Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 25, 2007
Author: P&S


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  • Maersk and Höegh Autoliners get together

  • West and Central African shippers meet in Ghana

  • Going the extra distance – shipping line MACS chooses best depot

  • KZN automotive industry gets a R7m boost

  • ANGOLA-MOZAMBIQUE-ZAMBIA: Flooding causes chaos in the southern African region

  • Pic of the day – MORNING CALM

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    Maersk and Höegh Autoliners get together

    Oslo and Copenhagen, 24 January 2007: Höegh Autoliners and AP Moller - Maersk through its subsidiary Maersk Shipping Singapore yesterday announced they had agreed that effective from 1 February 2007, they will enter into cooperation with their respective fleets of car carriers.

    The cooperation will commercially operate the combined fleet of about 67 vessels globally under the name of Höegh Autoliners, from Höegh Autoliners offices in Oslo.
    Höegh Autoliners and A.P. Moller - Maersk each remains individually responsible for the technical management and crewing of own vessels.

    “The new cooperation is established to provide increased capacity, faster transit times and higher frequency to meet customers requirements. The Car carriers owned by Maersk Shipping Singapore will enter the cooperation as time charter commitments expire,” said the statement.

    Strategy is carried on

    Höegh Autoliners’ says its strategy is to grow with its global customers and offer worldwide transportation services with basis in the core competencies as a port to port transportation provider and to be a network partner providing effective logistics solutions.

    “Our customer oriented business approach remains at the core of the business model and our customers’ cargo projections motivate our ambitions to grow,” says Thor Jørgen Guttormsen, CEO of Höegh Autoliners. “The cooperation with AP Moller - Maersk improves our ability to meet our customers’ requirements for services and transportation volume.”

    Maersk Shipping Singapore owns a fleet of Ro/Ro car carriers which historically have been chartered out to the Car Liner Operators.

    “We are looking forward to enter into this cooperation with Höegh Autoliners. We believe in Höegh Autoliners’ customer oriented strategy and expect the cooperation will make a strong product even stronger. We believe we can contribute positively to the cooperation based on our Groups capabilities within global transport and logistics” says Søren Skou, Group Executive Board Member, AP Moller - Maersk.

    Customer driven growth

    The world production of factory new cars has grown steadily to about 62 million units in 2006. World car production is expected to continue growing to about 90 million units in 2015 representing an annual growth rate of 3 – 4 percent. Historically about 15 percent of the production volume is exported overseas.

    In addition the globalisation of the car manufacturing industry has brought about structural changes to production models, which is affecting seaborne transportation positively resulting in additional growing demand for transportation services.

    On this background Höegh Autoliners says it expects the market for Ro/Ro car carriers to remain strong and has experienced growing interest from customers to secure future transportation capacity.

    Höegh Autoliners

    Höegh Autoliners started its Ro/Ro car carrier operation in 1969 and deploys some 55 vessels in its global trade systems which are managed from a worldwide network of 22 offices. The fleet consists of owned and chartered vessels. Main customers are major manufacturers of new cars and heavy machinery and rolling goods and Höegh Autoliners carried about 1.8 million car equivalent units (CEU) in 2006.

    Höegh Autoliners is in the middle of a fleet expansion program and 15 more newbuildings already ordered will be delivered from 2007 to 2011.

    Maersk Shipping Singapore

    Maersk Shipping Singapore owns a fleet of 12 Ro/Ro car carriers and has a number of new buildings on order. Maersk Shipping Singapore is part of AP Moller – Maersk, an international company of Danish origin widely recognised for its activities within shipping, energy, offshore, retail and industry. The AP Moller - Maersk group has more than 110,000 employees and offices in over 125 countries.

    West and Central African shippers meet in Ghana

    Accra, 24 January 2007: A two-day meeting of the Union of Africa Shippers’ Council (UASC) is currently underway in Accra, capital of Ghana.

    Comprised of Shippers Councils from 15 member countries spread across West and Central Africa, the conference is busy discussing a number of issues including cooperation among member countries and how to engage with the Europe West Africa Trade Agreement (EWATA) concerning general conditions relating to the shipment of cargoes.

    Going the extra distance – shipping line MACS chooses best depot

    Durban, 25 January 2007: MACS logistics department (MACS Maritime Carrier), which operates liner services between South Africa and northern Europe and between South Africa and the east coast of the United States, decided recently to reward their best performing depot as an encouragement towards uplifting standards in the workplace.

    Going the extra distance. Sylvia Johnston of MACS Maritime carrier presents the floating trophy for the ‘Best Performing Depot’ to Bakkie Pather, client liaison manager (centre) and Pops Moses, both of BPO Rainnie Road in Durban. Picture Terry Hutson

    “The performance of the empty depots is critical to giving customer service to our importers/exporters, if the depot is not efficient this causes unnecessary headaches for the shipping line,” said MACS spokesperson Sylvia Johnston. To this end MACS devised a system wherein depots would be judged on various tasks eg tracking, costs, speed of repairs etc.

