- Maritime Services

  - News

  - Ship Movements

  - The Shipping World

  - Cruise News &

  - Events Diary

  - Sea Stories

Naval Review

  Port Operators
Transnet National
    Ports Authority

South African ports
  - General Info
  - Durban
  - Richards Bay
  - Cape Town
  - Port Elizabeth
  - East London
  - Mossel Bay
  - Saldanha Bay
  - Port Nolloth

  - Walvis Bay
  - Luderitz

  - Lobito 
  - Luanda 

  - Douala 
  - Port Limbe 

  - Bonny 
  - Port Harcourt 
  - Onne 
  - Lagos 

  - Cotonou 

  - Lome 

  - Tema 

  Cote d'Ivoire
  - Abidjan 

  - Conakry 

  - Maputo 
  - Beira    
  - Nacala

  - Toamasina 

  - Dar es Salaam 

  - Mombasa 

  - Port Louis 

  - Legal News &

  - Glossary of
     Maritime Terms

   - Useful Links

  - Contact Us

  - Home

  - P
AIA Manual

Receive our

Enter your e-mail address below
Enter your City, Country location below



Ports & Ships Maritime News

14-15 April 2011
Author: Terry Hutson


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

Improve your branding with your banner on this site and tap into our large readership - contact info@ports.co.za


Click on headline to go direct to story – use the BACK key to return




Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The Chinese COSCO bulker FU ZHOU HAI (69,967-dwt, built 1995) enters the harbour of Lyttleton, Chrustchurch, New Zealand on 9 April this year to load coal. Picture by Alan Calvert

News continues below...


There is uncertainty over how shipping lines will manage to cascade bigger ships into North America trades, according to London's Drewry Maritime Research paper, ‘Unmasking Freight Rates’.

“In the best case scenario (ie, better capacity management and cascading, less emphasis on market share, more on profitability, and fewer ships orders) we can see carriers being able to maintain load factors at levels that should deliver solid if unspectacular profits over the next few years,” said Simon Heaney, one of the authors, according to American Shipper. “In the worst case, we think carriers will be forced into more lay-ups.”

Asked about what impact Maersk Line's recent order of 18,000-TEU ships may have on rival container shipping lines, Mr Heaney said: “Logic and the order book are not always in sync. It is unlikely we will see the same deluge as seen in 2006-2007, mainly because financing is tougher to come by and the KG market is much shallower and somewhat humbled.

“That said, ego plays a big role in container shipping and there is every chance that having seen what Maersk has done with its 18,000-TEU order, some rivals will feel compelled to react.

“As 2011 progresses there has been more momentum with orders placed in the big ship sizes: Seaspan, Hamburg Sud and now OOCL. The primary incentive from the carrier perspective is to have ever lower slot costs, but the combined effect on the supply/demand balance at the individual trade route level - given that these ships cannot be deployed on too many routes - could be very different at the time they are deployed. We see this momentum as an increasing threat, especially with more outsiders entering the fray with readily available funds,” he said.

Mr Heaney said that central to the report, which looks at prospects over five years, is an attempt to discover how capacity affects rates, chiefly the impact of supply and demand on rates.

“Basic supply/demand economics is the major driver of freight rates,” he said. “Our historical analysis shows that the closeness of the relationship varies depending on the time period and trade lane examined and that other factors such as sentiment, new entrants into markets, predatory pricing and future expectation of overcapacity among other modifiers can all have a big influence on prices.”

Mr Heaney said there is a floor at which point carriers will remove tonnage in order to boost utilisation and rates. For the westbound Asia-Europe trade, Drewry estimates this minimum to be in the mid-60 per cent range.

Commenting on carriers' earning capabilities in the coming years, Mr Heaney said: “We believe future carrier profitability will be put at risk by repeating the market share grabbing antics that nearly bankrupted some of them in 2009. This is a very real threat as anecdotally we hear that carriers are agreeing to very low freight rate deals in order to tie in volume this year on services where utilisation factors are falling.” – Seanews

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Axel Maersk

>Maersk ready to exercise option on another ten 18,000-TEU boxships

In a related matter, Maersk CEO Nils Smedegaard Andersen told journalists yesterday that Maersk is likely to exercise 10 of its options for container ships of 18,000-TEU capacity.

