Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 8, 2007
Author: P&S


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  • Derailment along Richards Bay coal line

  • Japan invests in Namibe and Lobito ports

  • Sena Railway carries traffic once again

  • Nigeria’s Obasanjo insists on port reforms

  • Spanish logistics company hopes to boost West African trade

  • Pic of the day – JAG LALIT

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    Derailment along Richards Bay coal line

    A major derailment on the Richards Bay coal line saw about 30 wagons loaded with export coal for the port of Richards Bay being spilled last Friday (5 January).

    The accident which occurred near Vryheid left the wagons piled up against and on top of each other and thousands of tonnes of coal thrown over the line and adjacent countryside.

    It took labourers about 24 hours, working through the night, the clear the line for other trains to pass. No reasons for the accident have been provided but it is estimated it will have cost millions of rand. Of more importance is that it indicates the spate of accidents along this economic highway is not yet over.

    The derailment follows a number of accidents, some of them spectacular, in recent years, which have at times closed the line to traffic in both directions for periods of up to one week and has also affected the ability if the Richards Bay terminal to reach budgeted export figures.

    Figures for 2006 are not yet available but it is believed that the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) will come shy by many millions of tonnes of the hoped-for figure of around 70mt for the year. Reasons for the expected shortfall has been given as the number of derailments that occurred during the year and also heavy rains at the mines during 2006, which affected production.

    The latest derailment is not expected to adversely affect exports at the port as RBCT carries an adequate back-up stock and a delay of one day is unlikely to have much effect. The cost in terms of wagons and possibly locomotives taken out of service is much greater.

    Japan invests in Namibe and Lobito ports

    Angola Press Agency reports that the Japanese government will invest approximately US $ 9 million during 2007 on rehabilitating the jetties at the ports of Namibe and Lobito in southern and central Angola.

    This was confirmed last week by Japan’s ambassador to Angola, Sussumu Shibata while on a visit to Namibe. He said the investment follows an assessment of the two ports’ quays, which confirmed they needed urgent rehabilitation.

    The ambassador expressed his concern at the degradation of the port of Namibe, particularly in the container handling area.

    Namibe port was built by the Portuguese as a deep water facility in the early 1950s, mainly to handle iron ore exports from Cassinga, and was further developed in 1961 for general cargo use. The port now has a 680-metre long quay. The railway to Lubango with a projected extension into Zambia is currently under reconstruction.

    The port of Lobito is much older, having an excellent natural harbour which has been described as one of the best natural harbours along the west coast of Africa.

    During the civil war the closure of much of the Benguela Railway, which is currently being rebuilt, had a dramatic effect on the port of Lobito – the line connected the port with the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and also with Zambia and all exports from those countries came to a halt. In the early 1970s this railway was carrying over 2.5 million tonnes of cargo, of which two thirds came from the DRC and Zambia.

    Sena Railway carries traffic once again

    After being closed for the past 24 years, the railway connecting the port of Beira in Mozambique with the Tete province and known as the Sena Railway is due to partly open later this month or early in February.

    This follows the awarding of contracts to rehabilitate the railway as far as the coal mines of Moatize, which is being undertaken by both the Mozambican Ports & Railways Company (CFM) and the Indian rail consortium of Rites & Ircon International.

    The latter consortium holds the lease to operate the Beira railway network.

    As work progresses along the Sena Railway, sections will be reopened to traffic, it has been announced. The initial stage being reopened to traffic is a 90km section between the towns of Dondo, about 30 km from Beira on the main line to Zimbabwe, and Muanza, which will enable the carriage of limestone from Muanza to the cement factory in Dondo.

    Following that the next stage to be reopened will be between Muanza and Inhamitanga, about 94km further along the line, which the consortium hopes to have opened to traffic by 29 August 2007.

    The intention is to complete the 670km of the railway by May 2009, and includes crossing the Zambezi at Sena and then following the main line to Moatize in Tete province, as well as continuing on a second line to the southern Malawi border where it will connect with the Malawi rail network.

    At Sena the line will also reopen to traffic from the sugar mills at Marromeu on the southern banks of the Zambezi. This 88km section is also being rebuilt.

    The original railway was so effectively sabotaged during the Mozambique civil war that large sections are having to be completely rebuilt, not rehabilitated or refurbished. The operation has also included having to clear the adjacent area of all land mines laid during the war, which has now been completed.

    Source – Noticias and AIM

    Nigeria’s Obasanjo insists on port reforms

    Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo says he is insistent that port reforms must be implemented ‘to the letter’.

    Meeting with the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) on port reforms, the president said that corruption was a major cause of delays in the clearance of cargo from the ports.

    The Federal Government was prepared to take all necessary measures to ensure efficient performance at the ports and would shortly convene an all-stakeholders forum to examine remaining problems preventing the smooth implementation of the port reforms.

    The chairman of ANLCA Chief Ernest Elochukwu drew attention to overcrowding at the ports as well as what he described as the menace of touts at the nation’s ports.

    Source - Daily Champion (Lagos)

    Spanish logistics company hopes to boost West African trade

    A Canary Island company, Canary Impex has established a new logistics operation in the Ghanaian capital Accra which will focus as a distribution centre for Spanish products entering West Africa.

    According to Canary Impex director Ricardo Rodriguez, the project came about after a study of the problems faced by Spanish companies wanting to enter West African markets. The project intends covering the entire ECOWAS market (Economic Community of West African States).

    One of the major obstacles has been the payment of exported goods or when no sales agreement can be reached. “The solution we can offer Spanish firms, being in the country of destination, is to supervise the sales and to send him the amount in euros as soon as it has been paid," said Rodriguez.

    Canary Impex will also facilitate the exchange of currencies where a Spanish exporter invoices in euros but is offered payment if Ghanaian currency, which is not freely exchangeable.

    "What we are doing is redirecting and reconverting, as we are buying African crude products which we ship to Europe and convert into European Union currency and again are able to use to pay out Spanish exports in hard currency," he said.

    Canary Impex will also facilitate the search for new customers and markets

    Source - Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra)

    Pic of the day – JAG LALIT

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The 81,396-gt crude oil tanker JAG LALIT, built in 2005 and owned and operated by the Great Eastern Shipping Co of Mumbai, India, seen in Cape Town harbour on 19 December 2006 – that’s Table Mountain creeping into the picture at top left. Picture by Ian Shiffman.

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

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