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Ports & Ships Maritime News

27 September 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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One last view of the pipe layer SEVEN SEAS, this time of the ship in the Durban dry dock where she underwent general maintenance repairs. Picture by Gary Pulford/Dormac Marine

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Written by Ngugi Njoroge (East African Business Weekly, Kampala)

A regional inter-governmental task-force has warned that East Africa risks lagging behind unless it develops its regional transport corridors and supports infrastructure projects over the next five years.

According to a new landmark study dubbed Corridor Diagnostic Study (CDS) of the Northern and Central Corridor of East Africa, conducted by the regional inter-governmental task-force, transport corridors in East Africa are presently performing "fairly" based on comparisons with other international corridors.

East Africa boasts of two transport corridors, the Northern and Central corridors. The Northern Corridor which is one of the most strategic commercial and humanitarian routes in Africa, stretches more than 1,500km, linking the Port of Mombasa in Kenya to the Great Lakes countries of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, with links to Northern Tanzania, Southern Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia.

The Central Corridor on the other hand is shared between Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Citing the key Mombasa and Dar es Salaam ports, the study said berth and yard congestion in the ports and the lack of customs clearance coordination contribute to excessive dwell times of up to 9 days in Mombasa and 12 days in Dar es Salaam.

The study, which includes intensive interviews with stakeholders such as shippers, transport service providers, freight providers, and government ministries, regulatory and custom departments particularly, gives a bad account of the regional road network, the most common way of transport in East Africa, and rail.

“Road transport costs are high due to lack of backhauls and poor road conditions. On the Northern Corridor, high informal payments are a significant component of total costs,” notes the study in part.

It adds: “Rail service, while improving is still unreliable service especially at transfer points and locomotive exchange points. Rail rates are not necessarily cost based but are priced just below road transport as rail does not have current surplus capacity.” On the operations nature of the corridors, the taskforce notes that lack of risk management results in longer delays at border crossings.

“Extra inventory costs due to delays and inefficiencies in the corridors have a significant impact on the total costs of the goods, accounting for 10-25 percent of the total logistics cost,” it said.

In Kenya, the report notes that vehicles licensed for transit cannot carry domestic cargo and must use prescribed transit routes.

This, it said, has the effect of many return trips being empty. Similarly in Tanzania, the Revenue Authority licenses trucks for transit or domestic with the same negative effect.

The findings of the report will be presented at an upcoming high-level conference on the development and launch of the North-South Corridor (NSC) scheduled for the Kenyan capital Nairobi on 28 and 29 September.

The conference to be officially opened by Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki will be attended by officials from all the regional trading blocs including COMESA, EAC and SADC. It is being supported by TradeMark East Africa.

Under direction of the Tripartite, the conference will seek to avail resources to develop a list of bankable projects for infrastructure investments in East Africa in the areas of roads, railways, inland waterways, ports, pipelines and power generation and transmission at an estimated cost US$ 4.2 billion. source - East African Business Week (Kampala).

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MOL expanding its logistics operations across Africa. Picture by Alan Calvert

Tokyo – The president of MOL Logistics (Kapan), Toshifumi Kato announced last week that MOL has concluded an agency contract with a Dubai headquartered freight forwarder having an extensive network in Africa.

MOL Logistics said it expects Africa to grow as an emerging market following the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) markets, and is moving aggressively to expand its service network all over the continent.

The forwarder has its headquarters in Dubai, a commercial and logistics hub for the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia, and offices in 12 African countries. It has a strong track record and extensive experience in both import and export operations.

The offices in Africa are situated in:

  • Central Africa: Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo

  • East Africa: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia

  • Southern Africa: Zambia

  • Southeast Africa: Mozambique

  • West Africa: Togo, Ghana, Nigeria
  • MOL Logistics said it is working continually to meet various logistics needs related to Africa by offering contract logistics in the Middle East, with Dubai as a gateway, as well as inbound and outbound sea and air services.

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    MSC Sinfonia in Cape Town last summer

    The magnificent destination of Bazaruto is back on the cruising map. From this summer MSC Cruises will offer Bazaruto as a port of call for its cruise ship MSC SINFONIA, which arrives in Cape Town on 8 November and Durban on the 11th.

