Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 22, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • Africa’s transport leaves much to be desired - Radebe

  • UK company, BEE consortium to buy Waterfront for R7billion

  • De Beers expects ship for diamond prospecting

  • Navy to visit Mozambique

  • African leaders voice frustration at trade inequalities

  • UN environmental chief tells African cities to access funds for sustainable growth

  • Picture of the day

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    As Monday 25 September is a public holiday in South Africa there will be no News Bulletin on that day. The next bulletin will appear on Tuesday morning

    Africa’s transport leaves much to be desired - Radebe

    South Africa’s Minister of Transport, Jeff Radebe said in Cape Town this week that there was general agreement that much of Africa’s transportation, energy and communication infrastructure left much to be desired.

    Radebe was speaking on civil transportation at the Africa Joint Operations Conference 2006 being held at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

    “There are vast differences in the quality and quantity of assets, of their state of repair and maintenance, and of the ability to engage in multi- and inter-modal activities,” he said.

    “Africa's transportation challenges derive mainly from the inheritance of peculiar historical distortions that fragmented the continent, concentrated only on providing rail and road links between the interior and the coast. These ‘hastened the drainage of resources, produce and manpower away from the periphery towards central concentrations of urban centres, ports and associated economic activity’, and identified new colonial boundaries as solid barriers, particularly those between colonies of different imperial powers. These developments consolidated the isolation of areas that with colonialism and the accidents of geography became land-locked states and peripheral regions.”

    The minister said that much work was needed to improve the situation in ports and merchant shipping in Africa.

    “Egyptian and South African ports dominate container traffic in Africa, but many of Africa's other ports are increasing their share of regional traffic. By the end of 2005, some 85 percent of African ports had involved private sector participation in one form or another, with the concession of operations and services being the preferred model, followed by management contract plans.

    “Movement in this direction has been swift in North Africa, followed by East and Southern Africa, and West Africa moving a little slower. Critically important improved investment in new crane technology, electricity and power upgrades, berth extensions and development, more regular dredging services, the implementation of the new security requirements of the IMO, and so on, are changing the situation for the better.”

    Radebe said that the question of ship repair and maintenance facilities was of particular relevance.

    “Africa has a limited number of ship repair facilities dotted around the coast, but very few have capabilities that extend beyond their regional markets. Thus, Angola, Cameroon, Ivory Coast provide floating dock lifting capacities of some 10,000 dead weight tonnes. At least the West African region will benefit greatly with the continued expansion of graving dock facilities at Ghana's Tema Shipyard to deal with larger vessels, whereas Dakar's graving dock facility remains an impressive operation.

    “Mombasa and Antsiranana in Madagascar are important locations on the east coast. South Africa's own facilities, including Simon’s Town Naval Dockyard, continue to provide important services, although here too we must acknowledge that we need urgently to expand our capacities in ship repair and maintenance, and even re-establish our ship-building capability as a country as well.

    “What then is being done to improve the situation? The African Union's commission on infrastructure and energy has taken the lead since African Ministers of Transport met in Addis Ababa in April 2005 to discuss implementation of the MDG's. Ministers responsible for air transport and rail have met separately to investigate improvements in these specific areas; and Ministers responsible for maritime affairs are scheduled to meet before the end of the year under the auspices of the IMO, and roads' ministers will meet during the course of next year.”

    Note: The minister’s speech in full can be read on the Department of Transport website http://www.transport.gov.za

    UK company, BEE consortium to buy Waterfront for R7billion

    by Shaun Benton, BuaNews

    Cape Town - A United Kingdom property group in partnership with a local Black Economic Empowerment shareholding are the likely buyers of Cape Town's Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, carrying a price tag of R7.04 billion.

    The London and Regional Consortium was identified Wednesday by Fred Phaswana, the chairperson of Transnet Ltd, as the preferred bidder to acquire 100 percent of the prime real estate.

    Transnet is one of the principal owners of the V&A along with Transnet Retirement Pension and Benefit Funds.

    The V&A Waterfront - arguably one of the most desirable properties in Africa - is likely to be sold for R7.04 billion in cash to the consortium of local and international investors in which black economic empowerment shareholders - including many women - have a significant stake.

