Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 2, 2007
Author: P&S

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  • Congestion now a global problem

  • US Navy continues to monitor highjacked ship

  • Investing in South Africa to propel Africa's growth

  • SABS president’s award for Richards Bay Coal Terminal

  • Zimbabwe will import 800,000 tonnes of fertiliser

  • Pic of the day – DAI HONG DAN

  • Congestion now a global problem

    It used to be that port congestion was regarded as something applicable to third world ports but in recent months ports in Europe and North America have become every bit as congested as their counterparts in less developed regions.

    Shipping analysts are also casting a wary eye at ports in Asia and in particular China.

    The reason is simple – too many containers and other types of cargo moving between continents as the global economy stays on the boil, and insufficient foresight or time on the part of harbour and port administrations to plan ahead.

    As one ship owner put it rather succinctly, “we build new super-sized ships in a matter of months, but it takes years to expand a port.”

    The same can be said for inland transportation links with the ports.

    Some of the evidence indicating ongoing congestion can be seen with surcharges raised by shipping companies and this week a number in different parts of the world have been announced. For instance, inbound containers for discharge in the UK by member lines of the Far Eastern Freight Conference (FEFC) will be subject to a congestion surcharge of US $ 145 per TEU as from 1 December.

    According to the FEFC the growth in cargo carried by the conference into the UK for the first eight months of this year increased by almost 15 percent on the previous year.

    “Together with substantial growth seen in other trades, this level of increase has created congestion not only at the major UK terminals, but has also caused congestion of the inland transport and delivery systems. On occasions, (shipping) lines have found it necessary to by-pass UK ports and feed cargo to the United Kingdom, and in some cases divert their vessels to non-scheduled ports and equalise the costs from these ports. This has created even more congestion for an infrastructure that is already overloaded. The infrastructure congestion has also made it very difficult to repatriate much needed empty containers to Asia.”

    The FEFC says that these and other operational problems are incurring substantial extra costs for the lines, justifying the surcharge which will however be reviewed after 60 days.

    Across the English Channel things are not that much better and shipping lines are known to be concerned at delays in a number of the North European ports, with overloaded transport infrastructure throughout Europe similarly overloaded.

    Other factors apart from port congestion also play their part in raising transport costs and not the least at present is the soaring oil price, leading to bunker price adjustments.

    Member lines forming the South Africa Europe Container Service (SAECS) began announcing yesterday what they term a ‘review’ of the applicable bunker surcharges. With effect from 1 December the revised bunker surcharge on the SAECS service will become $ 370 per TEU for general purpose containerised cargo and $ 525 per TEU for reefer cargo.

    West Africa is seldom unaffected by congestion surcharges and member lines of the Europe West Africa Trade Agreement, known as EWATA, have raised their southbound congestion surcharges at a range of West African ports as from 21 November.

    The new charges are as follows per port:

    Luanda : € 250/500 per TEU/FEU

    Tema: € 75/150

    Containerised cargo € 75/150 per TEU/FEU
    Conventional cargo €4 per frt

    Cotonou: €100/200 per TEU/FEU

    Dakar: € 75/150 per TEU/FEU

    Pointe Noire:
    Containerised cargo €100/200 per TEU/FEU
    Conventional cargo € 5 per frt

    Lome: € 50/100 per TEU/FEU

    Surcharges at the ports of Lagos, Malabo, Matadi and Bata remain unchanged.

    EWATA member lines consist of CSAV, Delmas, Hapag Lloyd. Libra, Maersk Line, NileDutch, OT Africa Line, and Safmarine.

    US Navy continues to monitor highjacked ship

    US warships are continuing to monitor the movement of the Japanese products tanker GOLDEN NORI, which was seized by pirates who boarded the ship from two small skiffs on Sunday while the tanker was about eight n.miles off the island of Socotra.

    An American destroyer later opened fire with a 25mm gun on the skiffs which were under tow behind the captured ship, sinking both before the Americans realised the tanker was carrying a highly volatile cargo of benzene.

    The pirates who are believed to be armed are still in control of the ship, which is now in Somali waters. The US Navy is operating with the permission of the Somali transitional government.

    Coalition forces operating off the Somali coast believe that the pirates are receiving assistance from larger vessels which tow the small boats normally used for the attacks to a position far out at sea where commercial shipping might be found.

