Ports & Ships Maritime News

Aug 3, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • New transit cargo tracking system for Ghana

  • Railway agreement between Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa

  • Stricken yacht taking water as freighter alters course to intercept

  • International maritime briefs

  • Dubai Ports looks to manage Tangier container terminal

  • Pic of the day – BANGLAR MAYA

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    New transit cargo tracking system for Ghana

    Ghana Customs instituted a new cargo monitoring system for transit cargo earlier this week. The system uses satellite tracking units (STU’s) that are to be attached to all transit vehicles enabling them to be monitored along approved transit routes, according to the assistant commissioner for Ghana’s department of Customs and Preventative Services.

    He said the STUs form part of a modernisation and reform programme being undertaken by Ghana’s Customs department.

    According to a press release issued by the department, each transit vehicle will be required to fit the tracking device to the roof of the vehicle using a magnetic mounting and wire strip. Vehicles that don’t have normal horizontal roof lines will be required to weld a metal plate of at least 25cm by 25cm across the roof of the vehicle.

    The department says it is now a requirement for all transit vehicles to carry these satellite tracking units (STUs) and that any breach of the directive will constitute an offence which will be punishable under the Customs Laws.

    An administrative fee of GH50 per vehicle becomes applicable but with the STU in place Customs transit escorts will no longer be required to accompany transit vehicles.

    Railway agreement between Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa

    The railways of Mozambique (CFM), Swaziland (Swaziland Railways) and South Africa (Transnet Freight Rail) have reached agreement on the exchange and training of crews as well as having locomotives and wagons repaired in any of the three countries, according to a report the Maputo newspaper Noticias.

    Also in terms of the agreement Mozambican drivers have begun operating with Swazi and South African locomotives and the train loads and will shortly have the use of manuals translated into the relevant languages for future training programmes.

    The agreement means that trains moving between the three countries need not undergo a change of locomotives as all it will require is for crews to be exchanged at the borders, thus speeding up the transfer.

    The agreements were struck in terms of the regional integration of the South African Development Community (SADC).

    The report also commented on the loss of traffic along the recently rehabilitated Maputo – Zimbabwe rail line (Limpopo line), which is operating well below capacity following the collapse of the Zimbabwe economy.

    A spokesman for the Mozambique railway operator CFM-SUL said that the Limpopo line handled only 263,000 tonnes of cargo in the first six months of 2007, which although this is above the 2006 figure remains well below expectations. Executive director Joaquim Zucule said only one train a day was presently operating on the Limpopo line compared with the line’s capacity of five trains.

    The line was expected to reach a maximum volume of about 600,000 tonnes a year but he said he was optimistic that this figure would reach 1 million tonnes in the future. He based his optimism on what he called likely imports of fertiliser by Zimbabwe and the resumption of large-scale exports of agricultural produce from Zimbabwe.

    The Goba railway line from Maputo into Swaziland is expected to double its present capacity of 100,000 tonnes a year, while the main line between Maputo and South Africa is currently operating with an average of 32 trains a week, compared with a target of 35 trains.

    Stricken yacht taking water as freighter alters course to intercept

    French authorities on the island of Reunion said yesterday it would take until Saturday for a French navy ship to reach the stricken South African catamaran CLARANDA which has been dismasted in a storm and has run out of fuel.

    The dismasting happened about 1200km south east of Reunion as the yacht sailed between Durban and Australia. According to a SABC report the Claranda was built in Durban and was on a delivery voyage to its new owner in Australia with a crew of three South Africans and an Australian.

    None of the four men were injured in the storm but late reports say the yacht has begun taking water from a leak. A Russian freighter has altered course and was expected to rendezvous with the yacht. The rescue is being coordinated by Mauritius Search and Recsue.

    International maritime briefs

    The joint venture between J Lauritzen A/S and NYK Reefers, which was established in 2005 to ‘create economies of scale for both by enabling the sharing of resources’, has been dissolved with the sale of Lauritzen’s 50 percent share to NYK Reefers (a subsidiary of NYK Line).

    As a result NYK Reefers now owns 100 percent of the company which will trade under the name NYKCool AB.

    The joint venture saw a combined fleet of 70 vessels operating in worldwide reefer trades. In 2006 Lauritzen began selling its reefer fleet which was perhaps the first indication of the Swedish company’s intentions.

    NYK Reefers CEO Hiroshi Yamafuji said that while the partnership had been excellent, NYK now looked forward to the further development of the company and to further improvements in its service.

    The first of five contracts for the doubling of the Panama Canal has been signed despite claims of favouritism towards a local contractor.

    The entire contract is expected to cost in the region of US$5.25 billion but the initial contract which was awarded to a Panamanian company for a dry excavation section of the project has raised more than eyebrows despite the bid being 50 percent below its nearest rival. The controversy has arisen over the fact that the present canal administrator was once a major shareholder of the successful bidder.

    The overall project has not been without its own controversy, particularly from shipping liens which face an increase in transit tariffs aimed at paying the cost of rebuilding new locks and widening sections of the canal. Panama says the project has become necessary as a result of the dramatic increase in container traffic, which now accounts for 52 percent of all traffic compared with 25 percent as recently as 2000. In addition the size of container ships has expanded with large post-panamax vessels now forming an important part of east-west trade – vessels that are at present unable to use the canal.

    Because of resulting congestion on the North American west coast there is an increasing demand for container ships from the Far East to transit the canal to reach the eastern seaboard, where ports are less congested. However the canal is unable at present to take any of the new larger container vessels coming into service and the widening programme seeks to address this.

    Total traffic using the canal has risen from 220 million tonnes in 2002 to 300mt at present and is fast approaching the canal’s design maximum of 350mt.

    Dubai Ports looks to manage Algiers container terminal

    Dubai Ports is reported to be holding talks with Algerian authorities with regards the Emirates-based terminal operator taking over management and operation of the Djen Djen container terminal in Algiers.

    According to an article in an Algiers newspaper, El Khakar, Dubai Ports is prepared to invest between US$120 and $150 million in new infrastructure and equipment for the Algiers port and US$70m to manage the terminal.

    However a government spokesman said that he had given assurances to the trade unions in Algiers that the container terminal would not be concessioned without undergoing a competitive bidding process. Despite this assurance talks with Dubai Ports are said to be continuing.

    source - HKSG

    Pic of the day – BANGLAR MAYA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The Bangladeshi freighter BANGLAR MAYA (11,764-gt) sailing from Durban one October 2005 afternoon. Built in 1980 the ship is owned and operated by the Bangladesh Shipping Corp of Dhaka and is registered in Chittagong. Picture Terry Hutson

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