Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jun 8, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Radebe spells out transport strategy

  • First stage of Sena railway to open

  • Unwanted barge to be sold

  • DRC an exporters paradise

  • TransNamib takes delivery of new locomotives

  • Pic of the day – USNS GOPHER STATE

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    Radebe spells out transport strategy

    The Department of Transport’s focus remains firmly on upgrading efficiencies along the Durban – Gauteng transport corridor, Transport Minister Jeff Radebe told the National Council of Provinces in Cape Town on Wednesday (6 June).

    Later the DoT intends turning its attention on the Cape Town to Beitbridge corridor.

    Radebe said current plans within the Freight Logistics Strategy include increasing efficiencies with the branch line rail strategy, initially be way of rehabilitating the Nkwalini branch line from Empangeni, the Belmont – Douglas branch line in the Northern Cape, and the Kei Rail Project in the Eastern Cape (East London – Mthatha).

    He said the department will continue to implement the Harrismith Trade Hub project as a transport logistics centre as a “repository of central logistics.” In addition 2007 will see the commencement of the Dube Tradeport and airport at La Mercy in Durban (refer Ports & Ships News Bulletin dated yesterday, 7 June 2007).

    “The implementation of Freight Logistics Strategy is expected to have a positive impact on the efficiency of freight movement,” he said.

    Turning towards maritime affairs, the minister said he believed the appointment of the Board of the National Ports Regulator earlier this year had been a major milestone in the transformation of the maritime industry, which will go a long way in contributing to South Africa’s economic growth and to promote equity of access to ports while monitoring the activities of port authorities.

    “For the first time in our country, we will have an independent body whose primary function is the economic regulation of activities in the maritime sector.”

    Radebe indicated the department’s support for the controversial Wild Coast toll road which will link Durban with East London via a shorter route through Pondoland.

    “My department through SANRAL (SA National Roads Agency) will continue with its Public Private Partnership concession programme. It is currently developing projects such as the N2 Wild Coast Toll Highway between Durban and East London. The Wild Coast was identified as one of the areas for strategic development in accordance with government’s Spatial Development Initiative (SDI) strategy as long ago as 1995.

    ”It will not only give access to the untapped potential of Pondoland but in so doing address the primary inequality, namely lack of access that has led to this being the most impoverished region of South Africa. We expect to see the construction of this important road starting before the end of the year.”

    Radebe said that three concession contracts, the N3, N4 Platinum Corridor and the N4 Maputo Development Corridor, were continuing to facilitate improved trade, tourism and intergovernmental relations; thus helping build the economy of the country.

    First stage of Sena railway to open

    The first stage of the Sena railway between Dondo on the main Beira – Zimbabwe line and Marromeu in the Zambezi Valley is due to reopen to traffic in December, says an article in the Maputo newspaper ‘Noticias’ this week.

    This section of railway will initially carry export sugar from the Marromeu mill to the port of Beira, as well as limestone from Muanza to the cement factory in Dondo and timber from the forests at Cheringoma.

    The line to Marromeu branches off the main Sena railway and services the sugar growing region along the Zambezi banks terminating at Marromeu.

    After crossing the Zambezi the remainder of the Sena railway leads into Tete Province and the coal mines at Moatize, where Brazilian mining company Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) is currently redeveloping the mines for export. CVRD has indicated it expects to export coal via Beira.

    Immediately north of the Zambezi crossing a branch line runs to Blantyre in southern Malawi. Once this section is reopened the port of Beira is expected to benefit from some of Malawi’s imports and exports.

    A consortium consisting of the Indian firm Rites and Ircon (Rircon) was awarded the contract to rehabilitate the entire line which had been damaged beyond use during the civil war. Rircon will also operate the line between Beira and Moatize as well as the branches by way of a concession awarded by CFM, the national railway company.

    It is hoped to have the rehabilitation of the railway to Moatize completed in 2009.

    Unwanted barge to be sold

    According to a report in East London’s Daily Dispatch, the barge GC55 which is lying in East London harbour is to be put up for sale.

