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Ports & Ships Maritime News

14 June 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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Hapag-Lloyd’s expedition cruise ship HANSEATIC has emerged from a two week visit to the Blohm+Voss shipyards in her new colours, which are typically the colours of the Hapag-Lloyd fleet – the orange funnel complete with cruise division logo, and the orange and blue band along the hull. The ship, which returned to service on 10 June, will be visiting the Indian Ocean during November and December this year, with visits to The Seychelles, Aldabra,Mayotte, Nosy Be, Lakandava, (a new call north of Toamasina), Reunion and Mauritius. The 14-day cruise starts in Victoria in Mahe on 22 November and finishes in Port Louis on 5 December 2011. Hanseatic returns to the Indian Ocean in late 2012 visiting Mauritius, Madagascar, Mozambique and South Africa on a 16-day cruise from 3 December 2012, while introducing six completely new stopovers for both the ship and Hapag-Lloyd.


Image and video hosting by TinyPic Johannesburg - After many years of planning and coordinating, African leaders have now moved a step closer to establishing the long-conceived goal of a united African economic community.

The leaders have agreed to formally launch negotiations to establish a grand Free Trade Area (FTA) that would encompass 26 countries in three Regional Economic Communities (RECs), namely the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa), East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The leaders envision members lobbying together for aid and investment, presenting coherent and integrated plans, which include joint projects to improve roads and rail networks and power supply.

The first phase of negotiations on allowing the free movement of goods is expected to take three years. Future negotiations will tackle trade in services and other issues.

The summit also commended planners for recognising the need to build manufacturing capacity and infrastructure.

The creation of a single FTA would see the coming together of a combined population of approximately 700 million people and a Gross Domestic Product of US$875 billion from 26 countries.

This would open borders to approximately half of the continent, spanning the entire southern and eastern regions of Africa - from Cape to Cairo.

In their communiqué at the end of the second Tripartite Summit held in Sandton on Sunday, the leaders signed an agreement to launch talks and adopted the roadmap for the establishment of the FTA.

They also adopted the FTA negotiating principles, processes and institutional framework; and directed that a programme of work and roadmap be developed on industrialisation.

“The establishment of a FTA will bolster intra-regional trade by creating a wider market, increase investment flows, enhance competitiveness and develop cross-regional infrastructure,” said the communiqué, read by Richard Sezibera, Secretary General of EAC.

President Jacob Zuma, in his address to the summit, said the zone will help neighbours work together to alleviate poverty and build industrial capacity.

“There is no single country that can prosper on its own,” Zuma said.

The leaders also adopted a developmental approach to the tripartite integration process, saying it will be anchored on three pillars namely: market integration based on the Tripartite FTA; infrastructure development to enhance connectivity and reduce costs of doing business, and industrial development to address productive capacity constraints.

During the one-day summit, the delegates from 26 member countries of the three blocs, discussed how to enhance cooperation and coordination and improve infrastructure to facilitate trade.

The summit reviewed the progress made in the implementation of the decisions of the first Tripartite Summit held in Kampala, Uganda, in October 2008, regarding programmes in trade, customs and economic integration; free movement of business persons and infrastructure development amongst the three RECs.

In the area of infrastructure development, the leaders noted the progress made in the implementation of the tripartite infrastructure programmes; and commended the international cooperating partners and the donor community for the support that was pledged to the North South Corridor at the High Level Conference held in Lusaka, Zambia in 2009. – BuaNews

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Transnet says the expansion of its iron ore line to Saldanha remains on track and that the annual capacity of the line will increase from 47 million tonnes annually to 60mt by 2012/13.

That’s the word from Transnet CEO Brian Molefe speaking from the Africa Iron Ore Conference in Cape Town last week. Molefe said further expansion of the line was possible within six years, increasing the annual capacity of the line to 92 million tonnes. This phase would be done with the assistance of private investment.

According to Molefe Transnet is confident of being able to attract private investment, nevertheless the company is determined to see through the expansion of the line to 92mt.

Of significance is the language used, with descriptions of the line as the iron ore and manganese line – suggesting perhaps that Transnet has made its mind up on the question of where manganese exports will be routed.

Beira iron ore terminal planned

India’s Essar Group says it considering building an iron ore terminal at the port of Beira in Mozambique capable of handling 20 million tonnes of ore annually.

Speaking at the same Cape Town iron ore conference, F Coovadia, Essar’s director for the Middle East and Africa said the terminal would handle surplus iron ore from the group’s Ripple Creek and Mwanezi mines in Zimbabwe. Essar has agreed to take a 54% stake in Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Co, which hasn’t been in operation since 2004. Coovadia said Essar would invest US$750 million to revive the steel manufacturer. “We’ll first serve the steelmaking operations and then look at any export potential,” he said.

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Port Elizabeth Car Terminal

Port Elizabeth – A R4 million expansion of parking facilities has been completed at the Port Elizabeth Car Terminal, which is operated by Transnet Port Terminals. This follows the impressive volume growth of fully built up units handled by the terminal, which has been accredited to the positive outlook in the new vehicles market and automotive contracts won by local original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s).

