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Ports & Ships Maritime News

26 January 2017
Author: Terry Hutson

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


Click on headline to go direct to story : use the BACK key to return


News continues below


Buffalo, Lyttelton 06 01 17 sv2 480

Who says that ships shouldn't be colourful? The recently acquired Holcim cement carrier BUFFALO (9092-dwt, built 1998), seen alongside at Lyttelton in New Zealand, reminds of the container ships owned by a German lady which were painted in pastel colours. We once witnessed one of those in Durban when the ship was on charter to MSC for a period and she attracted much attention, not all of it complimentary especially among the purists. Be that as it may, Buffalo flies the New Zealand flag and is registered in Timaru. This picture is by Alan Calvert

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Durban port, ship working Portnet pic 480

Statistics for the calendar year 2016, reveal that the eight ports under the control of the TNPA handled a total of just over 283 million tonnes of cargo for the year.

That's a 4.7 percent decrease on the 297 million tons handled in 2015 and reflects the condition of the South African economy. None of the main ports reflected growth for the year, including the two bulk export ports of Richards Bay and Saldanha.

The situation of no growth over the past 12 months will be a cause for reflection by Transnet as it deliberates on how to proceed with plans for further developments at Durban, Saldanha and Ngqura. The dig out port at Reunion just south of Durban is certainly the main victim of the economy but even the redevelopment of Salisbury Island which Transnet intends converting for container handling, must surely be subjected to a re-evaluation.

The tonnages shown in this report have been calculated by PORTS & SHIPS based on monthly statistics issued by the TNPA throughout 2016. Container TEUs have been converted for purposes of estimating weight by using a factor of 13.5 tons per TEU, which is probably an under-estimation but conforms to a formula that PORTS & SHIPS has been using for more than ten years.

In terms of containers, the combined ports had a throughput of 4.355 million TEU in 2016 (4.597m TEU in 2015; and 4.588 million TEU in 2014), representing a decrease in this area as well. The busiest container port remains Durban which handled a total of 2.620m TEU for 2016, down from 2.770m TEU in 2015 and 2.664m TEU in 2014).

The two combined Eastern Cape ports, handled 724,476 TEUs in 2016 compared with 853,292 TEU in 2015 and 965,294 TEU in 2014, significant decreases year on year for two years running!

Cape Town was the only port to show an increase in container volumes, 926,611 TEU in 2016 compared with 888,976 TEU in 2015.

Details of volumes by individual port are set out below.

Figures for the respective ports during the calendar years 2016, 2015, and 2014:


 PORT 2016 mt  2015 mt  2014 mt 
 Richards Bay 99.588  102.657  94.783 
 Durban 76.827  79.840  81.188 
Saldanha Bay  71.820  64.729  58.956 
Cape Town  16.735  16.721  15.587 
Port Elizabeth  11.228  11.538  12.217 
Ngqura  7.788  8.649  9.588 
Mossel Bay  1.833  2.518  2.029 
East London  2.531  2.946  2.211 
 Total all ports 283.058mt  296.689mt  282.342mt 


CONTAINERS (measured by TEUs) during 2016, 2015 and 2014
(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by TNPA

PORT  2016 TEUs  2015 TEUs  2014 TEUs 
Durban  2,620,026  2,770,335  2,664,330 
Cape Town  926,611  888,976  892,557 
Port Elizabeth  152,455  216,629  259,917 
Ngqura  572,021  636,663  705,377 
East London  71,907  66,293  41,957 
Richards Bay  12,302  19,011   24,189 
Total all ports 4,355,320 TEUs  4,597,922 TEUs  4,588,419 TEUs 

- source Ports & Ships, based on monthly TNPA statistics and adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container tonnages

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Investment in Angola's first deepwater port


The Fundo Soberano de Angola (FSDEA), Angola's sovereign wealth fund, announced on 24 January that it had committed to invest $180 million in the strategic deep sea port of Caio in Cabinda enclave, Republic of Angola. This commitment is made as part of FSDEA's $1.1 billion infrastructure fund.

Commenting on the project, Jose Filomeno dos Santos, Chairman of the Board of Directors, FSDEA stated: "Investments in the industrial sector and infrastructure support trade in the sub-Saharan region have shown high rates of profitability and resistance to the risks associated with the countries on our continent. Allocating capital to maritime infrastructure and logistical and industrial support in Angola allows diversifying other investments in the international financial markets present in FSDEA's portfolio. Through this project, in particular, we aim to create more than 20,000 jobs and add value to our national growth."

It is understood that this investment will create the first deep sea port in Angola and will be built in two phases. Phase 1 will result in a terminal of 630 metres length connected to the shore via a two kilometre bridge. Its access channel will have a depth of 15 metres and the terminal will benefit from a water depth of 14 metres. Furthermore, port facilities are expected to include a free trade zone, advanced ship repair facility, storage and cargo handling space.

