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Ports & Ships Maritime News

22 February 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002

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The yachtlike cruise ship CORINTHIAN II seen passing at some distance off Schoenmakerskop near Port Elizabeth at sunset on Monday. Picture by Luc Hosten

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Momentous milestone as Maersk orders 10 Triple-E mega-ships

Maersk Line yesterday confirmed all our predictions that the company intended ordering ten new mega container ships capable of carrying 18,000 TEUs. In fact Maersk has gone further and has an option to buy another 20.

The 10 ships are on order from South Korea’s DSME and will be delivered from 2013 to 2015. They will be known as Triple-E class, based on the three main purposes for their creation, says Maersk. 1] Economy of scale; 2] Energy efficiency; 3] Environmentally improved.

The ships will be 400 metres long, 59 metres wide and 73m tall, making them the largest vessel of any type known to be in operation. Each ship’s 18,000-TEU container capacity is a massive 16% larger (2,500-TEU) than the E-class EMMA MAERSK.

This is perhaps the first admission by Maersk of the true capacity of the E-class ships headed by Emma Maersk, which were launched in 2006 and were originally put out as being 11,000-TEU.

Costing a cool US$190 million per ship, adding up to a contract value of $5.7 billion, Maersk says it is buying the ships to position itself to profit from the 5-8 % growth in trade from Asia to Europe that the company expects, and to maintain its industry leading market share in the trade.

And if ever there was a declaration from a shipping line that it sees the economic downturn as well and truly over, this is it.

New benchmark

This is truly a new benchmark in terms of size, in the same way that the Emma Maersk class of ships set in 2006 when they burst onto the scene. Maersk says they will ensure the line reaches its goals at the lowest possible cost, while producing the lowest possible amount of CO2 emissions – an astonishingly 50% less per container moved than the industry average on the Asia-Europe trade.

“One of the biggest challenges we face in the world today is how to meet the growing needs of a growing population and while minimising the impact that [it] is going to have on our planet,” says Maersk Line CEO, Eivind Kolding.

“International trade will continue to play a key role in the development of the global economy, but for the health of the planet, we must continue to reduce our CO2 emissions. It is not only a top priority for us, but also for our customers, who depend on us in their supply chain, and also for a growing number of consumers who base their purchasing decisions on this type of information,” Kolding said.

Maersk Line revealed that the new Triple-E class will become the most efficient container ship in operation. By using the Clean Cargo Working Group’s internationally recognised methodology of grams of CO2 made, the following deductions are possible:

20% less CO2 per container moved than Emma Maersk, which is claimed as the most efficient container vessel in service today.
50% less CO2 per container moved than the industry average on the Asia-Europe trade lane.
35% less fuel consumed per container than the 13,100-TEU vessels being delivered to other container shipping lines in the next few years.

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The E-class Edith Maersk off Hong Kong on her maiden voyage in 2006. Picture by RenZ

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Big day for Transnet as it accepts first two of 100 locomotives

At a ceremony held at the company’s Koedoespoort manufacturing facility in Pretoria yesterday (Monday), Transnet Limited took delivery of the first two of the 100 locomotives it is purchasing from General Electric South Africa Technologies (GESAT) - the local arm of General Electric (GE).

Transnet and General Electric entered into an agreement for the supply of 100 Model C30ACi diesel locomotives (Class 43 in SA) – the first AC diesel locomotives to be introduced in Sub-Saharan Africa. Three of these locomotives generate the same hauling power as four of the older locomotives currently in use saving approximately 600,000 litres of fuel a year. The locomotives, which are to be used on the coal line and general freight business of Transnet Freight Rail, are part of Transnet’s fleet renewal plan and the company’s R93,5 billion Five-year capital investment programme.

In terms of the agreement, GE will build the first 10 locomotives at its plants in the United States, while the remaining 90 will be assembled at Transnet Rail Engineering (TRE) manufacturing facilities in Koedoespoort. GE will supply Transnet with all major components including engines, alternators and other hardware. TRE will be responsible for the complete assembly as well as sub-assemblies.

