Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 7, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Kenya MPs want Rift Valley Railway concession cancelled

  • Talks begin on enlarging Richards Bay coal terminal

  • Durban Bayhead dig-out terminal project update

  • Farocean on crest of wave

  • New AP Moller terminal in China is opened

  • Pic of the day – HEINRICH SIBUM

    Kenya MPs want Rift Valley railway concession cancelled

    Several Kenya MPs were joined by two deputy ministers this week in seeking to revoke the Kenya and Uganda railway network concession, now operating as Rift Valley Railway.

    The concession was awarded late last year to a consortium led by South Africa’s Sheltam Rail.

    MPs said they are dissatisfied with the time taken to bring about a meaningful benefit from the concessioning, and in particular Rift Valley Railway’s promise to turn round the railway that previously operated as a state-owned entity.

    Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister Moses Wetang'ula and Health Assistant Minister Dr Wilfred Machage joined forces with a small group of back-benchers who took issue with the Rift Valley Railways for what they said was a failure to deliver on its promise to turn around the former State Corporation.

    The railway concession has come under repeated attack from elements within Kenya who claim to see little or no improvement. However, a senior government official earlier this year called for patience, saying that it would take time for the company to succeed in turning round the railway operation, which had been the victim of neglect and inefficiency for a number of years.

    There are also accusations that benefits due to former employees of the state railway have not been paid out.

    Talks begin on enlarging Richards Bay coal terminal

    The Coaltrans Conference being held in Johannesburg heard yesterday that talks have commenced with provincial and national government regulators on the environmental implications of a further enlargement of the Richards Bay Coal Terminal.

    Plans to increase handling capacity at RBCT from 72 million tonnes to 91mt a year are already in place.

    RBCT executive chairman Kuseni Dlamini told delegates that although negotiations for expanding the terminal had begun it would require a sound and compelling business case for the project to go ahead. He said that an oversubscription for the 9 million tonnes of export coal made available for new and emerging exporters indicated there was a demand, but any further expansion would depend on global and local demand for coal. There were also implications involving the ability of Transnet Freight Rail and Transnet National Ports Authority to handle any increase.

    The current capacity on the coal line to the port is 74 million tonnes a year and Transnet Freight Rail has already indicated it requires firm contracts before enlarging the line’s capacity any further, although there is an acknowledgement of the capability of reaching 91mt.

    Chief Executive of Freight Rail, Siyabonga Gama pointed out that there was a need to match Transnet’s investment of R34 billion with volume growth.

    "We are consulting customers on their volume aspirations and their ramp-up schedules and where their facilities are located and entering into contractual obligations with mining companies," he said.

    The coal line is currently carrying up to 1.43mt a week compared with 1.05mt in 2005 and hoped to reach 1.5mt within the next 6 – 8 weeks.

    The conference also heard that the Matola coal terminal in Maputo, Mozambique was gearing up to handle 3mt annually compared with the current 2.5mt and had set a target on achieving 6mt by 2010.

    Durban Bayhead Dig-out terminal project update

    What better was of updating readers about the proposed new container handling basin at Bayhead, than by including the following report from the facilitator of the process, David Shandler.

    Update: Transnet’s Proposed Expansion of Container Handling Facilities in the Bayhead Area

    I write in my capacity as the independent facilitator to update you on progress in the process around Transnet’s proposed expansion of container handling facilities in the Port of Durban.

    On 10 May 2007, we held a public meeting on Transnet’s proposals at which:

    * Transnet indicated that it wishes to pursue the possibility of expanding its container
    operations in the Bayhead area;
    * It was explained that there would be a comprehensive and participatory Environmental Impact Assessment process on this proposal which would be initiated within a few months of that date; and,
    * There was agreement to set up a representative Stakeholder Forum to act as a body for dialogue in this process. Subsequent to that meeting we have undertaken numerous activities to involve stakeholders in the process, including:
    * Many meetings with Transnet’s tenants in the Bayhead area to familiarise them with the proposals and to identify tenant representatives to the Stakeholder Forum;
    * Meetings with the recreational users of the Bay to identify their Forum representatives;
    * Public meetings with the communities of Clairwood and the Bluff to brief them on Transnet’s plans and to identify Stakeholder Forum representatives; and,
    * Numerous other smaller meetings and interactions with the range of stakeholder groups to facilitate their selection of representatives and to address pressing current issues related to Port operations.

    There have been delays in aspects of the process. The Environmental Impact Assessment process has not yet been initiated by Transnet as originally anticipated. We have, as a result, not yet convened the first meeting of the Stakeholder Forum.

    The delays in initiating the process are because of high level discussion within Transnet regarding the capital investments it needs to make throughout South Africa. This discussion, which is to be finalised soon, has focused on when it wishes to proceed with its various major infrastructure developments, including the proposed Bayhead development. We have now been informed that we should shortly receive clarity from Transnet on its scheduling and be in a position to proceed to the next stage in the process.

