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Ports & Ships Maritime News

10-11 November 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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The salvage tug SMIT AMANDLA seen departing Cape Town on Tuesday on her way to the Struisbaai area to take care of the partially sunken fishing vessel ’Deshan Lanka’ on behalf of SAMSA (see Wednesday’s News). Picture by Glen Kasner

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The South African Navy frigate SAS MENDI sails from Durban on 15 September to begin her current deployment on anti-piracy patrol off the northern coast of Mozambique. SAS Mendi is based at a forward base in Pemba Bay. Picture by Clinton Wyness

Pretoria, 9 November 2011 - South Africa and Mozambique have partnered to ensure the safety of the region’s seas by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will step up efforts to keep pirates out of the Mozambique Channel.

The signing of the Mou took place at the 3rd Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security Session in Pretoria on Tuesday, which was attended by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and Mozambican Defence Minister Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, among others.

The commission applauded the successful use of joint Naval and Air Patrol in Mozambican waters, which has seen a significant reduction in piracy. It also deliberated on a wide range of issues pertaining to defence, public and State security, and noted the progress made in these areas.

To strengthen gains made in reducing piracy in the region, the commission now sought to get Tanzania involved in dealing with piracy along the African East Coast. It said given the urgency of the matter, the Trilateral MoU on Maritime Security between the SA, Mozambique and Tanzania must be finalised as soon as possible.

Concerning the influx of illegal migrants into the SADC region, the commission urged the law enforcement agencies of the two countries to exchange information on the movement of illegal immigrants and to formulate common strategies.

These should include the enactment of legislation dealing with human trafficking and irregular migration.

The commission also expressed satisfaction with the commitment and cooperation demonstrated by the security sector and called on it to continue to nurture this relationship for the benefit of the two countries.

It also noted significant achievement by the Public Security Sector in dealing with transnational crimes and urged all law enforcement agencies to intensify anti-corruption strategies.

In efforts to facilitate the smooth movement of people, goods and services, the commission noted the work done by the technical team on the establishment of the new border post at Mbuzini/Macuacua.

The Mozambican delegation extended an invitation to the South African delegation to attend the 4th Session of the Commission to be held in Mozambique in 2012 on a date and venue still to be announced. The invitation was accepted. – BuaNews

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Arusha, Tanzania - The United States recently held exploratory discussions with the East African Community (EAC) in Arusha on a potential new trade and investment partnership.

Ambassador Alfonso Lenhardt, the US Ambassador to Tanzania who is also accredited as the US Ambassador to the EAC, opened the meeting while Assistant United States Trade Representative for African Affairs, Florie Liser, led an interagency team of representatives from the Departments of State, Commerce, and Agriculture, as well as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in the day-long consultations.

“The possibility of a new trade and investment partnership between the East African Community and the United States has generated a high level of interest and excitement on both sides,” said Assistant US Trade Representative Liser. “This excitement is largely due to the recognition that greater trade and investment between the United States and the East African Community has the potential to increase economic prosperity and create jobs in America as well as in the EAC member countries.”

The EAC Partner States include Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Total two-way goods trade between the United States and the EAC was $1.1 billion in 2010, with $632 million in US exports and US imports totaling $437 million. Kenya was by far the United States’ top trading partner within the EAC with two-way trade totaling $656 million, followed by Tanzania with $201 million, Uganda with $143 million, Rwanda with $51 million and Burundi with $17 million. Top US exports to EAC countries were machinery, aircraft, and used clothing last year. Top imports included coffee, apparel, nuts, and semi-precious stones.

The meeting held last week followed on a proposal made by United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk to the EAC Secretariat and Partner States at the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in Lusaka, Zambia earlier this year. At the Forum, Ambassador Kirk proposed a new partnership between the United States and the EAC that would include the exploration of a regional investment treaty, creation of trade enhancing agreements in areas such as trade facilitation, and the development of stronger commercial engagement between the United States and the EAC. During the meeting in Arusha, Assistant US Trade Representative Liser discussed the United States’ proposal in greater detail and solicited views from the EAC.

As part of her visit to the EAC, Assistant US Trade Representative Liser and the rest of the US delegation also visited Uganda on 3 November and were in Burundi on 7 November to discuss bilateral trade and investment issues, as well as the proposed US-EAC trade and investment partnership. source – Office of the US Trade Representative

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Port of Nacala

Maputo, Mozambique, 9 Nov – The Mozambican government is seeking an agreement with Japan to finance emergency repairs and rehabilitation of the port of Nacala, at an estimated cost of US$270 million, says the Maputo daily newspaper Notícias in an article this week.

