Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 18, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Quota restrictions on Chinese imports delayed

  • Beira dredging to go ahead - fishing port to be rebuilt

  • CVRD set to begin Moatize coal mining

  • Cote D’Ivoire ‘death ship’ arrives in Europe

  • Wanted - 500 young people for learnerships

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    Quota restrictions on Chinese imports delayed

    by Oupa Segalwe, BuaNews

    The Trade and Industry Department (DTI) has announced a delay in the implementation of new quotas on clothing and textile imports from China.

    The quota system that was to be implemented on 28 September will now be put into effect from 1 January 2007 and put import restrictions on 31 product categories of clothing and textiles from China.

    This comes after the DTI published in the Government Gazette early this month that it would be implementing restrictions to cut down on quotas imported from China.

    It followed an agreement signed between President Thabo Mbeki and his Chinese counterpart Premier Wen Jiabao in June.

    "This decision by the Minister ... follows from the department's consideration of submissions received from all stakeholders," the department said.

    It had received submissions from manufacturers, retailers and labour during public comments last week on the measures that were published in the Gazette.

    In addition, the department said it held a meeting on Thursday to further consider various concerns raised.

    The meeting was attended by stakeholders including senior officials from the department, the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) and South African Revenue Services (SARS), representatives from Clotrade, Textfed, SACTWU and retailers like Mr Price, Woolworths, Truworths and Foschini, among others.

    Among key concerns raised during the meeting, which was chaired by Director General Tshediso Matona, were the need for longer lead times, the methodology for quota allocation and domestic supply issues, the department said.

    "Parties agreed a delay of implementation will go some way to enable all the players in the value chain to put in place arrangements to enable the industry to adjust to the restrictions and take advantage of the resulting opportunities.

    "Furthermore the parties agreed to an ongoing process to be convened by the DTI, and involving the ITAC and the SARS, through which the quotas will be monitored," said the department.

    Last week Ebrahim Patel of SACTWU said in excess of 55,000 jobs could be created as a result of the agreement reached with China, and further expressing relief that the move could halt the loss of around 1000 jobs a month.

    The DTI further said the implementation date entailed that the ITAC, as the administration authority, would issue the applicable import permits al least 6 weeks in advance.

    The department said the process of monitoring the quotas would also seek to address issues related to illegal imports and under-invoicing.

    Beira dredging to go ahead - fishing port to be rebuilt

    Dredging of entrance channels to the port of Beira is due to commence in the first quarter of 2007, according to an intelligence communiqué issued by the Maputo Corridor Liaison Initiative (MCLI).

    The contract has been awarded to state-owned dredging company Emodraga and two dredgers are being obtained from Japan and Denmark to undertake the work.

    According to Tayo Abdul Adamo, chairman of Emodraga, the tender for the deepening of the entrance channel was issued last May and in accordance with this Emodraga will undertake the dredging in partnership with an as yet unannounced international dredging company.

    In a separate announcement, reconstruction of Beira’s fishing port is about to get underway following the awarding of a tender issued earlier this year. The cost of the reconstruction is US $ 21 million of which $ 1.7m is being provided by the Mozambique government and the balance by loans from the Arab Bank for African Development and the Islamic Development Bank.

    continues below…

    CVRD set to begin Moatize coal mining

    Construction of the Moatize coal mine in central Tete Province of Mozambique is set to begin before the end of this year. The Brazilian mining group Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) is investing US $ 2 Billion in the project.

    The reopening and development of the vast Moatize coal fields will again position the country among the leading coal producers on the African continent. And as a large percentage of the coal is to be exported the next question is going to be which port will benefit from this bonanza.

    Talks held earlier between Corredor de Desenvolvimento do Norte (CDN, the private operator of the Nacala railway) and CVRD and which aimed at developing a new line connecting the Moatize coal mine in Tete Province with the existing Malawi railway network and then the railway to Nacala, have since fallen through.

    Prior to the civil war the port of Beira was used for coal exports from Tete province but since then the port has become badly silted. However plans are well advanced to dredge the approaches to the port (see previous report in this Bulletin) which may change the situation in favour of Beira.

    There was also talk in recent years, prior to CVRD winning the concession to operate the Moatize mines, of building a new deep water port loading facility at Savane which lies to the north of Beira and which could accommodate Capesize ore carriers. This would require a short spur line from the existing Beira – Sena railway, probably from Dondo, but since then little more has been heard of this project but which may however still remain a possibility.

