Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 30, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Africa a challenging and costly market to operate in, says Maersk Line

  • Musical chairs for NPA harbour masters

  • SAPO appoints Nikki Mbengashe as new Business Unit Executive of Saldanha MPT

  • Durban Container Terminal gets new Business Unit Manager

  • Global warming can alter shipping lanes

  • Pic of the day – HMS ENTERPRISE

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    Africa a challenging and costly market to operate in, says Maersk Line

    Some form of private involvement in port terminal operation is essential for Africa’s ports if they wish to improve efficiencies, says Jan Scheck, Maersk Line’s Area Line & Operations Manager.

    Scheck, who was speaking at the 5th Intermodal Africa Conference currently underway in Durban, South Africa, said that wherever some form of private partnership in port terminals had been introduced there has been an improvement in productivity.

    Africa is a challenging and costly market to do business in, with a considerably different risk profile compared with markets in Europe, USA and large parts of Asia and is a substantially more expensive place, he said.

    He pointed out that very little infrastructure development has happened in Africa despite the 10 – 25 percent year on year volume increase already experienced and despite an expected doubling of container growth within Sub Saharan Africa over the next eight years.

    “The majority of terminals in Africa are still managed by parastatal organisations and there has been little involvement of the private sector, while customs procedures remain outdated and unable to cope with the increased container flows.”

    “Container handling in Africa costs the African manufacturer a staggering 290 percent more than his European competitor and lacking infrastructure is clearly an inhibitor to accelerated trade growth.”

    He added that Africa has 18 percent of the world’s population yet accounts for a mere 2 percent of world trade. “Lacking infrastructure was clearly an inhibitor to accelerated trade growth,” he claimed.

    In 2005 Africa (including the Indian Ocean islands) had seven terminal bottlenecks – Apapa in Nigeria, Matadi in the DRC, Luanda in Angola, Cape Town and Durban in South Africa, Mombasa in Kenya and Port Sudan in Sudan, said Scheck. A year later these had increased to 14 bottlenecks and now included Dakar in Senegal, Conakry in Guinea, Tema in Ghana, Cotonou in Benin, Pointe Noire in Congo, Walvis Bay in Namibia, Dar es salaam in Tanzania and Port Louis in Mauritius – these plus the original seven.

    Quoting examples of the above Scheck said that in Luanda the average waiting time at anchorage was 72 hours while average berth productivity was 9.6 container moves per hour. Some other port examples he gave as follows:

    Matadi 96 hours and 6.9 moves p/h.
    Walvis Bay 36 hours and 15 moves p/h.
    Port Sudan 48 hours and 15 moves p/h.
    Cotonou 48 hours and 17 moves p/h.
    Dar es Salaam 48 hours and 18 moves p/h.
    Mombasa 36 hours and 16 moves p/h.
    Durban 36 hours and 27 moves p/h.
    Cape Town 12 hours and 18 moves p/h.
    Tema 18 hours and 11.7 moves p/h.

    The conference ends today.

    Musical chairs for NPA harbour masters

    Several South African harbour masters are about to be transferred to other ports and at least one new appointment is likely.

    This scenario has been learned by Ports & Ships but National Ports Authority is expected to make an announcement only on Monday (2 April 2007).

    The transfers are as a result of the need to relieve Captain Mike Brophy of one of his portfolios – he is currently Harbour Master at the port of Durban, the busiest port in Africa, while also holding down the position as the NPA’s Chief Harbour Master.

    According to our sources Rufus Lekala, currently Harbour Master of Cape Town is to move to Durban to take over as Harbour Master of the port. His replacement in Cape Town is to be Captain Ravi Naicker the current Harbour Master at the port of Richards Bay.

    That’s where our information runs out – we have no idea at this stage who will take Naicker’s place as harbour master at Richards Bay.

    Durban currently has two assistant or deputy Harbour Masters, Captains Sanks Plaatje and Captain Sanjay Sen. As far as is known they will continue in those positions.

    Ports & Ships hopes to confirm these changes on Monday 2 April.

    SAPO appoints Nikki Mbengashe as new Business Unit Executive of Saldanha MPT

    SA Port Operations (SAPO) says in a statement that Nikki Mbengashe, as a qualified Industrial Engineer with an MBA from the UCT Graduate School of Business majoring in Financial Management, Advanced Leadership and New Ventures, certainly has the qualifications to steer Saldanha Multi Purpose Terminal (MPT) to greater heights as the newly appointed Business Unit Executive.

