The boomed reefer SHANGHAI REEFER (12,413-gt, built 1990, ex Klaijpedskiy, as noted in large Cyrillic lettering on the bow) is the first even vaguely conventional boomed caller in Durban for quite a while, writes Trevor Jones. The refrigerated ship designated as a fish carrier arrived in port on Wednesday and berthed at N Shed, indicating that the vessel was not in port to work reefer cargo. According to a port official Shanghai Reefer had docked to load bunkers. Picture by Trevor Jones
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NDEBELE CALLS FOR SOUTH AFRICAN TRADE TO BE CARRIED ON SOUTH AFRICAN SHIPS
Durban, 20 March - The maritime industry is a key pillar and foundation of the South African economy and control of that industry is therefore a key instrument in seeking economic and political emancipation, says the minister of transport, Sibusiso Ndebele.
The minister was speaking at the 10th Umyezane B-BBEE Conference being held in Durban over Monday and Tuesday this week (19 & 20 March). He said that South Africa could not claim to have prioritised the maritime sector, and as a result not a single (commercial) ship was owned in South Africa, despite more than 250 million tonnes of South Africa’s trade being carried on foreign flagged ships, which he said was costing the South African economy in excess of R37 billion a year.
“The economic policies of South Africa are in essence aimed at creating an open, export oriented economy able to trade freely with all nations. Trade constitutes about 58% of the country’s wealth measured as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), of which 98% of that trade by volume, or above 80% by value, is carried by ships, and that includes African trade. Considering that South Africa is amongst the world’s top 15 shipping nations by tonne per mile measurement, these factors would normally lead to a country prioritising a sector so critical to the success of its entire economic and socio-political programme and future,” the minister said.
Ndebele said that in the State of the Nation Address, President Zuma announced a R300 billion spend on the expansion of the country’s maritime freight corridors, split between rail and ports.
“It still begs the question, who is to move those freight volumes to markets and facilitate trading?
“It therefore means that as the state invests these billions of rands into maritime freight corridors, we have to prioritise the development of two key pillars or freight markets: South African Flagged tonnage (ships) and the Commodity Trading (Exchange) facilities. These two pillars in freight market influence will assist in justifying the billions to be spent.
He said that one of the main maritime investments was going to be in developing competitive maritime freight hubs. The White Paper is out on the Special Economic Zones, in the maritime space, the Department of Transport’s National Freight and Logistics Strategy, with the 2050 Transport Master Planning, will be key in designating industrial and service hubs for key shipping services.
“These policies and strategies are expected to provide clear investment priority programmes by the State and hopefully industry as well.”
According to Ndebele the decision by the province of KZN and the port cities of this area to establish maritime clusters as key drivers of the maritime industry is key to the realisation of the goals of transforming the province into a premier maritime province, including cruise as a key component of the marine tourism industry.
Turning to the fishing and energy sectors, the minister pointed out that there are no significant investment pursuits and activities involving black investors in the fishing and aqua-culture sectors.
“The Department of Transport, through SAMSA, is currently completing an audit of the fishing boats which will lead to some level of recapitalising the fishing fleet. This will promote the marine manufacturing industries. Above 60% of about 1700 of those boats may have to be rebuilt in South Africa, favouring big and small ship yards.”
In terms of the oil and gas industries he said that South Africa needed to relook at its options in ensuring the security of supplies coming out of the Middle East. The country also needed to relook at its options in ensuring the security of supplies of crude and refined products.
“Again, the lack of national tonnage denies the country the strategic options. The state may have to give a strong lead on the transportation of strategic commodities such as oil, maybe iron ore as well, so as to ensure security and add value to the supply chain.”
“Ladies and Gentlemen, the marine bunkering business is drawing the attention of the state as many would-be entrants are raising anti-competitive behaviour by the established players, who may include the refiners.” Ndebele announced that the Department of Transport has increased the financial allocation of the Ports Regulator to be able to guide government on issues affecting the ports including the implementation of BEE imperatives.
PORT STATISTICS FOR FEBRUARY ARE NOW AVAILABLE
Port statistics for the eight commercial ports under the administration of Transnet National Ports Authority are now available for the month of February 2012. Uring the month the combined ports achieved a total throughput of 18.995 million tonnes.
To compare the 2012 February figures year on year with those of 2011, please go to the following link HERE for the previous February’s figures. Use your BACK button to return to this page.
As is standard with figures reported in PORTS & SHIPS, these reflect an adjustment on the overall tonnage to those provided by Transnet. This is to include containers by weight – an adjustment necessary because Transnet NPA measures containers by number of TEUs and does not show the weight.