The cost was determined by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and is based on a study completed in April at the request of the Transport and Communications Ministry. The purpose of rehabilitating the port is to ensure that Nacala is capable of meeting with regional and international demand.

According to the director of the Office for Accelerated Development Economic Zones (Gazeda), Danilo Nalá, the Japanese authorities had already shown interest in continuing the process begun with the study, which means the agency is expected to provide funding for the project to move ahead.

“What should happen over the next few months is that the governments of the two countries will sit down, not to discuss loans, but rather to analyse the procedures that should be adopted for the project to begin,” Nalá said. “Everything points to that meeting taking place before the end of this year.”

The port of Nacala is one of the ports with the best natural conditions along the East African coast, but it has been little utilised. This could change if a new coal terminal is built there as part of the coal exporting project of Brazilian mining company Vale, which is a significant shareholder in the concession for the port and railway network.

JICA is also involved in the Nacala Corridor development project, specifically the road corridor, and is taking part in the Prosavana agri-business project in partnership with Brazil, which is also being carried out along the Nacala Corridor. (macauhub)

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Zambezi River

Perth, Australia – Anglo-Australian mining group Rio Tinto says it considers using the Zambezi River to transport coal from Tete to be a better solution than the Nacala railroad, the chief executive of Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique said in Perth.

During a visit by the President of Mozambique to Rio Tinto’s facility in the Karratha region, some 1,300 kilometres from the city of Perth, Eric Finlayson said that the Zambezi was an interesting alternative to the Nacala railroad as the distance between Moatize and the port was 900 kilometres by rail and only 500 kilometres by river.

The two options offer alternatives to the low transport capacity of the Sena railroad, which has a current maximum of 6 million tonnes per year and Brazilian mining company Vale’s plans to invest in the construction/repair of the railroad between Moatize and the port of Nacala. Even with additional investment that would double the Sena line’s capacity to 12 million tonnes, this is way below the predicted output of the Vale and Riversdale/Rio Tinto mines.

“Coal resources of billions of tonnes are being developed by Rio Tinto and by Vale, amongst other companies, and the railroad from Moatize to Beira is the only operational facility for transporting the coal and massive investment is needed in infrastructure to achieve significant levels of production,” said Finlayson.

According to the Mozambique news agency AIM, Vale is expecting to eventually produce 25 million tonnes a year, whilst the Riversdale forecasts were that Benga will produce 10 million tonnes of coal a year, and a second Riversdale/Rio Tinto mine in the adjacent Zambeze concession area will, in late 2014, begin producing up to 25 million tonnes a year. A third Riversdale area, Tete East, could contribute a further 10 million tonnes.

Several other companies are also exploring the Moatize basin, with every prospect of producing and exporting large amounts of coal. Alternative transport routes are thus required.

The chief executive of Rio Tinto, Doug Ritchie, gave the Mozambican government assurances that his company had the technical and financial capacity to successfully carry out the coal project in the central province of Tete.

The Rio Tinto group took ownership of the Mozambican mining assets of Australia’s Riversdale Mining following a takeover bid that ended with the acquisition of the stakes owned by India’s Tata Steel and Brazil’s Company Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional. (macauhub)

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Sierra Leone – rejoining the ranks of an iron ore exporting nation

Sierra Leone has begun loading its first iron ore shipment in 30 years.

African Minerals Limited (AML), the London-based mining house which has been exploiting the iron ore reserves at Tonkolili in Sierra Leone, says the first shipment of 40,000 tonnes is destined for the Shandong Iron and Steel Group in Eastern China.

“The shipment represents the first iron ore to be mined and exported from Sierra Leone for almost 30 years and will undoubtedly have a significant positive impact on the people of Sierra Leone and the country's economy,” said AML executive chairman Frank Timis who said he was delighted with Phase 1 of the project.

The ore is being loaded at the port of Pepel, near the mouth of the Sierra Leone River. Pepel was first developed for the export of iron ore in 1933 to handle ore mined at Marampa, some 65km to the east-northeast of Pepel. Iron ore mining was later suspended (in 1975) and the port facility fell into disuse.

Timis said that by the time the mine is at full production of 20 million tonnes a year it will have become West Africa’s largest fully integrated exporter of iron ore and AML would have emerged as a world-class iron ore exporter.

Sierra Leone's President Ernest Koroma was similarly delighted with the development which he described as a significant milestone.

“The strong relationship built with African Minerals is testament to the long term partnership the government of Sierra Leone is committed to building with responsible natural resource companies,” Koroma added.


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The Chilean container ship CSAV LAUCA (39,906-gt, built 2008) sailing from Cape Town harbour in October this year. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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