Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 15, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Shock for 200 passengers as Razzmatazz cruise is cancelled

  • News from the shipping lines

  • Mozambique wants to upgrade port of Pemba

  • African economies grow faster, steadier

  • US Treasury Secretary makes economic progress in Africa his focus of trip

  • Pic of the day – WINDFIELD

    Shock for 200 passengers as Razzmatazz cruise is cancelled

    The organiser of a 200-strong pelagic birding cruise group, scheduled to sail as passengers on the cruise ship RAZZMATAZZ, also known as MADAGASCAR, reacted with shock yesterday (Wednesday) to the news that the cruise to Europa Island beginning this Saturday has been cancelled with less than three days to go.

    Tour organiser Trevor Hardaker told PORTS & SHIPS that he had over 200 people booked on the cruise, including people arriving from overseas, who now had to be advised the cruise was off. He said he wasn’t sure whether he would be reimbursed either in part or in full.

    Earlier yesterday he received a call from Mr Ian Powell of Razzmatazz Ocean Cruises advising that due to legal complications with the ship the cruise could not go ahead from Saturday 17 November. It is believed this may relate to an arrest order held against the ship.

    There has been intense speculation in shipping circles in recent weeks as to if and when the cruise company Razzmatazz Ocean Cruises would begin operating. Advertisements in a Sunday newspaper indicated that cruises were to have commenced several months ago, but on each occasion the date has been postponed. The most recent date when cruising from Durban to Mozambique islands was to have begun was given as 9 November but this date came and went with no sign of the ship being ready for departure. In addition the company’s website,
    http://www.razzmatazzoceancruises.co.za is continuing (as of last night) to show a cruising schedule commencing on 30 September 2007.

    According to the advertisements and the company website Razzmatazz Ocean Cruises intended operating all-year-round cruises to the Mozambique coast and to other ports in South Africa. Focus was also placed on theme cruises, in which an entire cruise would be sold to another organiser, such as the Indian Ocean Pelagic Birding Cruise.

    Mrs D Powell, also of Razzmatazz Ocean Cruises told Ports & Ships yesterday she was unable to comment on the latest cancellation or when the ship would be available for cruising.

    The cruise ship Madagascar (former Bremerhaven, former Stella Maris II, former Viking Bordeaux) arrived in Durban in November 2005 to begin an all-year-round cruise operation for Indian Ocean Cruises, a subsidiary company of the large property developer the Elan Group in conjunction with the Three Cities Hotel Group. The latter company was to run the ship’s hospitality function. After a couple of cruises were completed the venture collapsed, for reasons that have not been made public. It is however known that the company had difficulty maintaining its sailing schedule and that hospitality staff on board the vessel were unhappy with sailing conditions, while passengers on board the few cruises reported the ship as being ‘highly uncomfortable’ in the moderate seas experienced.

    On one of the few cruises attempted the ship was forced to seek shelter in Richards Bay, after failing to make progress towards Inhaca Island near Maputo.

    Since the collapse of Indian Ocean Cruises the ship has languished at various berths in Durban harbour, under an arrest order but otherwise maintained reasonably well, as far as outward appearances can judge.

    News from the shipping lines

    South American shipping company CSAV has introduced a number of important improvements to its services in East Coast of South America aimed at offering customers increased options and a more reliable service. From the beginning of November it launched a new Marco Polo service from East coast of South America to Middle East and the India Subcontinent in cooperation with CMA – CGM’s Vasco express service, offering a dedicated service and improved transit times, frequency, and service reliability.

    The service connects the East Coast of South America to the Middle East and India Subcontinent, calling in Khorfakkan, Jebel Ali, Damman , Bandar Abbas and Nhava Sheva directly but maintaining its call at Durbanon on the westbound leg.

    The first vessel, M/V SANTA MADDALENA called at Santos on 7 November, Parangua on 8 November, Itajaí on 10 November and Rio Grande on 12 November.

    The service will run with eight vessels of 1,700 TEU capacity on a weekly frequency. All of the vessels are equipped with reefer plugs for 350 reefer containers. The Marco Polo service will offer customers new direct options for their cargo from East coast of South America and will also add further options for CSAV’s existing East Coast South America services.

    The new port rotation is as follows: Santos – Paranaguá – Itajaí – Rio Grande* - Khorfakkan* - Jebel Ali – Damman – Bandar Abbas* - Nhava Sheva* - Durban – Santos. New calls are shown with *

    SA Independent Liner Services (SAIL) will shortly take delivery of their latest charter vessel, the 1,118-TEU container ship, ORINOCO RIVER, one of the CV 100 class ships being built at the Qing Shan Shipyard in China. Orinoco River will go on charter with SAIL on that company’s South Africa – West Africa - Europe service.

    has confirmed that it is taking over the shipping liner operations of Costa Container Lines and Calmedia Agenzia Marittima srl.

