Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 21, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Nigeria’s cabotage law criticised

  • Lagos ships diverted

  • RFA Diligence at East London raises question

  • SA port stats for May

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    Nigeria’s cabotage law criticised

    Nigeria’s cabotage law, passed into law 2003 and brought into effect the following year, has been called into account in a Nigerian newspaper, which said the Cabotage Act, was little more than a paper tiger.

    The editorial in This Day (Lagos) pointed out that the Act aimed at improving the local content of the maritime industry by ensuring that ships operating within Nigerian waters would be owned by bona fide Nigerian citizens and crewed by Nigerian seafarers. In addition the Act was to become a stimulant to the local shipbuilding industry with all coastal ships having been built in Nigeria.

    The editorial said the reality was the total opposite and the Act remained a dream unrealisable in the near future.

    “Many operators in this vital sector are aware of this. Only the other day the director-general of the National Maritime Authority (NMA), Mr Festus Ugwu, told the Nigeria Economic Summit Group that despite the cabotage law and the intended reform it was expected to usher into the maritime industry, Nigeria still loses N795 billion annually through freight charges earned by foreigners in respect of cargo movement within and into the country. What this implies is that contrary to the intentions of the cabotage law, much of the maritime cargo business is still in the hands of foreigners.”

    The article pointed out that every Nigerian shipper including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and its subsidiaries still depended on foreign-owned and foreign-manned vessels to carry their cargo. It said shippers maintained that local operators failed to meet required standards.

    The editorial pointed out that the Nigerian shipbuilding capacity remained small and that dry docks at the country’s ports were capable of processing an average of 15 ships a year, ‘grossly short of the number needed to handle the volume of cargo that moves around and outside the country.”

    - source This Day (Lagos)

    Lagos ships diverted

    Ships waiting for a berth in Lagos have been directed to move to the country’s eastern ports on account of congestion in the Lagos area.

    The Minister of Transport Dr Abiye Sekibo said the directive was being issued in an effort to reduce congestion levels at Lagos.

    This drastic move comes shortly after the privatisation of most of the country’s terminals including those in Lagos. It is reported that the concessioned terminals are having difficulty in coping with the volume of cargo being received.

    Dr Sekibo said the measure was a temporary one until the arrival of new infrastructure ordered by the concessioned terminals. The first new equipment is expected in Lagos within a matter of days with additional machinery arriving later in the year.

    Once the first machines arrived he expected the congestion in Lagos to be relieved.

    He reiterated that private operators would not be allowed to increase tariffs outside the terms of the concessioning agreement; however the government would support any charges that discourage congestion.

    The minister pointed out that the ports were transit points and should not be used by shippers as warehouses.

    - source Daily Champion

    RFA Diligence at East London raises question

    One of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels, RFA Diligence (A132) has recently undergone a general repair and maintenance in the dry dock at East London, and the port’s public affairs manager Terry Taylor has raised an interesting point by suggesting that this is the first foreign warship to visit the city’s dry dock.

    His interesting suggestion was raised in the East London Daily Dispatch newspaper on Saturday, 17 June. The Dispatch recently became the third South African newspaper to carry a regular shipping column, following in the footsteps of The Mercury (KZN) which has featured a weekly column since January 1999, and another relatively recent addition, the Cape Times.

    In years gone by most port cities had their regular, even daily shipping columns in the local newspaper until the dark days of economic sanctions against the apartheid government of South Africa. Following the coming of democracy in South Africa in 1994 the newspapers were slow to take up the challenge of reporting on port matters.

    Returning to the East London dry dock angle, presumably not too many South African naval ships will have made use of the dry dock either, as in most cases they will have gone to the Simon’s Town dockyard or to the graving dock at Cape Town. A large number of naval ships from a variety of navies made use of the Durban graving dock during World War II and immediately afterwards, this being the principal ship repair facility open to the Allies in the Southern Hemisphere.

    But as far as East London is concerned construction of the dry (or graving) dock was only begun at the very end of the war with the commissioning taking place on 3 March 1947 by the then Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth), during the state visit of the British Royal Family.

    The official opening of the East London Graving Dock was performed on 3 March 1947 by HRH Princess Elizabeth, when she named the dock the Princess Elizabeth Graving Dock. The frigate in dock for the ceremony is SAS Transvaal. Picture taken from the 1947 SAR&H General Manager’s Report

    In fact the first ship to officially enter the East London dry dock, which was to be named Princess Elizabeth Graving Dock, was the South African frigate SAS Transvaal, which made a ceremonial entry on the occasion of the official opening. The dock however remained filled during this time and SAS Transvaal didn’t linger

    The General Manager’s Report of the South African Railways & Harbours for 1947, in its record of this opening, reported that the need for a dry dock at East London had been discussed as far back as 1924. A site was selected in 1926 but it was not until 1942, resulting from negotiations between the Minister of Transport and the British Admiralty that it was decided to put the work in hand.

    The agreement with the British Admiralty was that the Union government provided the labour and all material and plant then available in the country, while the British government would provide the electrical apparatus, all equipment to operate the dock, and the major portion of the construction plant.

    The site chosen was the Gabbanga River, a tributary of the Buffalo River on which the port is established. Work commenced early in 1944 and by December 1946 it was possible to flood the dock for the first time.

    Of added interest is that the cost of the dry dock was approximately £ 2.4 million, of which the British Admiralty contributed £ 411,489.

    RFA Diligence, which instigated this article, has meanwhile completed her stay in the dry dock and this morning was berthed at F/G shed in the harbour. She is scheduled to sail shortly for Cape Town where she is due on 24 June.

    May port statistics for May

    South Africa’s ports handled a total of 13.639 million tonnes of cargo during the month of May, excluding that of containers which the National Ports Authority no longer records by weight.

    If a calculation is made allowing for the containers handled, the figure handled by all ports would be 17.580 million tonnes.

    Including containers the respective ports handled the following:

    Cargo handled by tonnes

    Richards Bay 6.559 million tonnes
    Durban 5.930 Mt
    Saldanha Bay 2.597 Mt
    Cape Town 1.307 Mt
    Port Elizabeth 0.869 Mt
    East London 0.159 Mt
    Mossel Bay 0.153 Mt

    Containers measured by TEUs

    Durban 183,039 TEU
    Cape Town 70,779
    Port Elizabeth 34,437
    East London 3,270
    Richards Bay 458
    Total handled 291,983 TEU

    Ship Calls:

    Durban 364 vessels 7.706m GrossTons
    Cape Town 233 vessels 3.606m GT
    Port Elizabeth 162 vessels 2.315m GT
    Richards Bay 120 vessels 4.025m GT
    Saldanha 39 vessels 1.499m GT
    East London 29 vessels 0.847m GT
    Mossel Bay 289 vessels 0.260m GT

    Did you know that 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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