    The cash price offers the maximum value for the key tourist and leisure property, which was one of the criteria identified by Transnet group chief executive Maria Ramos earlier, for a preferred bidder.

    The planned sale, which Ms Ramos welcomed as "a balanced deal" features a significant element of black investors, which was another component to the sale criteria for a preferred bidder.

    The L&R Consortium is led by major European property group London and Regional Group Holdings Limited, which has two United Kingdom-based brothers, Richard and Ian Livingstone, at its helm and which has interests exceeding R65 billion.

    The deal significantly boosts Transnet's cash flows, as the state-owned enterprise embarks on major investments in its core focus area, transport.

    The other key international property investors are from the Istithmar PJSC (meaning "investments" in Arabic, Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool informed the media), which is the investment arm of the United Arab Emirates-based company Dubai World.

    It manages a portfolio on business for the Dubai government.

    A significant stake of 23.1 percent goes to black economic empowerment stakeholders through a local company called Lexshell 44 General Trading (Pty) Ltd.

    Another two percent in the consortium is to be set aside in a trust for the V&A Waterfront's black employees.

    The consortium was selected out of a list of nine competitors for the prime property - 45 percent of which is yet to be fully developed - in what Cape Town-based BEE businessman Hassen Adams called a "knockout bid".

    The deal remains subject to the approval of the South African government's competition authorities as well as the Reserve Bank.

    James Wilson, a key player in the deal as the chief executive of Nakheel Hotels and Resorts, a division of the Dubai World-owned company Nakheel, told journalists that future developments on the drawing board of what he said were some of the world's leading architects would not simply emulate the skyscrapers common to the Dubai skyline.

    Developments would be lower density, he said, and would seek a "seamless integration" along spatial lines between the Cape Town central business district and the nearby V&A Waterfront and the yet-to-be-built 2010 World Cup Stadium at Greenpoint.

    They would seek to provide for sustainable developments that would live past the "wonderful opportunity" the hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup will provide.

    No major changes are envisaged he said, saying "why change what is already successful?"

    Mr Wilson indicated that the consortium would be seeking decidedly upmarket commercial residents such as leading fashion houses Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci, along with some of the world's top hotels.

    De Beers expects ship for diamond prospecting

    De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) new marine mining ship, the Dock Express 20, is expected to arrive in South Africa before the end of this year, when she will be renamed Peace of Africa (see our news report on this dated 24 July 2006).

    Dock Express 20 is a former cable laying ship (14,800-gt) which is currently being refitted at A&P Tyne shipyards in Newcastle, UK. After commissioning she will go into service prospecting off the Namaqualand coast in an area of approximately 9,000 square kilometres.

    South Africa engineering company Bateman Africa is responsible for the design parameters of the conversion and will also provide the onboard diamond treatment plant in a contract worth R132 million and another R110 million is to be spent on mooring and mining systems, designed and provided by a Cape Town company Marine & Mineral Products.

    Once in service from mid 2007 De Beers hopes to harvest 240,000 carats annually from the concession.

    In addition to providing up to 155 new jobs, Port Nolloth will benefit from the vessel drawing supplies and equipment from the port.

    Navy to visit Mozambique

    Details are sketchy but what is now known is that three South African Navy ships, the combat support ship SAS Drakensberg, and two strike craft SAS Galeshewe and SAS Isaac Dyobha, will shortly be visiting Maputo to take part in joint naval operations.

    The three ships are expected in the Mozambique harbour on 2 October and will be joined by a ship or ships of the French Navy as well as personnel from Mozambique’s armed forces and those of Tanzania in joint exercises in the Mozambique Channel and along the East African coast.

    African leaders voice frustration at trade inequalities

    The inequities of global trade and the damage as well as benefits that foreign aid can bring were the focus of four speeches from African leaders during the annual debate at the United Nations General Assembly yesterday.

    Fradique Bandeira Melo de Menezes, President of São Tome and Principe, told world leaders who gathered for the debate that "it is time we faced some of the unspoken truths about poverty" and why so many countries remain in what has been dubbed 'the poverty trap.'

    Mr de Menezes said that although historic problems and a lack of resources can be critical, the biggest factor is bad government.