    The rehabilitation of the railway from Beira to Sena (and the Moatize coalfields) has been awarded to the Indian Rites Group although CFM, the Mozambique rail and port transport parastatal has undertaken the first 90km section of rehabilitation as far as Muanza.

    Cote D’Ivoire ‘death ship’ arrives in Europe

    The Probo Koala, the tanker dubbed as the ‘death ship’ after it delivered toxic slops to the port of Abidjan in Cote D’Ivoire and which subsequently led to a number of deaths and nearly ten thousand people seeking medical attention, has docked in Paldiski in Estonia where port health authorities have given the ship a clean bill of health.

    There is still some question over liability regarding the ship and the slops which were initially offered for disposal in Amsterdam but rejected when the ship’s operator considered the price too expensive. This was after the slops’ disposal company qualified its quote on account of the strange smell coming from the ship’s slops tanks and said it would cost more to process the material.

    Having rejected this, the ship sailed for West Africa where another firm, Compangie Tommy was contracted to dispose of the chemical substance. The chemical subsequently found its way into Abidjan’s municipal rubbish dumps and the city’s lake system where the fumes came into contact with the local population.

    According to a press statement issued by the ship’s charterer, Dutch company Trafigura Beheer BV, the ‘waste disposed of in Abidjan was the residue washings (slops) from the slop tanks of the Probo Koala, the result of washings from
    gasoline blend stock delivered to the vessel.’

    Trafigura says it is now waiting for a full UN-conducted analysis of the Abidjan waste and adds that the slops were handed over to the certified Abidjan disposal company Tommy, with full and proper documentation.

    ’These slops were not rejected by any port, including the Port Authorities in Amsterdam. (The unloading process in Amsterdam) was halted as a result of APS' (the Amsterdam disposal company) desire to renegotiate contractual terms," it added.

    Wanted - 500 young people for learnerships

    The Coega Development Corporation is seeking to recruit 500 young people to be enrolled in a range of learnership programmes aimed at addressing an expected increase in labour demand in the Coega Industrial Development Zone.

    The CDC has been forecasting the skills requirements for the Industrial Development Zone over the past two years. Training and development initiatives began in 2005 based on a Five Year Plan to meet potential investor’s requirements.

    “With six investors having been signed, the corporation has embarked on a massive training and recruitment drive to meet the medium-term labour demand which might catch the region off-guard if critical skills are not available when investors move onto site,” said CDC spokesperson Vuyelwa Qinga-Vika.

    Funding has been secured for 3,300 learnerships over the next five years, and of the 900 learnerships expected within the current financial year, only 264 learners have been enrolled due to the unavailability of learners.

    The CDC has secured close to R75 million for engineering learnerships from Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETA) over the next five years and a further R25 million from the National Skills Fund is still pending. For the current year, the Energy SETA and the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Education Training Authorities (MERSETA) have pledged R12 million and R6.9 million to the programme respectively.

    The learnerships entail equipping unskilled and unemployed young people with the necessary skills through practical and formal training in cooperation with FET colleges, regional training providers and industry to provide on-the-job-experience for the learners.

    The identified skills include the priority skills identified under the national human resource development programme, Asgisa and the municipal Vision 2020 programme of the Nelson Mandela Metro. The areas of training are mechanical and electrical engineering skills as well as the energy related skills which will come in handy in the operations of the investors signed in the Coega project thus far.

    The learnerships will provide a reasonable alternative to school leavers who cannot afford formal education and FET College graduates as there will be no cost implications for all learners enrolled. Instead, the learners will receive a weekly stipend for the duration of their learning period and training costs will be covered.

    The learnerships are one year in duration but by completing the NQF Level 2, 3 and 4 programmes, the learners will receive a qualification equivalent to that of an artisan. However, the learners can exit after completion of each NQF Level of the programme with a recognisable qualification. All learners are encouraged to complete all three levels of the programme.

    The best chance of securing employment for a young person is to enter the learnership offered by Coega.

    The Coega Development Corporation is urging all interested people to register in the Job Seekers Database. Registration forms are available in all libraries within the Nelson Mandela Metro, Department of Labour and at the Coega Recruitment and Induction Centre in Markman.

    - source CDC

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