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Ports & Ships Maritime News

13 December 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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Please note that we will be taking a break from the end of this week until early January 2012. We would like to take this opportunity of wishing all our readers a very blessed Festive Season.

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The drill ship DEEP OCEAN ASCENSION (60,105-gt, built 2010) lies at anchor in Table Bay as the offshore supply boat North Star attends. Picture by Aad Noorland

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The US and a number of its senior trading partners effectively blocked any further progress of the proposed carbon tax, or ‘Green Fund’ for developing nations at the United Nation’s COP17 talks held over the past fortnight in Durban.

The so-called ‘green fund’ called for international shipping to fund up to US$100 billion annually by 2020 that would go to developing nations including the threatened island nations to help them meet the challenges of changing climates.

The US and others argued strongly and effectively, as it turned out, that funds should rather come from national budgets instead of a tax on shipping. Supporting the US stand were among others China, India, Brazil, South Korea and Australia.

The International Chamber of Shipping, which did not have a vote at COP17 although it represents more than 80% of international shipping, gave the proposed shipping tax its blessing before the conference.

The World Bank has said it estimates that a proposed US$25 per metric ton carbon tax on shipping would raise around $26 billion a year, equivalent to just 0.2 percent of global trade.

International shipping was identified as the only definite source of private finance capable of raising billions of dollars in addition to contributions from governments. ICS secretary-general Peter Hinchliffe said that the shipping industry could “probably support” a bunker fuel tax in principle, provided details were decided at the IMO.

COP17 made note of the progress made by the IMO in adopting in July this year regulations on energy efficiency for ships under MARPOL Annex VI, which aims at limiting or reducing the emission of greenhouse gases from international shipping.

Despite the lack of any decision on a shipping ‘green’ fund, COP17 did not discourage the IMO from continuing to seek or act on finding other ways of reducing or limiting greenhouse emissions, and in fact invited the IMO to keep future conferences and their subsidiary bodies informed of further progress made on this issue.

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IMO secretary-general Efthimios Mitropoulos

Outgoing IMO secretary-general Efthimios Mitropoulos said that against this background, “IMO should continue, through next year’s two sessions of the Marine Environment Protection Committee, to continue the debate on market-based measures so that it can, through meaningful and inclusive negotiations, bring its action plan on climate change to a completion in a reasonably short time.”

He said that such an outcome will enable the IMO to present further tangible results to next year’s UN Conference on Climate Change, scheduled to reconvene in Qatar in December 2012. It would thus demonstrate its members’ and the shipping industry’s continued commitment and determination to add IMO’s contribution to the world efforts of combating climate change, he said.

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Maputo, 12 December – Customs processing times for goods imported into Mozambique will be lowered from the current minimum of three days to just a few hours with the introduction of a modern customs processing system, Mozambican daily newspaper Notícias reported.

Known as the Single Electronic Window, the new tool is made up of two computer systems – the integrated customs management system and the operators’ mechanism.

Via the Single Electronic Window importers are able to submit the customs declaration and pay all fees via a retail bank before the actual unloading of the goods, which will reduce their processing time.

Rosário Fernandes, chairman of the Mozambican Tributary Authority said that the transmission network for the Single Window (Janela Única), managed by MCNet (Mozambique Community Network), would show the cargo manifest and customs declaration from carriers or owners of the goods, processing, payments inspection and management of the output of imported goods.

MCNet is 60 percent-owned by the Escopil Internacional and SGS Moçambique consortium and by the State and Confederation of Economic Associations (CTA), each with a 20 percent stake. (macauhub)

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International shippers want overhaul of global container trades

The recently formed Global Shippers Forum, a coalition of shippers from around the world says it wants a regulatory overhaul of the global container trades, in particular an international removal of antitrust immunities, reports the influential British paper IFW.

Quoting the lead taken by the European Union three years ago, the GSF says it will urge other countries to remove shipping lines’ antitrust immunity from local competition law.

The GSF says reform is being strongly resisted by carrier interests, such as the International Chamber of Shipping and World Shipping Council.

“Their policy is to defend the conference system in those parts of the world where conferences are permitted. While the shipping industry’s position is understandable, bearing in mind the unique privileges and advantages antitrust exemption provides the shipping industry, antitrust exemption cannot be sustainable in the medium to long term.” The GSF said that instead of continuing to “defend the indefensible”, the shipping industry “should move on and embrace a new pro-competition paradigm, where market efficiency, innovation and competitiveness are determined by free and fair competition in the provision of liner shipping services.” The GSF was established in July by some of the world’s major shipper groups, including the National Industrial Transportation League, Asian Shippers’ Council, Union of African Shippers’ Councils, the Canadian Industrial Transportation and the UK Freight Transport Association.