    "When States do not protect property and people; when national revenues benefit self-interested political insiders who oppose any actions that would lead to more equal distribution of income and resources; when government officials waste funds; when people are hired on the basis of being from the right family or region or political grouping; when nobody monitors government spending; when corruption is noted but never punished; and illegal activities are not restrained by law, the press or democratic opposition, then miserable results follow."

    He said recent studies have also shown that poor nations can suffer from an "aid curse" if the aid projects are poorly managed and lack transparency and accountability.

    But Mr de Menezes stressed that there have been "some beautiful successes" in aid programmes, such as in the fight against diseases such as small pox and river blindness.

    "Aid gives hope to millions of people around the world. We simply need to mend it, not end it."

    Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba welcomed the commitments made last year at the G8 summit in Scotland to consider boosting development aid to Africa, cancelling the debts of the poorest countries and to promoting universal access to anti-retroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS patients by 2010.

    Mr Pohamba called for greater cooperation between the UN, the African Union (AU) and other regional and sub-regional bodies to encourage economic and social development. He also backed an enhanced role for the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in this process.

    But he voiced concern at "the slow pace" at which the world is tackling the issue of development and the way many countries are not adhering to their commitments under the Millennium Declaration of 2000.

    The same theme was explored by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who said that despite numerous international agreements on what needs to be done to help the world's poor, there remains a "wide gap between rhetoric and concrete action on the ground."

    Mr Mugabe expressed particular frustration at the use of economic sanctions by some countries, which he said retarded development efforts and represented an unwarranted interference in domestic affairs.

    He also criticised "the tendency to use assistance in the fight against HIV/AIDS as reward for political compliance and malleability. In my country, for example, on average, a Zimbabwean AIDS patient is receiving about $ 4 per annum in international assistance, compared with about $ 172 per annum for other countries in the region."

    Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea, said the wealthier countries were using unfair means to maintain their continued "economic dominance and political influence."

    Mr Obiang said it was time to overhaul the UN "to put a stop to this crooked path of our international relations."

    He added that while the actions of terrorists are deplorable, the world should not be surprised because the activity "remains as the recourse of those oppressed, a reaction of those who oppose the present injustices denounced through the last quarter of a century."

    - UN News Service

    UN environmental chief tells African cities to access funds for sustainable growth

    21 September 2006 – A senior United Nations official has urged cities across Africa to push harder to access a growing number of global environment funds for financing in areas ranging from sustainable public transport systems to cleaner, less polluting energy supplies.

    “An increasing number of cities in the developing countries of Asia and Latin America are starting to introduce modern 21st century rapid bus transit systems, alongside measures to boost safer cycling and walking,” UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner told the Africities 4 Summit in Nairobi, Kenya.

    The investments, which are so far benefiting five cities in Latin America, including Mexico City and Panama City, and others underway or in the pipeline in Jakarta and Hanoi in Asia, are being catalyzed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), an independent financial organization established in the early 1990s to assist developing countries to achieve sustainable development. Only some weeks ago it was replenished to the tune of just over $ 3 billion.

    In Africa, in terms of sustainable transport projects, only Dar es Salaam in Tanzania is taking advantage of GEF funding with a rapid bus transit system earmarked there. South Africa is also hoping to use GEF funding to help its cities boost sustainable public transportation for the 2010 World Cup.

    “The streets and infrastructure of far too many of Africa’s cities are being overwhelmed by traffic, leading to rising levels of hazardous air pollution and impacts on the economy,” Mr Steiner said.

    “Africa should consider the mistakes made on continents like Europe which indicate that trying to build your way out of the problem by constructing more and more roads can be expensive and deliver only short-term benefits,” he added.

    Meanwhile the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol on Climate
    Change offers a chance to better handle urban wastes, he noted. Gases emitted by big rubbish tips can be used to generate electricity and thus can attract new streams of funding under these carbon credit schemes.

    - UN News Service

    Picture of the day

    Safmarine Nomazwe sailing from Durban harbour. This is one of SAECS’ new post-panamax container ships in service between South Africa and Europe. Click image to enlarge. Picture by Chris Moore

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