Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 26, 2006
Author: P&S


  • SARS orders 18 new x-ray scanners

  • New Madagascar – Durban service introduced

  • World Bank throws its weight behind Rift Valley Railway

  • New lake ship ready to sail

  • New floating dock for Walvis Bay arrives

  • Salvors to raise Monrovia’s sunken Torm Alexandria

  • Clipper race restarts

    EMAIL: jhughes@hugheship.com
    WEB SITE: www.hugheship.com

    SARS orders 18 new x-ray scanners

    The South African Revenue Services (SARS) announced in Durban this morning that it is acquiring 18 x-ray scanners that will be placed at the various strategic entry points including the country’s ports.

    Addressing a meeting to celebrate World Customs Day, at which the assistant commissioner for US Customs, Keith Thomson was also present, Commissioner Pravin Gordhan said the first of the new scanners would be installed in Durban harbour by July to better manage the existing CSI (Container Security Initiative) programme run jointly with the US Customs.

    The 18 scanners would be of the static and mobile variety and are costing the department a total of R1Bn including training of personnel. The Durban Container Terminal already has the country’s only scanner but all ports are to be equipped beginning in July.

    Gordhan also announced the setting up of a Customs Border Investigative Unit to help combat the more sophisticated methods used to smuggle cargo and counterfeit goods in and out of the country. SARS is also undertaking a feasibility study for a detector dog unit at the ports.

    Gordhan is the current chairman of the World Customs Organisation representing 169 member countries and administering 99% of global trade – a position he has held for five consecutive years. Assistant commissioner Thomson said the outstanding example set by Gordhan as chairman of the WCO is ‘high on the recognitions that must be made.’

    New Madagascar – Durban service introduced

    Madagascar’s national shipping line, Societe Nationale Malgache des Transports Maritimes (SMTM) is re-introducing a Madagascar – South Africa service after a gap of many years.

    The chartered self-geared vessel CEC Vision (5392-dwt, built 1994) will arrive in Durban on Sunday (29 January) to inaugurate a 15 – 19-day rotation involving calls at Tamatave – Tulear – Durban – Reunion – Mauritius – Tamatave and possibly other ports to be announced.

    According to the South African agents for SMTM, Mitchell Cotts Maritime, it has taken two years to negotiate the return of the service.

    CEC Vision will berth on arrival this Sunday at Maydon Wharf 7.

    World Bank throws its weight behind Rift Valley Railway

    The World Bank this week provided US9.2 million in credits and grants as well as two partial risk guarantees worth million to facilitate trade and transport in East Africa.

    The credit and grants are connected to the recent concessioning of the former Kenya and Uganda Railway, now known as Rift Valley Railway and concessioned for 25 years to a company headed by South Africa’s Sheltam, a part of the Durban-based Grindrod Group of companies.

    The beneficiaries of the credit facility are three member states of the East African Community – Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, but Rwanda which is currently seeking membership also qualifies for a grant of US million.

    In addition International Development Association (IDA) partial risk guarantees of up to million and million respectively were approved in support of the Joint Railway Concession (Rift Valley Railway), becoming the first time that IDA will be providing risk guarantees for a transport project.

    The project aims at improving efficiencies of trade supply chains and main trade routes via the gateways of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam ports to the region’s main business centres, particularly by helping reduce port clearance delays. It says that average dwell times at Mombasa port are currently 13 days with an average transport time between Mombasa and Kampala in Uganda of five to six days. ‘However, approximately 5% of containers still spend more than four weeks in the port of Mombasa and arrive in more than nine days in Kampala.’

    “The benefits of the project go far beyond the four countries, as Burundi, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and southern Sudan mostly rely on Dar es Salaam and Mombasa for their external trade,” said Washington-based Jean-Francois Marteau, World Bank team leader for the project.

    The Bank says the credit and grants will go towards helping lower transport costs by improving road and rail infrastructure along the main transport corridors and lowering the number of load controls and other barriers notably at the region’s main border crossings.

    ‘The support provided under the project will also enable the successful concessioning of the largest rail concession in East Africa so far, by supporting inter alia the Kenyan government and the Kenya Railways’ obligations related to retrenchment payments, with the private concessionaire funding the infrastructure improvement. The project will also ensure appropriate follow up of safety related issues.’

    “The partial risk guarantees (PRG) will be provided to the investors in support of political and non-commercial risks and should help to ensure the long term sustainability of the two concessions. Furthermore, the PRGs will also help to mobilise debt and equity financing for the substantial investments in the railway systems of the two countries and are, therefore, considered critical to the successful Financial Closure and Takeover of the Concessions,” said Farida Mazhar, the Guarantee Team Leader.

    - source World Bank

    New lake ship ready to sail

    Today marked the first test operation of Lake Victoria’s newest ship, mv Kalangala. The new vessel, built by Dutch shipbuilder Damen had been fitted out and completed but was berthed at Port Bell awaiting the completion of dock landing sites.

    The ship can carry up to 100 passengers in addition to 120 tonnes of cargo including reefer facilities for frozen fish. It is also expected to appeal to the tourist market.

    Damen have been asked to operate the vessel for the first 12 months.

    New floating dock for Walvis Bay arrives

    A ‘new’ floating dock, acquired by a joint venture between Namport and Durban-based ship repair company Elgin Brown & Hamer (Elgin Brown & Hamer Namibia), arrived in Walvis Bay this week to provide the first ship repair dock of its type along the southern west coast.

    Purchased at a cost of N million, the concrete-based floating dock, which is identical in size to Elgin’s successful Durban floating dock (Eldock), can lift vessels of up to 8,500 tonnes and a length of 150m with a maximum beam of 25m.

    The dock, previously named Lara 1 was towed from Malta on a journey lasting 28 days.

    According to Elgin the new dock will create employment for at least 100 people and over time will help develop a range of localised skills.

    According to Namibian media reports, the new dock’s first customer may be the container ship Umfolozi, which sank at her berth at the Walvis Bay container terminal in September last year.

    Business for the new dock is expected to come from the fishing industry but will also benefit from being the closest repair facility to the extensive west coast oil industry.

    Salvors to raise Monrovia’s Torm Alexandria

    The feeder container ship Torm Alexandria (4,160-dwt), which capsized and sank on her berth in the port of Monrovia in July 2001, is to be the target of new attempts to have the ship salvaged or removed.

    The vessel was loading containers when she capsized, with the ship taking a strong list to port as a container was lifted from the deck. She subsequently rolled over and sank with her remaining cargo of containers spilling across the deck and into the water.

    Now after almost five years a salvage team from Israel is believed to have been contracted to make the latest attempt, after several previous efforts proved unsuccessful. Under the port’s new management it seems the sight of a capsized and rusting ship lying on her side next to the container terminal hardly fits the preferred profile and orders have gone out to rid the port of Monrovia of its unwanted guest.

    Clipper race restarts

    Tomorrow (Friday 27 January) is the day when the next leg of the Clipper Round the World 2005/2006 yacht race gets underway. All ten yachts set off from Singapore at 10.30 local time, en route to their next stop in the Chinese port of Qingdao. Ports & Ships will pick up on race reports from tomorrow evening.

    Ports & Ships lists ship movements for all ports between Walvis Bay on the West Coast and Beira on the East Coast.

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