Maersk recently announced orders for 10 of the super giant ships, and said it had options for a further 20. According to Nils Andersen the Danish shipping company is likely to confirm an order for another 10 of the so-called Triple-E ships in June this year. “Maersk has not yet decided where the Triple-E ships will call,” he said.

News continues below…


Injection of new tonnage could 'poison' shipping lines

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Abolition of shipping conferences brought more volatility to the industry

The abolition of liner shipping conferences has brought more volatility as there is less market intelligence available for carriers to make decisions on rates, claimed Nicolas Sartini, Senior VP of CMA CGM. He was speaking at the Containerisation International 13th Annual Global Liner Shipping conference in London this week.

You can read the remainder of this thought-provoking article at IFW HERE

UASC takes first of nine new containerships

United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) has taken delivery of the first of nine 13,500-TEU container ships from Samsung Heavy Industries at its Geoje yard.

The first ship of this new fleet has been named UMM SALAL and is capable of doing 25 knots. The vessel has 800 reefer points on board and has been designed to be environmentally friendly with waste recovery systems and hulls painted with silicone paint to reduce water resistance and to cut fuel consumption.

Once the nine ships are in service UASC intends deploying them on the Europe – Asia trade but will include calls in the Middle East.

Maersk expects to see small shipping companies being forced out of market

Maersk Line says it expects the largest shipping companies to monopolise the market by acquiring larger and larger vessels for cost cutting purposes, which will have the effect of forcing smaller shipping companies out of the market.

This follows on Maersk’s recent order for ten Triple-E container ships each with a capacity of 18,000-TEUs, with an option for another 20, of which Maersk has already indicated it will be exercising part of that option (see above). The largest container ship currently in operation carries in the region of 14,500-TEUs.

“We believe that the largest shipping companies will continue to expand the scale of economies of the industry,” said Thomas Knudsen, Maersk Line's chief executive for Asia Pacific region.

“As we drive these scales of economy, it will be difficult for the smaller carriers in these industries to compete. That will drive consolidation,” he said,

New Odfjell tanker named

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Bow Elm

We’re a bit late with this news but on 3 March the latest Odfjell tanker was named at a ceremony performed on the bridge wing of Odfjell’s latest tanker as the ship was nearing completion at the shipyard in Tongyeong in South Korea.

The ship was named BOW ELM (44,000-dwt, built 2011) by the sponsor or ‘godmother’, Mrs Tove Beate Johansen, wife of the company’s vice president of Fleet Management, Tor Johansen. Delivery of the ship took place on 11 March this year.

Spanish fishing fleet abandons Abidjan

Conditions within the Ivory Coast and in Abidjan itself have forced the Spanish fishing fleet to abandon the port as a base for its operations off West Africa, in favour of ports such as Dakar in Senegal or Takoradi in Ghana where the facilities are said to be not as good.

The decision to move may prove premature considering the latest political developments in the Ivory Coast, where ex-President Gbagbo has surrendered to government and French forces, leaving President Alasana Outtata as the undisputed leader of the West African country.

A significant number of Spanish fishing vessels operate off the coast of West Africa, hunting for tuna and other fish species.

Sharjah-based Momentum expands into East Africa

Third party (3PL) logistics company Momentum Logistics is expanding operations into East Africa on the back of strong trade between East Africa and the Middle East.

Momentum, which is a division of the Gulftainer Group, describes the move as a strategic development based on expanding results that exceed forecasts. “The UAE is strategically positioned as a logistical hub to offer good services to the East African markets, and for centuries trading links have been substantial between the two regions,” said Momentum’s Freight Forwarding manager, Thomas Thomsen.

“Momentum is well established with offices and depots throughout the UAE, which, in combination with Momentum’s one-stop-shop abilities (particularly at our logistics hub in the Sharjah Inland Container Depot), makes our further developments very exciting, particularly as businesses are growing volumes to and from Africa,” he said.

News continues below...


Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Tete Province, Mozambique, showing the proximity of Tete and its coalfields to the ports of Beira and Quelimane

Investment in the coal industry in Tete province, northwest Mozambique, is leading to other investments in the region, particularly in transport and infrastructure, resulting in an economic boom, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

“Investment in transport and other infrastructure in Tete is simultaneously the cause and effect of an economic boom in the region, which is the result of millions of dollars of investment in Mozambique’s emerging coal mining industry,” the EIU said in a recent report on the Mozambican economy.

