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Ports & Ships Maritime News

November 11, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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First View – MSC MAEVA

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Having completed cargo working in Durban on her maiden South African call, MSC MAEVA, the biggest container ship in regular service on a South African service sailed on Tuesday morning for the Far East, loaded with just over 7,000 TEUs. Those are not water jets astern of the ship but harbour tugs providing a watery farewell. MSC Maeva will return as she is on a scheduled service between the Far East and South Africa, but will be joined by a sister ship MSC LUCY which is due in Durban next week on 16 November.
Picture by Trevor Steenekamp of www.nauticalimages.co.za


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Zuma arrives in Seoul for G20 Summit

Pretoria, Wednesday 10 November – President Jacob Zuma and a South African delegation have arrived in South Korea ahead of the fifth G20 Leaders Summit in Seoul.

The two-day summit is expected to get underway today (Thursday) and follows a meeting of the G20 in June.

According to the Presidency, South Africa will participate in the summit within the context of contributing to and strengthening the multilateral system to ensure fair and effective responses to the challenges confronting the world today.

South Africa’s role in the G20 is systematically important for the country, with national economic interests to promote.

“South Africa is committed to promoting the interests of developing countries in general and Africa in particular. It is also committed to linking the G20 process to other global multilateral forums and initiatives as well as coordinate approaches with other developing countries,” said the Presidency.

Items up for discussion include a framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth, strengthening the international financial regulatory system, global financial safety nets and modernising the international financial institutions.

A business summit is expected to take place on the sidelines of the summit, where corporate executives from around the world will meet to exchange views on how to bolster the recovery and put the global economy back on the path to greater growth.

It is South Africa’s view that a global response is required to mitigate the impact of the global economic and financial crisis and prevent its contagion to emerging and developing countries, in particular in Africa.

Meanwhile, a day ahead of the G20 Seoul Summit, the working-level meetings were still at a stalemate over the thorny currency and trade imbalance issues, the organizing committee said on Wednesday.

“We are still having a hard time reconciling contrasting views of different countries, especially over the currency and trade imbalance issues,” Kim Yoon-kyung, spokesperson of the committee, told reporters at a press briefing.

Ahead of the G20 Summit, vice finance ministers and Sherpa meetings are being held, adding final touches to the agenda and ironing out differences over sensitive issues.

During the preliminary discussion process, critical issues, such as clarifying the indicative guideline on current account surpluses and deficits are being tabled and are still not nearing any breakthrough, said Kim.

The recent quantitative easing (QE2) has also been talked over, but views from the member countries stood in stark contrast to one another, Kim added.

Other issues being discussed by vice finance ministers include financial regulatory reform, which was outlined in the Basel III, and the IMF governance and quota reform, according to the spokesperson.

The two-day summit, the fifth such one, will bring together heads of 20 member states and is ready to push ahead with discussions on major global issues, such as ways to refine the Framework for Strong, Sustainable, and Balanced Growth, and to complete crisis-tackling policy measures, such as financial regulatory repair and international financial institution reform.

Media attention has been majorly focused on whether leaders can make a step forward from what has been agreed at the Gyeongju Finance Ministers' Meeting, in particular with regards to the currency disputes.

In late October, finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 states agreed to maintain capital account surpluses and deficits according to the so-called indicative guideline, without defining its specific form.

While South Korea, as chair, has been stressing it would make substantial achievements in the currency area, presenting a range of options, discussion at the working level seemingly has yet to show much progress, dimming the expectation on the results of the Summit.

The G20 Seoul Summit, after a year-long preparation of the South Korean government, will kick off Thursday. – BuaNews-Xinhua


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TPT appoints new operational heads at PE and Ngqura terminals

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Chuma Butshingi

Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has announced the appointment of two operational heads in the Ports of Port Elizabeth and Ngqura - one responsible for its container terminals in PE and Ngqura, and another to be dedicated to its PE multi-purpose operations.

The new role of Terminal Operations Manager will be filled by Chuma Butshingi for the respective two container terminals while Dries Gouws will be responsible for the PE multi-purpose terminal.

“By appointing two dedicated resources for each business unit, we hope to raise the bar in terms of operations, safety, people management and equipment utilisation,” Siya Mhlaluka, terminal executive for the Eastern Cape region said.

The new portfolio will also be extended to cover operations, SHEQ, engineering, technical, security, customer services, and information technology and systems.

Both individuals bring with them extensive knowledge of operations and their engineering expertise will come in handy in ensuring the smooth running of the terminals.

Butshingi started at the Port Elizabeth terminals as maintenance engineer and was later appointed as chief operations manager. Under his leadership the container terminal in Port Elizabeth handled a record 46,000 TEUs in August 2010 and a performance target of 27 GCH (container moves per gross crane hour).

Gouws led the R600 million refurbishment of the bulk plant which is now performing beyond expectations. He also managed the multi-purpose terminals. Previous positions in engineering and project management have exposed him to major projects in the terminals and under his technical supervision the PE technical workshops enjoyed a leading role nationally within TPT.

