Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jul 13, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Spoornet plans rail link between Waterberg and RBCT

  • West African shipping news

  • Locally manufactured Toyota Corollas head to Europe

  • International shipping briefs

  • A different view of Durban Bay

  • Pic of the day – DORIA

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    Spoornet plans rail link between Waterberg and RBCT

    Spoornet has announced long awaited plans to connect the extensive coal fields at Waterberg in Limpopo Province with the main coal line to Richards Bay.

    The Waterberg in the north of the country holds the highest percentage of South Africa’s untapped coal reserves and has remained in an undeveloped state mainly because of its remoteness from either the Richards Bay export route or the internal markets as compared with deposits in the central basin around Mpumalanga Province.

    According to Spoornet’s Johan Bouwer, the rail company will spend R800 million on building a rail link to connect Lephalale in the Waterberg with the Richards Bay Coal Terminal. The new section of line will extend only as far as Mpumalanga where it connects with the existing coal line and although some of the production will be consumed locally, a substantial amount could be made available for export.

    Spoornet is also investing heavily in 110 new locomotives for the coal line as well as maintenance improvements to the line’s infrastructure and expects to increase capacity along the line from the current 78mt to 84mt by 2009. The coal terminal at Richards Bay is already gearing up to increase capacity from 72mt to 91mt annually.

    Bouwer also revealed that R800 million will be spent on a rail connection between the new port at Ngqura and the existing Eastern Cape main line leading to inland destinations. These destinations include the ore area of the Northern Cape (Sishen, Hotazel area) from where manganese is currently railed for export via Port Elizabeth and iron ore to Saldanha.

    The construction of the new lines will take place over the next four years.

    West African shipping news

    Monrovia (Liberia), 12 July – Port operations were disrupted on Monday when police raided port offices while investigating allegations that port security guards were stealing petrol. A fight broke out leaving more than 30 people injured and work at the harbour was disrupted before order was restored. Both sides blamed the other for the ensuing battle. A number of arrests were reported but could not be confirmed. Normal port operations resumed later in the day.

    Port Harcourt (Nigeria), 12 July – Seven hostages being held by militants operating in the Niger Delta have been released unharmed, according to Nigerian news reports. The workers – five foreigners and two Nigerians were seized a week ago in one of the latest of a long series of incidents. The expatriates, two New Zealanders, an Australian, a Lebanese and a Venezuelan were captured on a Shell drilling rig at Soku in Rivers State, while the two Nigerians, both managers, were seized elsewhere in a landside operation.
    Several other hostages remain in the custody of militants, including a British and Bulgarian citizen taken off a barge in Calabar on Sunday.

    Locally manufactured Toyota Corollas head to Europe

    by Thapelo Sakoana, BuaNews

    As from next year, the South African subsidiary of motor company Toyota is expected to export its locally produced Toyota Corollas from Durban to Europe - a move set to boost the economy of KwaZulu-Natal.

    The decision was taken following a meeting on Wednesday in Tokyo, Japan between the provincial government and Toyota representatives.

    At the meeting with KwaZulu-Natal Premier S’bu Ndebele, the vice chairperson of Toyota Motor Corporation, Katsuhiro Nakagawa said Toyota South Africa would produce Corollas specifically to be exported to Europe.

    Mr Nakagawa announced that about 50 engineers had already been sent to South Africa to help with the manufacturing of the vehicles.

    "Toyota is determined to produce more vehicles in South Africa which can be exported to other countries.

    "The exporting of vehicles from South Africa to other countries is very important for South Africa's economy. The automotive industry is also important for the development of South Africa," he said.

    He said they also wanted an increased presence in Japanese automotive parts suppliers in South Africa as the country was considered to be the gateway to the rest of Africa.

    "We want to make our South African plant more competitive compared to Toyota plants in other countries," he said.

    In a bid to ensure the competitiveness of their South African plant, he acknowledged that the training of workers would be important to achieve this.

    "If we skill more workers, more automotive parts supplier companies will come to South Africa".

    He explained that they planned to establish a Toyota Training School in South Africa, which would benefit the company's employees and create a much needed skills base for growth.