The FSDEA also released its second and third quarter investment update for 2016 on 24 January. This covers the period from 1 April to 30 September 2016, at the end of which, the total assets of the Fund were valued at $4.755 billion. Within this figure 16.4% of the $1.1 billion infrastructure fund has been committed to a maritime project to support logistics and industrial infrastructure.

Specifically, $32.5 million has been committed towards developing large-scale wood fibre plantations spread over 80,000 hectares in the Planalto region of Angola. In the half year ending 30 September 2016 assets of the fund included 14.8% of the fund's $220 million timber fund capital which had been specifically allocated to a large-scale eucalyptus concession.

About the Fundo Soberano de Angola:
The Fundo Soberano de Angola (FSDEA) ( www.FundoSoberano.ao) is a Sovereign Wealth Fund wholly owned by the State of the Republic of Angola. The Fund is established in accordance with international governance benchmarks and develops an investment portfolio across a number of industries and asset classes, in accordance with investment policy and guidelines set by the State. By pursuing investments that generate long-term and socially enhancing financial returns, the FSDEA has an important role in promoting Angola's socio-economic prosperity and generating wealth for Angolans.

Paul Ridgway

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Newspaper reports are called 'baseless'

2757 1399178684 class 20 E Chas Baker 480
A Chinese-built Class 20E electric locomotive being unloaded at Durban's P Shed by means of the port's giant floating crane named INDLOVU (which means, appropriately, 'elephant'). Keeping an eye on proceedings are tourists taking a cruise around the harbour on the Jolly Roger, a converted World War 2 era rescue launch. The loco was one of those sent to South Africa for testing and was built by Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Company, a subsidiary of the China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corporation (CSR), China's leading train manufacturer. This picture, taken in May 2014 is courtesy Charles Baker

Transnet's full statement reads:
Two years ago, Transnet awarded a contract for the acquisition of 1064 diesel and electric locomotives as part of its locomotive fleet renewal programme from four global manufactures -- two Chinese, one Canadian and one from the United States.

Transnet awarded CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive and Bombardier Transportation South Africa contracts for the supply of 599 electric locomotives, while General Electric South Africa Technologies and CNR Rolling Stock South Africa (Pty) Ltd would build and supply 465 diesel locomotives.

So far, 182 have been delivered both by General Electric and CSR who are both based at the Transnet Engineering's manufacturing facility in Pretoria.

The programme is on track.

Bombardier and CNR, who are based in Durban, have both not yet begun production in South Africa. Transnet is in the final stages of readying manufacturing facilities in Durban.

In terms of the contract, the first few units would be produced at the manufacturers' facilities across the world, barring Bombardier who will manufacture all its units in South Africa.

In this regard, China North Rail which has since merged with China South Rail to form CRRC, has delivered two prototype locomotives for testing in South African conditions. It is normal procedure to make a prototype and test it before handing it over to the buyer.

It is only once a locomotive is tested and accepted that it becomes part of the normal fleet. The two locomotives had pre-commissioning glitches which CNR has attended to. In terms of the contract, CNR would manufacture the first 20 locomotives in their facility in China while the balance will be assembled at the Transnet Manufacturing facility in Durban.

Transnet made it a condition that the 18 locomotives in China be checked for the glitches before being shipped to South Africa. Our Engineers have been liaising with CNR as part of the process to get the the prototypes accepted.

None of these have been delivered to Transnet. However, they are going through the normal testing procedures prior to acceptance and commissioning.

Transnet, over the past 10 years has bought hundreds of locomotives from various Original Equipment Manufacturers including EMD, General Electric, Mitsui, and CSR. In all these instances, similar tests were run before acceptance.

We wish to put on record that such testing is standard.

Each and every locomotive goes through the process.

Discovery of technical glitches is no indication of poor workmanship, engineering or design.

Further, Transnet bought locomotives from all the suppliers and there was no intention to dictate or specify their sourcing strategies for components, except with regards to its uncompromising stance on local content and supplier development.

We therefore encourage subcontractors to deal directly with OEMs where there are disputes, instead of creating baseless and sensational stories through the media.

Since the announcement of the agreement with all four manufacturers, testing has been performed, glitches identified and addressed and in various instances, they have varied their supplier lists in line with changing circumstances.

In line with our standard engineering and commissioning processes regarding specialised equipment, a team of experts from engineering and operations is headed to China to do initial tests and discuss our observations of the locos for testing.

In conclusion, it is both inaccurate and mischievous to deliberately misinterpret an internationally recognised quality assurance process to advance devious ideological schemes and at the same time casting aspersions on Transnet's image and integrity of our processes. Transnet runs many Chinese made locomotives on its network and they run excellently.