    The takeover affects the following trades:
    Western Mediterranean – East Coast South America
    East Coast South America – Caribbean and Mexico
    Western Mediterranean – North Coast South America and Caribbean
    Italy – Turkey and Greece
    Italy – Algeria
    Italy – Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.

    The acquisition includes the ships in Costa Container Line’s fleet and increases Hamburg Süd’s volume capacity by 360,000 TEUs. Hamburg Süd says it will continue to use the well-established Costa Container Lines branding and that the purchase will strengthen its position in the core North / South trade lanes.

    CMB and the Peterham Group have reached an agreement with South Africa’s Imperial Holdings to acquire Imperial’s share in the Air Contractors Group (ACL) which is based in Dublin, Eire. The acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of this year by which time CMB will become the majority shareholder of ACL.

    ACL owns 25 and operates a further 18 aircraft and is mainly active in the European airfreight and aircraft leasing business. Included in the fleet are Airbus 300, Hercules L100-30, ATR 42 and ATR 72 freighter and passenger aircraft.

    Mozambique wants to upgrade port of Pemba

    The port of Pemba – picture Terry Hutson

    Mozambique’s port and rail company CFM is planning an upgrade of the northern Mozambique port of Pemba, according to a report in CargoNewsAsia. The upgrade is costing several million dollars and will be completed by 2009, said Orio Benzane of CFM.

    The article quaintly describes the port as being ‘bustling’ and says that CFM hopes it will soon become a shipping gateway for the eastern African region. Pemba has apparently seen an eight-fold increase in traffic since 2006 and will soon be able to handle large cargo ships in competition with other regional ports such as Dar es Salaam and Mombasa.

    another view of Pemba through the window of a commercial aircraft, with part of the huge Pemba Bay to the right. The water on the left is the open sea. Picture Terry Hutson

    According to Benzane the port will prove to be an alternative to these other ports. He said that Pemba port, which handles petroleum, timber, cotton and other cargo, was ideally positioned to become one of East Africa's most important ports largely because of a relatively deep harbour that did not require dredging.

    However the port would require investments in new packaging and container equipment.

    source – CargoNewsAsia

    African economies grow faster, steadier

    by Michael Appel (BuaNews)

    Midrand, 14 November 2007 - Many African economies appear to be on a path of faster and steadier economic growth, according to the World Bank's Africa Development Indicators 2007.

    Speaking at the annual release of the continent's development indicators on Wednesday, World Bank Country Director Ritva Reinikka said African economies' performance over 1995-2005 reverses the collapses over 1975-1985 and the stagnations witnesses over 1985-1995.

    "Average growth in the Sub-Saharan economies was 5.4 percent in 2005 and 2006. The consensus projection is 5.3 percent for 2007 and 5.4 percent for 2008.

    "Leading the way are the oil and mineral exporters thanks to high prices, but (also) 18 non-mineral economies, with more than a third of the Sub-Saharan African people, have also been doing well," said Ms Reinikka.

    Chief Economist at the World Bank for the Africa Region, John Page, in his presentation of the indicators explained that African economies could be divided into three groups.

    The groups can be divided as follows, namely the slow growth economies such as Zambia, Guinea and Zimbabwe; the diversified economies with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of about 4 percent a year such as Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda and Ghana; and finally the oil exporting economies such as Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Angola, Sudan and Nigeria.

    The theme of the development report questions whether Africa's steady growth could be attributed to good policies or luck.

    Mr Page said in his opinion it seemed to be a bit of both, referring to what Einstein once said, "Fortune favours the prepared mind."

    He said that if a country, or collectively a continent, has the correct policies in place, that it is more likely to experience stronger economic growth.

    One of the worrying factors that Mr Page highlighted in the report was the lack of export diversification in many of the African economies.

    "Many of these countries exports that were important in 1975 are still important today. Despite the spread of growth in exports across the continent, the lack of diversification is still a worrying factor," he said.

    With regard to the trend of GDP across the continent over the last decade, Mr Page said the trend for Africa had never really managed to top 2 percent.

    Whilst the actual GDP growth of many African countries has in many cases experienced real growth, the volatility of Africa's actual growth remains a problem he said.

    Over the short to medium term much has happened in Africa explained Mr Page.

    "There have been several episodes of growth acceleration, but acceleration was usually followed by growth collapses.

    "Thus the very slow long run growth cycles in which growth and then collapse preceded each other in an almost predictable pattern."

    However, economists have since 2005 noticed that the frequency between what he referred to as "the good and bad times" has started to shift in favour of the good times for the continent.

    Explaining the term good times, Mr Page said it is when savings and investment are higher, trade is substantially greater and policies and institutions including government function effectively.