Amongst the companies investing in coal in the region, particularly in the Moatize basin, is Brazil’s Vale, but also Australia’s Riversdale Mining and, more recently, Beacon Hill Resources.

The Tete corridor is an important logistics point for Mozambique and for the region, involving traffic destined for Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia, and investments underway are boosting its role as a platform.

“The air transport links in Tete are also improving, and since last year the area has had a direct service to South Africa,” the EIU noted.

In January, South Africa’s flagship airline increased the frequency of its flights to Tete by one flight a week.

Alongside this, the Ministry for Public Works and Housing announced construction of a new bridge on the Zambezi river in the city of Tete, which is due to begin being built this year.

With a cost of US$95 million, provided by the government and donors, the new bridge will be concluded within four years, reducing traffic on the only current bridge, which was built in colonial times.

It is mainly expected to be used by heavy goods vehicles, around 800 of which cross the existing bridge every day.

Also according to the EIU, the Beira-Tete railway line is due to see alterations, as it is used to transport goods from the regional hinterland to the port of Beira.

Port and rail management company, Companhia de Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM) notified Indian concession-holder Ricon that it intended to cancel the concession contract if performance objectives were not met.

Engineering work to repair the line have been delayed by a year in relation to the initial schedule and, “the authorities are evidently preparing to rescind the contract as soon as possible,” said the EIU.

This is not the only contract that CFM is unhappy about, and it is interested in “regaining control of its assets,” by allowing other concessions granted to foreign companies to expire.

Investments and expansion plans for coal production in the region mean that coal exports are expected to total 85 million tons per year until the end of the decade, which is far above the line’s current capacity, leading the government and the companies to study alternative forms of transport.

Investment in the mining industry and in “mega infrastructure projects” is behind Mozambique’s strong economic growth, which is expected to reach 7.4 percent, on average, in 2011 and 2012, according to the EIU’s calculations.

“Output from industry is expected to rise briskly on the back of strong inflows from foreign investment into the minerals sector, particularly to develop coal reserves,” said the report.

An important contribution is also expected from the agricultural sector thanks to a rise in food and cash crop production, and the government’s national plan for the sector. – source macauhub

News continues below…


Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Apapa container terminal – benefiting from increased ship calls during 2010

Port traffic at Nigerian ports increased slightly during 2010, according to latest statistics made available.

In the Nigerian ports, traffic involving ocean-going ships increased from 4,832 vessels to 4,962 vessels in 2010, a 2,69% increase. Gross tonnage at the combined ports reached 108,621,872 tons for 2010 compared with 97,796,560 tons in 2009.

The number of coastal vessels to call at the ports in 2010 totalled 21,950, up from the 17,403 of 2009, a 26.12% improvement. Gross tonnage for this class of ship was 6,818,827 in 2010 compared with 5,747,640 the year before.

Public Affairs general manager of the Nigerian Ports Authority said these increases could be attributed to the successful port reform process introduced by the Federal Government. He said the NPA was fulfilling its obligation of planning, development and maintenance of port infrastructure and the provision of common user facilities as laid out in the concession agreements with port terminal operators.

The NPA managing director, Omar Sulaiman said there will be further improvements in the current year and efforts will intensify in attracting more vessels, while the NPA develops and expands new port facilities with the aim of Nigerian ports becoming the hub ports of the West and Central African region.

Ghana ports see sharp increases of transit traffic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
San Pedro, Ivory Coast’s second port. Its loss has been Ghana ports’ gain

The ports of Tema and Takoradi in Ghana are reporting sharp increases in traffic which they attribute to the crisis in neighbouring Ivory Coast.

According to officials with the Ghana Shippers Authority, the increase in volumes of transit cargo going through the two Ghanaian ports is a result of the inability of merchants in Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali and other landlocked Wet African countries that prior to the outbreak of hostilities in Ivory Coast, made use of that country’s ports for all their import and export activities.

On the other hand, a number of Ghanaian traders have lost business with Ivory Coast and will welcome the possible return to normality. Especially hard hit are the motor spare dealers and second hand clothing traders who miss their lost business from Ivory Coast.

“My brother, the conflict has affected us so much. Already, the market is bad and the Ivorians are also not coming,” lamented Nana Kyei, a dealer in vehicle lights. Pointing to a location, he said, “That is where they used to park their trucks to load. They loaded on daily basis and that kept the smiles on our faces those days.”

