Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 9, 2007
Author: P&S


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  • Weather and derailments hurt Richards Bay Coal Terminal

  • Nigerian naval patrol attacked by militants – two personnel abducted

  • Lagos port improvements approved

  • Sao Tome & Principe – oil and tensions bubble beneath the surface

  • Mozambique sugar exports reach highest level in over 30 years

  • Pic of the day – SPORTSQUEEN

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    Weather and derailments hurt Richards Bay Coal Terminal

    According to a report from Bloomberg the Richards Bay Coal Terminal exported 66.5 million tonnes of coal during 2006, compared with 69.2mt in 2005.

    If this figure is correct it is a marked improvement on what was earlier feared following the loss of production at some coal mines due to heavy rains and also from delays caused by train derailments along the Richards Bay coal line (see our news report for yesterday regarding the latest derailment).

    However the export figure is considerably below the projected 72mt that the terminal is capable of handling and which, with added impetus from emerging black miners, the terminal was at one stage expected to achieve.

    That this figure was optimistic is now clear, as perhaps are the claims of the emerging miners who talk of achieving large volumes for export in the near future.

    The terminal is reported to be gearing up to handle up to 91mt annually by 2009 although serious questions should be asked about where this additional volume will be sold. South Africa has traditionally sold coal into Europe and the Chinese market hasn’t featured locally.

    Nigerian naval patrol attacked by militants – two personnel abducted

    A Nigerian task force operating in the Niger Delta came under attack from militants on Sunday which resulted in two navy personnel being abducted.

    According to reports the Nigerian Navy was on a routine patrol near one of the oil facilities when the militants attacked with a much larger number of boats. Faced by the greater firepower of the militants several of the navy personnel jumped into the water but two were captured and taken hostage.

    Despite all the gunfire there were no reports of injuries. The attack took place near Soku in Rivers State and the Nigerian Navy has admitted that two of its men have been taken hostage.

    Late last year the Nigerian authorities promised to deploy a number of patrol boats and ships to the troubled region along with additional personnel. It is not clear whether this larger task force has yet taken up position in the Delta region

    Lagos port improvements approved

    Two large projects aimed at improving the Lagos port have been approved by the Nigerian transport ministry, according to media reports.

    The Vanguard newspaper reported that work is due to commence later this year on upgrading the moles at the port entrance, which were built in 1903 and have steadily deteriorated over the years. Concern has been expressed that the condition of the moles has resulted in flooding at Victoria Island within Lagos harbour. Just over US $ 24 million has been allocated for this project.

    The second project involves the quay walls and aprons at the port of Tin Can Island which their poor condition has resulted in delays with cargo handling and the berthing of ships.

    The ministry says the projects are aimed at improving Lagos’ position as a leading regional port, particularly in view of the completion of the privatisation project involving various terminals. The concessionaires now operating the respective terminals have each had to commit to making improvements towards making the ports more efficient and effective.

    Sao Tome & Principe – oil and tensions bubble beneath the surface

    SAO TOME, 5 Jan 2007 (IRIN) - These sleepy twin islands poking out from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean are among the most peaceful places on earth. Now, with geological surveys suggesting that the islands could be sitting on billions of barrels of oil and, with a population of less than 150,000, every man, women and child on the islands could, in theory, become millionaires.

    Some of the world's biggest oil companies have already paid hundreds of millions of dollars for the right to drill oil in the surrounding waters. However, experts on the effects of sudden resource wealth in poor countries are sounding the alarm that Sao Tome and Principe could destabilise and even collapse.

    "The production of natural resources is liable to give rise to various types of political frustrations within a country." That is the view of such leading economists as Jeffrey D. Sachs, and Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz, writing together with political scientist Macartan Humphreys in 'Escaping the Resource Curse' a book to be released by Columbia University Press in June 2007.

    In the introduction, Humphreys, Sachs, Stiglitz warn that, "resource-rich countries grew less rapidly than resource-poor countries during the last quarter of the twentieth century." Plus, they said, "[research suggests] a strong association between resource wealth and the likelihood of weak democratic development, corruption, and civil war."

    Yet researchers specialised on Sao Tome remain divided over whether it is going the same way. It does not have a history of social tensions and there has not been political bloodshed.

    "I basically remain optimistic, said Gerhard Siebert, a researcher from the Lisbon-based Tropical Research Institute and author of a book on political and economic changes in the country since Portuguese rule ended in 1975. "I just don't think things will get as bad as in other oil-rich African countries."

    Still, he and others express concerns about the corrupting influence of the nearby economic and military giant Nigeria, with which Sao Tome has agreed to share its oil wealth.

    Read the rest of this special report in The Shipping World section of PORTS & SHIPS – which you can find here http://ports.co.za/shippingworld/index.php

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

    Mozambique sugar exports reach highest level in over 30 years

    Latest figures issued by Mozambique’s Agriculture Promotion Centre (CEPAGRI) indicates that the country’s sugar exports have reached their highest level in 33 years. In total the country’s four producers exported 175,837 tonnes and earned US $ 67.3 million in revenue.

    Two of the four sugar companies are situated in the Maputo province at Xinavane and Maragra, and the other two are in Sofala province at Marromeu on the Zambezi River and at Mafambisse.

    According to CEPAGRI’s director Roberto Albino this represents a 78.5 percent increase in earnings compared with 2005, which he said was the result of higher sugar prices and increased demand from the preferential markets, notably the European Union and the United States.

    During 2006 Mozambique produced just over two million tonnes of cane, resulting in a production of 242,525 tonnes of sugar and 69,128 tonnes of molasses. Of this 140,000 tonnes of sugar was sold on the local market.

    Mozambique had hoped to produce a total of 279,000 tonnes of sugar in 2006 but poor rains and energy problems affecting irrigation pumps meant this figure was not achievable. Sugar producers said that heavy rains at inappropriate times of the year also resulted in a reduction in sugar content in the cane.

    The country hopes to achieve a cane production of 2.5 million tonnes in 2007 and has targeted a production of 292,000 tonnes of sugar and 85,000 tones of molasses. With future expansion Mozambique is aiming for a production of about 500,000 tonnes of sugar by 2012.

    Source - AIM

    Pic of the day – SPORTSQUEEN

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The general cargo freighter SPORTSQUEEN has called at South African ports on several occasions in recent years. This 12,666-gt ship, which was built in 1979, flies the Hong Kong flag and is registered to a Hong Kong-based company of the same name as the ship but is managed by Mumbai-based Accord Ship Management. Clearly sport plays an important role with those involved with the ship. Apart from her present name she has also ‘sported’ the names SPORTSMAN and CHIAN SPORTSMAN in the recent past. ’Picture Terry Hutson

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

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