Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 20, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Spoornet says there’s no chance of achieving Richards Bay coal expansion

  • Coega IDZ earmarked for a peaking power plant

  • Botswana Railways and Spoornet agree to do business together

  • MSC Maritime School sponsors America’s Cup team Shosholoza

  • Bosch Projects appointed Project Manager at Richards Bay DBT

  • Temporary reprieve for used motor vehicle importers

  • Pic of the day – JOLLY ORO

    EMAIL: jhughes@hugheship.com
    WEB SITE: www.hugheship.com

    Spoornet says there’s no chance of achieving Richards Bay coal expansion

    Spoornet has revealed that it is unable to meet the planned expansion targets set for the Richards Bay Coal Terminal.

    It took a competition tribunal hearing this week to bring these facts out into the open – and to confirm the suspicions of many people – that the targets set of 91 million tonnes by 2009 are overly optimistic on several counts.

    The projected expansion of the coal terminal at Richards Bay aims at increasing capacity from the present 72 million tonnes a year to 91mt by 2009, and until to now it was thought the only factor holding back this achievement was the time Spoornet required to replace an ageing locomotive and wagon fleet.

    Statements by government and Transnet indicated that Spoornet would go ahead with orders for additional locomotives and wagons for the coal line, cementing the impression that once these began arriving Spoornet would be capable of handling the increased volumes.

    This week however the competition tribunal heard from Spoornet’s business manager for the coal line, Mac van der Merwe, that the rail company would in fact not be ready – principally because contracts between the rail company and the mining houses over an additional volume of traffic had not been agreed.

    Van der Merwe said Spoornet had the capacity to move 78mt of coal each year, in terms of existing contracts signed with the coal terminal. However the rail company was unable to take any steps towards achieving 91mt because contracts with the mining companies have not been concluded, despite ongoing talks over a period lasting several years.

    Once a decision was reached with these mining houses, said van der Merwe, Spoornet would be able to increase capacity on the line by 3-milion tonnes a year, which meant it would take until 2013 before the line could carry 91mt.

    However, there is also some doubt as to whether the mines – in particular some of the emerging mining companies, will be able to produce sufficient coal and to create the necessary infrastructure for export. Added to that is the fact that in the past year Richards Bay Coal Terminal fell short on its budgeted targets because of a lack of delivery of coal from the mines resulting from adverse weather as well as derailments along the railway line.

    Coega IDZ earmarked for a peaking power plant

    The Coega Industrial Development Zone has been identified as one of two sites earmarked for proposed peaking power plants.

    The Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) has embarked on a project to procure about 1,000 Megawatts (MW) of new peaking generation capacity. This will be a contribution by the DME to meeting the country’s electricity capacity requirements for 2009 and 2010. The proposed Coega peaking power plant output is expected to be around 400 MW.

    The plant is expected to operate mostly during peak electricity demand periods. However, it may also be operated during periods when other power plants are under maintenance or when security of supply of the national grid is threatened.

    The Coega plant will utilise open cycle gas turbines and be based on proven technology that is commonly used for similar applications worldwide.

    One of the fuel sources for the plant is expected to be the fuel depot located in the Port Elizabeth harbour. An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the proposed project is currently underway and has assessed the potential negative impacts as well as the benefits of the project. The draft Environmental Impact Report is in circulation for public comment.

    About 500-800 people are expected to be employed during the construction phase. About 25 percent of this number will be unskilled labour while the remainder will be semi-skilled and skilled individuals. A number of these people will be sourced through the Coega Human Capital Solutions unit. Approximately 55 people will be employed during the operation of the plant.

    One of the contractual conditions for contractors involved in this project will be to stipulate the percentage of local labour employment, use of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) and training initiatives to improve the capacity of the local labour force.

    “Such initiatives confirm the government’s confidence in the Coega IDZ and the Eastern Cape at large. Locating a project of this nature in the IDZ puts Coega on the map as a significant destination nationally for big infrastructure projects”, says Vuyelwa Qinga – Vika, CDC spokesperson.

    This project should go a long way in alleviating fears that potential investors and electricity users have about power interruptions in the future, said Qinga.

    source – Coega Development Corporarion

    Botswana Railways and Spoornet agree to do business together

    Spoornet and Botswana Railways have agreed on a joint approach to harmonise business opportunities along the rail network linking South Africa and Botswana with countries to the north.