    “We selected four finalists, CMC MAITLAND REEFER dept, SACD Johannesburg, MSIMANGO Richards Bay and BPO (Bidfreight Port Operations) Rainnie Road Durban. BPO Rainnie Rd managed to come out tops due to their ability to always give that little bit extra to make sure the export client is satisfied and keep costs at a market related amount. We would like to thank Bakkie Pather and all the staff at BPO Rainnie Rd for their good communication and understanding of our requirements.”

    “This floating trophy will be kept by BPO until the end of 2007, and we hope this initiative will encourage all the depots used by MACS to perform even better in 2007 to try and take the trophy for themselves,” said Johnston.

    KZN automotive industry gets a R7m boost

    Nozipho Dlamini, BuaNews : The eThekwini Metropolitan Council and the Durban Automotive Cluster (DAC) are to inject R7 million over the next three years to the provincial automotive industry.

    The two partners have agreed to contribute equally to improving the competitiveness of the regional automotive sector. Recently, they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to seal their commitment.

    According to the eThekwini City Manager Michael Sutcliffe, the MOU is an extension of an existing partnership that they have had with the industry's role players.

    "So far, the partnership has proved very successful in improving the industry, and we look forward to another three-year partnership with the cluster. eThekwini Metropolitan values this partnership as there are very few cities in the world that enjoy this sort of partnership with the private sector," said Mr Sutcliffe.

    He said the automotive industry contributed significantly to the region and this joint venture proved their commitment to growing the industry and the economy as a whole.

    Chairperson of the DAC Wolfgang Ropertz noted that the partnership addressed both the key local economic challenges and promoted Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE).

    He added that the key industry challenges could be largely grouped in six areas.

    The areas include:
    * Macroeconomic trends;
    * Advancing competitiveness requirements;
    * Onerous compliance requirements
    * Increasing importance of managing operational risk; and the
    * Transformation and developing skills to world class levels.

    He said through its five core programmes that included supplier competitiveness, logistics co-ordination and human resources development, the cluster had been able to out perform the rest of the country.

    The growth and competitiveness progress of the regional industry has been remarkable over the past few years.

    This is evident in real revenue growth amongst component manufacturers in the province estimated at 36 percent over 2002-2006, which is higher than the growth of 4 and 16 percent recorded for the Eastern Cape and Gauteng regions respectively.

    Employment growth has also been positive with local firms increasing employment by an estimated 34 percent versus 26 percent in the Eastern Cape and 15 percent in Gauteng.

    The additional focus areas for DAC until 2009 will include bolstering the transformation programme, supervisory training, procurement forum, joint auditing and procurement and the facilitation of HIV and AIDS workplace programme.

    In addition, Mr Ropertz concluded that DAC's proven track record over the last five years and its expanded focus to 2009 should provide further impetus to the development of the automotive industry in the eThekwini Municipality and the province.

    "This will ensure that the region's automotive sector continues to report economic growth ahead of the average growth in South Africa," he said.

    ANGOLA-MOZAMBIQUE-ZAMBIA: Flooding causes chaos in the southern African region

    Luanda (ANGOLA), 24 Jan 2007 (IRIN): - Torrential rains are lashing Angola, Mozambique and Zambia, killing scores of people, leaving thousands homeless and causing severe crop damage.

    In the Angolan capital, Luanda, floodwaters are still rising and the death toll has exceeded 75 people, with around 50 others reported missing. About 1,200 families have been displaced and aid workers fear that if the rains continue a wider humanitarian crisis could be provoked.

    "We believe that the number of reported deaths will rise," police spokesman Divaldo Julio Martins told IRIN. "And we've been told by our meteorological institute that there is a strong likelihood that we will have more rains like the ones we've had."

    The Cacuaco municipality, north of Luanda, has been hit hardest and has all but been isolated from the capital after a key bridge was washed away and other access roads became impassable. Local authorities said they were trying to set up a camp to house around 2,000 displaced people, but the extensive flooding was making it difficult to identify a suitable area.

    The rains are being blamed on El Nino, the periodic appearance of unusually warm water in the eastern Pacific that often occurs in December and affects normal weather patterns.

    "If the phenomenon of El Nino continues, people run the risk of losing their homes. The rains are forecast to continue until March, and we don't know how strong they will be," Jesus Herrera, a representative of Medicos del Mundo (Spain) in Angola told IRIN.

    "There is a problem of poverty and lack of basic sanitation. Homes here are constructed ... [near] the sea and rivers, and with poor materials that can be easily destroyed with water," he said.

    The government has set up an inter-ministerial commission to coordinate a response to the flooding. "We're trying to come up with an emergency plan to work out how to get people out, and supply them with medicines and clean water," said a government official on the commission, who declined to be named. "There has been a lot of damage done already and Luanda really isn't prepared to deal with this kind of situation."