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The first two Class 43 locomotives about to be stowed on board a ship bound for South Africa. Picture by James Kerr

Speaking at the ceremony to celebrate the launch, Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr Malusi Gigaba, says, “This is a groundbreaking achievement for which we should all be proud. The agreement between Transnet and General Electric will go a long way towards ensuring that our state-owned entities play a significant role in advancing the goals of our New Growth Path.”

“Jobs, skills development – especially engineering and technical skills, localisation of manufacturing of equipment, and ensuring that our logistics infrastructure, for which Transnet is responsible, works efficiently are some of the key deliverables on which we are to be judged,” Minister Gigaba adds.

In line with Transnet’s commitment to using its capital investment programme to meet Competitive Supplier Development Programme (CSDP) objectives, the agreement has a significant localisation and skills development element. CSDP is a Department of Public Enterprises initiative intended to encourage localisation of manufacturing, procurement from local suppliers, sustainable employment and skills development.

Transnet’s long-term objective is to localise its supply chain of imported manufactured goods or services to a reasonable level whilst promoting local industries and South Africa as an off-shore site of choice for OEMs and multi-nationals. This will increase both shareholder and societal value through sustainable localisation of its supply chain.

The GE/Transnet agreement is South Africa’s largest CSDP transaction to date, placing Transnet as the leading state-owned enterprise in localisation with the aim of creating industrialisation opportunities.

Commenting on the milestone, Transnet Chairman, Mr Mafika Mkwanazi says, “Locomotive fleet renewal is central to our drive to improve productivity, safety and efficiency of our assets and people. In addition to the obvious benefits of a significantly reduced average age of Transnet Freight Rail’s fleet, this enables us to showcase our technical ability through our engineering division. It also gives us an opportunity to develop our engineering, technical and manufacturing skills in partnership with a leader in this field – GE.”

Transnet Rail Engineering’s Koedoespoort plant was upgraded to meet the stringent requirements for original equipment manufacturers. This included training on GE’s methodologies at its facilities throughout the world focusing on the renowned Lean and Six Sigma methodologies as applied by GE. Other areas of training covered logistics, assembly of various locomotives parts and components, field maintenance services for locomotives. Transnet employees have received training at GE facilities in the United States, Mexico and Australia, and as a result of this deal, hundreds of jobs have been preserved.

“We are pleased to partner with Transnet to turn its vision of 21st century rail freight transport into reality. This partnership allows us to bring leading rail technology to South Africa while contributing to world-class skills development in the region”, says Mr Lorenzo Simonelli, President and CEO of GE Transportation.

The agreement with GE is the third major CSDP transaction to be implemented by Transnet Rail Engineering. Already TRE is in partnership with another equipment manufacturer. This agreement is intended to make TRE part of the OEM’s Global Supply Chain for rebuilt traction motors and diesel engines, to accredit TRE's facilities for loco maintenance and localise supply of parts.

Commenting on the achievements, TRE chief executive and a member of the Transnet Executive Committee, Mr Richard Vallihu says: "Our ultimate goal is to establish TRE as a centre of excellence meeting the highest standards set by locomotive original equipment manufacturers and making us a partner of choice in this region, Africa and beyond. This can only be achieved through innovative partnerships and the dedication of our employees.”

Transnet is in the process of finalising an agreement with United States export credit agency (ECA) – US EXIM – to provide funding for the purchase of these locomotives. Such funding is part of Transnet’s Board-approved strategy of diversifying its funding sources cost effectively.

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Gauteng premier to meet Transport Minister over tolling

Johannesburg, 21 February - Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane says she will meet with the national Minister of Transport Sbu Ndebele to discuss concerns over the recently announced tolling strategy.