The 1064 acquisition programme is conducted by mutual agreement between the company and its suppliers and we are satisfied with the progress and quality of products.

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West African Gas takes delivery of two LPG carriers

The West African Gas Ltd (WAGL) has taken delivery of two liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tankers delivered from the Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) in Ulsan, South Korea.

The two ships are named AFRICA GAS and SAHARA GAS, both 28,637-dwt and built 2017. According to WAGL the ships form part of a joint venture between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Sahara Energy. WAGL said that having the two tankers "would ensure stability in the supply of LPG."

Each vessel is 174 metres in length with a beam of 30m. According to data provided by VesselsValue they have a market value in the region of US$40 million each. Group managing director of NNPC, Maikanti Baru said he was delighted that a venture started a few years ago has reached such a milestone.

Iranian Navy ships return to Iran

BUSHEHR 16 November 2016 2 480
The stern view of IRIN Bushehr while in Durban. Picture by Trevor Jones

The two Iranian Navy ships that have been in Durban since November are heading back towards the Persian Gulf, after one of the vessels, the replenishment tanker BUSHEHR, underwent repair at the Dormac repair quay and dock.

The repairs were conducted under a degree of secrecy but Ports & Ships understands that they included the replacement of steel plating in her hull. Bushehr was accompanied to South Africa by the small frigate ALVAND, which spent much of the time at anchor off Umhlanga -- the Durban outer anchorage.

The ships arrived in Durban after a deployment that included counter-piracy and escort patrols in the Gulf of Aden. When the ships headed for South Africa it was expected that they would go on to Simon's Town and in fact the Iranian authorities stated that the ships would continue into the Atlantic Ocean in to demonstrate the Iranian Navy's long-range capabilities.


SEA WISE ex Prokopis K IMG 8424 480 Whenever a ship arrives in port looking a little the worse for wear and with her name recently painted over and a new name hurriedly (and often inexpertly) dabbed onto her hull in the most convenient spot, this leads to assumptions that here is a ship on her way to the breakers, making her final voyage.

Such was the case this week with the arrival in port of SEA WISE (ex Prokopis K, 23,825-dwt, built 1995). Records show that the ship is owned and managed by Chinese interests, who have just acquired the vessel this month, but perhaps it'll turn out that we're out with our deductions. Such arrivals in port do however demonstrate once again that there is always something of interest happening in our harbours. Just take a look at our PICS OF THE DAY below, as another example of this. This picture is by Keith Betts.

Seroja Tiga

SEROJA TIGA DSC 3207r 7 Jan 2017 480
Picture: Ken Malcolm

A reader has kindly provided additional information about the container ship SEROJA TIGA which featured in yesterday's PORTS & SHIPS. Theo Strauss emails us to say "the containership is owned and managed by Nissen Kaiun, which is in fact a shipowning arm of the Japanese yard Imabari. They act as NOO for many carriers."

Mystery whereabouts of ZANATANY and ZULFECAR

Zulfecar 480

Reader Tony Atkinson is on a mission to discover what happened to several little ships once operating in East Africa. Their 'beat' included trading around Madagascar.

Mr Atkinson writes: "Up until the end of 2012-2013 I was able to pick up details, here and there, regarding movements of these two old ladies of the sea including one being hijacked by Somali Pirates (near the Mozambique Channel). The ZANATANY and ZULFECAR were part of a group of four vessels built in Montrose, Scotland for The Blue Star Line Ltd, London to work along the coast of Madagascar. They arrived in the Indian ocean as GENERAL PAU, GENERAL FOCH, GENERAL MARKUS and GENERAL JARVONI.

"I have attached all I know about the four vessels but I would like to know if the remaining pair are still trading? Also, if anyone has a photo as the only one I know of is from an American site and is poor quality (see above).

The information provided by Mr Atkinson is unfortunately too detailed to include here but shows Zulfecar as having been the vessel highjacked by pirates near Mafia Island (off Tanzania) in November 2010. Zulfecar was originally named General Markus.

Any help, anyone?

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MSC's unique exclusive destination in the Caribbean

MSC Cruises Ocean Cay Marine Reserve 628094 480

MSC Cruises last week broke ground on Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, an island located south of Bimini in The Bahamas, which is set to become a natural paradise exclusive to MSC Cruises as of November 2018.

Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Perry Gladstone Christie, joined Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises' Executive Chairman, at the official groundbreaking ceremony along with other Bahamian ministers and government officials. This event marked the official commencement of the works that will turn this former industrial sand extraction site back to its original pristine state.

The development of the Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve is part of MSC Cruises' 9 billion Euro investment plan, which includes the building of up to 11 next-generation cruise ships coming into service between 2017 and 2026.

