Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 17, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Mombasa dredging plans gets government approval

  • Still little clarity over Port of Ngqura

  • Mogadishu traders resume importing and exporting through port

  • Transfer of harbour masters confirmed

  • SAECS drops SAFMARINE NOMAZWE from next Durban call

  • Pic of the day – MSC HARMONY

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    Mombasa dredging plan gets government approval

    Nairobi, 16 April 2007 - Kenyan transport minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere said at the weekend that the government has granted approval for the long-awaited dredging of Mombasa harbour.

    The minister said the Sh3.5billion dredging contract, which involves deepening the Likoni channel, will be completed within three years. The project was necessary to avoid any risk of Mombasa becoming a mere feeder port on the East African coast, he said.

    Were this to happen the cost of transport would rise accordingly. The minister said that the dredging project would commence this year and be completed by 2010. It will be undertaken in three phases, and would take place alongside another project of constructing a second container terminal at an estimated cost of Sh20 billion. A Japanese company has been identified for the container terminal project.

    The combined projects would intended to help modernise the port of Mombasa and equip it for future challenges.

    Like other ports along the Africa coast Mombasa faces the threat of being isolated by major shipping lines as they introduce larger tonnage vessels on the African services. In South Africa the average size of the larger container ships now calling at Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town is in the order of 4000-TEU, compared with 3000-TEU a decade ago, while 5000-TEU ships have been introduced by several lines. All indications are that ships will continue to get even bigger on these services.

    As a result a massive project of deepening the harbour at Durban is underway, including widening the port entrance to accommodate the larger ships in greater safety. Mombasa clearly faces a similar challenge and the dredging project will help assure the Kenyan port’s place as the major hub to the East African region.

    "The maritime industry is faced with challenges such as rapid growth in container traffic, increasing ship sizes requiring deeper draughts and better equipment, as well as heightened competition between ports," Kenya’s Transport Minister pointed out.

    sources East African Standard and The Nation

    Still little clarity over Port of Ngqura

    When thinking about the Port of Ngqura in the Eastern Cape of South Africa the word ‘obfuscate’ inevitably comes to mind. The dictionary describes this little used word as meaning to obscure, or bewilder, which is exactly what shipping people face when wondering exactly what is happening here.

    The matter came up in two places in the last week. One was a report in the Business Day that the National Ports Authority remains interested in plans of bringing in a private partner for the container terminal. This interesting piece of information was credited to the NPA’s chief executive, Kgomotso Philele who apparently revealed that talks with a private sector partner had failed because that company (P&O Nedlloyd) had made unacceptable and demanding preconditions such as diverting cargo from Durban in order to justify the Ngqura/Coega development.

    On top of that the shipping line also wanted the NPA to close the harbour at Port Elizabeth.

    If these were the reasons for the failed talks then the NPA and Transnet are to be applauded for their decision, if only for the reason that market forces should surely always dictate where and when someone’s cargo should be discharged or loaded.

    Ever since the idea of a new port at Coega was first revealed, back in 1996, it has been argued that a major drawback to the proposed port is its isolation from the main industrial markets of Gauteng when compared with the KwaZulu-Natal (and even Maputo) harbours.

    Subsequent suggestions that the future prosperity for Ngqura lay in creating a transhipment hub have since gained some favour, although sadly there has been little indication from SA Port Operations (SAPO), which was given the responsibility of preparing the terminal for future use, of how they see the terminal being utilised.

    We now learn that the port will not be ready for use until 2009, and this delay is a result of protracted negotiations between the government, Eskom, and the Canadian aluminium manufacturer Alcan over the building of a smelter near the port. In the meantime the cost of building the port has escalated by another R2 billion and is likely to increase still further before that first ship puts into harbour.

    But if the waters around Coega appear murky – that word obfuscate again springs to mind, for another meaning is ‘to darken’ - then at least there’s some brightness over the horizon at nearby Port Elizabeth. It turns out (this is the second snippet to come our way) that the NPA is in discussion with shipping lines and with Asabosa (Association of Ship’s Agents and Brokers) over the benefits of turning Port Elizabeth into a 24-hour port as compared with its present 16-hour day. Now that’s a pleasant retort for anyone who may still be harbouring thoughts that Coega/Ngqura’s future lies in shutting down its older neighbour.

    Mogadishu traders resume importing and exporting through port

    Mogadishu, 15 April 2007 - Traders in the port city of Mogadishu say they have begun importing and exporting through the harbour, in a sign that stability may be slowly returning to the troubled city.

    The traders’ association have initiated talks with the interim government over tax issues, of which the Somali interim government and the traders have remained at odds in recent weeks. The government initially imposed harsh taxes on commodities being imported and exported through Mogadishu’s seaport but this has since been partly relaxed.

    As a result of the dispute traders protested by halting the importation of foodstuffs for a month, demanding that government reduced the taxes. The fact that they are able to suggests there is some semblance of governance in this country

    source - Shabelle Media Network

    Transfer of harbour masters confirmed

    The National Ports Authority (NPA) has confirmed some of the harbour master transfers first revealed by Ports & Ships on 30 March 2007 (see our News Bulletin of that date).

    Captain Mike Brophy, who held the post of Chief Harbour Master as well as that of Harbour Master at Durban, relinquishes the latter position to devote more time to national matters. He will continue to operate from Durban.

    His place as Harbour Master of Africa’s busiest port has gone to Rufus Lekala, the former Harbour Master at Cape Town. In turn Lekala’s replacement in Cape Town is Captain Ravi Naicker, until recently Harbour Master at Richards Bay.

    What we weren’t able to reveal on 30 March was the identity of the new Harbour Master for Richards Bay, in place of Ravi Naicker. That person is Dennis Mqadi, present Harbour Master at the port of East London.

    Who goes to East London? That’s where our source of information dries up once again. Watch this space. There will however be a short delay before Mqadi moves to the Zululand port and an acting harbour master has been appointed from among the pool of pilots at Richards Bay. That man is Ashwani Pathak, who in September 2005 suffered severe injuries when surviving the crash of the port helicopter in which the helicopter’s winchman died.

    SAECS drops Safmarine Nomazwe from next Durban call

    Member lines of the South Africa Europe Container Service (SAECS) indicated yesterday their intention to omit the port of Durban from the schedule for the container ship SAFMARINE NOMAZWE’s next call in South Africa (Voyage 704A/B).

    The decision was taken on account of the ship departing South Africa 5 days late on her current schedule (Voyage 703B) and the omission of Durban will help recover the delay.

    The updated schedule for this vessel is as follows:

    Date    Voy   Name              Voy   Date
    070316 703A Las Palmas     703A  070317
    OMIT    703A Cape Town    703A  OMIT
    070327 703A Port Elizabeth 703B  070328
    070330 703A Durban          703B  070401
    070403 703B Cape Town     703B  070407
    070415 703B Las Palmas      703B  070415
    070420 703B Rotterdam       704A  070421
    070423 703B Tilbury            704A  070424
    070424 703B Bremerhaven    704A  070425
    070429 704A Las Palmas       704A  070429
    070507 704A Cape Town       704A  70508
    070509 704A Port Elizabeth   704B  070510
    OMIT    704A Durban            704B  OMIT
    070513 704B Cape Town       704B  070514
    070523 704B Las Palmas       704B  070523

    source – MOL South Africa

    Pic of the day – MSC HARMONY

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    Container ship MSC HARMONY in Cape Town harbour on Friday, 13 April 2007. The 19,819-gt ship, which is on charter to the Mediterranean Shipping Company, was built in 1994 and formerly sailed as the Northern Harmony and before that with the name City of Tunis. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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

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