    The railway from Mafikeng in South Africa through Botswana and reaching into Zimbabwe is the oldest rail route to the north, predating the railway through Beit Bridge. However in recent years relations between the two railway companies has not always been what it should and much of the rail traffic has been diverted through Beit Bridge.

    As a result of the new agreements reached this past weekend Botswana stands to gain the most in terms of increased traffic through the landlocked country, including both breakbulk and container cargo, as well as a sharing of resources.

    In a ceremony marking the signing of the agreements neither company was prepared to provide much detail of what was agreed other than in generalities. However Botswana Railways’ director of marketing and supply, Taolo Sebongo did say that a major marketing exercise would take place which is designed to restore the Botswana route as the most suitable and cost effective rail corridor linking the north and the southern countries within SADC.

    Sebonego said that Botswana Railways had lost in the order of P1 million annually over the past five years on account of the diversion of traffic to the Beit Bridge corridor. It had been agreed at a previous meeting held a year ago to conduct a study to determine the more cost effective of the two rail corridors.

    MSC Maritime School sponsors America’s Cup team Shosholoza

    The Mediterranean Shipping Company Maritime School, which is designed specifically for in-house soft skills and Industry specific training, has registered for accreditation with TETA (Transport Education Training Authority) and aligned its material to NQF (National Qualifications Framework) and SAQA (South African Qualification Authority) standards.

    The focus aims at up and coming individuals in the shipping industry who are offered post matric and tertiary education opportunities.

    This school is one of the few truly South African companies which has fully embraced the idea of Team Shosholoza, and has given under-privileged and disadvantaged people the opportunity to compete against the best teams in the world.

    Team Shosholoza is the official South African Challenger in the America’s Cup and the first African team to compete in this spectacular event.

    The courses being run by the school are in-house focused but will be made available to companies and to the general public.

    Bosch Projects appointed Project Manager at Richards Bay DBT

    Bosch Projects has been appointed as project management contractors for the refurbishment programme at the Richards Bay Dry Bulk Terminal (DBT).

    The DBT is operated by SA Port Operations (SAPO) which committed itself to boosting efficiencies at the Richards Bay port’s Dry Bulk Terminal.

    Bosch Projects is overseeing the refurbishment of large sections of original equipment, including over 40 km of conveyor routes, ship loaders and unloaders, as well as rail tipplers.

    “The Richards Bay port’s dry bulk terminal, which was built in 1976 has large sections still operating with the original aged equipment and is struggling to cope with increasing demands. Efficiency levels are now reported as being at about 60 percent of the designed capacity,” says Dave Chappelow, business director of Bosch Projects.

    “In close conjunction with SAPO, Bosch Projects is geared to restore the bulk terminal to its former operational capacity, when it was dubbed ‘the Singapore of South Africa’ because of its high productivity levels.

    Chappelow said that Bosch Projects has mobilised a full team to site and a carefully structured refurbishment programme has been implemented, to ensure that the project is carried out on schedule, with minimal disruption to port operations.

    He said the company has maintained a close working relationship with the terminal for over 10 years and has been involved in all of the major terminal expansion projects. These projects include the construction of a 200,000 tonne coking storage facility, an alumina and petcoke import route and a high capacity woodchip export route.

    Temporary reprieve for used motor vehicle importers

    Importers of second-hand motor vehicles won a reprieve in a Durban court this week allowing them to resume driving the imports on South African roads.

    The reversal came about after an urgent application was lodged by clearing agents, receivers and shippers against a ruling by the Minister of Transport and the SA Revenue Services which had halted the issuing of permits to drive imported used vehicles arriving through South African ports to their final destination in neighbouring countries.

    According to the Dept of Transport many of the used vehicles do not meet with South African standards of roadworthiness. SARS believes that some of the vehicles being imported were being illegally registered and sold in South Africa.

    The ruling by a Durban High Court judge this week means that vehicles may continue to be driven in transit across the country, subject to the issuing of permits, until the matter receives a final determination by the Constitutional Court.

    It is believed that up to 70,000 used motor vehicles enter South Africa through the ports annually, in transit to neighbouring countries where their sale is legal.

    Pic of the day – JOLLY ORO

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The 29,718-gt Ro-Ro vessel JOLLY ORO of Ignazio Messina Line, which trades between Genoa and the Mediterranean and Durban, with calls at Maputo, Mombasa and Red Sea ports. Picture copyright SHIPHOTO INTERNATIONAL email shack@iafrica.com

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

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