Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 24, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Chinese ship Hong Success safe in East London harbour

  • Durban Container Terminal to shut on Sunday for COSMOS upgrade

  • SA ship repair faces bleak future as land shrinks

  • Trade facilitation shares stage at AGOA forum

  • Pic of the day – ORIENT STRIDE

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

    Chinese ship Hong Success safe in East London harbour

    A Chinese-owned general cargo ship, HONG SUCCESS sought shelter in the port of East London after encountering heavy seas off the Wild Coast which resulted in the 13,228-gt vessel’s deck cargo shifting dangerously.

    The Hong Success, which is owned by a St Vincent & Grenadines company named Hongli Shipping and is managed by the Chinese Hongyan Marine, was en route to Lagos in Nigeria when rough seas off the South African Wild Coast this week resulted in part of the deck cargo of truck trailers breaking loose and some cargo being lost overboard.

    The trailers were stacked on deck up to five high but broke loose due to the movement of the ship in gale force winds and waves of 6m and more. At that point the ship issued a radio message that was picked up by Cape Town’s marine radio advising that the Hong Success was experiencing difficulties and had lost stability due to the shifted and lost cargo.

    Permission was given for the ship to approach the port of East London where two harbour tugs lent assistance. The East London harbourmaster Capt Dennis Mqadi, who is in the process of handing over the reins of the port before leaving on transfer to Richards Bay where he will take up the position as harbourmaster, personally took charge of the inspection of the vessel at a point opposite Nahoon Reef outside the harbour before boarding the vessel from the pilot boat and piloting her into harbour.

    Yesterday morning Hong Success was safely in port where the remaining deck cargo is being secured and repairs to ships rails and other damaged areas carried out.

    Durban Container Terminal to shut on Sunday for COSMOS upgrade

    South African Port Operations has issued the following notice to clients:

    “Please be informed that the Durban Container Terminal COSMOS computer system will shut down on Sunday, 27 May 2007 from 18.00 to Monday, 28 May 2007 at 06.00 to ensure the necessary system upgrades are done.

    “The terminal gates will be closed from 17.00 on Sunday 27 May 2007 for all incoming traffic and it will be appreciated if you can schedule the collection and delivery of containers via road transport accordingly.

    “We regret any inconvenience caused, however this shut down is imperative to ensure we continue to render a quality service to our customers.”

    (signed) Moshe Mothiohi
    Business Unit Executive: Durban Container Terminal

    SA ship repair faces bleak future as land shrinks

    Minister of Public Enterprises Alec Erwin said on Tuesday that there was little land available for ship repair and boat building in the port of Cape Town.

    Addressing members of parliament in the national council of provinces Erwin said that ‘massive difficulties’ existed with regards the ongoing environmental impact assessment being undertaken for an expansion of the Cape Town Container Terminal.

    As a result it was becoming necessary for government to look at reserving land behind the existing terminal for future container expansion, which meant little land being available for other activities including ship repair.

    He said that government had planned to release a considerable portion of land behind the port for use by private industry, in particularly to the ship repair and boat building industries, but warned that this area might now have to be used for container terminal expansion instead.

    An independent study in Durban recently revealed that waterside property used for container handling earned considerably more revenue for the port authority than if used for other purposes including ship repair.

    Ship repair is becoming a growth industry at Cape Town port which is taking advantage of its proximity to the West African oil fields and other mining activities off the west coast. But at the same time the container terminal is coming under pressure from increased volumes and plans to expand the terminal seawards into Table Bay has fallen foul of environmental concerns, which has delayed and possibly stopped the process.

    Ship repair people in Cape Town warn that they are already losing hundreds of millions of rand in revenue due to being unable to accept additional business and that ships are being turned away on a weekly basis. At the same time the National Ports Authority, which administers the port’s two dry docks and repair facilities appears unable to spend money on upgrading or maintaining the facilities due to uncertainty over the future.

    The port of Durban is facing similar the same problems and for much the same reasons, with the NPA unable to maintain the dry dock to international standards because, it is said, of uncertainty over possible privatisation, while ship repair yards are now threatened by the planned expansion into the Bayhead of a new container terminal basin.

    If the proposed Bayhead basin is dug as initially envisaged all private ship repair yards including those of Southern African Shipyards, Elgin Brown & Hamer and Dormac on the waterfront plus several other companies behind will probably have to relocate. There has been no suggestion where this relocation might take place except some talk of Richards Bay.

    Trade facilitation shares stage at AGOA forum

    Washington - Trade facilitation will share the stage with finance, infrastructure development, product quality standards and a host of other economic issues at the Sixth African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum, U.S. officials say.

    The forum, which annually brings together high-level officials from the United States and representatives of the 38 AGOA-eligible countries, will take place in Accra, Ghana, 18-19 July 2007. US Trade Representative Susan Schwab and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns will attend.

    Briefing reporters last week (18 May) at the Washington Foreign Press Center, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said that in addition to an expanded agenda, for the first time the forum will include private sector and civil society participants. She was joined by representatives from the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

    AGOA provides duty-free treatment to more than 6,000 products from the AGOA countries. Thomas-Greenfield said that two-way trade between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa rose to a new high of $ 71 billion in 2006. US imports of AGOA-eligible products totaled $ 44.2 billion last year, up 16 percent from the 2005 level. Even though much of the growth was due to petroleum, she said that excluding petroleum, imports climbed 7 percent, or about $ 3.2 billion.

    Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa Florizelle Liser pointed out that the important aspect of this growth in trade is the diversification of the products beyond those typical to US-African trade. Among the products being imported are footwear, automobiles, prepared vegetables, processed fruits and cut flowers.

    “We know that simply providing market access and duty-free treatment … is not enough,” Liser said. “So we are looking at how do we actually help them to maximise the benefits, and how we can put some very practical steps into place that will in fact do that.”

    Walter North, acting USAID administrator for African affairs, said that USAID is committed to expanding capacity-building assistance in Africa.

    “We’re working to strengthen the knowledge and skills of sub-Saharan African private-sector enterprises to take advantage of market opportunities,” North said.

    With the involvement of participants from the private sector and civil society, the forum will be able to expand on strategies for strengthening trade and investment, Liser said. She pointed out that after several years of declining textile trade, major buyers like Wal-Mart and Target have been increasing their imports of apparel and textile items from Africa.

    The 2007 forum will include a session on textiles and apparel, along with concurrent sessions on agribusiness, home décor and wood products and strategies for diversifying the manufacturing sector.

    (Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, US Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

    Pic of the day – ORIENT STRIDE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The container ship ORIENT STRIDE(16,100-gt) of Asiatic Shipping Services Inc (ASSI) seen in Cape Town harbour during May 2007. ASSI operates a liner service between South East Asia and West Africa via India and South Africa. Picture by Ian Shiffman


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

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