“We wish them every success in their new roles and we have confidence that they will be able to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations,” said Mhlaluka.

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Dries Gouws


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New 80,000-tonne bulk soya bean terminal commissioned at Durban’s Maydon Wharf

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Durban’s new Agriport terminal

Transnet Port Terminals recently celebrated two milestones at its new 80,000 tonne bulk warehouse at the Port of Durban’s Agriport terminal – the handover of the new facility on 1 October 2010 and the shipment of its first consignment of cargo.

The 20,000m² bulk warehouse located on Maydon Wharf’s Croft Road was built specifically to meet increased demand for soya bean meal. The product has become the number one forage crop on the international market and is primarily used as a protein supplement in the production of animal feeds.

On Saturday 16 October the terminal received the first consignment of soya bean meal which had been imported from Argentina through another facility in Durban and was destined for export to Mauritius.

Studies showed that demand for grain products within South Africa was already high, such that available resources in the country were struggling to meet the demand of the local agricultural community, said Johann Botha, Transnet Port Terminals’ business unit executive at the Maydon Wharf terminal.

In South Africa, as elsewhere in Africa, demand outstrips production. South Africa imported an average of 822,000 tonnes of soya products a year between 2000 and 2007, representing more than three times the volume of domestic production.

About 85% of the world’s soybeans are processed into soya bean meal and oil. Of that, about 98% is further processed through cracking, heating and flaking the beans to produce the residue that is used for fertilizer and animal feed for swine, beef and dairy cattle, poultry, and aquaculture.

Botha said there had also been a significant increase in demand for soya beans as feedstock for biodiesel.

Most of the country’s soya bean meal imports enter at the Port of Durban.

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Volumes expected

Transnet Port Terminals expects to handle 500,000 tons of cargo during its first year of operation, and this could increase to around 700,000 tons as customer confidence in the new facility grows.

Botha said negotiations with more customers were at an advanced stage.

Initial cargo volumes will be imported from South American countries such as Brazil and Argentina, which have become major global players in agricultural exports and send large quantities of soya bean products and poultry meats, pork and beef to South Africa. The top five soya bean meal producers worldwide are the USA, Brazil, China, Argentina and India.


Although the warehouse has been designed primarily for imports, Botha said TPT would monitor the need for exports and procure equipment accordingly.

“The warehouse’s opportunity to handle export cargo as its first consignment also demonstrated that with minor adjustments in our handling processes, the operation could be accommodated. TPT received tipper trucks from a local storage facility and stockpiled the soya bean meal in the new shed until the vessel arrived. The cargo was then loaded into skips which fed the vessel,” he said.

Special separators in the facility would enable imported soya bean meal to be stored and handled separately for two or more customers. The possibility to also handle wheat imports is being explored.

The new bulk warehouse is one of the final touches on a project to increase the overall capacity of the 83-year-old Agriport multipurpose terminal, which covers an area of 80, 000m² in Durban’s Maydon Wharf area.

The warehouse underwent cold commissioning in April. This involved a dry run of the conveyor belt system. Operators and technical teams also underwent training. The hot commissioning at the end of September saw a small consignment of product being transported on the conveyor system.

Since October 2008 Transnet has invested R140 million in the overall Agriport expansion. The terminal will have two-way conveyor routes that will enable TPT to load and offload at the same berth, the rail infrastructure will be improved and it will have two pneumatic vessel off-loaders and one vessel loader.

The terminal currently has one berth suitable for vessels up to 10.5m deep and 220m in length.


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Official Opposition calls for action over ‘deficiencies’ at port of Durban – says time has come to develop dryport at Cato Ridge

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Capt Salvatore Sarno

Saying that the Ethekwini Council (Durban) must act on warnings of port deficiencies, the opposition Democratic Alliance in the Ethekwini Municipality says that it notes with “extreme” concern the recent remarks by the chairman of Mediterranean Shipping Company, Captain Salvatore Sarno.

In his speech at the annual ‘Exporter of the Year Awards’ held in Durban, Captain Sarno cited falling levels of efficiency on the operating of Durban Harbour and condemned Transnet for what he called its ‘monopolistic attitude’.

In its statement the DA says that since the ANC-led Ethekwini Council agreed to a DA notice of motion in 2008 urging that a feasibility study be made of the establishment of a container dryport at Cato Ridge so that container traffic can be removed from the overloaded road network around the port and be transported by rail, the DA notes that there has been no progress on the idea. “In fact for the whole of 2009 and 2010 the item was listed merely as being outstanding on the agendas of the Metro's Economic Development and Planning Committee. “The DA fully endorses the criticisms levelled at Transnet by Capt Sarno in respect on congestion and bottlenecks around the port and the resultant poor turnaround time of container traffic.

“The solution to the back-of-port snarl-ups and mushrooming container sites lies away from Durban in the form of a dryport at Cato Ridge. Not only will a dryport improve the turnaround time of the loading and unloading of containers but it will also save the Metro millions in terms of maintenance to roads and road infrastructure which is being systematically destroyed by the burden of road-based container traffic.

