Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 11, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • SA Port statistics for July

  • Largest ship calls at Mossel Bay

  • Chinese market opens for South African citrus

  • Go ahead for Coega stainless steel plant

  • Snatch vessel identified

  • New KZN airport to be complete ahead of 2010

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

    SA Port statistics for July

    South Africa’s ports handled a total of 14.930 million tonnes of cargo during the month of July 2006 (June 14.330Mt). This figure excludes containers which the National Ports Authority no longer records by weight.

    However, if a calculation is made allowing for the containers handled, the figure handled by all ports would increase to 19.324 million tonnes (June 18.883Mt).

    On that basis including containers the respective ports handled the following:

    Cargo handled by tonnes

    Richards Bay       6.184 million tonnes (June 7.250Mt)
    Durban               6.917 Mt (June 5.110)
    Saldanha Bay      3.601 Mt (June 3.350)
    Cape Town         1.344 Mt (June 1.286)
    Port Elizabeth      0.900 Mt (June 0.928)
    East London        0.225 Mt (June 0.184)
    Mossel Bay          0.149 Mt (June 0.165)

    Containers measured by TEUs

    Durban             211 467 TEU (June 178,889)
    Cape Town         72,931 (June 71,145)
    Port Elizabeth      37,166 (June 36,477)
    East London          3,708 (June 5,041)
    Richards Bay            461 (June 403)
    Total handled     325,733 TEU (June 291,955)

    Ship Calls

    Durban:             392 vessels 8.088m gt (387 vessels 7.927m gt)
    Cape Town:       301 vessels 4.014m gt (275 vessels 4,200m gt)
    Port Elizabeth:    143 vessels 2.295m gt (135 vessels 2.325m gt)
    Richards Bay:     122 vessels 4.340m gt (118 vessels 4.356m gt)
    Saldanha:           49 vessels 2,152m gt (43 vessels 2.488m gt)
    East London:       36 vessels 0.664m gt (27 vessels 0.575m gt)
    Mossel Bay:       372 vessels 0.244m gt (318 vessels 0.351m gt)

    Largest ship calls at Mossel Bay

    Records, so it is said, are there to be broken, so it will be of interest to see how long this particular ‘record’ lasts - the largest ship to berth in Mossel Bay.

    The Southern Cape port is limited in terms of draught and entrance width and it has long been the tradition for large ships to anchor outside the port where cargo would be lightered ashore - as in the days of the mail ships. Even nowadays cruise ships anchor outside and passengers are ferried ashore in lighters.

    Beluga Recommendation, at 135m the longest (largest) ship to use Mossel Bay – click image to enlarge. Picture courtesy Mainport Africa

    More recently the oil tankers have made use of two offshore mooring buoys established in the outer anchorage and gradually in recent years the traffic levels for the once threatened port have built up, thanks in no small measure to Mossgas and the oil industry operating off the Agulhas Banks.

    With all this development at Mossel Bay it was inevitable that heavy project type cargo would be delivered at some time by ship, and that is what has happened in the past week.

    “We are pleased to advise that Mainport Africa Shipping has recently handled the biggest vessel ever to call at Mossel Bay, the m/v Beluga Recommendation which called to discharge a transformer,” pronounced the Durban-based ships agency Mainport Africa.

    The statement went on to say that it was a matter of two records for Mossel Bay. The first was this (m/v Beluga Recommendation) being the biggest ship ever to berth in Mossel Bay (135m LOA), and secondly that the ship discharged the heaviest piece of equipment measured at 226 tonnes.

    The transformer forms part of an equipment upgrade for Eskom and was discharged by ships own gear.

    Off she comes – using ships own gear the 226t transformer is lifted off the vessel – click image to enlarge. Picture courtesy Mainport Africa

    “This was the third port call on this voyage for the m/v Beluga Recommendation, having first called at Richards Bay, and then at Cape Town, before proceeding to Mossel Bay for discharge. All three ports had heavy lift discharges, which is a speciality of the Beluga project vessels,” says Mainport Africa.

    “The berthing at Mossel Bay was delayed due to the bad weather, and there were concerns due to the flooding, however, the vessel finally managed to berth on Sunday and successfully discharged all cargo safely.

    “The assistance of the harbour master, Capt Naresh Sewnath and the pilot was excellent in ensuring the earliest berthing opportunity of the vessel in very adverse weather conditions.”

    Well done to Mossel Bay, and now the ice has been broken, here’s to some more records.

    Chinese market opens for South African citrus

    The first citrus of the season bound for the Chinese market has begun to be assembled in Durban prior to shipment by containers.

    The shipments, although small at this stage mark a significant breakthrough for the South African citrus industry. In 2004 South Africa and China strengthened trade relations through the signing of a Citrus Protocol, which gave South Africa direct access to the Chinese market for the first time.