To arrive at such a calculation, PORTS & SHIPS uses an average of 13,5 tonnes per TEU, which may involve some under-reporting but until such time as the IMO enforces the weighing of containers at all ports we will have to live with these estimates. Nevertheless, we continue to make this distinction, without which South African ports continue to be under-reported internationally.
Figures for the respective ports during February 2012 are:
Cargo handled by tonnes during February 2012
FEBRUARY 2012 million tonnes
Total all ports
18.994 million tonnes
CONTAINERS (measured by TEUs) during February 2012 (TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA
February 2012 TEUs
Total all ports
SHIP CALLS for February 2012
February 2012 vessels
Total ship calls
- source TNPA, but with adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container tonnages
MONTHLY STATISTICS FOR RICHARDS BAY COAL TERMINAL
PORT OF NGQURA OPENS TODAY
The future port of Ngqura starts to take shape. January 2004. Picture by Terry Hutson
The view from the landside, January 2004. Picture by Terry Hutson
Caissons and dredgers. July 2004 and the port is taking shape. Picture by Terry Hutson
From the landside, July 2004. Picture by Terry Hutson
After a delay while the container terminal was prepared, the STS cranes begin moving in, February 2009. By October that year the first container ship was able to berth at South Africa’s latest port. Picture by Terry Hutson
MSC Catania on her berth during that ‘other’ port opening back in October 2009. Picture courtesy TPT
The Port of Ngqura will be officially opened today (Friday, 16 March), more than two years after the first commercial ship, MSC CATANIA docked under her brand new ship-to-shore container cranes.
PORTS & SHIPS won’t be there at the opening (we weren’t invited) and as a result we aren’t able to provide a first-hand description of the function. We can tell you that the country’s president, Jacob Zuma is to be the main guest of honour and will declare the port officially opened. No doubt a respectable number of other cabinet ministers, provincial ministers, local mayors and other dignitaries will be there to lend official weight to the proceedings.
Also in ‘attendance’ at the port is the South African Navy frigate, SAS ISANDLWANA, which will presumably fire the requisite salute. SAS Isandlwana has returned to South Africa from her deployment at Pemba in northern Mozambique on anti-piracy patrol.
Why it has taken so long to open the port remains a mystery. At the time of its ‘other’ opening on 4 Opening 2009 the first shipping line, MSC announced that it would make use of the port by diverting ships that would otherwise have gone to nearby Port Elizabeth. Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) was the next to follow suit and Ngqura suddenly had container cargo being handled in quantity. Last year the still new port handled 523,597 TEUs (twenty foot container equivalents) so it is clear that Ngqura is holding its own in that respect.
The containers equate to 7.112 million tonnes of cargo for the year – not bad for just over two years of work. Some of this cargo has of course been diverted from Port Elizabeth – in 2011 PE handled 326,313-TEUs compared with 415,879 in the 2008 financial year, the last year before Ngqura kicked in. Other cargo that moved to Ngqura’s advantage consisted of Angolan transship containers diverted from Cape Town in order to free up space in that port. So the true value of Ngqura as a port capable of attracting ‘new’ business remains hard to quantify but judging from the numbers a healthy start in this respect has certainly been made.
Whether this yet justifies the enormous cost of building this port is still an open question that won’t be answered for several years, no matter what spin in put on things. It is well known that the port was built for political imperatives, which is not by itself a bad thing considering the unemployment figures for the Eastern Cape. Whether the money could have been spent more wisely in the region remains open for debate but it doesn’t really matter now – the port is there and should be used to best advantage.
At some point in the future an agreement will be reached with the stakeholders involved with manganese exports at the manganese terminal at Port Elizabeth, some 20km away. Likewise for the petroleum products depot which is also expected to relocate to Ngqura. Currently both sets of stakeholders have lease issues that tie them to lengthy stays at Port Elizabeth. In any event, should either be relocated it would not be new business for Ngqura anyway while being detrimental to the financial position of the port at Port Elizabeth. On the other hand if, as has been suggested, additional manganese exports and exports of magnetite were to be shipped through the Eastern Cape then clearly the future bulk terminal at Ngqura will be the conduit.
No doubt today those attending the opening ceremony at Ngqura will be informed of how successful the development of South Africa’s latest port has been. Some of that rhetoric will be accurate, some will be exaggerated. But with time, and the possible development of a new refinery in the area, plus the latest ‘gain’, the announcement that China’s First Automobile Works (FAW) has begun setting up an assembly plant in the adjacent Coega Industrial Development Zone, the Port of Ngqura appears assured of a bright future.
News continues below…
PIC OF THE DAY – SEVEN BOREALIS
The newly built British-owned heavy-lift pipe laying vessel SEVEN BOREALIS (47,000-dwt, built 2012) which arrived in the port of Cape Town yesterday (Thursday). More pictures of this ship with our weekly Newsletter next week. This picture by Glen Kasner
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