    The National Ports Authority has brought a court order against the barge owners and its legal representatives or any other interested party to have the vessel sold by public auction to defray costs incurred while the barge has been laid up in the harbour.

    GC55 arrived in East London from the UAE in late 2005 under tow behind the tug ZAKHER DALMON with the intention that it would be used in the recovery of logs salvaged from the grounded bulker KIPEROUSA.

    However after encountering severe storms in the Indian Ocean the general condition of the barge was found to be so poor that the salvage team declined its use and the logs were recovered by other means. The barge, which measures 86m x 23m has been laid up near Latimer’s Landing in East London harbour ever since, with the owner apparently declining to undertake repairs at an estimated cost of R1 million. The barge is insured for R400,000.

    source – Daily Dispatch

    DRC an exporters paradise

    The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is an exporter’s paradise”, said Michael Gamwo, Africa Desk Manager at Wesgro. Following a recent fact finding expedition to the country to explore potential business opportunities Gamwo said that the DRC holds abundant business opportunities for local exporters.

    The DRC has emerged from a period of unrest and is currently undergoing massive regeneration and infrastructure reconstruction. Despite the short-lived unrest in Kinshasa (the capital city), the DRC is potentially among the richest countries in Africa. With a population of over 60 million people and with very limited industry, the DRC imports virtually everything. This paves the way for local companies eager to gain a foothold in this market.

    Western Cape exports to the DRC have been quite limited but have grown significantly in recent years. Exports grew by 103 percent in 2006 to R262 million. Top exports in 2006 were refined petroleum oil, sulphur, mining-related machinery, fruit juice, water and cured fish.

    In recent years, economic reform and peace have opened the way for donor agencies to recommence investment in the DRC and South African companies have been among the boldest in re-entering the country. Vodacom, Standard Bank (operating as Stanbic) and a number of mining companies are in the DRC in full force, paving the way for other SA companies to make their mark.

    Gamwo said the government has identified the health, energy, infrastructure, education and agri-business as priority sectors that need to be rebuilt in order to strengthen and grow the country’s economy. Hence, business opportunities exist in the food and beverage, services, building and construction sectors.

    Although the DRC is an exporter’s paradise, doing business in this country still poses many challenges. For example; exporting finished products incurs much higher import taxes that exporting unfinished products. Also, it is more cost effective to assemble your goods in the DRC. Gamwo concluded that in order to succeed in the DRC it is essential that you go into the market and find partners, who are familiar with the political climate of the country.

    source - Cape Business News http://www.cbn.co.za/index.php

    TransNamib takes delivery of new locomotives

    The first eight new diesel-electric locomotives for TransNamib, the Namibian rail operator, have arrived by ship in Walvis Bay. The locos are part of a batch of 17 on order from China, with the balance due to arrive in mid-July.

    TransNamib has already taken delivery of 200 wagons also from China as part of a contract secured through a N $ 250 million loan (R250 m) issued by the Export & Import Bank of China.

    TransNamib’s existing fleet of 52 diesel-electric locomotives was taken over from South Africa’s Spoornet when Namibia attained its independence in 1990. The average age of these locos is over 40 years.

    Namibia has embarked on an ambitious and commendable programme of rehabilitating its entire rail network and is constructing new lines, including new routes towards the Caprivi and the Angolan border in the north of the country.

    source - New Era, Windhoek

    Pic of the day – USNS GOPHER STATE

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    USNS GOPHER STATE (T-ACS-4) arriving in Durban one July day in 2003 to load bunkers and general supplies. Classified as an auxiliary crane ship (type C5 –S-73b) of which Gopher State was the first of her class, the ship displaces 25,000 tons fully loaded and has a length of 185m and a beam of 27.7m. She is powered by two steam turbines and producing 17,500 shp and is capable of a speed of 20 knots. As can be seen Gopher State lives up to her type with four substantial 30-ton cranes set amidships. Gopher State was built in 1969 at the Bath Iron Works in Maine and has undergone several conversions since. Picture Terry Hutson

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

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