Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 31, 2007
Author: P&S


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  • Grindrod acquires Tate & Lyles terminal operations

  • Positive vibes at Maputo Corridor Liaison Initiative AGM

  • Equatorial Guinea signs inspection contract with Swiss specialist

  • Pic of the day – MAERSK DRESDEN

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

    Grindrod acquires Tate & Lyles terminal operations

    Durban-based Grindrod announced yesterday that it has acquired the South African molasses and liquid bulk terminal operations of Tate & Lyle.

    The British company Tate & Lyle has operated liquid bulk storage terminals at Durban and Cape Town over many years, with the Durban operation used mainly for storage and export of molasses while the Cape Town operation handles imports of chemicals and vegetable oils.

    According to Chris Roberts of Tate & Lyle the reason for selling the South African operation is because of a decline in molasses volumes at Durban.

    Grindrod’s director Laurence Stuart-Hill said the purchase fitted in well with Grindrod’s strategy of expanding its land-freight business and in particular port side tank terminals.

    “Through our Unicorn Tanker operation we have considerable expertise and experience in this sector which extends to both petroleum and chemical products.”

    The terminals will be branded as Grindrod Tank Terminals

    Stuart-Hill said that the increasing demand for petroleum products in South Africa has led to a growing demand for petroleum storage and transit facilities in the ports. This demand would most likely be serviced by more imported product.

    “An opportunity also exists to provide portside tank facilities for import licensees which are in the process of being appointed for the importation of such fuels.”

    In the past two years Grindrod has acquired large bulk terminals at Walvis Bay and Maputo to add to existing port side terminals at Durban. Laurence-Hill said Grindrod intended establishing a liquid bulk terminal at Maputo where Grindrod is a shareholder in the Maputo Port Concession Company.

    Positive vibes at Maputo Corridor Liaison Initiative AGM

    The momentum of the Maputo Corridor is stimulating the economic growth of the whole corridor, says former Premier of Mpumalanga Province and now South African Chairman of the Maputo Corridor Liaison Initiative (MCLI), Dr Mathews Phosa.

    Phosa was addressing the annual general meeting of the MCLI which was held last week in Maputo.

    “We are not going to slow down. We will continue to drive with higher energy than before. We cannot support inefficiency and we must continue to promote the highest standards of efficiency on this corridor and the highest standards of performance at the port.”

    He made an appeal for the border posts to be open 24 hours a day to ensure that the efficiency of the corridor is achieved, and he appealed to the private sector to increase the volumes on rail between Gauteng and Maputo and between Swaziland and Maputo, emphasising the need for Swaziland to participate more actively on the corridor. Swaziland was an important partner and had a key role to play in the economic growth of the region, Phosa said.

    Current Mpumalanga Provincial Premier Thabang Makwetla has named the corridor one of five flagship projects in the province.

    In his address to the AGM Mozambique’s Transport Minister Antonio Munguambe referred to the scanners in use in Mozambique and said he was hopeful that a solution would be found to the dispute over charging for scanning. Munguambe encouraged the various role players in both the public and private sector to continue to keep the dialogue open on issues affecting this corridor, particularly those presenting barriers to investment, and to work together to create an environment favourable for economic growth.

    According to David Gomes, Commercial Director of Mozambican Ports and Railways (CFM), there is a strengthening of working relationship between CFM and Spoornet on the operation of the line from Ressano Garcia to Maputo which has seen steady and consistent growth in both coal and magnetite movement to the port, as well as an increase in general cargo trains.

    He said that short term growth on the corridor will see an increase in fuel, containers, steel, ferrochrome, sulphur, vermiculite, granite, sugar, citrus and cars moving along this route.

    “Projections are that we will increase coal from the current 23 to 35 trains per week, and magnetite from 12 to 14 trains per week.,” said Gomes who was also upbeat about the additional benefits of the completion of the rehabilitation of the line which would enable 20 ton axle loads, and the running of longer and heavier trains as a result of introducing air brake operations and additional capacity. The target for rail service on the Maputo Corridor is 9 million tons by 2009.

    The long unresolved issue of the border crossing also came in for comment, with a senior official of the Mozambique Revenue Authority and convener of the bilateral committee dealing with the border post initiative, Dr Danilo Nala reporting that the one stop border post is no longer a dream but a reality.

    While his statement may be slightly premature, Nala went on to advise that the one stop border principle will be applied in three locations, one for commercial freight, one for passengers and one for rail.

    He said that indications are that the current border post at Komatipoort/Ressano Garcia would be upgraded and refurbished to process passengers and tourists jointly by the two countries, while goods trucks would be processed at Kilometre 4 just beyond the Ressano Garcia border post. Nala also pointed out that the bilateral teams have been set up and will finalise the working groups before their next meeting around mid June.

    “Infrastructure is only one element of a complex project. By 2009 we must have this border post working efficiently,” he said.

    The Maputo Port Development Company’s Dick Moore reported on the steady growth in tonnages through Port Maputo, and the increase in shipping lines calling to the port. He alluded to the new bulk liquids terminal which is under construction, and which is planned to deal with the significant increase in demand for fuels and bio fuels.

    Also in the pipeline is a ferrochrome terminal and a car terminal, which are among projects amounting to an investment of some $ 273 million, and which are on hold until the resolution of the scanning issue.

    Moore pointed out that the port’s annual growth rate of 12 – 16 percent per annum from 2003 had slowed to 2 percent as a result of the introduction of the scanner at the port. He expressed the hope that negotiations would resolve the issue to allow the port to operate a world class security system and maintain its competitiveness.

    Equatorial Guinea signs inspection contract with Swiss specialist

    Cotecna, the Swiss-based inspection group, has signed a six year contract with the government of Equatorial Guinea which includes pre-shipment inspection, document verification at the point of origin (which will be carried out by Cotecna’s worldwide network), and destination scanning at the ports of entry.

    The verification process will make use of Cotecna’s Computerised Risk Management System (CRMS), a powerful IT customs application that collects and analyses trade transactions to assign the correct level of intervention according to risk.

    The Swiss firm will set up offices in the maritime ports and airports of Bata and Malabo where the operations will take place. A total of four scanners will be deployed – a mobile scanner at each maritime port and a pallet scanner at each airport.

    Equatorial Guinea has massive oil reserves that have recently begun being exploited and the inspection contract indicates the government’s intention of increasing internal and external security as well as modernising the country’s customs and tax situation.

    Pic of the day – MAERSK DRESDEN

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The 50,644-gt container ship MAERSK DRESDEN seen in Cape Town harbour during May. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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