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Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 12, 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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The Boskalis hopper dredger CORNELIS ZANEN (9770-gt, built 1982) which called at Cape Town earlier in January. The dredger flies the flag of Cyprus. Picture by Aad Noorland


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South Africa another bric in the wall of emerging economies

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SA seen as gateway to Africa

Pretoria - South Africa’s invitation by BRIC (Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China) to join the bloc as a full member will propel the country to new heights.

“It can expect to boost investment and trade opportunities for the country, as it has done for the other four states comprising the informal grouping,” says International Marketing Council of South Africa’s CEO, Miller Matola.

South Africa, which got an invitation to join the powerful bloc of emerging economies, had a combined GDP of R18 trillion late in December.

BRIC will account for 61 percent of global growth in three years time, according to the International Monetary Fund.

“The fact that South Africa has the opportunity to be affiliated to this group of powerful emerging economies underlines two main points. The country is recognised as a developing economy of significance in its own right, but also that it is the gateway to the continent of Africa - the next growth superstar,” expressed Matola.

Matola believes that this is a good step for South Africa, not only economically but also politically. He said a new world order is unfolding where economic clout and therefore political power is shifting from West to East, with the BRIC countries as the visible face of this movement.

South Africa, along with other emerging economies, has long been punting for a greater role in international organisations like the IMF and the World Bank.

The invitation to join BRIC, combined with its renewed membership of the Security Council, will enhance its influence in this regard too, added Matola.

“Huge new opportunities will open up for South Africa on the investment and trade front. Private companies may also find market access into the BRIC countries easier and partnerships with companies from this grouping might evolve.

“This might become particularly important as South Africa is already the biggest emerging economy investor in the continent and its companies are active in at least half of all African countries,” Matola stressed.

Joining BRIC will also mean that South Africa must use these new opportunities to increase its competitive edge.

Last year, the country’s ranking in the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) of the World Economic Forum (WEF) dropped, but its performance has in fact remained stable.

Rather, the decline reflects improvements from other countries and their ability to spur growth.

“South Africa will play in a different league and as such, will have to improve its delivery and performance,” says Matola.

“To draw South Africa into this powerful club underlines the country’s growing international role and its future significance for those who want to make use of the expanding African opportunities.

“It is, in fact, an association that does not only benefit the group, but the emerging world as a whole and Africa, in particular,” said Matola.

It is expected that South Africa will be accepted formally as a new BRIC member at these emerging powers’ next summit in April. – BuaNews


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Port and Harbour News: makeover for East London breakwater crane and crooked cops get a warning

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East London’s landmark old grain silo – questions are being asked whether this is now due a ‘faceover’

The East London port hammerhead breakwater crane, which was placed in service in 1980, is undergoing a R5.4 million engine overhaul, an electric upgrade and a new coat or two of paint, reports the EL Dispatch.

The crane, which is owned and operated by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), is used to maintain the integrity of the port’s western breakwater. Work on the refurbishment commenced in November with a Durban firm, Channel Construction being awarded the contract, and is expected to be completed this month.

More than 200 workers are employed on the contract and according to the newspaper report, over 50,000 man-hours have already gone into the project by mid December. – source Dispatch.

Meanwhile, lingering questions remain whether the East London grain silo, which has fallen onto sad time, is to receive some attention. PORTS & SHIPS has learned that there are plans to refurbish this strategic installation and hopes to carry more detail in the near future.

Harbour cops warned of corruption

Police that are stationed at South Africa’s borders, including the commercial ports, have been warned by the Minister of Police to avoid the temptations of corrupt practices.

Minister Nathi Mthethwa said in a recent statement that police at the country’s ports of entry would not be treated specially or with ‘kid gloves’ should they break the law. They would be prosecuted accordingly, he said.

“No police officer, irrespective of where they are stationed, is a law unto him or herself,” he warned.

Mthethwa said that police leadership was determined to stamp out any form of corruption, fraud or ill-discipline within the police force. And in a report to parliament, the minister revealed that 44 police officers were investigated on various criminal charges at the country’s ports of entry during the 2009/10 financial year. They were also charged by way of the South African Police Service internal disciplinary procedures.

In some of these cases police officials were dismissed from the service after having been convicted of amongst others corruption, assault, fraud, drug possession, theft and/or murder. “The majority of those cases have been finalised with convictions and in some cases no disciplinary steps could be taken as such members resigned before the case could be finalised. In three cases the members left the force before finalisation and two cases are yet to be finalised. In twenty four cases the members were found guilty during disciplinary hearing and internal sanctions imposed.” In five cases internal charges were withdrawn and in four of them, internal proceedings have been temporarily withdrawn but could be reinstituted based on the finalisation of the criminal cases, the police minister continued. – source DefenceWeb

Port of Brisbane closed until further notice

The devastating rains and flooding that has occurred across much of Queensland in Australia has had a sequel in the closure of the Port of Brisbane as from midnight last night (local time, Tuesday). The closure is on account of forecasts of severe flooding.