    We appreciate that you may have been concerned at the delay since the May public meeting, and feared that it implied that a process was being pursued without the involvement of stakeholders.

    This has not been the case. As described above we have had many meetings and discussions with stakeholders. Indeed, as the process proceeds, it will be undertaken with a firm commitment to thoroughness and transparency. In our capacity as the independent facilitators of the stakeholder participation process we are fundamentally committed to this course.

    We appreciate your concerns and thank you for your patience. We look forward to being in touch soon about the next steps in the process.

    David Shandler

    Farocean on crest of wave

    Cape Town based Farocean Marine, in the news recently with the spectacular launching of the R100 million mv ELLEN KHUZWAYO fishery research vessel, is riding the crest of the wave of a successful shipbuilding operation, reports Cape Business News.

    Work at hand now includes an additional ferry to be built for the Robben Island Museum and three tugs to be built for the Tanzanian Port Authority, to be used at Dar es Salaam and Tanga.

    “Today we have the best equipped private yard in the country for the construction of most kinds of vessels,” director Jendo Ocenasek says.

    But it hasn’t always been plain sailing. Ocenasek points out that very little work is negotiated but rather won on tender and, in addition, the South African government provides no subsidies to the shipbuilding industry. This is not helpful, as Farocean most often competes against builders in countries which make available generous subsidies for their shipbuilding operators.

    “Also, our workforce is important to us. No youngsters are entering the industry and often those few we train at great cost leave for overseas opportunities,” Oceanasek says.

    Yet the company’s contribution to the local economy is considerable. On the recently completed Ellen Khuzwayo some 50 percent of material was sourced locally and it required more than 200,000 man-hours of work, all involving local people.

    Since its establishment, Farocean Marine has won contracts and brought to completion several large ocean going vessels. It has also undertaken extensive refurbishment of vessels at its facilities in the port of Cape Town.

    Among recent contracts awarded and completed was one in 2002 for the building of three large patrol vessels for the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. The three 47 metre Fishery inspection vessels were delivered between November 2004 and September 2005.

    As a result of this contract further expansion of the shipyard took place, with the workshops enlarged and modernised to increase capacity and accommodate vessels of up to 60m. One of the new facilities, incorporated in a dedicated workshop, is a computerised plasma cutting machine, able to cut plates up to 12m x 2.4m, in thickness varying from 2mm to 25mm, with an accuracy tolerance of less than 0.5mm.

    Two 20 metre tug/workboats were delivered February 2006 to the South African Navy to assist the new corvettes and new submarines during mooring and departure. The tug/workboats are based in Simonstown.

    source – Cape Business News www.cbn.co.za

    New AP Moller terminal in China is opened

    Xiamen, China - AP Moller-Maersk Group and Xiamen Port (Group) held a grand opening ceremony yesterday (Thursday) for the Xiamen Songyu Phase I Container Terminal at Songyu Port, Xiamen.

    Madam Wu Yi, Vice Premier of the State Council, presided over the opening ceremony in the presence of Madam Ma Xiuhong, Vice Minister of Commerce. More than 200 people attended the event, including government officials from Fujian province and the city of Xiamen, as well as senior executives from the Xiamen Port Group and from AP Moller-Maersk Group.

    The Songyu Container Terminal will substantially strengthen the growing foreign trade in southeast China.

    Mr. Tom Behrens-Sorensen, chairman of AP Moller - Maersk Group in China, spoke highly of the company’s collaboration with the Xiamen municipal government and the port. “Today’s grand opening marks an important milestone in the development of the city of Xiamen towards becoming a truly world-class container port. This new terminal will attract and serve the largest ships and shipping lines from around the world, ensuring that the foreign trade of Xiamen, Fujian province and neighbouring provinces will have first-class access to global markets for generations to come.”

    This opening further cements the long-term partnership between AP Moller - Maersk Group and the city Xiamen, and a joint commitment to develop together with South China’s economy. Songyu Phase I was jointly developed by APM Terminals and the Xiamen Port Group. Both companies hold a 50 percent stake in the terminal.

    The Songyu Phase I Terminal is uniquely positioned in the southeastern corner of the Haicang district in Xiamen at the intersection of the two sea lanes leading to the city, making it the closest terminal at the port with access to the high seas. The terminal has three 17-meter-deep berths across 1,246 meters of dock and a land area of 353,000 square meters, enabling it to receive calls from the sixth generation of large vessels. As a deep-water port close to sea lanes, Songyu Phase I ranks among the top international container terminals in the world. EMMA MAERSK and its PS-class sister vessels, the world’s largest and most advanced container vessels, call at the Songyu Phase I Terminal on Maersk Line’s Asia-Europe line.

    Pic of the day – HEINRICH SIBUM

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The container ship HEINRICH SIBUM in Cape Town recently. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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