An additional 1,500 parking bays and a new staging area were created between October 2010 and March this year. The facilities are already in use and have contributed in providing additional capacity and improved productivity.

The Port Elizabeth car terminal can now house up to 5,000 fully built units with an option of using 1,500 more during certain periods of the year.

Volumes have already grown significantly as the vehicle market becomes more bullish. Year to date statistics show the terminal handled 151,218 units from April 2010 to March 2011, a greater than 100% improvement on the 68,829 units handled in the same period for 2009/2010.

The figures follow similar growth at East London’s terminal, where the import of automotive parts and the export of fully built units have boosted volumes.

“The auto sector has shown confidence in partnering with us to drive their growth and that of the country’s economy, said Karl Socikwa, Chief Executive of Transnet Port Terminals. “We are committed to creating capacity ahead of demand because of the importance of this sector to the regional economy, and the strategic importance of the region to Transnet,” he added.

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New handling record for Port Elizabeth

Meanwhile in May 2011 the Port Elizabeth team celebrated its new average handling record of 192 units per hour when it handled 14,382 vehicle units in one month. This was the terminal’s highest performance this year and the first time in the terminal’s history that this level of performance was achieved. Management attributed it to a well executed loading and discharge plan involving all key role players such as terminal employees, clients and stevedoring service providers.

Another major achievement was the terminal’s recent accreditation as a NOSCAR terminal by NOSA. NOSCAR status is awarded to organisations which maintain a NOSA rating of five stars for three years in a row with a disabling injury frequency rate (DIFR) of under 0.8 and effort score of more than 95%. This was in acknowledgement of exceptional safety, health, environment and risk management systems.

“This will certainly create confidence in the Port Elizabeth car terminal’s safety standards, as we are dealing with international companies that regard safety and quality as an important requirement in handling imports and exports,” says Siya Mhlaluka, Terminal Executive, Eastern Cape.

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Port of Ngqura – smugglers may be targeting smaller ports to avoid attention

A routine check by customs officers on a premises in Deal Party, an industrial area of Port Elizabeth, led to the discovery of four luxury vehicles, which are believed to have been stolen in the UK, reports the EP Herald.

The four motor vehicles, a BMW, a Land Cruiser and two convertible Volvos, were discovered in a container that was in transit to another destination. The Herald reported that this was the second discovery of its kind in less than three weeks.

The four vehicles were stacked on top of each other in a 40ft container that had been shipped from the UK and discharged at the port of Ngqura. An official said the matter would be fully investigated, including having the vehicles’ particulars checked.

The discovery suggests that those responsible for smuggling of vehicles and other commodities may be using Ngqura or even Port Elizabeth, where there is no scanner and in the hope that customs checks will be less stringent.

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Voyager of the Seas in Barcelona

Royal Caribbean Cruises is moving one of its large ships, the 138,000-gt VOYAGER OF THE SEAS to China for the northern summer season and will operate a series of four to ten- night cruises out of Shanghai.

“With China becoming the world's second largest economy, nobody doubts the great potential of the Chinese cruising market. We believe that this market is entering into a record-breaking stage of development and will become one of the most important markets in the world,” said Royal Caribbean's managing director in China and Asia, Dr Zinan Liu.

“This is a major step forward for the cruise industry in China. We will continue working with the Chinese ports and our travel partners to further develop the country's overall cruise economy,” he said. Voyager of the Seas carries up to 3,114 passengers and is double the size of any other cruise ship operating in the Asia-Pacific region. RCCL has previously operated with a smaller cruise ship, the 69,490-gt, 2,060-passenger LEGEND OF THE SEAS which will be returning for its fourth season in China in March 2012.

Acknowledging that RCCL is not the first to enter the Chinese market, Dr Zinan said that the company was nevertheless targeting a 50% market share in China this year, based on the number of cruises sailing from China’s ports.

Voyager of the Seas will sail to Japan (Fukuoka and Kobe), and South Korea (Busan and Jeju) among other destinations.

Dr Zinan said that RCCL was learning to tailor its offerings to the unique Chinese market.

“The Chinese like better hardware, the bigger the more beautiful. They like something grand. You have more space, you have more to see,” he said. “Chinese tourists also prefer their own cuisine and more visual entertainment like dancing, rather than talk shows, and we will enhance our shopping facilities as the Chinese love to shop,” he added.

In 2010 almost 790,000 Chinese took a cruise, an increase on the 50,000 passengers ofn 2005. Last year 95 cruises departed from Chinese ports. The country now has 16 ports capable of handling international cruise ships.

At the conclusion of its inaugural Chinese season, Voyager of the Seas will depart for Sydney, Australia in October.

In Europe this summer Royal Caribbean International has 11 cruise ships and will increase this to 12 from next year.

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The Norwegian seismic research vessel BEAUFORT EXPLORER (3,375-gt, built 1983) made an appearance in Cape Town on Sunday, 12 June 2011. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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