“There is a possibility that various roads linking to and from the port could be cut due to flooding,” Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) said in a statement. “There is also the potential risk that the port will experience power loss, due to sub-station flooding or other force majeure from the flooding.”

The port authority has advised all port businesses to send home non-essential staff and cease operations in accordance with their risk assessments. In addition, all ships have been removed from the port. MSQ said that a small group of operational and security personnel would remain on duty at Whyte Island to be available to relay information on the position of the port. – Seatrade Asia online

APM Terminals expects to exceed enviro and safety targets

APM Terminals believes it will exceed environmental and safety targets set for 2011 as part of ongoing efforts to reduce the company’s global output of carbon dioxide (CO2) bears fruit. During the first six months of 2010 efforts to reduce the global output saw a reduction of an estimated 35,000 metric tonnes of CO2 produced in terminal-related businesses, which is the equivalent of planting 1.4 million trees in compensation.

APM Terminal’s head of corporate responsibility, Henrik Kristensen, said last month that, “The CO2 footprint continues to improve, we anticipate to reach a 20 percent reduction in two years, which is a great achievement by our terminals."

The largest component of the improvement has been the reduction of CO2 output at the terminals through enhanced production and operational efficiency. These measures have reduced energy consumption, saving both fuel and expenses. APM Terminals is using 9.6% less electricity for container lifts, and 11.6% less fuel per container move compared with 2009.

Non-polluting renewable resources such as solar and wind power now account for 6.4 percent of the company's overall electricity consumption. Initiatives to convert diesel- powered RTGs to electrical power and the use of hybrid terminal tractors that operate both on battery and diesel engine power are currently being studied.

By electrifying the RTG fleets an overall additional 10% reduction CO2 emissions can be achieved, following the example of Shanghai East CT which in 2009 became the first terminal worldwide to convert its entire diesel-fueled RTG fleet to electricity. By converting yard tractors to clean-burning natural gas the terminals can further reduce CO2 emissions by over one third.

“We are counting on the input of every APM Terminals employee and every facility in making APM Terminals the environmental leader of the port industry,” said Kristensen. – Cargonews Asia.com


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Richards Bay Coal Terminal exports improve, but another derailment causes setback

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RBCT, depleted stockpiles

Coal exports from Richards Bay Coal Terminal exceeded the last two year’s underperformances, growing 3.8% on 2009 and improving 2.7% on 2008.

During 2010 RBCT exported 63.43 million tonnes of coal, with 59% going to Asian markets, in stark contrast to previous years when Europe was the largest percentage user of South African coal. Exports in 2009 were 61.14mt and in 2008 61.7mt.

“The significant changing factor is the major economic development happening in China and India, requiring more electrical power and coal inputs into their major factories,” said Raymond Chirwa, RBCT Chief Executive Officer.

He said that in 2009 RBCT had scrutinised its operational capabilities and had focused on improving efficiencies and fine tuning the supply chain. “Thanks to stabilisation and completion of our Phase V expansion project, we have been able to improve our performance, which I am pleased about.”

In 2010, RBCT exported 59% of its coal to Asian markets and 25% went to European markets. Of the total (63.43 million tons), India and China imported 32% and 11% respectively. In 2009, 46% was exported to Europe, down from 63% exported in 2008 while 41% went to Asian markets which is up from 18% exported in 2008; out of which 29% went to the Indian market up from 11% exported in 2008.

RBCT was able to achieve a slightly improved export figure in 2010 with the benefit of slightly improved rail tonnage of 62.86 million tonnes, compared with 61mt the year before. Nevertheless, Chirwa said he was concerned that railing of coal on average continued to remain well below that planned tonnage of 65mt in 2010.

Adding to his frustration, derailments in late December resulted in ships waiting for cargo as at 31 December 2010.

“The situation has also depleted our stocks to end at 1.7 million tonnes in 2010. This will have a definite impact on the first quarter exports. We hope 2011 will be a continued better year for exports [but this will be] dependent on the efficiency and improvement of railings,” said Chirwa.

Missed opportunities

South Africa is missing out on opportunities of increasing coal exports to Asia as a result of widespread floods in Queensland, Australia. It is estimated that the Queensland floods will result in up to 4.5 million tonnes of thermal coal exports having been lost, leaving utilities throughout Asia to search for alternative suppliers at short notice.

However, because of low stockpiles and most available resources being committed, South Africa is once again unable to score from this unexpected opportunity. The shortage of coal at the terminal as a result of derailments in December is seeing ships waiting up to 9 or 10 days before they can load, said an industry source.

According to coal producers there is plenty of coal available at the mines but not enough trains.

