Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 24, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Call for one-stop 24 hour border

  • Chinese loan helps Nigeria rebuild its railway network

  • Mbeki arrives in UK on working visit

  • Maputo Corridor group celebrates two years of hard work

  • Fancy an Mauritius cruise with a difference?

  • Chissano recalls spirit of cooperation

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    Call for one-stop 24 hour border

    Among the key obstacles to a boom in traffic along the Maputo Corridor is the border between the two countries. Businesses who met in Maputo last week under the auspices of the Maputo Corridor Logistics Initiative (MCLI) have called for the issue to be included in the agenda of the next presidential meeting.

    Not only are the border facilities cramped, but they are only open for 13 hours a day. There is a proposal to keep the border open until 22.00, but business says it will only be satisfied with 24 hour opening.

    Currently South African trucks heading for Maputo port can be delayed at the border in long queues for many hours, with the additional costs that this incurs.

    South African High Commissioner Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe, who attended the meeting which was also used to mark 10 years since the launch of the Maputo Development Corridor, said the complaints were legitimate.

    "We acknowledge that the border poses a serious challenge", she said.

    "I can assure you that our government is aware of the importance of having an efficient border post."

    She revealed that the two presidents, Armando Guebuza of Mozambique and Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, will be meeting within the next few months and they would receive a presentation on solutions for the border issue.

    The second problem was the poor state of the Maputo-Ressano Garcia railway. This arises from the failure of a consortium headed by the South African rail company Spoornet to take up its lease on the line.

    This left the Mozambican government with little option but to cancel the lease in November 2005. The Mozambique Port and Railway Company CFM is now upgrading the line with its own resources.

    - source Maputo Investment Promotion Centre

    Chinese loan helps Nigeria rebuild its railway network

    Nigeria has secured a USD 1 Billion loan from China to modernise its rundown railway network and help revitalise the economy.

    The loan follows moves by China of cementing economic relations with the West African country, including securing access to some of Nigeria’s oil reserves. China has made several inroads into developing good relations with oil-rich African countries in recent months but also has an established history of assisting post-colonial African countries with railroad development, having built the Tazara Railway between Tanzania and Zambia between 1969 and 1975.

    In terms of the loan agreement Nigeria will add a like amount to acquire rolling stock and other infrastructure as well as lay new track.

    A week earlier China beat off US, German and Japanese companies when it secured a contract to build 539km of the 1200km Algerian East-West railway.

    Mbeki arrives in UK on working visit

    Pretoria, 23 May 2006 BuaNews: President Thabo Mbeki arrived yesterday in the United Kingdom (UK) to hold political and economic bilateral discussions with his British counterpart Tony Blair.

    Bilateral talks between the two were scheduled to take place over two days.

    Among other issues, their discussions revolve around strengthening existing political and economic relations, conflict resolution in Africa, the continuing World Trade Organisation's (WTO's) Doha Development round, the United Nations (UN) reform and the Middle East situation, including Iran.

    President Mbeki and his high-powered delegation, including Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, will also take time to meet with captains of industry in the UK as well as the African Diplomatic Corps based in London.

    While in the UK, Minister Dlamini Zuma will attend the SA-UK Bilateral Forum of South African and British Ministers, which is currently underway.

    The ministerial forum, which is expected to end today, is co-chaired by both Dr Dlamini Zuma and her British counterpart Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett.

    The forum is held under the theme: "The UK and SA-Building Together on the 2005 Year of Africa".

    Its focus is on strengthening bilateral economic relations, and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) while ensuring the implementation of the commitments made in the report of the Commission for Africa at Gleneagles in 2005.

    Other South African government departments represented at the forum, include Arts and Culture, Defence, Education, Environmental Affairs, Home Affairs, Science and Technology and Trade and Industry.

    "The high-level South African visit to London comes within the context of South Africa's objective of promoting North-South Dialogues while advancing the African agenda and ensuring a faster and shared economic growth in South Africa," says a statement from the Foreign Affairs Department.

