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Ports & Ships Maritime News

19 January 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002

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A tropical sunrise scene overlooking the Durban outer anchorage as taken from the photographers front garden, with five ships in view and lying at anchor awaiting the call to enter the port of Durban. Picture by Alwyn Harding

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South African-based Grindrod Limited has entered into a partnership with one of the world’s largest independent energy traders, Vitol Anker International BV and Vitol Mauritius Limitada which becomes a partner in the Maputo Coal Terminal.

Effective 1 January 2012, Vitol will acquire from Grindrod a 35% interest in the company which owns the Maputo coal terminal concession. In addition Vitol and Grindrod will enter into a partnership (65% Vitol / 35% Grindrod) to combine their respective sub-Saharan coal trading businesses.

Under the terms of the coal terminal transaction, Grindrod Mauritius Limitada (GMU), a subsidiary of Grindrod, will sell 35% of its shares and loan claims in Terminal de Carvăo da Matola (TCM) to Vitol for a consideration of US$67.7 million payable upon the transaction becoming unconditional.

TCM is a 6 million tonne terminal for the export of coal and magnetite. This transaction is subject to final approval by the Government of Mozambique.

Grindrod was awarded the concession to operate the terminal at Maputo until 2033 with an option to extend the concession for a further 10 years. To date US$70 million has been invested in the refurbishment and building of infrastructure expanding the capacity of the terminal to 6 million tons per annum.

TCM is ideally situated for the export of coal to international markets. The dredging of the port channel which was completed in 2011 now allows larger vessels up to Panamax size to enter the port, contributing to the port’s competitiveness. The Mozambique government, CFM and Transnet have aligned to promote the delivery of cargo by rail to the port which has seen tremendous improvement in rail delivery.

Demand for capacity at TCM continues to grow which led to the feasibility study for an expansion of capacity by 20 million tons (phase 4) requiring an investment of approximately US$ 800 million. The expansion project involves excavation and land reclamation; resulting in a footprint of 120 hectares; the construction of two additional berths, a stockyard and railway infrastructure.

With the introduction of Vitol, Grindrod has established a relationship with one of the world’s largest trading businesses. “Vitol is the ideal partner to assist us in the coal terminal in Maputo,” said Alan Olivier, Grindrod Limited CEO.

“They have significant experience in building terminals and they are a reputable global trading business. Their strong balance sheet will further assist in the opportunity to offer junior miners capacity in the terminal. I believe our shareholders and customers will benefit, as through this transaction we have increased our capability to deliver on this strategic expansion project and we look forward to further developing our relationship with Vitol.”

Bob Finch, Head of Coal trading at Vitol said that Vitol was delighted to have concluded this deal with Grindrod. “Both parts of this transaction create opportunities to underpin a significant expansion of our coal trading business, which is an increasingly important part of Vitol’s global trading activity,” he said.

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Matola Coal Terminal (TCM), Maputo

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KS Endeavor on fire off Nigeria. picture courtesy Chevron

One hundred and fifty-two workers on the jack-up rig KS Endeavor and the Hercules Offshore multipurpose vessel Mako were hastily evacuated after an explosion set fire to the rig, which is in place at Chevron Nigeria Limited’s (CNL) Funiwa Field within Oil Mining Lease 86 off the coast of Nigeria.

CNL, operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation/Chevron joint venture, confirmed that the fire started in the early hours of Monday, 16 January. It said that rig and support barge personnel were evacuated from the facilities. Another source said that two workers were missing.

Chevron said that it has reported the fire to all relevant government authorities and added, perhaps with the BP Deepwater Horizon incident of 2010 in mind, that well- control plans have been established. It indicated that it thought that equipment failure may have been the cause of the fire.

“Initial indications point to the possible failure of surface equipment during drilling operations that led to a loss of well control,” the company said.

Latest reports say that the rig has partially collapsed and is continuing to burn.

The company has contracted a rig from Transocean Ltd to drill a relief well at the site, and is deploying additional experts to assist in getting the well under control.

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In an effort to ease congestion at the port’s container terminal, Mombasa’s Container Freight Stations (CFS) are now required to evacuate the containers that have been assigned to their yards within a 48 hour period.

In addition a number of specific service level agreements are going to be vigorously enforced, reports the Nairobi Star.

According to a port spokesman the latest congestion is a result of poor movement of traffic in the port areas and the Christmas holiday. Short term controls involving road access to the port and terminals has been introduced, with trucks having to use gates 18 and 20 and private motorists gates 9, 10 and 12 until further notice.

Mombasa Container Terminal currently has an estimated 12,000 containers of which almost half are not documented, the report said. The Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Revenue Authority will be identifying the owners of the containers who will be advised to remove them immediately.