Meanwhile Eskom has accused the collieries of making only low quality coal available for the country’s power stations, saying that this increases the risk of rationing or of power outages. Eskom said there has been a marked deterioration in the quality of coal delivered to the utilities since 2006.


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Cruise News: new ships for Hapag-Lloyd

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Hapag-Lloyd’s award-winning EUROPA is set to be joined by another luxury cruise ship, EUROPA 2

Cruise line operator Hapag-Lloyd has announced that it is to build a new ship in the luxury market and will also take on a new charter in the premium market.

An order has been placed with STX France for a luxury cruise ship which is to be named EUROPA 2 and which will enter service with Hapag-Lloyd Cruises in 2013. Construction of the new ship is to get underway in September this year at the STX St Nazaire shipyard in France with a 20-month construction period.

The order was placed by a third party shipowner who will lease the vessel to Hapag-Lloyd for 12 years. Europa 2 will have 258 cabins and will cruise with a maximum of 516 passengers.

Europa 2 will offer a modern and casual luxury alternative to the existing Europa, with 7-day cruises in the Mediterranean in the summer months and faraway destinations in the winter months.”

In April 2012 Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will take delivery of Oceania Cruises’ INSIGNIA (30,277-gt, built 1998) on a two-year bare boat charter. The ship will be renamed COLUMBUS 2, and in the summer months Columbus 2 will cruise the Mediterranean Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Nordic countries, with a wide range of combinable voyages starting at 7-12 days. During the winter months, Columbus 2 is scheduled to offer world tours.

Columbus 2 will have accommodation for 698 passengers across 349 cabins, and amenities including a variety of restaurants and bars as well as a spacious spa and wellness area.

“Columbus 2 will offer more diversity and comfort sailing alongside the existing Columbus, and Europa 2 will be the logical evolution and modern interpretation of the standards we have set in the luxury segment of the international cruise market,” said Sebastian Ahrens, Managing Director of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. “Both ships will adequately enhance our portfolio, enabling us to serve new target groups."


Cunard appoints first woman to be in command of QUEEN VICTORIA

Cunard Line has for the first time appointed a woman in charge of one of the company’s ships. The 2,014-passenger QUEEN VICTORIA is now under the command of Captain Inger Klein Olsen, the third woman to be appointed as master of a cruise ship but the first in Cunard’s 170-year history.

“While we are far from being the first shipping company to have a female captain, it is nonetheless noteworthy when such a long-established British institution as Cunard makes a break with its captaincy tradition,” said Peter Shanks, Cunard president, in a statement. “We are delighted to welcome her as our first woman driver.” The 43-year old Olsen hails from the Faroe Islands and joined Cunard in 1997 as First Officer on the Caronia. She has already taken her new ship through the Panama Canal on a cruise from New York to Los Angeles.

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Cunard’s 90,000-ton Queen Victoria. Picture by Alan Calvert


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Anchor Industries brings smiles to residents of SOS Children’s Villages

Anchor Industries, a leading supplier of lifting and rigging as well as marine and offshore mooring equipment and services in Southern Africa, ended 2010 on a festive note by donating R60,000 to the SOS Children’s Villages in Cape Town, Ennerdale and Pietermaritzburg.

SOS Children's Villages Association of South Africa is a private charitable social development organisation taking care of orphaned and abandoned children. “The organisation is built on the vision that every child belongs to a family and grows with love, respect and security,” says Leigh Swartz, SOS Children's Villages South Africa Fund Development Manager. The organisation is a member of SOS-Kinderdorf International, the largest global private welfare organisation operating in 135 countries. Over 200,000 children have benefited from their various programmes.

“Whereas most child-care institutions aim to place children into foster care or have them adopted as soon as possible, SOS Children's Villages provides professional foster care on a long-term basis. They ensure that children reach adulthood having learnt how to be independent and thereby equipping them to one day start careers and families. We at Anchor Industries were drawn to this organisation’s compassion for, and dedication to the future of the children, as well as the fact that they offer a sense of security,” says Dale Hutcheson, Anchor Industries Managing Director.

The SOS Children’s Villages in South Africa who care for children admitted to them through the Children’s Court receive a government subsidy, either per capita or per facility. Additionally, funds are also raised within South Africa to cover operating costs. “We appreciate this kind gesture from Anchor Industries and will use the donation to fund the education needs of our college students in Cape Town, Ennerdale and Pietermaritzburg ,” says Swartz.


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Pics of the Day – CSCL LIMA and HOEGH DETROIT

Image and video hosting by TinyPic China Shipping’s container vessel CSCL LIMA (26,404-gt, built 2008), flying the flag of Hong Kong but owned and managed in Canada, enters Durban Harbour on a liner call in December 2010. Picture by Trevor Jones

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Hoegh Autoliner’s giant car carrier HOEGH DETROIT (68,871-gt, built 2006) makes a stately entry in Durban port also in December 2010. The ship is owned, managed and flagged in Norway. Picture by Trevor Jones


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