Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 1, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Close call for car ship off Cape coast

  • Transnet to build truck stop outside DCT

  • Clairwood residents storm out of Transnet meeting

  • APM confirms agreement to operate Luanda Container Terminal

  • Shepstone & Wylie appoints experienced customs consultant

  • Pic of the day – UMVOTI

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

    Close call for car ship off Cape coast

    It was an extremely close call for the NYK- operated car carrier TIGRIS LEADER when the Singapore-flagged ship lost engine power off the Cape Peninsular on Monday night.

    As the ship’s engines failed and she began to drift down towards the rocky coast between Camps Bay and Llandudno, an emergency call for assistance went out. Fortunately SMIT Amandla Marine’s salvage tug SMIT AMANDLA was on standby in Cape Town harbour, not too distant, and within 20 minutes the powerful tug was at sea and heading at full speed for the stricken ship.

    As people along the Peninsular continued with their business blissfully unaware of the drama unfolding a few miles offshore, the tug under the command of Captain Kevin Tate rendezvoused barely hundreds of metres from the rocky coast and managed to secure a line to the larger vessel.

    The coast along this stretch of the Peninsular is particularly beautiful and pristine but also very rocky and had the ship gone aground it is likely that an ecological disaster would have followed, not to mention the damage to ship and cargo.

    It is for this sort of reason that the National Department of Transport and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) maintain a proactive protection of the marine environment with, among other measures, having a powerful salvage tug on permanent standby on the South African coast. It was pure good luck but also good foresight and planning that the SMIT AMANDLA (the former JOHN ROSS) was in Cape Town at the time and able to go to sea at such short notice.

    The tug is manned with a team of professional mariners, well versed in ocean salvage and with years of experience of South Africa’s dangerous coastline, having assisted in countless rescue missions. The fact that they were able to reach the scene in time and pull the 30,572-gt ship to safety speaks well of the national policy that continues to stand the test of time more than 30 years after implementation.

    Yesterday the TIGRIS LEADER, which has a capacity of 3,150 motor vehicles, remained at sea off the coast while engineers made repairs to the ship’s engines, ahead of her planned voyage to Durban where the ship was originally due tomorrow (2 August).

    Transnet to build truck stop outside DCT

    Transnet Port Terminals (formerly SA Port Operations) have revealed that it intends building a truck stop close to the entrance to Durban Container Terminal where an American-designed control system known as PierPass will be introduced.

    The announcement follows strong agitation by truckers and other port users over the congestion occurring outside the terminal gates (see our report ‘Growing dissatisfaction over road chaos outside Durban Container Terminal’ in News Bulletin dated 23 July (http://ports.co.za/news/article_2007_07_22_5835.html#two).

    PierPass was first used in the United States a couple of years ago as a non-profit response to similar congestion outside the container terminals at Long Beach and Los Angeles, the busiest in North America and soon began paying for the cost of operating night shifts during the week. The system is also credited in resulting in the move to off-peak periods by arriving road hauliers.

    Attempts to work the terminals 24 hours a day have largely foundered because of the difficulty of getting other stakeholders to also work the 24 hour day. Road hauliers have shown a willingness but say there is little point when local container depots refuse to stay open all night.

    The depots on the other hand argue that because of a low percentage of operation between 22.00 and 06.00 it is unprofitable for them to remain open overnight. The result becomes something of a chicken and egg syndrome with only the container terminal remaining open 24 hours a day and handling mostly long-distance truckers during that time.

    In addition to the new system a truck stop known as A-Check is to be built at a cost of R77.3 million close to the terminal where vehicles, mostly long-distance truckers will congregate and submit their documents and await being called into the terminal. The facility, which will be completed by June 2008 will have a capacity for 250 vehicles, which local truck companies say is not sufficient. They have repeated their calls for Transnet to build a full truck stop facility at Ambrose Park nearby.

    In addition Transnet Port Terminals says that relief will come from the building of the Khangela bridge leading to the Umbilo Road arterial, but again truckers are sceptical saying that this will simply move the problem from South Coast Road to Umbilo Road.

    Clairwood residents storm out of Transnet meeting

    A meeting held in the Indian suburb of Clairwood in Durban this week ended when residents stormed out of the meeting.

    The meeting was one of a number being held to inform the public and interested stakeholders of Transnet plans to extend Durban harbour into the Bayhead region of Durban Bay. Clairwood is an area immediately south of the proposed dig-out area that has for generations been populated by Indian residents who both live and run shops and other businesses in the area while remaining extremely sensitive to any attempts to change the status quo.

    During the time of apartheid several attempts were made to relocate the Indian population away from Clairwood, which has only increased the sensitivity and determination of its population. As a result of ongoing uncertainty about the future of the area, which has gradually been encroached by light industrial activity, little improvement has been made and the area had become run down and shabby in places.