A dealer in vehicle lights said that although Ghanaian car owners liked to spend their money on their motor cars the demand from them was not as good s that from the Ivorians, especially the ‘French’ which he said were “big spenders”. – source Public Agenda/Accra

News continues below…


Image and video hosting by TinyPic
The Horn of Africa and Somalia

New York - Recognising the need for further steps to boost anti-piracy efforts, the Security Council this week decided to urgently consider the establishment of specialised Somali courts to try suspected pirates both in the Somalia and in the region.

The Council also urged both State and non-State actors affected by piracy, most notably the international shipping community, to provide support for a host of judicial- and detention-related projects through the trust fund set up for that purpose.

In its unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member Council stressed the need for “a comprehensive response to tackle piracy and its underlying causes by the international community,” as it outlined a wide array of measures to more effectively counter the scourge of piracy.

These include calling on States to cooperate on the issue of hostage-taking; encouraging States and regional organizations to assist Somalia in strengthening its coastguard capacity; urging all States, including those in the region, to criminalise piracy under their domestic laws; and underlining the need to investigate and prosecute those who illicitly finance, plan, organise, or unlawfully profit from pirate attacks off the Somali coast.

In taking this week’s action, the Council was acting on the recommendations contained in a report by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Special Adviser on Legal Issues Related to Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, Jack Lang.

In its previous resolutions, the Council has authorised States and regional organisations to enter Somalia's territorial waters and use “all necessary means” to fight piracy such as deploying naval vessels and military aircraft, as well as seizing and disposing of boats, vessels, arms and related equipment used for piracy.

In the text adopted this week, it recognised that the ongoing instability in Somalia is one of the underlying causes of the problem of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of the Horn of Africa nation.

Somalia - which has not had a functioning central government since 1991 - has been torn apart by decades of conflict and factional strife, more recently with al-Shabaab Islamic militants. The country is also facing a dire humanitarian crisis in which 2.4 million people are in need of assistance.

The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) currently in place has made some progress in tackling the country's challenges but requires further support. To discuss the accomplishments, as well as the obstacles and challenges, the UN envoy for Somalia is convening a high-level consultative meting in Nairobi tomorrow on the transition process.

“The overall aim is to revive dialogue so that the peace process regains momentum,” Augustine P Mahiga said in news release issued ahead of the meeting. “No peace process can move forward without dialogue.”

The two-day conference will also lay the ground, he said, for a follow-up meeting to take place later next month in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, as requested by the TFG, and is expected to advance talks and initiatives on peacemaking and state-building. - UN News

News continues below…


The Sea Asia conference that got underway in Singapore this week focused on the bulk markets on Tuesday afternoon, with a lively debate among panelists on where the tanker and dry bulk shipping markets are heading.

The session was the highlight of the afternoon’s proceedings which followed on from the opening session on container market trades during the morning.

The show, which articulates the Voice of the Asian maritime communities, has captured the imagination of the global shipping community. It was officially opened by Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Mr Teo Chee Hean.

As the conference ended its first day, Sea Asia organisers reported that 687 delegates from 33 countries had participated in the conference sessions, a figure that already exceeds the total number from three days at the previous show in 2009.

More than 12,000 people are expected to attend the Sea Asia conference and exhibition, which occupies 13,600 sq m of gross space at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre. It has more than 6,200 sq m of net used space in an exhibition booked by 340 maritime and shipping businesses from 40 countries. There are seven country pavilions from China, Japan, Norway, Panama, Singapore, Turkey and the UK.

Seatrade said day one of Sea Asia had exceeded expectations both in terms of the number of people coming to the show and the feedback that had been received from exhibitors and visitors alike.

The bulk session featured a senior line-up of panelists including Yudhishthir Khatau, vice chairman and managing director of Varun Shipping (who chaired the session), Morten Arntzen, President and CEO of Overseas Shipholding Group (OSG), John Brunton, global director of market analysis at Cargill Energy Transportation and Industrial, Kenneth Koo, group chairman and CEO,TCC Group, Klaus Nyborg, CEO of Pacific Basin Shipping and Dr Kyuho Whang, President and CEO, SK Shipping.

Delegates listened to the panel as they went on a tour of the tanker and dry bulk markets and the session produced some contrarian views.

While most of his fellow panelists warned of uncertain times ahead in both the dry bulk sector and most areas of the tanker market, OSG’s Mr Arntzen took a different viewpoint.

