Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 3, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • IBSA summit to further strengthen trade

  • Follow Kingsley Holgate’s Edge of Outside Africa expedition on PORTS & SHIPS

  • Red Sea volcano is near busy sea lane

  • Shipping line news

  • News from African ports

  • Pic of the day – USS FORREST SHERMAN

    IBSA summit to further strengthen trade

    by Sholain Govender

    Pretoria (BuaNews) 2 October - The second annual India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) summit could result in the trilateral initiative achieving their trade target of -billion within the next few years.

    Events leading up to the summit, to be held at the Presidential Guesthouse on 17 October, will provide a platform for the formation of trilateral business partnerships aimed at enhancing existing trade between the three members states.

    Speaking at a press briefing Tuesday, Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Head of the Asia and Middle East Section in the Department of Foreign Affairs said that since the formation of IBSA in 2003, trade between the three countries has increased to between $6 and $7 billion dollars.

    "IBSA is about business. IBSA is about unlocking the potential of the south," said Mr Matjila.

    A business forum will form a major component of events leading up to the one-day summit and will see over 200 business people from India, Brazil and South Africa attending the discussion groups at the Sandton Convention Centre on 15 and 16 October.

    Mr Matjila said it was a chance for them to form trilateral companies especially in emerging opportunities in the transport, maritime and aviation sector.

    He said the increased volume of air traffic had resulted in plans for Indian airline, Jet Airlines, to fly to OR Tambo International Airport [Johannesburg] soon and government hoped that the private sector would move into this area.

    Other discussions taking place in Sandton include technology, a Parliamentary forum which members of Parliament from the three member states in attendance, an academic forum and a women's forum, which will focus on gender economic inclusivity.

    Feedback from all the forums will be given to the three heads of state, President Thabo Mbeki, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the summit.

    Mr Matjila also said that the heads of state will most likely be signing six agreements during the summit related to public administration, higher education, health and medicines, social development, cultural cooperation and energy.

    In terms of energy, Mr Matjila said new working groups on climate change have been discussed by IBSA delegations over the last two years.

    He said South Africa was looking into the use of biofuels and wanted to learn from Brazil, a country which currently uses almost 40 percent biofuels.

    IBSA currently has 14 working groups, with transport and energy being two of the key groups.

    The ambassador said government hoped the agreements would be accompanied by programmes of action to implement them.

    Also on the agenda for the summit is the IBSA Fund to which each member state contributes $1 million dollars annually.

    Ambassador Matjila said the fund, a rapid response fund providing money to projects where funds usually take a long time to be made available, would be evaluated and South Africa would put forward suggestions regarding countries, like Burundi.

    The purpose of the IBSA fund is to implement duplicable, phased projects in needy developing countries.

    Follow Kingsley Holgate’s Edge of Outside Africa expedition on PORTS & SHIPS


    Kingsley Holgate is on the move – he left Cape Point several months ago and PORTS & SHIPS has only now managed to catch up with him. The team, consisting of family and several volunteers are busy circumnavigating Africa by Landrover as close to the coast as is possible and under some trying circumstances.

    Now that we’ve established contact with him, Kingsley will be keeping PORTS & SHIPS readers informed with his regular Blogs.

    Read all about this incredible journey - not just an adventure but an epic year long journey that aims to change and save lives. The story starts here in our SEA STORIES column and will continue with regular updates.

    Go here: http://ports.co.za/didyouknow/index.php


    Red Sea volcano is near busy sea lane

    After three consecutive days a volcano on the small island in the Red Sea was continuing to spew molten lava and ash late yesterday (Tuesday).

    The volcano on Jabal al-Tair island, which is about 130km off the Yemeni mainland near the southern entrance to the Red Sea, on one of the busiest sea lanes, erupted late on Sunday and at least seven Yemeni soldiers were reported missing, feared dead as the island ‘disappeared’ under a mantle of molten lava, with hot ash soaring a thousand metres into the air.

    Shipping in the area has been warned to stay clear of the island on the Bab al-Mandab passage, but Yemeni navy vessels were reported to be in the immediate area searching for survivors from the small military outpost on the island. The Canadian frigate HMCS TORONTO joined in the search at the request of the Yemeni authorities. The ship is part of the NATO task force that is completing a circumnavigation of Africa.

    An unconfirmed report yesterday stated that seven bodies had been recovered along with one survivor who was picked up by the TORONTO. Military circles said that part of the island appeared to have collapsed into the sea.

    The island has been occupied by the Yemeni military following the conflict between Yemen and Eritrea in 1996. The eruption, the first for more than a hundred years, followed a number of small earthquakes registering between 4 and 4.3 on the Richter scale, which struck shortly after noon on Sunday.

    Shipping line news

    Indian-based JSW Steel, which is the second largest private steel manufacturer in India and part of the OP Jindal group, has secured a panamax or post-panamax vessel from K Line, the Japanese shipping company for a 5-year consecutive voyage charter for the purpose of carrying coking coal ti India from South Africa, Australia and China.