    “The terminal is well known for good performance and we need to exploit this to bring in new business. Although we are not ideally located, the savings for clients due to our operational efficiencies, such as quicker vessel turnaround times, more than compensates for any cost associated with letting their cargo come through Saldanha,” says Mbengashe.

    She believes other opportunities lie in the terminal offering value added services, being more involved in the value chains of commodities handled, and forming part of inland deliveries from all the major manufacturers within Saldanha.

    “The port is currently sitting with a rail siding that can be used in such activities versus the use of road transport as currently utilised by local companies. The potential savings for them are big.”

    Mbengashe was involved in the Vulindlela project which had success with Truck Turnaround Times and increased gate capacity. She was also part of the implementation of the first PDI and compound facility in a SAPO car terminal.

    In 2005, Mbengashe studied at Antwerp/Flaunders Port Training Centre in Belgium, where the main focus was on creating and taking more ownership of value chains around the ports, as a port operator.

    Before joining SAPO Mbengashe worked at Corning South Africa and Delta Motor Corporation.

    source - SAPO press release

    Durban Container Terminal gets new Business Unit Manager

    Moshe Motlohi, previously Head of Operations at Durban Container Terminal (DCT) has been appointed Business Unit Executive at DCT.

    Motlohi has been in operations for the last 10 years, with a seven year history at South African Breweries and four years at SAPO. At the South African Breweries he received an Innovations award for the Eastern Cape and the first ever Silver Award in the field of Operations for his depot.

    As Chief Operations Manager in Port Elizabeth, Motlohi was responsible for bringing together the operation’s four entities (Container, Break-bulk, Bulk and Car Terminal) under one unit.

    As Head of Operations at DCT, Motlohi was involved in introducing the middle shift as SAPO’s response to high truck arrival between 10:00 and 18:00, and he led DCT during the last peak when record volumes were handled. DCT believes that it is through its employees that it will deliver on its mandate. Last year it was the first terminal to have peak launch (DCT managers practically prepared meals for all DCT at the beginning of each shift).

    “One of the biggest challenges we are facing at DCT is capacity creation - landside, waterside, human resource, additional stacking space and equipment availability. We need to have capacity to handle 6000 moves / day during the next peak. Other challenges involve building the culture of ownership, problem solving and focused management around the clock, 24/7,” says Motlohi.

    “In landside, we have opportunities to get more moves per straddle carrier and in waterside we have to handle a container every 2.5 minutes. We need to eliminate idle time. Through full staff flexibility and equipment redeployment we can go a long way in achieving our goal of 6000 moves a day.”

    source - SAPO press release

    Global warming can alter shipping lanes

    Warnings about the effects of global warming are nothing new but a Professor Bruce Hewitson, who heads up the University of Cape Town’s Climate Systems Analysis Group gave them some thought-provoking meaning during a conference held in Graham’s Town in South Africa’s Eastern Cape.

    If the arctic sea-ice continues to melt at its present rate ports like Cape Town and other South African ports stand to lose two thirds of their shipping traffic, he said during his keynote lecture at the opening of Graham’s Town’s Sasol SciFest 2007.

    These weren’t mere scare tactics being employed – his reasoning is based on trade that currently comes around the Cape on account of it being one of only two available routes for ships too large to traverse the Suez or Panama Canals. However should global warming continue and the arctic sea-ice melts at its present rate the Great North-West Passage will become an economically attractive alternative route within 20 or 30 years.

    While the professor’s evaluation of its effect on South Africa ports may be somewhat exaggerated (super tankers and large ore ships offer small financial incentive to South African ports and seldom call at the ports), his point on the changes to sea routes makes for interesting consideration.

    Professor Hewitson isn’t alone in his conclusions – he is one of 22 scientists who recently presented the Fourth Assessment Report of UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which was released in Paris last month.

    Man has dreamed (and attempted to find) the North-West Passage for generations, as he has with efforts to find a route across the top of Europe and Asia (North-East Passage). If the scientists are correct and climate changes continue, this may well become a reality sooner than anyone has expected.

    Pic of the day – HMS ENTERPRISE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    HMS ENTERPRISE in Cape Town harbour recently. The 3,500 ton Echo class survey ship is one of two built in recent years (2002 and 2003) to replace older generation survey vessels. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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

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