Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 3, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • New cyclone threatens Indian Ocean islands and Madagascar

  • Port Elizabeth upset over cruise terminal decision

  • Government to tighten up on Seta revenue

  • SA ports seen as revenue providers

  • Safmarine made GM Supplier of the Year

  • Pic of the day – SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE

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

    New cyclone threatens Indian Ocean islands and Madagascar

    The path of Cyclone Jaya on a heading towards north-east Madagascar. Image courtesy Joint Typhoon Warning Centre.  CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

    After a lull of several weeks another cyclone is heading towards the north east coast of Madagascar.

    Earlier on Monday Tropical Cyclone Jaya passed slightly to the north of Tromelin heading westward in the direction of Madagascar along a similar path to that taken by the previous cyclone Indlala, which came ashore on the northern Madagascan coast leaving considerable devastation in several areas of the island.

    Cyclone Jaya is expected to come ashore near Antalaha in which case it is likely that the ports of Antsiranana (Diego-Suarez) and the main port of Toamasina will feel the effects of the storm. The port of Majunga on the west coast may also take some of the brunt of the storm as well.

    Meteo France recorded conditions as 950 hPa with winds of 85 knots (157 km/h over 10 minute sustained periods) at 00.00 hours UTC on Monday 2 April, gusting to 110 knots. The storm was moving 270 degrees true at 9 knots and waves in excess of 8 metres were being measured.

    Satellite image of Cyclone Jaya as at 2 April 2007. Image courtesy Tropical Storm Risk.com.  CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

    Port Elizabeth upset over cruise terminal decision

    Disappointment has been registered at the decision by the National Ports Authority (NPA) not to convert an existing cargo shed into a cruise terminal at Port Elizabeth.

    The Minister of Public Enterprises Alec Erwin is reported to have said earlier that the port needed better passenger facilities because of the increasing number of passenger ships calling at the Eastern Cape port. This led to an expectation that Shed 12 would be converted for use as a passenger terminal.

    However according to a Democratic Alliance member of parliament the minister has now indicated that the NPA will not be going ahead with the conversion of a shed alongside berth 12.

    DA member Eddie Trent is reported to have said he is shocked at the about turn after the minister gave an assurance last year that the shed would be converted to meet the requirements of an increasing number of cruise ships.

    The NPA has indicated that the shed is required for more important and urgent use for commercial cargo, which outweighed the demand for its use by passengers.

    Port Elizabeth currently receives about 6500 passengers a year during the ‘cruise season’ (summer months) during which time up to ten ships may call at the port.

    The reaction in Port Elizabeth echoes similar calls at Durban for a dedicated cruise terminal to replace the N-Shed passenger terminal – a converted cargo shed that was extensively renovated a number of years ago.

    In Durban, as is the case with many passenger ship calls elsewhere, little use is made of the passenger terminal except when passenger exchanges are made in the port. The notable exception for Durban is with the resident cruise ship Melody for which the terminal becomes an important facility for both customs and immigration and for embarkation and luggage control reasons. Port Elizabeth however doesn’t have need for this service as cruise ship visits are of the passing ship variety and immigration control is done on board the vessel before passengers disembark.

    In these circumstances the response by the NPA in Port Elizabeth seems both logical and sensible.

    Government to tighten up on Seta revenue

    Government intends introducing stronger conditions over money collected by the sector education and training authorities (Setas), following the scandal involving the financial asset investment company Fidentia.

    Transport Education & Training Authority (Teta) faces the loss of R245 million in fees collected from its members after investing this amount with Fidentia, an action that has led to strong criticism and anger. Teta says it intends applying to the courts to use the assets of Fidentia to recover the moneys it invested with Fidentia but this will be a lengthy process with no guarantee of success.

    Recently black empowered crewing services company Marine Crewing Services (MCS) blamed vested interest at the Seta and Teta decision-making levels for the loss of Teta funding (see Ports & Ships News Bulletin 5 March 2007).

    “We need to remove vested interest from these decision-making bodies in order to ensure that funding is allocated for projects of national strategic importance,” said MCS managing director Jan Rabie.

    Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana announced at the weekend that government intends curbing the financial discretion of the Setas following the loss suffered by Teta. Mdladlana said Setas were not in the stock exchange business but should ensure that funds entrusted to them via levies imposed on employees were used for the purposes for which they were intended.

    SA ports seen as revenue providers

    The ports in South Africa see themselves as trade enablers due to the large infrastructure investments already in place, whereas South African ports are in reality revenue providers.

    This was the gist of a talk given last week by Jorge Ferraz during last week’s 5th Intermodal Africa Conference held in Durban. Ferraz is the managing director of the MIPS Container Terminal in Maputo and head of DP World in Southern Africa.

    In addition to MIPS in Maputo DP World operates a stevedoring and warehouse business at most South African ports.

    “A revenue provider is a cash cow for the state, which due to its monopolistic positioning within the region, allows the ports to charge above international competitive rates to boost earnings, while operational inefficiencies are being recovered through extra charges applied often by complimentary logistic service providers,” Ferraz said.

    Answering his own question as to what is the difference between a revenue provider and a trade enabler, he said that a revenue provider is a port that offers just below average services and penalises users by charging excessively high rates for these services.

    “The objective of a revenue provider is to maximise income at the customers’ expense whereas a trade enabler is a port that drives trade by providing users with a reliable link to the world markets, at a subsidised cost that creates an artificial competitive advantage.”

    Ferraz said the trade enabler’s objective is to encourage trade at the state’s expense. Neither approach is healthy.

    If South Africa’s port authority wished to become an international player, as has been indicated, then it needs to find a balance between revenue earnings and trade enabling that encourages investment and efficiency, he said.

    To achieve this the NPA needed to encourage competition between terminals within the same port and between other ports within the region. There was also a need to encourage development of port access and to encourage competitive value added services in close proximity to the ports, including warehousing, container depots, packing and unpacking facilities etc.

    “By opening the doors to competition, efficiencies will improve which will ultimately lead towards high margins and lower costs to the trade,” he said.

    Ferraz pointed out that DP World and PSA had developed primarily as transhipment hubs which allowed them to compete internationally with other regions. If South Africa’s port authority is on the path to being an international player then it should not do so at the cost of local trade.

    “Instead it (the NPA) should make it a priority of becoming competitive within the local market, as this will open the doors to becoming competitive on the international scene.”

    Safmarine made GM Supplier of the Year

    Antwerp 2 April 2007 - Multi-trade shipping line Safmarine was presented with the General Motors 2006 Supplier of the Year award for its overall business performance in providing GM with world-class parts and services on Saturday 31 March. The 15th annual award – themed the “Best of the Best” - was given at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes in Orlando, Florida, USA.

    “We are proud to honour Safmarine as one of the ‘Best of the Best’ GM suppliers in 2006,” said Bo Andersson, GM group vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. “Safmarine achieved the award based on outstanding performance in 2006. We appreciate their energy, hard work and dedication to the success of GM.”

    According to Safmarine CEO, Ivan Heesom-Green: “This recognition from General Motors, the world's largest automaker, is a great honour and we regard the award as proof that Safmarine’s ‘people making the difference’ philosophy is a winning philosophy that offers value to our customers.

    ”After all, it is our customers who measure whether we are achieving our vision of being the carrier of choice for existing and future customers,” Heesom-Green said.

    The GM Supplier of the Year award began as a global program in 1992. Winners are selected by a global team of executives from purchasing, engineering, manufacturing and logistics who base their decisions on supplier performance in quality, service, technology and price. This year, General Motors honored 89 suppliers for their outstanding performance throughout 2006.

    source – Safmarine press release

    Pic of the day – SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE sails from Durban during March 2007 after undergoing minor repairs in the port’s dry dock. The cruise ship was caught in a tropical cyclone off the north-eastern coast of Madagascar and forced to seek shelter in the port of Antsiranana, where many passengers disembarked and returned home. The ship subsequently sailed to Durban for inspection and repairs. Picture by 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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