Speaking at the Groundbreaking ceremony, Pierfrancesco Vago commented: "Working in partnership with the Government of The Bahamas, our aim is to turn an industrial wasteland into a thriving environment for man and nature alike, bringing the island and its surrounding waters back to their original state. In so doing, we will substantially grow our group's already strong investment in the Bahamian economy, offering long-term employment opportunities to the local population.

"Bearing testament to our ability to innovate, a purpose-built berth and pier will allow our cruise ships to dock directly at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. Thus the island will de facto become an extension of the ship."

Gianluca Suprani, Head of Global Port Development and Shore Side Activities at MSC Cruises, said that the Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, located merely 65 miles east of Miami, Florida, has 11,400 feet of beautiful coastline and crystal blue waters teaming with unique marine life. "The island has some of the finest aragonite sands in the world and once the work is completed, its surrounding waters will be home again to beautiful corals and rich aquatic life. It will become a truly exclusive destination for MSC Cruises guests to experience the best the Caribbean has to offer," he said.

A comprehensive landscaping plan will see more than 80 indigenous Caribbean trees, grasses, flowers and shrubs, planted on the island, returning to their lush natural habitat.

MSC Seaside and other MSC Cruises ships operating in the Caribbean will call at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve regularly on their itineraries from November 2018 onwards.

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IMO Theme: Connecting Ships, Ports and People

Kitack Lim at Felixstowe WMD 480

The theme for the International Maritime Organization (IMO) World Maritime Day 2017 was launched by the IMO Secretary General, Kitack Lim, (illustrated, left) during a visit to the Port of Felixstowe on 17 January.

Continuing with the theme: Connecting Ships, Ports and People it has as key objectives improving cooperation between ports and ships and developing a closer partnership between the two sectors. It will seek to raise global standards for the safety, security and efficiency of ports, and for port and coastal state authorities, as well as standardising port procedures by identifying and developing best practice guidance and training materials.

Clemence Cheng, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Felixstowe and Managing Director of Hutchison Ports Europe, (illustrated, right) said: "We are delighted to welcome Mr Lim and to support the IMO in the important work it does to maintain and improve standards across the international shipping industries. Hutchison Ports is committed to the highest principles of both operational efficiency and environmental stewardship and, in that regard, our philosophy is closely aligned with that of the Secretary General."

Mr Lim replied: "The maritime sector, which includes shipping, ports and the people that operate them, can and should play a significant role helping Member States to create conditions for increased employment, prosperity and stability ashore through promoting trade by sea; enhancing the port and maritime sector as wealth creators both on land and, through developing a sustainable blue economy, at sea. Ultimately, more efficient shipping, working in partnership with a port sector supported by governments, will be a major driver towards global stability and sustainable development for the good of all people."

The Port of Felixstowe is well provided for with shipping services to Africa direct or via Europe.

Hutchison's ports total 48 in 25 countries; of Africa these are: in Egypt, Alexandria -- El Dekheila and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

Aim of the latest World Maritime Day is to build on the theme for 2016: Shipping: indispensable to the world, by focussing on helping Member States to develop and implement maritime strategies to invest in a joined-up, interagency approach that addresses the whole range of issues, including the facilitation of maritime transport and increasing efficiency, navigational safety, protection of the marine environment, and maritime security.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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Request a Rate Card frominfo@ports.co.za


Port Louis 470
Port Louis - Indian Ocean gateway port

Ports & Ships publishes regularly updated SHIP MOVEMENT reports including ETAs for ports extending from West Africa to South Africa to East Africa and including Port Louis in Mauritius.

In the case of South Africa's container ports of Durban, Ngqura, Ports Elizabeth and Cape Town links to container Stack Dates are also available.

You can access this information, including the list of ports covered, by going HERE remember to use your BACKSPACE to return to this page.

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

We publish news about the cruise industry here in the general news section, but this is also available in a dedicated Cruise News section. This section will include various stories and news not covered in the general news so if you have an interest in this sector don't forget to check regularly on our CRUISE NEWS page.

This you will find here in CRUISE NEWS & REVIEWS

Naval News
SA Navy 480

Similarly you can read our regular Naval News reports and stories which also have their own dedicated section, although some stories may be duplicated in the general news section.

Find the Naval Review section HERE

Remember to use your backspace key to return to this page.


KANG SHENG KOU IMG 8318 (2) 480

KANG SHENG KOU IMG 8316 (2) 480

The Chinese-flagged Cosco Shipping heavylift vessel KANG SHENG KOU (21,275-dwt, built 2003) called at Durban on Monday, 23 January, taking up a berth at the City Terminal (Point). Loaded onto her deck was another vessel, which we believe is a pipelay crane vessel, a 110-metre non-propelled barge named SEA HORIZON (IMO 8759114, 8531-gt, built 1977). Kang Sheng Kou's arrival for supplies was yet another example of something always interesting around the corner in a busy port like Durban. These pictures are by Keith Betts


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