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Maersk’s 13,000-TEU Triple E class Axel Maersk

MSC pins its colours to the mast of its mega ships

Mediterranean Shipping Company vice-president Diego Aponte says that mega vessels hold the key to survival on the Asia-Europe trade lanes.

Aponte said that with freight rates coming under increasing pressure the Asia-Europe trade lanes will remain unprofitable until 2013, despite existing volume growth. “It will never be as explosive like it used to be in 2007,” he said. “Economies of scale are essential.”

Last week MSC announced a partnering with French line CMA CGM on some of the principal routes which is being seen as the world’s numbers 2 and 3 in the pecking order response to the challenge thrown down by the number 1, Maersk Line, which placed a US$3.8 billion order for 20 18,000-TEU container ships and announced a new ‘Maersk Daily’ service between four Asian and three European ports.

Vale to sell 19 owned VLOCs

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The 400,000-dwt Vale Brasil, one of the ships owned by Brazilian mining house Vale, discharging cargo at Sohar in Oman. Picture by Frank Verheij

Brazilian mining group Vale says it is going ahead with selling its fleet of 19 owned Very Large Ore Carriers (VLOCs) which were originally designed to ship ore from Brazil to China.

Vale CEO Murilo Ferreira said that negotiations to sell the 404,000-dwt ore carriers were well advanced with a foreign ship owner, with the proposal being that Vale would then lease them back. Originally 35 of the giant ships were ordered from two South Korean shipyards, with 16 of them to be owned by third parties.

Six of the ships have so far been delivered but none have yet to call in China, where Chinese authorities have refused permission for them to call on environmental grounds.

Last week one of the six ships, the STX Pan Ocean-owned VALE BEIJING suffered several large cracks in her hull leading to the ingress of water into one of the holds and fears that the ship might sink. She was completing loading at the Brazilian port of Sao Luis when the cracks were noticed. The giant ship which was preparing for her maiden loaded voyage was towed to an anchorage outside the port.

Latest reports say the Vale Beijing will be towed to Fortaleza in Brazil where repairs can be carried out. The ship has multiple large cracks in her outer hull as well as cracks in her ballast tank. Brazilian authorities have meanwhile instructed that the ship’s fuel be removed to prevent any possible pollution.

The ship’s owner, STX Pan Ocean which is connected to the builder says the vessel will be repaired and placed back in business.

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The stricken bulk carrier Vale Beijing (404,389-dwt) is towed out of port after cracks in the hull and ballast tank were discovered. The ship was completing the final pour of her 384,000 tons of cargo at the time

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The Chandris Line passenger ship AUSTRALIS (36,000-gt) sailing from Cape Town harbour in 1968. The ship was launched into service in 1940 to operate United States/West Indies cruises and was transferred into the US Navy following America’s entry into World War 2 in 1941, at which time she was renamed West Point. At the end of hostilities the ship returned to civilian life with the United States Line, with whom she operated cross Atlantic voyages between Bremerhaven, Southampton and New York. In 1964 the Greek Chandris company purchased the ship for the princely sum of £2.25 million after which a £2 million refit saw her enter service with Chandris in 1965. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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Another Chandris Line passenger ship to call at Cape Town was the BRITANIS (18,655-gt, built 1932), the former Matson Line Monterey which in later years was renamed by Matson as their LURLINE. She was sold in 1970 to Chandris and renamed Britanis. Ironic to this picture, on 21 October 2000 the ship ended her days some 50 miles off Cape Town when she sank while being delivered to the Indian ship breakers. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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The last of our three Ships of Yesteryear, for now, is the SEAWISE UNIVERSITY (83,673-gt, built 1938), seen sailing from Cape Town in June 1971. If this ship looks vaguely familiar you’d be correct, for she was the RMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, Cunard’s luxury trans-Atlantic liner. Following her sale by Cunard she was bought by Chinese interests at auction in 1970 with the intention of setting the grand old ship up as a floating university, or so it was said. Instead she caught fire and burned out in Hong Kong’s Victoria harbour in 1972, before sinking under the weight of water poured on her to control the blaze. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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South African logistics and transportation company Berco Express has been sold to Dubai’s Aramex for an undisclosed amount.

Berco operates with 16 branches throughout South Africa and employs more than 700 people and specialises in clearing and forwarding, active warehousing, and domestic and international courier services.

Aramex said it intends expanding further across southern Africa with additional offices and warehouses.

The Dubai company recently concluded the acquisition of OneWorld Courier and In-Time Couriers in Kenya and a joint venture with SinoAir in China.

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Fresh from her dry docking in East London, the Cape Town-based salvage tug SMIT AMNDLA arrives back in the Mother City looking smart and spick and span. Pictures by Glen Kasner

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