Delivering the State of the Province Address, Mokonyane said she would have a bilateral meeting with Ndebele on Tuesday, 22 February, to “explore alternative options in the best interests of commuters and the state.”

“We have observed with serious concerns the announcement of the implementation of the tolling strategy, which has been made in isolation from a comprehensive, viable, public transport plan and with a lack of consultation, in particular with the Gauteng Provincial Government,” said the Premier.

Mokonyane said while the province was not opposed to the idea of tolling as a cost recovery mechanism, it was concerned with the manner in which it is to be implemented, including the pricing and its impact on the economy of the province.

“We support the need for public consultation and the need for an affordable, reliable and safe public transport system, including the use of tolling as a cost recovery mechanism,” Mokonyane said.

A joint statement on the outcome of the meeting is expected to be released later. - Gauteng Provincial Government. – by Khuitse Diseko (BuaNews)

KZN says no to further tolling

In KwaZulu-Natal meanwhile, the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Mike Mabuyakhulu said the provincial government would veto any future tolling in KZN including the controversial e-tolling system, because he said, it would have dire financial consequences for motorists and business.

Earlier a spokesman for the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) said the e-tolling system which is to be introduced in Gauteng, would be rolled across the country over a period of time.

Mabuyakhulu said that KZN was not opposed to existing tolls in the province being converted to e-tolling because this would ease the flow of traffic which would not have to stop at toll booths. However additional tolling would not be supported, he said.

The province has already come out strongly against tolling immediately south of Durban near eAmanzimtoti to help pay for the proposed new toll road through the Wild Coast to Mthatha in the Eastern Cape.

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Skagit and Kalama head for Tanzania

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Skagit and Kalama tied up in layup

Two surplus ferries from Washington State in the USA are due to depart for Tanzania in the near future as cargo on board a ship. The two ferries named Skagit and Kalama cost US$5 million to build in 1989 but had a generally unsuccessful career in their intended location in Washington State. Based on the design of a ferry used to carry oil workers to oil rigs in the Mexican Gulf, the twin ferries had an extra deck included to increase the number of passengers but on being delivered the state found it had no money to operate them.

After a period of layup the ferries went into service in San Francisco to assist that city following the Loma Prieta earthquake and until the bridges had been restored or rebuilt. Returning to Puget Sound they finally went into service as intended, only to fall victim to complaints that they rolled excessively and were uncomfortable. Residents along the shore complained of erosion caused by the strong wake that the high speed ferries created, resulting in the authority having the boats slow down.

According to some reports the two ferries were also subject to frequent mechanical problems but nevertheless remained in service until being withdrawn in 2006 and declared surplus in 2009.

Subsequently the Washington State Department of Transportation has sold the two ferries to Scope Community Consultants for $400,000, which has arranged for them to be transported to Tanzania where they will go into service between the mainland and Zanzibar.

The ferries were built in New Orleans in 1989. Each vessel is 112 feet long and has a beam of 25 ft. They are powered by 3,840hp engines and have a top speed of 25 knots. They can carry up to 230 passengers.

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Moçâmedes railroad in Angola may transport millions of tons of iron ore

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Lubango, Angola – Angola’s Moçâmedes railroad from the port of Namibe may transport over 9 million tons of iron ore per year when it is fully operational, the governor of Huíla province, Isaac Maria dos Anjos said Friday.

Speaking at the 1st Extended Consultation Council of the Ministry for Geology and Mining and Ministry for Industry, the governor said that construction of complementary facilities and new stations was going well in order to offer the best working conditions and telecommunications systems to all localities.

According to the governor, the launch of iron ore mining was a logical consequence of investment by the Angolan government in the total reconstruction of the railroad via which the 9 millions of tons of ore would be transported.

The Moçâmedes railroad has its coastal terminus at the port town of Namibe, formerly known as Moçâmedes. (macauhub)

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Pics of the Day – MSC LEILA

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The container ship MSC LEILA (13,315-gt, built 1987) departing from Cape Town harbour. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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