    JSW Steel imports an average of 4 million tonnes of coking coal annually. Last year the Indian- based company signed a 7- year contract for thermal coal from Indonesia.

    source – Maritime Global Net

    Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is reported to be adding capacity to its China – Spain Jade Service which was launched in July using ships of between 2,500 and 4,900-TEU.

    The line is now deploying vessels in the range from 6,700 – 8,500-TEU, according to the reports and is extending the port coverage to include calls at Shanghai, Ningbo and Xiamen. This is in addition to existing calls at Hong Kong, Yantian and Chiwan at the China end of the service. The ships now deployed are made up of two 8,500-TEU vessels sublet from CSCL and two 8,000-TEU and three 6,700-TEU ships transferred from MSC’s Far East – US New Orient Express service. The latter service is using the smaller vessels transferred from the Jade service.

    On the Europe side of the service the only port called at is Valencia, which MSC uses as a hub for cargo to West and North Africa.

    MSC recently acquired the 3,430-TEU container ship FRANKFURT EXPRESS and has renamed her MSC ATHINA, reports AXS-Alphaliner. In her day the ship was the pride and joy of Hapag Lloyd, having been the world’s largest container ship when first deployed in 1981. In late August she was reported sold to breakers and renamed JASON, before sailing to India on what was thought to be her last voyage but in a manner reminiscent of the purchase by MSC of Safmarine’s SA LANGEBERG from Indian breakers back in 1992, the German ship appears to have been snaffled up by the Swiss/Italian company and pressed back into service.

    sources – Schednet, AXS Alphaliner and P&S

    SA Independent Liner Services (SAIL), in which mining house Lonhro recently took a 45 percent share, has received the first of three CV1100 series container ships which have been taken under charter for the line’s South Africa – West Africa - Europe service. The 1118-TEU TAGA BAY this week completed her maiden call at Durban and is to be followed in the service by the VAAL RIVER and ORINOCO RIVER.

    Maersk Lines, the container division of AP Moller, says it is expecting a turnaround in fortunes with a return to small profitability in 2007 followed by further improvements in 2008 and a ‘satisfying’ profitability in 2009.

    This was the gist of what division manager Eivind Kolding told the Danish newspaper Berlingske Business this week.

    The Danish container giant has experienced difficult times since the purchase of P&O Nedlloyd in 2006, which has been attributed to a number of factors including bunker costs and falling freight rates

    In a recent issue we reported how Maersk Line had begun re-deploying ships from its unprofitable US – Europe routes to the more lucrative Asia – Europe services in an effort to return to profitability.

    News from African ports

    The port of Abidjan in Ivory Coast is to undergo a US $ 230 million expansion to increase capacity and enable the use of larger ships. Abidjan hopes to recover transit cargo to neighbouring countries which it lost during the civil war of 2002-03.

    This development follows the latest peace agreement signed in March, and is being looked at as a catalyst for the economic upliftment of the Ivory Coast.

    The port plan envisages the construction of new quays and terminal facilities, new warehouses and an upgraded road system.

    The new quays and terminal will be situated at Boulay Island, an undeveloped region of Abidjan harbour, which will have to be connected to the mainland by a new bridge. It is intended to commence work in 2008 when dredging will commence. According to these reports two thirds of the necessary funding is already available.

    There was nothing new in the statement made last week by Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin to the French South African Chamber of Commerce when he said that the port of Richards Bay has the potential of becoming South Africa’s premier multi purpose harbour.

    It’s something that every schoolboy knows and certainly something that every businessman and port user has known and has been saying for years, but perhaps it should be reassuring to hear someone in government acknowledge it as a fact.

    Erwin said however that plans to develop the harbour to its fullest potential were at an embryonic stage, which dashes any urgent hope of seeing the harbour developed for container traffic.

    He intimated that a decision on the further development of both Durban and Richards Bay could be expected soon. Port users who have been round the block a few times are unlikely to be seen holding their breath. Recently announced spending by Transnet on port development indicated very little for Richards Bay by comparison with Durban, Ngqura and Cape Town.

    Despite congestion at Mombasa the government of Southern Sudan has indicated it intends making further use of Kenya ports as an outlet for the landlocked country’s imports and exports. Southern Sudan’s Transport Minister David Deng said during a visit to Kenya that his government was keenly anticipating the development of the port at Lamu, as this was nearer to Southern Sudan than Mombasa.

    However, until then Southern Sudan intended increasing its use of Mombasa provided the Kenya Ports Authority set aside an area for storing cargo that would not attract demurrage.

    Deng was visiting Mombasa to discuss the delay of 36 containers carrying urgently needed cargo for the repair of the Juba Bridge between Kenya and Juba, which had collapsed because, it is said, of too much traffic..

    Pic of the day – USS FORREST SHERMAN

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    Before the warship departs from South African shores, one last look at the US destroyer USS FORREST SHERMAN, this time in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

    Don’t forget to 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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