“The DA urges the Ethekwini Municipality to engage in negotiations with provincial and national tiers of government over this issue as a matter of urgency. This matter has dragged on for to long. The Ethekwini Council must now act on the warnings about deficiencies in the port of Durban. With 40,000 jobs directly linked to the functioning of the port Durban cannot afford to find itself losing out to competition from Maputo and Ngqura (Coega) as regards container traffic.”

See related article HERE


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Of ships and shipping

AP Moller Maersk has strong third quarter

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Lars Maersk. Picture by Terry Hutson

The owner of the world’s biggest container line, AP Moller Maersk Group, in reporting for the third quarter 2010, says that revenue for the period increased by 17% to US$ 41.4 billion, primarily as a result of higher freight rates for the Group’s container shipping activities and higher oil prices. The net result for the period was a profit of US$ 4.2 billion.

“The result is exceptional, and we are very satisfied. Markets have been favourable, but first of all, our businesses are in excellent shape. Especially our container business has improved and is ahead of competition on profitability. We have moved from defence to the attacking zone, and we are ready to take more territory, especially in emerging markets,” says Group CEO Nils S Andersen.

In its statement AP Moller Maersk says the Group is now expecting a result for the full year in the order of US$ 5 billion, compared with an interim report of 18 August 2010 which stated an expected result for 2010 to exceed US$ 4 billion.

The statement says that a seasonal decline in both volumes and freight rates for the container activities is expected towards the end of the year and consequently a somewhat lower result in the fourth quarter.

PIL starts Far East-Africa loop from Nansha's GOCT

PIL has introduced its second Africa service, a Far East-East Africa loop (EA2), from the Guangzhou South China Oceangate Container Terminal (GOCT) at Nansha.

In a statement the company says that seven 1,500-TEU ships are being deployed on the service that calls at GOCT every Thursday, with Nansha now connected with Port Louis, Mombasa and Nacala. This brings the number of Africa services at GOCT to four.

Burned out vessel in Bab el Mandeb identified

The abandoned ship on fire in the Bab el Mandeb as reported by NATO naval forces earlier this month has been identified as the Syrian livestock carrier GAMMA LIVESTOCK 12 (874-dwt, built 1961), which was abandoned by her crew after fire took control.

Former head of Neptune Orient Line dies

The former head of Neptune Orient Line and a past president of the Singapore Shipping Association, Lua Cheng Eng has died. Lua was one of the leading personalities and figures in Singapore’s shipping industry and headed NOL and was its Chief Executive Officer for 20 years until 1999, including during the period of the takeover of APL.

Liberia looks east to Philippines for maritime training

The government of Liberia, the second largest country in the world in terms of registration of ocean-going vessels, has expressed interest in the possibility of the Philippines opening the doors of its maritime educational institutions to Liberian students.

Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in a meeting with Ambassador Nestor N Padalhin, said her government is also interested in taking advantage of the maritime educational institutions in the Philippines for training Liberian seafarers and in the manning aspect of her country's shipping industry. A meeting has already been set with officials of Liberia’s Bureau of Maritime Affairs to meet with the Ambassador Padalhin. – Manilla Bulletin


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Brazil’s Vale and India’s RITES unable to reach agreement on transport of coal from Moatize, Mozambique

Maputo, 10 November – Brazilian mining company Vale is facing difficulties in its negotiations with India's RITES for use of the Sena railroad in order to transport coal from Moatize in Mozambique's Tete province to the port of Beira, the company's chairman said in Maputo on Tuesday.

Speaking to Mozambican newspaper O País, after a meeting between Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and representatives of Brazilian companies operating in Mozambique, Roger Agnelli said there was “bad faith” on the part of the concession-holders of the Sena railroad.

The chairman of Vale noted that a lack of consensus with the Indian state company could affect the start of the coal mining project, in that initially only the Sena railroad will be available to transport coal produced at Moatize.

Saying that he hoped good sense would prevail in order for the project to remain viable, Agnelli added that he hoped that, “negotiations would end quickly in order to the smaller side, which is the railroad, does not affect the project as a whole, as it could compromise the start of the operations.”

Figures from Vale showed that coal exploration at Moatize would mean an inflow of foreign currency into Mozambique of between US$ 600 million and US$ 1 billion per year.

Agnelli noted that RITES had rejected the use of a locomotive imported by Vale on the railroad but added that the main objection was related to tariffs, which are allegedly impossible to bear, which the Indian company is demanding to ensure transport of the coal in Tete. (macauhub)

Pics of the Day – ENSELENI and PINOTAGE

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The Cape Town tug ENSELENI (378-gt, built 2000) resplendent in the latest Transnet colours and at work in Cape Town Harbour. Named after a river in Zululand, KwaZulu Natal the Voith Schneider-propelled tug with a bollard pull of 49 tonnes was transferred to the Mother City after only a brief period in Durban, which explains her Durban port of registry. Picture by Aad Noorland

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The older Cape Town tug PINOTAGE (429-gt, built 1980, bollard pull of 43t) on the other hand is named for a wine produced in the Western Cape and has been in service for the past 30 years. Picture by Aad Noorland


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