He noted the tanker market was difficult to ‘call’ at the best of times and one of the key factors in recent times had been the sheer level of unpredictability in the sector.

A series of what he termed ‘wild cards’ could determine how the tanker sector pans out for the rest of this year and into 2012. And he added that several of these ‘Wild Cards’ could have a positive outcome for the market and for the owners of tankers.

Sea Asia, which is co-organised by Seatrade and the Singapore Maritime Foundation, has established itself as the leading international maritime show for Asia since it was launched in 2007.


The above ‘press release’ on a Singapore-based conference has been included in this News Bulletin for two reasons. One, that it has symbiotic interest for readers in Africa, and two, and this is really why it is included here, because of the references to numbers attending, which are significant in both senses. 687 delegates from 33 countries and more than 12,000 people will have attended the conference and exhibition when it concludes.

Compare that to a conference recently completed in Durban, Africa’s leading shipping and maritime city. At one session I counted 12 people including myself listening to a succession of some of the better speakers that I have heard at local conferences. On the first day there were less than 40 delegates. One has to question why?

It’s also noteworthy that many delegates to conferences generally seem to feel all they have to do is appear on the first morning to make sure they are ‘registered’, collect their shopping bags and whatever other gifts are being distributed, and then disappear, before resurfacing in time for the gala dinners. One wonders what their employers would think of their actions?

The other thought is that maybe there are just too many conferences – after all it is big business these days and maybe potential delegates have become blasé over an endless succession of speeches giving slight variation to the same speeches heard the year before.

What do you think? Send your comments to info@ports.co.za


Sanya, China - South African business must be "aggressive" in taking on new opportunities in Brazil, Russia, India, China through South Africa's new found membership to the Brics grouping, said President Jacob Zuma.

Addressing about 100 South African delegates from business and government at an outdoor evening cocktail function at the Hilton Sanya Resort and Spa, Zuma encouraged businessmen to offer the South African government feedback on what hurdles companies faced so that the government could help to make it easier to do business in the Brics nations.

Business delegates included mining magnate Patrice Motsepe, telecommunications entrepreneur Robert Gumede and outgoing chief executive of Business Unity South Africa (Busa) Jerry Vilakazi.

“Part of our job is to create an enabling environment for businesses. The question I think that must come to all of us, is what we do as business to take advantage of this participation of South Africa in Brics,” said Zuma, who yesterday celebrated his 69th birthday.

“So what we need is for us to be armed with such facts, with the experience of businesses - what has been your experience as businesses,” said Zuma.

Zuma said South Africa's invitation by China to become a member of Brics was a “one of the most important achievements” in South Africa's recent history.

However, he said global institutions still needed to change because many of those countries dominating world bodies were no longer holding power in the world.

“The old economies are no longer developing like they used to, if they are developing it's very minimal.

“The emerging economies are developing very fast and they are big in size. In fact, the last financial crisis was stopped in the main by the big economies, otherwise we would still be in recession,” Zuma said.

He said however that in recent history economic growth had all too often bypassed Africa, but today the continent was growing faster than ever before.

“The coming into Brics of South Africa represents an important element that Africa is part of the changing world, is part of the alternative voice, therefore it is important that we are a country that represents our continent,” said Zuma, adding that being part of Brics meant South Africa was part of the changing world.

Zuma said there were definite opportunities for South African businesses.

“I think it going to be the question of how we conduct ourselves: Firstly do we understand the importance of being part of the Brics. Are there benefits? Absolutely, huge,” said Zuma, who added that South Africa could also learn a lot from the industrious work ethic of Asian countries. – BuaNews


Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Swire Pacific Offshore’s supply vessel PACIFIC ASKARI (2218-gt, built 2008), in Cape Town recently. Picture by Ian Shiffman

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Farstad Shipping’s offshore tug and supply vessel FAR SARACEN (6,107-gt, built 2010), which was also in Cape Town in recent weeks. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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

Did you know that Ports & Ships lists ship movements for all southern African ports between Walvis Bay on the West Coast and Mombasa on the East Coast?

Colour photographs and slides for sale of a variety of ships.

Thousands of items listed featuring famous passenger liners of the past to cruise ships of today, freighters, container vessels, tankers, bulkers, naval and research vessels.


South Africa’s most comprehensive Directory of Maritime Services is now listed on this site. Please check if your company is included. To sign up for a free listing contact info@ports.co.za or register online