    About 70 percent of Luanda's population of more than four million people are said to be at risk from the flooding. "But it's a whole series of problems that could lead to a wider humanitarian problem - we have the floods, the destruction of homes, lack of access, communication and with these conditions, diseases like cholera can rise," Herrera said. Angola was battling a cholera epidemic before the flooding began.


    After 340mm of rain fell within 24 hours on Saturday and Sunday, water levels reached one metre, leaving about 3,000 people homeless in Quelimane, capital of Mozambique's Zambezia Province, according to the National Disasters Management Institute (INGC). Five people are reported to have died.

    "The flooding was not 100 percent a surprise for the people. Following continual rain last week, we had distributed leaflets, used cars with megaphones and used the radio to tell the people to expect flooding and what to do," Paulo Zucula, the director of INGC, told IRIN.

    "The people knew where the temporary shelters were set up - nobody had to be led by the hand - but it was the intensity of the rains that took us by surprise, and fact that it happened at night was more problematic." He said Mozambique lacked rescue equipment, such as boats, and that most of the country's helicopters were grounded and in need of maintenance.

    Initial assessments indicated that the worst affected area in the province was Quelimane, but poor communications and infrastructure meant the extent of flooding in remote areas could only be determined in the next few days.

    The INGC has been intensifying its coordination of disaster management in the more flood-prone provinces in recent years, and a pilot study was conducted in Buzi district, in the central province of Sofala, with assistance from the Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), a development organisation funded by the German government to set up district risk management committees, staffed by local government officials and community leaders.

    "In any disaster, 90 percent of deaths usually occur in the first hour, so our aim is to empower the communities to prepare and react," Zucula said.

    The rainy season in Mozambique usually lasts until the end of March.


    In Zambia, rain has swamped at least 21 of the country's 73 districts and is threatening to disappoint expectations of a third consecutive year of a surplus on the maize harvest.

    Heavy downpours have occurred since the second week of December 2006 in the agriculturally rich regions of Eastern, Northern, Western and North-Western provinces, in sharp contrast to Southern Province, which is experiencing drought, while the remaining three provinces have received normal seasonal rainfall.

    Analysts told IRIN the 'feast or famine' rainfall pattern could drastically reduce food production. "The forthcoming harvest season will certainly be affected," Peter Cottan, vice-president of the Millers Association of Zambia, told IRIN.

    "First of all, by the late start of the rainy season, then by the drought situation experienced in some parts of the country and, finally, by the current floods which have left thousands of people in need of food, not just for the current season but also throughout 2007 till the next [2008] harvest season," he said.

    In 2006, Zambia posted a crop surplus of 1.5 million metric tonnes above its annual requirement of 1.2 million metric tonnes. The state-run Food Reserve Agency [FRA], exported the surplus crop to neighbouring Tanzania and Zimbabwe to pay the thousands of small-scale farmers for their crop.

    "We are appealing to the government to immediately discontinue the maize exports because we are not certain of what lies ahead of us. In fact, the small-scale farmers who were selling maize to the millers have since run out of stocks, and we are now having to buy from the FRA at a more expensive price, hence the slight upward adjustments in the market price of maize," Cottan said.

    The prices of ground maizemeal and other commodities, like fuel and cement, were adjusted upwards twice in the last month. Analysts said the increases were caused by a higher international oil price and the falling price of copper [Zambia's primary export commodity], resulting in a depreciation of the local currency, the kwacha.

    Dominiciano Mulenga, co-ordinator of the government's Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit, said government was yet to audit the flood damage.

    "Bridges, roads and a good number of crop fields, which are in their early stages [of growth], are still submerged in most areas. There's fear that if it continues to rain in the way it is raining now in these places, the worst may come before it gets better," Mulenga said.

    "As it is, we are not even able to know the number of people affected, but there is no one sleeping in the cold. We did an aerial assessment with the help of the Zambia Air Force, and we are currently interpreting the results to deal with food insecurity that is likely to affect these districts during the next consumption period."

    Agriculture minister Ben Kapita said although the flooding was expected to reduce this year's anticipated maize production of 1.9 million mt, it was unlikely that food security would be affected.

    "Our projected increase was strategic, as we had increased the farming inputs to small-scale farmers ... we were expecting them to increase production by 30 percent. However, with these disasters, I expect that we will either maintain last year's production or reduce it to 1.2 million tonnes, which is still sufficient for our annual consumption," he said.

    According to a United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) official, who declined to be identified, "WFP has not yet been approached by the government to extend assistance to flood victims, so we can't say anything on the extent of the damage or even the impact of the floods on this year's harvest."

    (This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations)

    Pic of the day – MORNING CALM

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    Eukor’s Pure Car Carrier MORNING CALM on the occasion of her visit to Durban this week to deliver 5,036 motor vehicles – the highest number so far discharged at any SA port. The range of cars including some heavy equipment came from Korea, China and Malaysia and was discharged into G Square at the Durban Car Terminal. A total of 70 drivers were employed to offload the cargo which was expected to take about 45 hours. See our News Report of yesterday. Picture Terry Hutson

    NB Shipping pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – please email to info@ports.co.za

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