy on the other hand was apparently not deployed to any particular service. At least 16 of the 14,000-TEU ships have already entered service with MSC, leaving work to be found for those which they replace, such as the 8,100-TEU vessels that we once (a mere four or five years ago) considered as ‘gigantic’.

Until now MSC’s Cheetah service has operated with ships of between 4,000 and 6,000-TEU capacity and a port rotation of Xiamen, Kaohsiung, Hong Kong, Chiwan, Singapore, Port Louis, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Port Louis, Singapore and Xiamen.

CSAV restarts its West Africa services from December

Chilean container line CSAV says it intends restarting its services to West Africa as from December by way of its ‘West Africa Explorer’ service which will operate between South Africa and Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin and Nigeria.

The service will consist of four vessels, each with a capacity of 1,800-TEU. The port rotation is as follows: Durban, Abidjan, Tema, Cotonou, Lagos and back to Durban, where it will connect with CSAV services to Asia, the Middle East and East Coast of South America. The service commences with the sailing of the SAN ADRIANO from Durban on 12 December 2010.

CMA CGM introduces Eco-containers on trial

French line CMA CGM, which in 2005 was the first company to introduce bamboo-floored eco-containers, is currently running a test for new eco-containers that are manufactured using non-timber composite flooring, the Eko-Flor.

CMA CGM says that in line with its commitment to environmental protection, it has for several years been implementing modern eco-conception techniques in order to avoid the harmful impact of container flooring production on rainforest deforestation.

The new Eko-Flor which makes use of advanced reinforced compound material offers a number of advantages. These include a lighter weight floor that reduces energy used in transportation; resistance to water, oil, odour, microbes etc; low total energy required for production; increased container service life; and a re-usable and recyclable floor.

In addition the containers are built with highly resistant high tensile steel making for a lighter container and therefore reducing the energy used in transportation. CMA CGM will be running tests for the next six months with the containers deployed on the Asia-Europe services.

Tanker Ostrov Moneron under way

The Russian tanker OSTROV MONERON that we reported as being disabled in yesterday’s news bulletin, has managed to make repairs and is underway near Sakhalin Island.

Hamburg Süd adopts IAS container maintenance system

German carrier Hamburg Süd is adopting the EquipmentRepair system from International Asset Systems (IAS) to manage its global container maintenance and repair program.

The German line said this week that it plans to use the IAS Web-based software and communications hub to co-ordinate worldwide repairs for its entire fleet of some 390,000 containers.

“We looked at all the available options and found that IAS had the most comprehensive M&R solution on the market,” said Martin Schoeler, deputy director logistics and technology for Hamburg Süd. “Having developed a significant list of detailed requirements, we knew exactly what we were looking for and EquipmentRepair was able to meet all of our needs.”

The system’s flexibility, allowing data to be exchanged either by EDI or Web-based interface, was an important deciding factor for Hamburg Süd, given the varying conditions faced by its depots around the world.

Pics of the Day – CLIPPER HOPE

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The bulker Clipper Hope (31,883-dwt, built 2010), seen making her maiden call at the Brazilian Port of Santos on 22 August 2010. The photographer, Gustavo Castro de Sousa says that a group of shiplovers in Santos has started a blog which they would like to launch into the great big world of the internet. Interested readers can find the blog here at http://santosshiplovers.blogspot.com and are invited to take part. Both pictures by Gustavo Castro de Sousa

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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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