    He highlighted that despite Africa managing to grow in tandem with many of the worlds developed economies, the fact that the continent was a natural resource hub for the rest of the world made it increasingly vulnerable to outside shocks and changes in commodity prices.

    Crucial to the acceleration of growth on the continent is increasing private investment and Mr Page highlighted that improving the investment climate, bolstering infrastructure, spurring innovation, and building institutional capacity are therefore crucial.

    With regard to the cost of doing business in Africa, the World Bank Economist explained that Africa was still "a high cost, high risk place to do business as opposed to East Asia and the Pacific.

    "The good news is Africa can compete globally, but infrastructure creates expensive bottlenecks, and African economies just aren't competitive enough as the economies of South and East Asia."

    He concluded on a positive note by saying structural policy changes on the continent are improving growth forecasts, adding that is it good policies that will build the basis on which Africa can further grow.

    US Treasury Secretary makes economic progress in Africa his focus of trip

    by Charles W. Corey, USINFO Staff Writer

    Washington, 13 November 2007 - Economic progress in Tanzania, South Africa and Ghana - including infrastructure development and job creation - will be the focus of US Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr.'s trip to the emerging market countries between 13 – 19 November.

    While in Africa, the Treasury secretary also will deliver a major address to the Corporate Council on Africa’s US-Africa Business Summit in Cape Town, South Africa, and attend a G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors, according to Ahmed Saeed, deputy assistant secretary of the treasury for Africa and the Middle East.

    Briefing reporters on Paulson’s trip November 9 at the US Foreign Press Center in Washington, Saeed identified Tanzania, South Africa and Ghana as places where “sound governance and good economic polices have, over the last half decade and longer, had profound positive economic consequences.”

    All three countries are enjoying “robust track records” of economic growth dating back at least five years, he explained. After implementing positive economic reforms, they exemplify the “good financial and economic news stories that are now emerging from Africa,” he said.

    There are parts of Africa, Saeed said, “where there has been real poverty alleviation -- particularly in those countries [Tanzania, South Africa and Ghana] that have done the right thing when it comes to economic policy.”

    Along with the good news on Tanzania, South Africa and Ghana, he cautioned that there are still “numerous challenges” in today’s Africa that “we all know” and of which we must remain aware.

    Saeed said the continent is seeing its “highest growth rates and the lowest inflation levels in 30 years.” The growth in economic policy management “seems to be quite widespread,” he said, with 23 of 48 countries seeing record high growth levels that seem to be trickling down.

    “The last four years we have seen average per capita income growth of 3.8 percent, and … the [International Monetary Fund] is projecting 4 percent per capita income growth for this year,” he added.

    While in Africa, Paulson is expected to talk about issues that are directly related to economic and financial performance. “He is going to talk about the critical role played by infrastructure … the importance of having a sound and robust financial structure” and of spreading the benefits of growth and sustainable development, Saeed said.

    While in Tanzania, Saeed said, Paulson is expected to travel to a US Agency for International Development (USAID) farm outside Arusha that is a sustainable community focused on land conservation. He also will hold talks with the Tanzanian finance minister that will include discussion of a $ 698 million Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact that Tanzania is expected to sign with the United States early next year, Saeed said.

    Before leaving Tanzania, Paulson also is expected to meet with East African Community (EAC) finance ministers from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Kenya to talk about regional capital market integration and how that could foster further economic development across the region. Paulson also will visit the A to Z Textiles mosquito net factory, which is generating jobs and participating in President Bush’s anti-malaria initiative for Africa.

    In South Africa, Paulson will be the keynote speaker at the Corporate Council on Africa’s US-Africa Business Summit in Cape Town. While in that country, he also will meet with local bankers, participate in a G20 meeting and visit the Khayelitsha Cookie Company, which is creating important job opportunities, especially for women.

    In Ghana, Paulson will visit the Ghana Stock Exchange and participate in a round table discussion with bankers from Ghana and elsewhere in the region. He also will meet with President John Kufuor to review Ghana’s economic progress and then travel to Akosombo Dam, where he will talk about the critical role infrastructure plays in the African development process. “Akosombo Dam is the source of more than 50 percent of Ghana’s energy,” Saeed reminded the reporters, and, as such, is an important source of economic development.

    The overarching theme of Paulson’s trip, Saeed concluded, is to “shine a light on those changes that are taking place in Africa, have been taking place for some time in terms of implementing fundamentally sound economic policies, and those changes which are now bearing fruit … and talking about how we can partner with those who have a real commitment to reform.”

    (USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, US Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

    Pic of the day – WINDFIELD

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The Gearbulk vessel WINDFIELD in Cape Town harbour with the majestic Table Mountain as a backdrop. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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