    The United Kingdom is one of South Africa's largest foreign trading partners.

    Maputo Corridor group celebrates two years of hard work

    The Maputo Corridor Logistics Initiative (MCLI) has succeeded in creating a greater awareness of the strategic benefits of the Maputo Corridor for the freight logistics stakeholders of the region, as well as an environment for cooperation and communication between stakeholders, according to its co-chairperson, Matthews Phosa.

    The Maputo Development Corridor was launched by the then presidents of Mozambique and South Africa, Joaquim Chissano and Nelson Mandela, ten years ago in May 1996. The key aims were to upgrade Maputo port and the road and rail links between Maputo and South Africa in order to attract more South African traffic to the port.

    Where the earlier rehabilitation of the Beira and Nacala corridors relied heavily on donor funds, the stress regarding the Maputo Corridor was on private investment, and what Chissano at the time described as "the necessary partnership" between government and the business class.

    The MCLI was set up in February 2004 in order to promote the Maputo Corridor as a ‘first choice’ transport route linking the South African provinces of Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga to world markets via Maputo.

    Phosa declared that "the success of MCLI is solidly rooted in the spirit of working together of the relevant stakeholders from both the private and public sectors."

    A great deal had happened in a relatively short time, he said, "but we cannot afford to sit back on our laurels since there is still much work to be done to ensure that the freight logistics capacity created through this pioneering process is fully optimised to the benefit of the state, the private sector investors, service providers and users of this corridor".

    - source Maputo Investment Promotion Centre

    Fancy a Mauritius cruise with a difference?

    Fancy a cruise with a difference from Durban to Mauritius in late June? The arrival in Durban on 2 June of the cargo/passenger ship Mauritius Pride has made this a very real possibility as the operators are keen to have a few passengers join them on the return trip later in the month.

    Mauritius Pride, which normally operates a mixed passenger and cargo service between Mauritius and the other Mascarene islands of Reunion and Rodrigues, is coming to Durban for a routine maintenance dry docking.

    On completion of the docking on 23 June the ship will load cargo before sailing back to Port Louis on 24 June, with space for up to 12 passengers in the ship’s first class section.

    The vessel normally carries up to 20 people in first class in nine cabins and 248 other passengers occupying aircraft type seats – the latter being suitable for the short inter-island hops but not the longer cruise from Durban to Port Louis.

    Mauritius Pride, together with another vessel named Mauritius Trochetia offers the only inter island passenger service and also makes occasional calls to Madagascar. The 99.5m long ship can carry up to 79 TEUs including 16 reefers, as well as bulk and breakbulk cargo. The ship is also equipped with tanks for fuel oil, diesel oil and edible oils.

    On the accommodation side the first class section has a lounge, bar, cafeteria, reception area, boutique for passenger use and is fully air conditioned.

    The ships agent in Durban is Alpha Shipping.

    Chissano recalls spirit of cooperation

    Former president Chissano Chissano, who was among the guests of honour at last week’s Maputo Corridor Liaison Initiative (MCLI) meeting held in the Mozambique capital, said that cooperation between Mozambique and South Africa is in the spirit of regional integration and partnership, and not hegemony by South Africa.

    Chissano recalled that, when he was president, he was often asked whether Mozambique was in danger of being swallowed up by South Africa. Was it not dangerous to have so much South African investment? Would this not lead to ‘the hegemony of big brother’?

    He said his response was the same then as now. "The two leaderships are committed to African integration", he said, "and so we are not afraid, and we take this to be the policy of the private sector in both countries. There is no spirit of hegemony, but one of partnership".

    Chissano insisted that people ought to recall the past, in order to put today's problems into perspective. "I tell people that you may complain about difficulties and poverty, but you should be proud of what you have achieved", he said. "Yesterday you were poorer. It's true that the gap between rich and poor has widened, but the poor are less poor because there is development".

    - source Maputo Investment Promotion Centre

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