Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 18, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Second IBSA Summit kicks off in South Africa

  • Pirates intensify activity off Africa

  • Share economic growth to sustain it

  • CMA CGM opens new Senegalese coastal service

  • Tanzanian sugar producers object to Latin American imports

  • Pic of the day – MSC PANAMA

    Second IBSA Summit kicks off in South Africa

    Pretoria 17 October 2007 (BuaNews) - History is in the making as President Thabo Mbeki hosts the leaders of India and Brazil in Pretoria, for the second IBSA Heads of State summit.

    India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Brazil's President Lula da Silva are meeting President Mbeki in the second top-level tri-lateral forum of the development leaders of the political south.

    This is the first time South Africa hosts the IBSA Summit since its inception. The first Heads of State Summit was held in Brasilia, Brazil last year, after several years of summits at ministerial and trade delegation level.

    The Summit of Heads of State and Government will be preceded by an IBSA Ministerial Working Breakfast hosted by Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma with her counterparts from India and Brazil, Foreign Ministers Shri Pranab Mukherjee and Dr Celso Luiz Nunes Amorim at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

    It is expected that a number of trilateral agreements will be signed following the meeting of Heads of State and Government focusing on shipping, ICT and energy India-Brazil-SA have very vibrant democracies, common views on major global issues and are substantial players in their respective sub-regional economies.

    Collectively India, Brazil and South Africa have a population of over 1.3 billion people and a combined market of almost US$2 trillion.

    Accordingly, issues on the agenda of discussions between the Heads of State and Government and various working groups on Wednesday are expected to include, ways in which to increase trilateral economic, trade and investment.

    This is with the aim of reflecting the strong and substantial political relations between the three countries with a view to pushing back the frontiers of poverty and underdevelopment and creating better lives for the peoples of all three continents in particular and the South in general.

    Some of these discussions will also revolve around improving the air and sea connectivity between the three countries with a view to ensuring air and maritime connectivity between the three regions and their continents.

    The three countries have already signed an agreement on aviation and maritime.

    The three Heads of State and Government will also, during the Summit receive reports from representatives of the various IBSA working groups including business, academics, the parliamentary forum, the civil society forum and the women's forum.

    On conclusion of the IBSA Summit President Mbeki is expected to hold bilateral discussions with the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh and the President of Brazil Lula da Silva respectively.

    Issues on the agenda of discussions are expected to include, among others:

    * The status of bilateral political, economic and trade relations between the two countries;

    * Developments with regard to the World Trade Organisation negotiations and the conclusion of the Doha Development Round;

    * Progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals; and

    * The comprehensive reform of the United Nations system.
    Events leading up to the summit at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria, Wednesday have provided a platform for the formation of trilateral business partnerships.

    These are to enhance existing trade among the three member states and develop new partnerships.

    Targets have been set to increase trade amongst the three nations to $10 billion by the end of 2007 at the second annual IBSA summit.

    Increased trade perpetuates Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), infrastructure development and increased competition in the developing countries.

    Recent analysis showed that developing countries accounted for about 30 percent of world trade and that about 40 percent of that trade was South-South orientated.

    Pirates intensify activity off Africa

    Call them pirates or refer to them as thieves and robbers, but those who raid ships for plunder or ransom remain rampant across the globe and unfortunately Africa continues to rank high in the latest statistics issued by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

    According to the IMB’s report for 2007 third quarter nearly 200 attacks of piracy have taken place throughout the world so far this year, up from 174 for the equivalent nine months of 2006. And heading the race for the description of the world’s most dangerous waters are Somalia and Nigeria.

    The IMB says that 9 ships were reported highjacked off Somali this year, resulting in 85 seafarers being taken hostage and held for ransom, the highest ever reached off the Horn of Africa. Nigeria experienced 26 separate incidents, all of a different nature to those in Somali waters where actual ships were taken hostage and sailed into Somali anchorages.

    “The level of violence in the high risk areas remains unacceptable. Pirates in Somalia are operating with impunity, seizing vessels hundreds of miles off the coast and holding the vessel and crew to ransom, making no attempt to hide their activity,” said Pottengal Mukundan, Director of the IMB. “We urge masters to continue to report attacks, wherever they occur. These reports play a key role in initiating action by law enforcement against the pirates.”

    In Nigeria by contrast most cases involved thieves and/or armed militants going on board ships to either take hostages for ransom or simply to steal.

    Another African country featuring in the lists is Tanzania and the port of Dar es Salaam, although in all incidents reported the attacks were straightforward cases of theft mostly on ships at the outer anchorage.

    The full report for the third quarter can be seen at www.icc-ccs.org

    The negative image created by acts of piracy and terrorism along the Nigerian coast is impacting also on development. The Vanguard newspaper carried a report recently saying that attempts to modernise the port of Burutu on the Forcados River in the Niger Delta were being hindered by the refusal of banks to advance loans for its development.

    According to the report the Akewa Group of companies, which won the concession to upgrade and operate the port has been refused loans on account of a negative attitude by banking houses towards the Delta region.

    Share economic growth to sustain it

    by Shaun Benton (BuaNews)

    Cape Town 16 October - Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies has warned that South Africa's economic growth could soon reach a ceiling if there were no interventions from government to share the growth to a larger extent.

    Widening the pool of beneficiaries of South Africa's economic growth - through means such as skills development, among others - is vital to seeing the growth rate move beyond its current levels, he said.

    The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry was speaking to reporters this week after a conference in Cape Town organised by the Western Cape Provincial Development Council (PDC).