    This is MSC Sinfonia’s third successive summer season in South African waters, during which she will offer three choices of the four night cruise to the popular destination.

    “Bazaruto was the first cruising destination in Mozambique, and was always extremely popular,” notes Allan Foggitt of MSC Starlight.

    “The destination was withdrawn two years ago due to the fact that a 5-star hotel was planned for the pristine beach used by the landing passengers. With the current economic downturn worldwide this project never materialised and thus resulted in the re-opening of the island to MSC as a cruising destination. It will be the first time that MSC Sinfonia calls at this idyllic destination.”

    Previous MSC Vessels to have visited the island include the Achille Lauro in 1992 followed by the MSC Symphony, MSC Rhapsody and MSC Melody.

    Bazaruto is located halfway along the Moçambique Channel opposite Vilanculos, and is a pristine island in the midst of a marine reserve. Passengers will be spoilt experiencing nature at its best, with beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters and an abundance of marine, bird and animal life. The area is known for its diving, snorkelling and fishing. The landscape attracts sun worshipers and those seeking relaxation. Sightings of dolphins and flamingos are common with the area also being home to the endangered dugong - a large marine mammal that is thought to have given rise to the legend of mermaids.

    MSC Sinfonia departs for Bazaruto on 21 November, 16 January and 5 March. The four-night cruises depart Durban on the Monday afternoon, spend a day at sea, a day on the island and then another day at sea returning to Durban on the Friday.

    Cruise lovers can look forward to experiencing the best of MSC hospitality on board while ashore they are bound to enjoy this nature lover’s paradise with shore excursions including nature walks, diving, and snorkelling.

    MSC Sinfonia offers a five-month season out of Durban for the 2011/12 summer with regular three-night cruises to the popular uninhabited pristine beaches of Mozambique’s Portuguese Island in addition to the four-night cruises that include stops in the bustling capital city of Maputo and the trendy Barra Lodge water sports resort further north.

    One of South Africa’s holiday season favourites is the popular five-night Christmas Cruise to the sandy beaches of Barra Lodge and the ever popular Portuguese Island. Guests will spend Christmas Eve enjoying Italian hospitality and Christmas Day on Portuguese Island. The ship’s chef will prepare a traditional Christmas menu and the ship will be decorated in the true spirit of Christmas. The cruise departs Durban on 22 December, returning to Durban on 27 December 2011.

    MSC Sinfonia will ring in the New Year with one of the biggest deck parties in the southern hemisphere under the Mauritian skies of Port Louis. The celebrations are part of the 11-night New Year Festive Cruise, departing Durban on 27 December and calling at La Reunion and a three-day stopover in Port Louis, Mauritius before returning to Durban on 7 January.

    For more details of these and other MSC cruises, visit the website www.mscstarlightcruises.co.za

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    The South African yacht Choizil ashore off the coast of southern Somalia, October 2010

    Eleven months after a South African couple, Bruno Pelizzari and Deborah Calitz were captured by Somali pirates and taken hostage, there appears to be little likelihood of their release.

    Compounding the worries that family members and friends have for the health and safety of the couple is the ridiculous ransom being demanded for their release – US$4 million (approximately R30 million).

    The couple are not wealthy and were crewing on the yacht owned by a Durban man, Peter Eldridge, who evaded being taken ashore into captivity when the yacht was grounded on the southern Somali coast. As a naval ship approached the scene the pirates abandoned the yacht but took Pelizzari and Calitz with them to an inland position.

    Family and friends say it has been impossible to raise the sort of ransom being demanded. The South African government has a policy of not paying ransoms and only now, 11 months later have friends and family finally received permission to begin a campaign of raising funds for a possible ransom. Even so, $4 million appears an impossible task.

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    The cruise ship EXPLORER (24,318-gt) arriving in Cape Town harbour on 23 September. The passenger ship operates for much of the year as a floating university with its Semester at Sea programme, provided by the Institute for Shipboard Education (ISE) and calling at ports across the wide world, which is an education in itself. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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    The container ship LUETJENBURG arriving in Cape Town harbour on Thursday, 22 September. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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