A number of management changes at the port of Mombasa have been announced. Captain Twalib Khamis formerly of engineering services has moved to operations; Joseph Atonga is now in charge of engineering services; Salim Chingabwi (human resource and administration); Abdullahi Samatar (infrastructure development); Catherine Gatere (legal services); and Catherine Mturi-Wairi (finance, accounts and procurement). Source Nairobi Star

KPA downplays port delays

The Kenya Ports Authority says the backlog at the port of Mombasa is a result of delayed collections by cargo owners (see report above) and not from inefficiency. But while the blame game continues, traders continue incurring millions in losses because of shipping line surcharges based on port delays. Here's the latest on that story. Clip time 1min 47sec, Use your BACK button to return to this page. Publisher: NTVKenya

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Mozambique with proposed new rail links with the coast. A new spinal railway running the length of Mozambique and linking all main centres and ports is under consideration at present

Mozambican state-owned CFM has begun the rehabilitation of the Beira – Machipanda railway (Zimbabwe border), concentrating on certain critical areas prone to derailments and where sections of the line, sleeper, culverts etc are obsolete.

The announcement was made by the Sofala province director for Transport & Communication, as reported by the Maputo Portuguese language daily newspaper Noticias.

Carlos Isidor said the contract would be concluded within eight months.

The 317-km long railway forms an important cog in the Beira-Zimbabwe corridor, linking not only the port of Beira but also the provinces of Sofala and Manica to Zimbabwe. The contract for its rehabilitation was awarded to the RICON consortium, a partnership between Indian state-owned Rites and Ircon but was subsequently cancelled when RICON failed to fulfill the terms of the contract according to CFM, the Mozambique state-owned port and rail company.

It was reported that Mozambique suffered losses estimated at US$230 million as a result of the cancellation.

The Mozambique government has embarked on a determine effort of upgrading and rehabilitating the countries staggered railways, which had fallen into disrepair and disuse. Recently Mozambique announced its intention of building a main ‘spine’ railway along the length of Mozambique from the south to the north, linking the country by rail for the first time. Source Noticias

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Three new appointments at Safmarine

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Stephen Knight, Safmarine’s Global Sales Director

Safmarine has announced three appointments from within its own ranks as senior members of the newly-established Safmarine commercial team, to be headed by Grant Daly, Safmarine’s new CEO.

British-born Nick Gough, currently Safmarine’s Strategic Sales and Key Accounts Director based in Antwerp, assumes the role of Global Key Account Director based in Copenhagen, while fellow Brit, Stephen Knight, takes on the role of Safmarine’s Global Sales Director. Knight, who will relocate to Copenhagen from Dubai, is currently Safmarine’s Middle East and North Africa Regional Executive.

South African Russell Gillespie, currently Safmarine’s Antwerp-based Customer Insight Director, is Safmarine’s new Global Access and Experience Director responsible for, amongst others, branding, PR and communications, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and a number of customer intelligence and segmentation initiatives.

Maersk hikes India to Africa rates

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Maersk Dryden. Picture by Ian Shiffman

With effect from 1 February and 1 March, Maersk Line’s freight rates between India and East and West African ports will be increased.

Rates between India and East African ports increases by US$ 50 per TEU ($100 per 12m container), while rates for cargo between India and West African ports goes up by $150 per TEU ($250 per 12m), with effect 1 March 2012.

“While we are continuously endeavoring toward serving customers to the best of our capabilities, prevailing rates are proving to be difficult to sustain, especially in the current scenario,” Maersk India said in a trade advisory.

Shareholders pump US$347 million into CSAV to keep line afloat

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CSAV Lauca. Picture by Ian Shiffman

Chile’s Compania Sud Americana de Vapores (CSAV), the world's 14th biggest carrier, is receiving a bale-out of US$ 347 million from two of its investors, Quinenco and Marinsa. CSAV is expected to receive $1.2 billion in total reinvestments in order to keep the shipping company afloat.

According to shipping analyst Alphaliner, $247 million of the capital injection has come from Quinenco while Marinsa further invested $100 million. Quinenco’s $247m is equivalent to a 20.6% shareholding in CSAV. In October Quinenco committed to subscribing to up to $ 1 billion of the new capital increase.

According to the restructuring plan CSAV’s port, tugboat and logistics arm SAAM will have to be separated from the container line.

Yemen bans armed guards

Authorities in the Yemen have banned the use of (foreign) armed guards in their waters.

The ban has come about because of the arrival in Yemen’s harbours of numerous ships carrying foreign guards together with weapons and munitions, which is seen to be in violation of Yemeni law.

With immediate effect any ships carrying foreign armed guards or having weapons on board will be prohibited from entering the country’s ports.

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The first US pre-positioning ship in a long time – about a year – arrived in Cape Town on Wednesday (18 January) to take bunkers, after having been listed for Durban for the same purpose. The ship is the MAJ BERNARD F FISHER (T-AK 4396) which is seen here at the bunker tanker berth in Cape Town harbour. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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