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Ports & Ships Maritime News

24 June 2015
Author: Terry Hutson

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

TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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FIRST VIEW – MSC ARICA and MSC ATHOS

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Two Mediterranean Shipping Company ships under the cranes on the North Quay of Durban Container Terminal yesterday were MSC ARICA (112,150-dwt, built 2012, capacity 8900-TEU, closest to camera) and MSC ATHOS (110,772-dwt, built 2013, capacity 8800-TEU). Athos is owned by Costamare Shipping and was built at the Sungdong Shipyard in South Korea, whereas Arica is owned by B Schulte and comes from the Hyundai Heavy Industries Shipyard also in South Korea. Picture: Terry Hutson

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NIGERIAN LNG TALKS OF BUILDING LARGE SHIPYARD

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Image of the future port of Badagry, where NLNG envisions building a large dry dock and ship repair hub

Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) says it wants to build Nigeria’s first major shipyard which would turn Nigeria into a major maritime operations hub.

According to media sources, NLNG spokesman Tony Okonedo is saying that Samsung Heavy Industries and Hyundai Heavy Industries have each agreed to invest US$30 million towards the cost of the project which is estimated at around $1.5 billion.

Okenado said a dry dock and ship repair facility to cater for large crude oil carriers would be developed at the new port of Badagry near Lagos.

NLNG has already marketed the project to prospective investors, which included international oil companies operating in Nigeria.

Okonedo said that only South Africa currently had large ship repair facilities on the sub-Saharan African continent which meant that ships operating in the Gulf of Guinea would have to travel long distances for repair. Nigeria had two small shipyards but nothing capable of handling the big oil tankers.

Since earlier this year Nigeria has boasted the continents biggest economy, having surpassed South Africa, but lacks much basic infrastructure. He implied that this needs to change, adding that the West African country is also the eighth biggest oil producer.

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NEW ERA AS PANAMAX IS DOCKED FOR REPAIR AT WALVIS BAY

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Bold Voyager on the floating dock Namdock 3

In October 2013, Elgin Brown & Hamer (EBH) Namibia launched its third dock, the Panamax-size NAMDOCK 3 in Walvis Bay. Now the company has welcomed its first appropriately sized vessel to the floating dock, signalling a new era in ship repair for the company and its capacity to service the international market.

With a length of 195 metres and with a lifting capacity of 15,000 tons, Namdock 3 has opened the doors for EBH Namibia to provide a service for the Panamax vessel market, which includes container/general cargo ships and tankers.

The company celebrated this milestone when BOLD VOYAGER (43,469-dwt, built 1991), a general cargo bulk vessel owned by Navigation Maritime Limited, was docked alongside Namdock 3 on 1 June, 2015.

“As the first Panamax-size vessel to be lifted and docked in Namibia, at the only privately-owned floating dock of its size in western Africa, this was a truly ‘milestone moment’ and an occasion to go down in history,” says Hannes Uys, Chief Executive Officer of EBH Namibia.

For Uys, the event represented the fulfilment of the next stage in the company’s vision of becoming the preferred shipyard.

“This successful docking and completed project work amply demonstrate our capacity to handle a vessel of this size. Namdock 3 has opened up a whole new segment of the market for EBH Namibia, and we believe the success of this project will give our other international clients the confidence that our infrastructure and people are more than capable of handling such vessels,” he says.

Bold Voyager, which operates in West Africa between South Africa, Namibia and Nigeria, set sail for Cape Town on 12 June, from where she will go to Nigeria for a steel delivery before returning to Walvis Bay for a salt loading consignment. The scope of work, completed in 11 days, included painting and blasting.

“With a length overall (LOA) of 185 metres and a beam of 30 metres, the vessel is the largest to be lifted by EBH Namibia, and required methodical planning prior to her arrival to ensure optimum work efficiencies and client satisfaction,” said Uys.

“The sheer size of the surface area to be coated meant meticulous resource management and sound communication skills. I am exceptionally proud that EBH Namibia rose to the challenge with flying colours.”

Several enquiries have been made from similar calibre vessels, and the company is gearing up for a busy period as Namdock 3 comes into its own.

“We believe our capacity to service the Panamax-size vessel market gives us a critical competitive advantage, allowing us to service a broader sector of the market.

Uys said that Namdock 3 had effectively given EBH Namibia “another string to our bow”, which he said significantly boosting their reputation on the west coast as a ship repair destination of choice, and a major global player.

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NESTLE CUTS BACK IN AFRICA AFTER MISJUDGING GROWTH

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Swiss food giant Nestle is laying off 15 percent of its work force in sub-Saharan Africa having overestimated the rise and size of the middle class, reports London's Financial Times.

“We don't have enough money to pay the bills,” said Nairobi-based Cornel Krummenacher, Nestle's sub-Saharan CEO.

“We thought this would be the next Asia, but we have realised the middle class here in the region is extremely small and it not really growing,” he said.

Separately, Nestle also suffered a big blow in India where it lost US$50 million in sales with the recall of packaged noodles after Indian authorities found unacceptable levels of lead, which the company disputes.

Back in Africa, Mr Krummenacher said he hoped the sub-Saharan business would break even next year, conceding that the African operation had been borrowing from its Swiss headquarters and local banks to pay wages and buy raw materials.

He said revenue had not nearly matched growth forecasts set out in 2008, when Nestle, which has invested US$1 billion in Africa in the past decade, stepped up its expansion.

Nestle has since built several factories with the aim of doubling its business every three years.

Hopes were sustained by an African Development Bank survey that put the continent's middle class at 330 million people in 2011. But a Standard Bank survey last year put it at 15 million across 11 countries.

But this year Nestle, which has more than a century's experience in Africa, has closed its office in Rwanda and Uganda, and is reducing its product line by half and may close some of its 15 regional warehouses before September.

