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Ports & Ships Maritime News

1 June, 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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The Brunei-owned utility vessel SEASAFE SALVO (2042-gt, built 2010), seen here on the Cape Town repair quay has been a recent unusual visitor to the port. Pictures by Aad Noorland

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Maputo, 31 May – Coal transport from Moatize along the Sena railroad will now only begin in September and not in July as initially forecast, Mozambique’s minister for Transport and Communication told Mozambican newspaper, O País.

Speaking to the newspaper, Paulo Zucula said that the delay was due to work that was underway to rectify some errors of reconstruction of the line, which are due to be concluded in September.

The company responsible for the 18 month delay in reconstruction of the Sena line was, according to the minister, Indian concession holder Ricon, which did not keep to all the requirements outlined in the tender document.

Zucula noted that as a result, the Mozambican government felt it had no other option but to cancel the contract with the consortium made up of two Indian state companies – Rites and Ircon – and added that the government was now seeking other partners to continue with the project to build the railroad. (macauhub)

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by Francis Hweshe

Cape Town – South Africa’s economy has been projected to grow between 3.5 and 3.8 percent this year, up from -7.1 and 2.8 percent in the last two years respectively.

The Financial and Fiscal Commission revealed this on Monday, indicating that the growth showed the economy was mending from the recession.

Despite the positive picture, a lot still needs to be done as unemployment, poverty, inequality and low growth continued, it said.

The commission tabled before Parliament its recommendation for 2012 and 2013.

Addressing the media, the commission’s Deputy Chair Bongani Khumalo said that it was up to Parliament to enforce their recommendations.

Khumalo said that despite the provision of social grants, poverty remained high among “black and female-headed households.”

Inadequate educational and health outcomes are similarly skewed against the poor, he said, adding that “distorted settlement patterns” meant those same people were located out of towns and in rural areas.

He said that while government had made steps in achieving its social goals, it should pay attention to issues of inequality, poor educational attainment and child maternal mortality.

Looking ahead, Khumalo said, the key issue for the country was to “strike a balance around inclusive growth and job creation together with fiscal sustainability and low inflation.”

He emphasised that national, provincial and local government should “further prioritise expenditures in respect of equitable share and conditional grants for 2012/13, to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).”

He urged government to prioritise the attainment of universal education and push the fight against HIV and Aids.

In addressing local government issues, Khumalo said the commission believed that “sustainable development is anchored in a well-functioning local government sector and vibrant urban economies in particular.”

He said national and provincial treasuries’ efforts to improve the credibility of municipal budgets through annual benchmarking should continue to be supported and results made public.

In addition, he said, government should “develop and support peer learning and support programmes that assist poorly performing municipalities.”

He recommended that increases in education spending should be directed towards “investments that will have the biggest impact on quality.” That, he said, included learner and teacher support material and scholar transport. – BuaNews

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The Trans-Caprivi and Trans-Kalahari Corridors out of the port of Walvis Bay

A delegation from the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) recently attended the annual Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo where it presented the Walvis Bay Corridors as alternative trade routes for Zimbabwe to political and business decision makers.

The conference as well as the general trading conditions in the country indicated that there is positive growth and development in the economy of Zimbabwe. There is also a sign of confidence from foreign investors to invest in Zimbabwe.

The Walvis Bay Corridors – specifically the Trans-Kalahari and the Trans-Caprivi Corridors - are being promoted as a real alternative to link Zimbabwe to Europe, North America as well as South America. It is claimed that by using Walvis Bay as an alternative trade route for Zimbabwe, importers and exporters can save more than 10 days in transit time to markets in Europe and the Americas.

The WBCG says that trade for Zimbabwe via the Walvis Bay port has been steadily increasing the past 24 months. A large percentage of the commodities being transported along this corridor include frozen chicken, furniture, equipment, vehicles and other consumables.

Both WBCG and Namport are working together with the Road Motor Services company in Zimbabwe to develop a Zimbabwean Dry Port within the Port of Walvis Bay. It is earmarked that this facility will spearhead the growth of more imports and exports for the Zimbabwean market via Walvis Bay.

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The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has agreed to address the issue of incorrectly declared containerized cargo shipments.

Responding to a proposal from maritime representatives from Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands, the IMO added that it would undertake other measures to improve the safety of container stowage and ship operations.

