Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 27, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Transnet results: another good year

  • Uganda plans a rail route from Lake Victoria

  • Coastwatch: task force to fast-track port clearance

  • Namibian pilchard quota could be announced by July

  • Pic of the day – BASS BULKER

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

    Transnet results: another good year

    Transnet grew its revenue 8 percent to R28.2 Billion in the recent financial year, ended 31 March 2007.

    Chief Executive Maria Ramos said that all operating divisions, with the exception of Spoornet, had grown volumes strongly. She blamed Spoornet’s lack of growth on capacity constraints, customer production problems and derailments but said the group-wide re-engineering programme known as Vulindlela had become a priority in re-equipping Spoornet and improving maintenance programmes.

    Ramos said the group had faced many operational challenges throughout the year. These included the shiploader structure at the port of Saldanha and rough seas which were experienced in March 2007, which forced the closure of the ports of Richards Bay, Durban and East London. Adverse weather patterns prevented coal mines from producing required export volumes but despite these setbacks Transnet had been able to meet customers’ requirements.

    Transnet’s earnings (profits) before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 12 percent to R11.5 Billion (2006: R10.3 Bn) enabling the EBITDA margin to increase to 40.7 percent (2006: 39.6 percent) in the current year.

    Reporting on the different operating divisions, Ramos revealed that National Ports Authority revenue had grown 12 percent to R6.1 Bn on the previous year. “Strong volume growth on bulk and breakbulk imports was experienced due to the favourable economic environment. Operating costs were well controlled and resulted in improved EBITDA margins,” she said.

    SA Port Operations’ revenue increased by 14 percent to R4.1 Bn, mainly driven by strong container and motor vehicle volumes at the various terminals and operating costs were also well managed.

    Revenue at Spoornet increased by 4 percent to R14.6 Bn but volumes were negatively affected by capacity restraints with locomotives and wagons, customer operational issues and derailments. Ramos said the re-engineering and capital investment programmes were expected to have a positive effect on Spoornet’s performance over the next three years during which meaningful volume increases could be expected.

    The detailed annual report is available at www.transnet.co.za

    Uganda plans a rail route from Lake Victoria

    Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni says a cheaper route to the sea is imperative for his landlocked nation.

    Speaking at a summit of East African Community Heads of State last week, Museveni said Uganda was exploring the option of opening another rail route to the sea from Musoma on Tanzania’s shores of Lake Victoria via Arusha in the midlands and then to Tanga on the northern Tanzanian coast.

    His announcement comes at a time when the East African Community has embarked on a US $ 350,000 Master Plan study for East African railways. It follows the concessioning of the Uganda and Kenya government railways to Rift Valley Railways, a South Africa-led consortium that took over operations in December 2006.

    Museveni said also that the existing railway lines to Mombasa (Rift Valley Railway) and to Dar es Salaam (from Port Mwanza on the southern shores of Lake Victoria) would undergo refurbishment with the co-operation of the Kenya and Tanzania governments.

    The concession to operate the 2700-km Tanzanian railway network including the line between Dar es Salaam and Mwanza has been awarded to India’s Rites for a period of 25 years.

    Coastwatch: task force to fast-track port clearance

    Nigerian Ports Authority, the landlord functionary of Nigeria’s ports says it has set up a task force to fast-track the clearance of cargo at the nation’s ports following several days of strikes, which ended at the weekend.

    Despite the workers downing tools ships continued to call at Nigerian ports creating a longer than usual backlog of vessels waiting to be worked as well as cargo that requires moving from the ports.

    The task force says it has already set in motion procedures to speed up the clearance of cargo particularly at Apapa and Tin Can Island.

    “This is in line with the Federal Ministry of Transportation's desire for the immediate resumption of port activities,” reads a task force statement. “The Task force is headed by General Manager, Operations and Commercial Services, Alhaji Mohammed Bulangu. Other members are the General Manager Security/Safety, Col S.A.Folorunsho, Terminal Coordinator, Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Mr. E. A. Egharevba, Terminal Coordinator, Tin Can Island Port (TCIP), Mr. Joshua Asanga, Assistant General Manager Public Affairs, Musa Iliya, Captain B.A Jerome of Harbours Department.”

    The task force is expected to remain in force until the backlog of cargo build up has been fully cleared.

    Also in Nigeria a tanker off Lagos came under attack from pirates on Friday, 16 June, according to the International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre. The thieves who boarded the vessel tied up a watchman and proceeded to steal ships stores. After the alarm was sounded and other crew appeared the pirates left the ship, taking stolen stores with them. No injuries were reported and port control was notified.

    Meanwhile local news sources in Nigeria are reporting that two bunker tankers, the BALLE and ALRUHULA have been recaptured. The two vessels had previously been under detention at a Nigerian naval station in Port Harcourt until they disappeared one night. Seven naval officers were later placed under arrest and an enquiry has commenced. The two missing ships were later found in a joint naval and air search, en route between Bonny and Lagos and carrying new names.

    On the east coast of Africa, Rwanda says it wants the Kenya Ports Authority to reduce port fees at Mombasa to reduce the cost of cargo moving between the Kenyan port and its landlocked neighbour. A delegation from Rwanda, headed by Emmanuel Hategeka, secretary of the Rwanda Private Sector Federation, visited the port and held discussions with the KPA’s managing director Abdalla Mwaruwa.

    Hategeka said his federation also wanted a smoother movement of cargo through the corridor to Rwanda as this was critical for trade and development. He expressed pleasure with the upgrading taking place at the port of Mombasa but pointed out that there were other factors that also hindered progress.

    Namibian pilchard quota could be announced by July

    Namibian fishing industry leaders are hoping that quotas for pilchard catches can be announced by the end of July.

    According to a report in The Namibian the research vessel WELWITSCHIA has put to sea along with four fishing vessels on a 14-days survey of the Namibian coast during which an assessment will be made of pilchard stocks.

    The Pelagic Association of Namibia’s Hugo Viljoen told the newspaper that provided findings were favourable the 2007 pilchard quota could be announced before the end of July.

    Viljoen said that although the survey was scheduled to last 14 days it could end earlier and the results analysed and submitted to the Fisheries Advisory Council.

    Several factors had influenced holding a new survey and included reports of large pilchard shoals north of Swakopmund and recent large catches taken in as by-catches. A previous survey conducted in April had not provided accurate data on current pilchard stocks, Viljoen said.

    After the previous survey a quota of 15,000 tonnes was proposed – a figure that suggested the Namibian pilchard stock was dangerously depleted.

    Since that time a number of large shoals have been reported, including some off the South African west coast.

    source – The Namibian

    Pic of the day – BASS BULKER

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    Seen in Cape Town one year ago – the bulk ship BASS BULKER of 17,075-gt which was built in 1996. The ship is owned by a Hong Kong-based company and managed by a Filipino company named New Century Overseas Management. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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

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