    The conference drew in the labour, government, business and civil society sectors to examine ways of increasing economic growth levels in the Western Cape.

    Davies spoke to reporters afterwards, accompanied by Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool, the MEC for economic development Tasneem Essop, and Tony Ehrenreich, the provincial leader of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and PDC chief Adrian Sayers.

    Davies reiterated that the Western Cape's objective of accelerated and shared growth is in line with national government's Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa (AsgiSA).

    AsgiSA aims to achieve annual economic growth of 6 percent by 2010 and halve poverty and unemployment by 2014.

    In order to bring about further acceleration of economic growth, what must now be highlighted to achieve that goal is the issue of sharing of economic growth, which he said is inextricably linked to government's growth targets.

    "The sharing must be that we must bring in people who are currently excluded from meaningful participation in the economy into economic activity and, secondly, that the fruits of the growth, if they occur, must be used for programmes to address poverty [and] marginalisation."

    "We have a situation where, if you look at some of the biggest impediments to raising the growth rate, they are actually issues of inclusiveness," Mr Davies said.

    "And so, for example, the biggest impediment that we have to raising the growth rate is the skills shortage, so by actually addressing skills and upgrading skills we are doing two things: we are broadening the participation in the economy but at the same time we are also addressing a critical factor which is keeping the growth rate below the levels [it could be at]."

    Mr Davies added: "So as we move from the levels we've reached now - nationally it's about 4.5 percent, in the Western Cape about 5.5 percent - we need to raise those growth rates further but we can't do it in any other way than by broadening the sharing."

    "If we are going to raise the growth rate we are going to have to address the sharing issues," he emphasised.

    Market forces alone cannot make these sorts of adjustments, he said. If no interventions are made in various economic sectors, the current course to further growth - and thus further distribution of wealth - would thus eventually be self-defeating.

    "So I think that unless we do that unless we intervene - because these things are not going to happen simply by market forces alone - we are going to have to actually intervene in those industries," he said.

    "Those sectors which are going to create the opportunities and we are going to have to intervene to make sure that the people who are currently excluded are going to benefit from those opportunities," he said.

    Also speaking at the press conference, Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool said that inequality in the Western Cape is "too high for comfort".

    Mr Rasool added: "Government itself cannot carry the sole burden of narrowing the gap between rich and poor."

    While government can go some of the way to narrowing the gap by the delivery of the social wage through basic services, it cannot alone close the gaps sufficiently, he said.

    "Unless the economy - the market, business - is going to come to the party in a big way, these inequalities are going to continue to be exacerbated," Mr Rasool said.

    CMA CGM opens new Senegalese coastal service

    French line CMA CGM has this month introduced a weekly coastal container service between the Senegalese ports of Dakar and Ziguinchor in the south of the country.

    The service will be carried out with the 3,500-ton 319-TEU Ro-Ro ANAM CARA III which will transport containers, trailers, trucks and breakbulk cargo in a transit time of under 24 hours, which the line says compares with two or three days for land transportation.

    Dakar and Ziguinchor are separated by only a few hundred kilometres but the separate state of Gambia lies astride the Gambia River, separating the two coastal regions of Senegal and adding further to land transport transit times.

    The new CMA CGM service includes a call at Bissau (Guinea Bissau) and Mindelo (Cape Verde).

    Maersk Line already provides a similar coastal shuttle service between Dakar and Ziguinchor as well as to Guinea Bissau and the Cape Verde islands, making use of the 374-TEU container vessel STADT HANNOVER, which however cannot handle Ro-Ro cargo.

    According to CMA CFM the company president Jacques R. Saadé met with Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade earlier this year to discuss plans of developing a regular freight service between Dakar and the Casamance region of Senegal. Three months later on 10 October that became a reality with the service’s inaugural call in Ziguinchor.

    Various officials of the Senegalese government and CMA CGM plus Delmas Line were on hand to celebrate the introduction of the service.

    “We have a strong presence in the country with five lines sailing regularly into and out of Dakar. We are very pleased that this new service will contribute to the economic development of the Casamance region and to all of Senegal,” said Rodolphe Saadé, general manager of CMA CGM.

    The French line handles one quarter of all container traffic imported into Dakar and one third of all exports. It also transports passengers between Dakar and Ziguinchor through its SOMAT subsidiary whose majority shareholder is COMANAV, a wholly-owned CMA CGM subsidiary since April this year.

    CMA CGM operates a fleet of 370 ships, of which 110 are owned and serves 400 ports worldwide. In 2006 the company carried a total of 6 million TEUs.

    Tanzanian sugar producers object to Latin American imports

    Tanzania’s sugar producers have complained to government over a decision to allow the importation of 80,000 tonnes of sugar from Latin America, which they say is being sold at prices the local industry cannot compete with.

    At present only 50,000 tonnes has been imported and licences for the balance are thought to have expired on 31 May 2007.

    Sugar imports from outside the East African Community (EAC) attracts a 100 percent duty unless it is for so-called ‘industrial use’ which carries zero duty.

    Tanzania’s current deficit is blamed on excessive rains last December, which saw a reduced production of 200,000 tonnes, 100,000 tonnes short of the target set for 2007. The country has four main producers – Kilombero Sugar, whose principal shareholder is South Africa’s Illovo Sugar, TPC Limited which is 75 percent owned by Mauritius sugar producers Sukari Ltd, and two locally-owned producers Mtibwa and Kagera Sugar.

    source – East African

    Pic of the day – MSC PANAMA

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The bulbous bow of MSC PANAMA dominates the scene as the ship lies alongside the Dormac repair quay in Durban harbour. Picture Terry Hutson

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