Yet Nestle's experience contrasts with that of several local competitors who are expanding, while shopping malls are opening across the continent this year, drawing big-name anchor tenants such as Walmart and Carrefour. – FT

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GERMAN BANK LOANS TRANSNET R2.8 BILLION FOR LOCO ACQUISITION

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New class 20E electric locomotives for TFR. Picture: Charles Baker

State-owned freight logistics group Transnet has received a significant R2.8 billion loan from Germany’s KfW Development Bank to fund part of its 1064 locomotive acquisition programme.

Transnet will use the proceeds of the loan to fund the acquisition of 240 electric locomotives which it will build with Bombardier in its manufacturing facilities in Durban.

These are part of Transnet’s record-breaking programme of acquiring 1064 locomotives.

The agreement was signed by Siyabonga Gama, Transnet’s Acting Group Chief Executive and Dr Jan Martin Witte, KfW’s Head of Infrastructure in Southern Africa, at Transnet’s head office at the Carlton Centre, Johannesburg.

The agreement is evidence of Transnet’s focus on agility and innovation in raising the required funding to execute its seven-year rolling R336 billion infrastructure investment programme – the Market Demand Strategy.

The loan will mature in 15-years, with a five-year grace period in which Transnet will only be paying interest.

In line with the company’s currency risk mitigation policy, the agreement was negotiated in rand terms and therefore has no currency risk. Crucially, the cost of the loan is in line with the company’s average cost of debt.

Only a third of Transnet’s funding requirement for the Market Demand Strategy (MDS) is raised through the markets – the rest of the capital investment programme is funded through cash generated from operations.

German Ambassador to South Africa, Dr Horst Freitag, emphasised the solid trade relations between the two countries. South Africa is Germany's largest trading partner in Africa.

According to Transnet, agreements like this are an affirmation of Transnet’s successful efforts in strengthening its financial position and confirm that the company is on the right track.

“They are an attestation of the attractiveness, commercial viability and bankability of Transnet and its projects from reputable international investors,” the company said.

In March 2014, Transnet awarded a contract for the building of the 1064 diesel and electric locomotives to four global original equipment manufacturers.

The company awarded CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive and Bombardier Transportation contracts to build 599 electric locomotives and General Electric Technologies and CNR Rolling Stock to build 465 diesel locomotives.

All the locomotives except 70 will be built at Transnet Engineering’s plants in Koedoespoort, Pretoria and Durban.

Two weeks ago, Transnet concluded a R30 billion loan facility agreement with China Development Bank (CDB) for funding 232 diesel and 359 electric locomotives it is building with China North Rail and China South Rail, respectively.

Transnet says that the locomotive build programme is critical for the implementation of the Market Demand Strategy and is intended to modernise its fleet in a drive to improve reliability and customer satisfaction. “Ultimately it will lead to our crucial goal of migrating rail-friendly cargo off our roads – this is a key government objective.”

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SOUTH AFRICA - USA AGREE ON TRANSPORTATION COOPERATION

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US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx

South African Transport Minister Dipuo Peters and US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx have renewed their cooperation on an all modes of transportation partnership that includes land, air, and sea infrastructure development.

On Monday Peters and Foxx signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) which deals with all modes of transport, with an additional emphasis on women empowerment in the sector at the Johannesburg Park Station.

Peters said the transportation partnership with the Americans will help to establish a working relationship with regard to aviation training facilities as well as opening up solutions for driver training, more especially for women.

Speaking before signing the MoC, Secretary Foxx said: “We are here to further strengthen our countries cooperation on transportation areas that will help improve the lives our people. As the US, we are committed to doing business in Africa, we want to build economic partnerships that will result in creating more jobs in South Africa and across the continent.

“I feel proud to announce that I’m the first US Secretary to be chosen to lead this partnership following the growing economies of the African continent and also the growing need to infrastructure investments.”

Foxx said his country is also committed to help not only South Africa, but the Sub-Saharan Africa region to build roads and bridges in order to unlock more economic opportunities.

“We are committed to nation and regional building and it is our view that more women will be part of all our major transportation projects,” he said, adding that in the US, 10 percent of civil engineers are women.

The MoC between the two countries was initiated by former Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele and former US Assistant Secretary of Transportation, Susan Kurlan, four years ago. - SAnews.gov.za

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MOATIZE COAL TO BE EXPORTED THROUGH NACALA IN JULY

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Radio Moçambique has announced that coal from the Vale mine near Moatize in Tete province will commence its exporting programme through the port of Nacala-a-Velha from next month (July).

Test trains have already operated along the route which passes through Malawi and exports would have commenced already had it not been for heavy rains that washed away sections of the railway.

Making the announcement, Victor Borges, the governor of Nampula, said that forecasts point to more than 2.3 million tons of coal being exported through Nacala-a-Velha this year, with this amount expected to increase to up to 18 million tons by 2017.

Vale also exports coal along the Sena railway to the port of Beira, where the coal is taken out to bulkers at anchor outside using lighters. This is on account of fluctuating and relatively shallow draught limitations in the channels leading into Beira port.

Additionally, the Sena line has capacity restrictions, which led to Vale developing an alternate line to Nacala with the cooperation of the Moçambique state-owned rail and port company, CFM. A Vale-owned company owns and operates the railway within Malawi.

Vale and its partners have also developed a new coal terminal in Nacala Bay opposite the old port.

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PICS OF THE DAY – MAERSK VARNA

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The 1800-TEU container vessel MAERSK VARNA (26,020-dwt, built 2011) which we featured earlier in the month is seen here in this Cape Town view as the ship makes her way from the Mother Port. Picture: Ian Shiffman

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