This follows a growing demand within the maritime industry for the IMO to set an international legal requirement that all loaded containers be weighed at their ports of origin before being stowed aboard container ships.

According to the World Shipping Council (WSC), verification of actual container weight before vessel loading and the availability of the actual container weights for proper and safe stowage planning will mark a long overdue and important improvement in industry safety.

“The problem will not be solved until there is a legal requirement to verify container weights before containers are loaded onto ships,” it said. “In those countries that require loaded containers to be weighed before vessel stowage for export, the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that operations can proceed very efficiently without any disruption to commerce.”

The WSC claims to represent 90% of the world’s containerised shipping.

In a joint statement by the WSC and the International Chamber of Shipping, the two groups said, “The WSC and ICS, along with many IMO member states and representative bodies for seafarers, dockworkers and masters, support this initiative that demonstrates the compelling need to address the problem.

“Verification of actual container weight before vessel loading and the availability of the actual container weights for proper and safe stowage planning will mark a long overdue and important improvement in industry safety.”

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Walmart no.1 US container importer

The American retail house WALMART, which yesterday received the green light with its bid to take control of one of South Africa’s leading retail and wholesale houses, Massmart, is again the leading US container importer, having imported 696,000 TEU during 2010.

This was the second year in succession that Walmart held top position in the United States. In 2009 the group imported 684,000 TEU.

Walmart exported 28,000 TEU during 2010 in addition to its imports, making it one of the most highly sought after accounts for shipping lines.

With the Competition Tribunal having approved its merger with Massmart subject to conditions, Walmart Stores is now free to trade in South Africa. The deal is worth approximately R16.5 billion.

It is generally considered that Walmart’s takeover of Massmart is just the first step into a campaign of spreading through Africa.

Walmart employs over two million people and has 8,416 stores worldwide, before its arrival in South Africa. About half of the stores are outside the US. Total net sales amounted to US$ 405 billion.

DP World Chennai has its port terminal tariffs cut by 35 percent

The Indian High Court of Appeals has ordered Chennai Container Terminal in India, which is operated by DP World, to reduce its tariffs by 35 percent.

This was after rejecting DP World’s appeal against cuts that were ordered by the state regulators.

The Indian High Court basically told DP World that it was making too much profit. The port operator had applied for a rate increase of 13.7 percent to ‘offset its costs’ but the state regulator’s response was that DP World’s net surplus of rates in previous years justified the reduction.

The rate cut is effective immediately and applies to all customer services at the terminal for a period of two years ending 31 March 2013. “The net available surplus of an estimated US$34 million is to be adjusted by effecting in reduction in the existing tariff over the remaining tariff period of two years - fiscal 2011-12 and 2012-13,” said TAMP, the country’s port regulator tariff authority.

In light of this South Africa’s Transnet NPA might consider that it got off lightly from its recent tariff decision by the port regulator.

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USCHC Chase, a US Coast Guard cutter which has been transferred to the Nigerian Navy to become NNS Thunder. Picture Wikimedia Commons

A former US Coast Guard cutter has been handed over to the Nigerian Navy in a ceremony held in Alameda, California. The ship, the USCGC CHASE (WHEC-718), a Hamilton-class cutter was in service with the US Coast Guard for 43 years before being decommissioned in March this year.

USCGC Chase has been renamed NNS THUNDER (F90) (ARADU in Hausa) and the Nigerians have reportedly spent US$ 8 million on refurbishing the ship’s logistics support. “They (USCG) removed some of their sensitive equipment (the entire control system) and now we have to rebuild based on our own environment,’’ said Commodore Sylvanius Chinweuba, Commander of Fleet Support Group of the Nigeria Navy. He said Nigeria had requested three ships but were offered one but he hoped a second vessel would follow. He explained that NNS Thunder would be used to patrol the Gulf of Guinea more effectively than has been possible until now.

Cptain Muhammad Nagenu has been appointed officer commanding NNS Thunder and he and a crew of 150 will undergo training with the US Navy before taking the ship home to Nigeria later this year. The ship is to be painted in grey.

NNS Thunder displaces 3250 tonnes and is powered with two diesel engines and two gas turbines, giving her a speed of 29 knots. She is able to remain at sea for 45 days. Her armament consists of a 76mm Otobreda gun.


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The German-owned, Liberian-flagged container ship RIO EIDER (27,059-gt, built 2005) in Cape Town harbour. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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