    Investing in South Africa to propel Africa's growth

    by Chris Khumalo (BuaNews)

    Durban, 1 November - South Africa has been showcased as a safe investment destination and a springboard for future growth in other African countries.

    This emerged from the South African International Trade and Investment Conference which ended in Durban this week.

    KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Finance and Economic Development, Dr Zweli Mkhize said that given the level of development of infrastructure, commercial and financial institutions and stable fiscal and economic policies in the country, South Africa was seen as a safe investment destination.

    Further to this, he said South Africa was a spring board for companies to propel growth in other African countries.

    "We are happy to report that South African companies have established and cemented strong links with international companies," said Dr Mkhize.

    The conference was aimed at exhibiting the advantages of doing business in the country and providing a stage for the widespread and high profile promotion of South Africa as a premier business investment destination and a leader in export trade.

    The Department of Trade and Industry hosted the three-day event, in conjunction with Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal.

    "We need to say that the turnout exceeded our expectations," said Dr Mkhize speaking on behalf of the national and provincial governments.

    He said they had initially expected 500 delegates to participate, but the enthusiasm and interest generated for the conference resulted in 850 delegates attending.

    Dr Mkhize said 127 of the delegates represented large corporations and global players.

    The programme included plenary sessions, followed by specific sector breakaway sections.

    These sessions consisted of speakers from government, private sector and academic case studies.

    The trade gathering brought together foreign and local investors, public and private sector officials as well as academics to discuss a variety of issues. It was an essential marketing tool for economic growth and development of the country's small business sector.

    Delegates and ambassadors from China, Portugal, Spain, Oman, India, the United States, Thailand, Czech Republic, Belgium and Nigeria attended the conference.

    Extensive business to business (B2B) meetings for interested international buyers and investors and local buyers and investors were also a key feature of the conference.

    Content for business presentations was based on practical business opportunities, funding, trade agreements and incentive schemes, while packaged projects from municipalities around South Africa were presented. The focus being on ensuring investors will be able to access the projects.

    Each of South Africa's provinces provided highlights and advantages of investing in and trading with their province.

    Dr Mkhize said 150 companies had registered for business matching prior to the event with 51 of these companies based overseas and involved primarily in the construction, agriculture, property development in tourism, mining and telecommunication.

    Most delegates had pointed out that the business to business process created a platform for international and local companies to foster and explore new opportunities.

    SABS president’s award for Richards Bay Coal Terminal

    Neil Scrimgeour and Va Hlela receiving an award on from SABS’s CEO Martin Kuscus at a gala dinner in Johannesburg recently. Picture supplied

    Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT), the single largest export coal terminal in the world, has been awarded the SABS President’s award in recognition of its achievement of multi-certification of ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 as well as RBCT’s drive, innovation and excellence in establishing, implementing and maintaining such systems.

    In deciding the winner, several achievements by RBCT were taken in account e.g.

    * The Business Excellence Award received in February 2007
    * Achieved 1 million Disabling Injury free man-hours in July 2007
    * A new 24-hour Export Record 21 September 2006

    The company was also recognised for the 86 percent of staff members undergoing voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) as at the end of 2005.

    RBCT was the only company in KZN to receive the SABS’s president award.

    [SABS is the South African Bureau of Standards]

    Zimbabwe to import 800,000 tonnes of fertilsier

    The Zimbabwe government has announced it intends importing 800,000 tonnes of fertiliser to help ensure the coming summer growing season is a success.

    No details have been given as to where the fertiliser is being sourced (China is believed to be the supplier) but it is expected the bulk will enter the landlocked country via Mozambique, with the ports of Beira and Maputo the beneficiaries.

    Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank Governor Dr Gideon Gono said last week that adequate fertiliser would be available for the 2007/08 planting season. In previous years monetary problems has prevented Zimbabwe from importing sufficient fertiliser and as a result of this and persistent drought the country has experienced large-scale food shortages.

    Dr Bono advised farmers to gear up for the coming season as the government was putting maximum effort into ensuring that it would be a success.

    Pic of the day – DAI HONG DAN

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice

    The North Korean general cargo ship DAU HONG DAN which was seized by armed guards shortly after sailing from Mogadishu harbour this week, and subsequently recaptured by members of the crew when they stormed the bridge, killing several of the highjackers. A US Navy destroyer, USS James E Williams assisted by being on the scene and later gave medical assistance to crew who were injured during the firefight. See full report in Ports & Ships News Report for yesterday, 1 November 2007. Picture courtesy US Navy

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