    "We want to listen to the voice of the workers to be able to produce more vehicles, more efficiently and effectively. Training, development and education of our workforce must be intensified," said Nakagawa.

    The production of the latest model of the Toyota Corolla in South Africa is currently proceeding well and will be launched in August this year.

    "However, we are trying hard to introduce new models of Toyota to be produced in South Africa as well," he said.

    Premier Ndebele appreciated the confidence shown by the company to South Africa, particularly KwaZulu-Natal.

    "We appreciate the new investment of more than R4 billion at the plant at Prospecton in Durban. However, we would like to see Toyota producing other automotive components in KwaZulu-Natal as well," he said.

    Ndebele said they would welcome the development of an Automotive Supplier Park in the province.

    He said it was important to accelerate training of the current and future workforce.

    "Continuous training is very important. We have to train all the time. For the market in South Africa, the market in Africa and the market elsewhere, training is important," he said.

    International shipping briefs

    United Nations, Thursday, 12 July – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has given his support to recent action by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) aimed at addressing increasing piracy and armed robbery against ships operating off the coast of Somalia (see PORTS & SHIPS News Bulletin for 11 July - click here http://ports.co.za/news/article_2007_07_10_3717.html#three).
    On Tuesday the IMO Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos briefed Mr Ban on the decision by the IMO to bring the piracy to the attention of the UN Security Council, and asking the UN to request Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government to allow international naval forces to take action against pirates within Somali national waters.

    Rotterdam, 12 July – A DP World-led consortium has won the bidding to equip and operate the first container terminal in the Maasvlakte 2 development at Rotterdam. Others in the consortium are CMA CGM, Hyundai Merchant Marine, Mitsui OSK Lines and Neptune Orient Lines. A total of 14 shipping and stevedoring companies bid for the right to operate the 156ha terminal, later forming themselves into consortia to improve and hone their offers.
    The terminal will consist of a 1900m long deepwater quay with 20m draught alongside, a 550m quay for inland shipping (barges) and feeder ships and a dedicated rail connection. The terminal will have an annual capacity of 4 million TEU and is to enter into service from 2013.

    Seoul, 12 July – The South Korean bulker ORCHID SUN was reported yesterday to have capsized in the Gulf of Oman after flooding occurred in one of the 43,611-DWT ship’s holds. The vessel is carrying a cargo of 42,000 tonnes of steel from China and was bound for Iran. Four of the crew members were reported injured, two seriously and 11 of the total complement of 23 had been rescued by late yesterday afternoon. Ships and helicopters were on the scene attempting to rescue the other crew.

    South Korea, 12 July – Daewoo Shipbuilding Marine & Engineering Co, the world’s second largest shipbuilder has increased its turnover forecast after receiving an order for nine containerships from an undisclosed European ship operator. The order is worth US $1,5 Billion and the ships will be delivered by March 2011.
    As a result of the order Daewoo has increased its sales target to $16 Billion, up from $11bn. The company has secured orders this year to build 84 ships and offshore equipment valued at $11bn.

    A different view of Durban Bay

    Pelicans on Durban Bay in the light of a grey, misty July dawn – picture Terry Hutson

    A talk, entitled ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow – Durban Bay’s Shorebirds’ will be given by David Allan at the Point Yacht Club in Durban on Saturday, 28 July starting at 9.30 am. All are welcome to attend.

    With the assistance of the Navy, Allan has been monitoring the birds on a monthly basis in Durban Bay for the past eight years, and his findings offer a fascinating insight into how the developments in the Bay have affected the ecological health of this vital asset to the people of Durban.

    “Fishermen, sailors, all recreational users of the harbour, in fact the whole community will find this talk a revelation”, says spokesman Di Dold.

    The talk is being hosted by the Wildlife and Environment Society of SA (WESSA) Coastwatch project, and will take place on the Point Yacht Club’s Quarterdeck.

    All are welcome and tea and coffee will be available. Guarded parking is available for R5.

    Pic of the day – DORIA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The container ship DORIA of Ocean Africa Container Lines and deployed on the Southern African coastal service, seen leaving Durban on a July afternoon. Picture Terry Hutson

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

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