    Resident bodies have recently reacted strongly to ongoing reports that the eThekwini Municipality (Durban) intends rezoning the entire Durban South area for use by warehouses and other port related activities. In addition the residents have complained about the encroachment of container depots into the suburb.

    The proposed extension of Durban Bay into the Bayhead will bring the headwaters of the harbour to within several hundred metres of Clairwood and this week’s meeting was expected to discuss these and other related issues. However all discussion broke down when the residents walked out of the meeting, being held at the Yuvak Arya Samaj educational and cultural centre in Clairwood. A spokesman for the Merebank Residents’ Association, a neighbouring suburb warned that residents will support the Clairwood residents in their fight. “We will mobilise the Merebank community and come after you (Transnet),” he said.

    Transnet has organised a series of meeting among local communities affected by the proposed harbour extension, which is taking place ahead of the required Environment Impact Assessment.

    APM confirms agreement to operate Luanda Container Terminal

    APM Terminals, a division of the AP Moller Group of companies, yesterday issued the following statement, confirming the report published in PORTS & SHIPS on Monday 30 July, ‘Luanda port concession signed’ - http://ports.co.za/news/article_2007_07_29_4703.html#one

    Luanda, Angola – Executives from APM Terminals and Gestao de Fundos, an Angolan-based company have signed a 20 year concession agreement with the government of Angola to operate the country’s main container port.

    A joint venture named Sogester, based in Luanda, Angola, will be the local company of record, operating the container terminal.

    Angola is a large producer of oil and has a fast growing economy with double digit GDP growth expected to continue in the years ahead. Major infrastructure investment is underway in the oil/gas and related industries and there is continued development of hinterland road and rail links to further stimulate economic development and international trade.

    Kim Fejfer, CEO of APM Terminals International, based in The Hague, Netherlands, stated “We are pleased with the Luanda Container Terminal agreement and we commend the Angolan Ministry of Transport and the Port of Luanda for their professionalism and the transparency of the process. Our vision is to blend APM Terminals global expertise with our local knowledge developed through our activities in Africa to offer our customers a world-class port.”

    Simon Pitout, head of APM Terminals Africa Region, based in Cape Town, South Africa commented: “We are excited about the Luanda concession and the high growth market it offers our customers. This new facility increases APM Terminals African presence and complements our existing facilities in Lagos and Onne (Nigeria), Douala (Cameroon), Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire) and Tema (Ghana). We look forward to continuing the positive spirit of cooperation with the Angolan authorities to develop Luanda Container Terminal into a world-class facility and a leading container terminal in the region. Sogester plans to make substantial investments and improvements to the container yard, quayside and terminal handling equipment.”

    Felix Neto, Chairman of Sogester, added “Sogester has an ongoing commitment to the development of our local staff, and we will focus on the continued training and development of our professionals to achieve world-class standards.”

    Shepstone & Wylie appoints experienced customs consultant

    The shipping department at Shepstone & Wylie says it considers itself extremely fortunate to have appointed a new customs consultant with vast experience internationally and throughout Africa.

    “As the new customs consultant at Shepstone & Wylie Durban, Hester Hopkins, represents a colourful and interesting person to interview on any new developments, laws, and issues concerning customs both locally and internationally.

    “She brings 17 years of customs experience to the firm of which 13 years has been spent in Customs Capacity Building within the International Customs field including reform and modernisation.

    “She has worked in a number of countries and in various capacities such Kenya, Angola, Rwanda, South Africa, Malawi, Egypt, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. She played an important role in both the Project Prisma (SA) i.e. Assistant Director: T&D; and Angolan Modernisation programs as Training Manager.

    “Ms Hopkins has designed and delivered numerous programs in developing economies, for Customs and their clients, which also involved training local trainers to ensure sustainability. Her last project was the delivery of a Senior Management Development Program to Senior Management at the Kenyan Revenue Authority, in Nairobi, during Feb- March 2007, on behalf of the Centre for Customs and Excise Studies, University of Canberra. She has delivered Senior Management Development Programs, on behalf of the Centre for Customs and Excise Studies, Canberra University. Her professional approach combined with practical experience permeates her ability to transfer skills at the level it is required.

    “Hester also possesses two tertiary level qualifications which corroborate her ability to respond and deliver appropriate programs whilst building capacity within the local Customs Authority.”

    Pic of the day – UMVOTI

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The harbour tug UMVOTI moves sedately across Durban Bay, with the container ship MSC REBECCA and Durban’s Bluff forming a backdrop. Picture Terry Hutson

    Send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – please email to info@ports.co.za

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