    There have been accusations of South Africa’s Department of Agriculture dragging its feet over accessing the Chinese market, with only citrus being exported to China this year at the expense, so it was claimed, of apples and pears. The department countered by saying it was what the Chinese market wanted at this stage. “China has requested the import of citrus fruit from South Africa and that has been prioritised,” said a departmental spokesman earlier this year. He explained that there was a process involved which could take 18 months or longer before the first shipments left South Africa. This had happened in the case of citrus.

    China would be treated as a special market and anyone wishing to export to China would have to register their orchards and in addition cold sterilisation treatments would be applied to eradicate unwanted pests, Justin Chadwick, the CEO of the Citrus Growers Association told a farmers organisation back in 2004. He said then that he expected to see 100-million 15-kg cartons of citrus being exported by 2010, of which 60 million would be exported to Europe and China.

    Chinese inspectors have also visited citrus farms in Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces and in many respects the advent of the new market appears similar to the launching into Japan by citrus growers several years ago.

    Another new citrus market developed in the past 12 months and now showing success is Iran where shipments initially were small and containerised but have grown to the extent that this season reefer ships are calling on a regular basis to load fruit for the Middle Eastern country.

    South Africa’s citrus export season runs from about May to end October, give or take a few weeks.

    Go ahead for Coega stainless steel plant

    The R1.1 billion stainless steel precision strip mill project in the Coega Industrial Development Zone received its long awaited authorisation by the Department of Economic Affairs, Environment and Tourism (DEAET) this month.

    This follows the completion of an environmental impact assessment study which will set in motion the first phase of the R1.1 billion German investment early next year.

    The project forms part of the off-sets from the multi-billion rand arms deal and was announced by government about a year ago. “Construction was scheduled to commence in July this year but it will now be postponed to early 2007 due to financial closure in the investing company, Southern Cross Precision Mill,” said Coega Development Corporation’s spokesperson Vuyelwa Qinga-Vika.

    The construction of the strip mill will be executed in two phases and R500 million will be spent on each phase. The environmental authorisation allows the company to commence the first phase of the project within one year of authorisation and to finish within 24 months. The second phase must commence within two years of authorisation but conditions relating to operations are valid for the lifetime of the project.

    About 800 construction jobs are expected to be created when construction starts next year and, after construction, 200 will be permanent operational staff of the company. An additional 4000 jobs are expected to result from upstream and downstream industries around the country.

    9,000 tons of 400mm wide stainless steel coil will be produced in the first phase of the project and the figure will increase to 27,000 during the second phase.

    The plant is strategically located within Zone 2 of the Coega IDZ and it will be a supplier to first and second tier Automotive Component Manufacturers and other thin-strip steel related industries such as telecommunications, electrical and medical.

    According to DEAET, key factors that led to the decision were the plant’s strategic location as a support service to the auto sector in the Coega IDZ and in the country; the already rezoned land in Coega since the Coega IDZ underwent its own EIA; the fact that site-specific impacts on the biophysical environment have already been taken into account; and the environmental process followed was deemed satisfactory.

    - source Coega Development Corporation

    Snatch vessel identified

    The four Trico Marine Services oil workers who were abducted by militants off the Nigerian Delta region this week were taken from the supply vessel Northern Comrade (see our news report dated 10 August).

    As of yesterday no demand for their ransom had been revealed.

    New KZN airport to be complete ahead of 2010

    by David Masango (BuaNews)

    Sandton, 10 August 2006 - The construction of a R2.4 billion airport in La Mercy, north of Durban, will be completed and fully operational in time for the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.

    And the existing airport will cease operations in the first quarter of 2010, Transport Minister Jeff Radebe told reporters here on Thursday.

    The new Dube Tradeport and airport in La Mercy is expected to cater for 7.5 million passengers when it starts operating.

    It will comprise among others cargo terminals, warehouses as well as an "agrizone" that will involve growing agricultural products, processing as well as packaging.

    "Not only will the airport cater for the increase in passenger numbers but it will also help grow the province's and country's economy," CEO, Rohan Persad told BuaNews.

    Mr Radebe said the existing Durban International Airport was recording about 14 percent increase in passenger numbers and would not be able to cope with this high volume by 2010.

    "The present Durban airport will not be able to accommodate the growing passenger numbers and it cannot be expanded further at the present location."

    Mr Radebe expressed optimism and enthusiasm about the project.

    "The benefits for this integrated logistics platform, the commercial developments therein and the passenger facilities represent a new road that will bring prosperity to the area and benefit, not only for KwaZulu-Natal but for South Africa."

    The minister explained that Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) would exclusively build, operate and own the airport and passenger terminals while Dube Tradeport company would own and manage the cargo terminals.

    Mr Radebe said wherever possible, private sector involvement - with emphasis on Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) - would be sought during the construction.

    ACSA Managing Director Monhla Hlahla said it was "imperative" that the construction of the project be accelerated.

    "People of KwaZulu-Natal have been looking for an opportunity to get something that will grow their economy and benefit them and South Africa as a whole."

    Ms Hlahla also said the province had indicated that it had plans to investigate how to attract international flights because international airliners preferred flying into Johannesburg.

    "We will assist the province in this regard," she said

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