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Ports & Ships Maritime News

31 January 2012
Author: Terry Hutson


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The Cape Town-based Ship Society of South Africa has produced an attractive one page calendar for 2012 to commemorate the tragic sinking of the Titanic in 1912. It costs R25 plus packaging and postage. Please contact brupa@telkomsa.net or telephone 021 434 5528


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The African Union Commission has again expressed its wish for increased intra-African trade, in a document presented to the heads of AU state meeting this past weekend.

The commission wants intra-African trade to double within the next ten years, from its present 10-12% to between 20-25%. It argues that by increasing intra-African trade, African countries “will develop larger markets, and foster greater competition which in turn will lead to poverty reduction, growth and poverty reduction”.

“Pooling economies and markets through regional integration will provide a sufficiently wide economic and market space to make economies of scale possible for African industries and to allow Africa to play its rightful role in the global market,” it says.

To achieve these goals there will have to be political commitment and leadership from African heads of state in order to reform trade policies and harmonise rules and regulations across the continent. Measures should be taken to “reduce cost and time for the movement of goods and services, business, investment and labour mobility across borders”, and to diversify African production capacities “in order to add value to Africa’s primary commodities and boost regional and continental value chains”.

The document also calls for “increased access to trade financing and establishing the framework for a viable continental payments system through banking and export guarantee systems”.

It identifies that to achieve this will need the elimination of tariffs between AU members and “the application of simple and transparent rules of origin,” which all goods must conform with if they are to enjoy duty-free and quota-free access. The document insists that non-tariff barriers will also have to come down.

The AU document argues that the creation of an all-Africa free trade area would create jobs in the public and private sectors, and would increase food security by reducing protection on trade in agricultural products between African countries. The result would be “increased competitiveness of Africa’s industrial products through harnessing the economies of scale of a large continental market of about a billion people.”

The document proposes the creation of a High-Level African Trade Committee (HATCH) with responsibility for overseeing “the effective implementation of the Action Plan for boosting intra-African trade and implementing the continental free trade area.”

One of the obstacles to free trade in Africa has been government fears of losing the revenue from customs tariffs. The document, however, points out that “recent experiences at the regional levels shows that government revenue can actually increase with the removal of tariffs on intra-regional trade. This is applicable to both small and large economies.”

Recognising that by itself a free trade area is not a panacea, the AU Commission also calls for “intensive investment in manufacturing and processing industries that add value to Africa’s raw materials.”

Preparations for an all-Africa free trade area would also need increased competitiveness and productivity in the individual economies, which would require “the enhancement of workers’ skills, the improvement of firms’ organisational and management structures and the development of supportive economic policies and infrastructures.”

The existing regional economic communities will be the building blocks of the proposed free trade area. This means that the tripartite SADC-COMESA-EAC free trade area must be functional by 2014, and that by that date the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) should have completed its free trade area, ensuring that all ECOWAS members join.

These areas will then be consolidated into the continental free trade area between 2015 and 2016 “with the option to review the deadline according to progress made.” (source The Zimbabwean.co.uk).


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Etosha Transport – part of the Imperial Logistics group

South African logistics specialist Imperial Logistics is expanding its foothold into Africa with the acquisition of two transport companies, one based in South Africa and the other with useful cross border operations.

The latest acquisition is a majority stake in Kings Transport, a load consolidation business established 80 years ago. Imperial Logistics said in a statement that Kings Transport strengthens its ability to service customers that move less than full truck loads from source to market.

Moving loads that range in size from 500kg to 32 tons, Kings Transport services a diverse range of customers from blue-chip brands to home-based businesses. “Kings is a great fit for the Group,” says Marius Swanepoel, Chief Executive Officer of Imperial Logistics. “Their ethics are deeply rooted, they focus on people development and they are passionate about delivering value to customers.”

Kings has 225 employees who work across five branches nationally. The head office is based in the Western Cape, with branches located in Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth.

Earlier in January Imperial announced that it has acquired IJ Snyman Transport, an established Logistics Service Provider (LSP) to leading retail, FMCG and construction brands. Snyman’s has a 10 year track record operating into Namibia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Zambia and across South Africa.

Sakkie Snyman, managing director of IJ Snyman Transport said he was pleased to become a part of a global logistics and supply chain management leader. He said that investment in the continent by African companies is essential in boosting critical intra-African trade.

Marius Swanepoel, Imperial Logistics’ CEO said that with a growing middle class, increasing urbanisation and technological access as well as untapped resources and agricultural potential, the development of Africa’s supply chain is imperative for sustainable growth.


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Picture Giglio News

Amid speculation that it could take the remainder of the year to remove the wreck of the cruise ship COSTA CONCORDIA , the Dutch salvage company SMIT Salvage which has been appointed to remove all oils from the vessel, provided a technical briefing on Saturday (28 January) to explain how the oil would be recovered.

In addition to the illustrated explanation, underwater video footage of the wreck was shown.

Smit explained that two of the six forward fuel tanks have been installed with a sealed flange and the remaining tanks are being similarly prepared. The six forward tanks are estimated to hold approximately two thirds of the (intermediate) fuel oil in the casualty.

It was intended that the oil removal process would have got underway immediately after the press conference but unfavourable weather and sea conditions had the final say and operations were suspended. The crane barge that is being used in the operation had to be disconnected and taken to the nearby port on the island of Giglio.

“Weather permitting, we look forward to completing the preparations on the forward fuel tanks and commencing with the oil removal as soon as possible,” the company said.

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Fred Olsen’s BLACK WATCH will be returning to South Africa by way of an 80-night round Africa cruise with a difference in 2013, the ‘Indian Ocean Cruise’. The popular 28,000-ton 800-passenger ship will sail from Southampton on 10 January, arriving in Cape Town by way of West Africa to overnight in the port on 1 February. Fred Olsen’s Indian Ocean Cruise itinerary is as follows:

Southampton, Santa Cruz (Tenerife), Mindelo (Cape Verde Islands), Banjul (The Gambia), Walvis Bay, Luderitz, Cape Town (Overnight), Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Port Reunion, Port Louis (Mauritius), Male (Maldives), Cochin (India), Goa (India), Mumbai (India), Bahrain City (Bahrain), Dubai (UAE - Overnight), Abu Dhabi, Fujairah (UAE), Muscat (Oman), Salalah (Oman), Aqaba (Jordan), Sharm el Sheik (Egypt), Safaga (Egypt), Sokhna (Egypt), Suez Canal Transit, Alexandria (Egypt), Kusadasi (Turkey), Piraeus (for Athens), Valletta (Malta), Gozo (Malta), La Goulette (Tunis, Tunisia), Gibraltar, Cadiz (Spain), and back to Southampton.

Passengers have the choice of a 23-night Southampton – Cape Town cruise; a 26-night Cape Town – Dubai cruise, and a 57-night Cape Town – Southampton cruise (or the full 80- night round cruise of course).

Details are available from Fred Olsen’s South African agents Triton Cape Sea Travel, telephone +27 (0)21 4439030 or contact your local travel agent.

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Black Watch - picture by Vernon Buxton


Port Elizabeth just isn’t Mozambique – irate MSC passengers

Passengers who boarded the MSC SINFONIA in Durban last week expecting a cruise to the golden beaches of Mozambique were forced to put up with Port Elizabeth instead, after the 2,000-passenger ship diverted to the Eastern Cape to avoid Cyclone Funso then raging in the Mozambique Channel.

The cyclone came ashore in central Mozambique roughly where MSC Sinfonia would have visited.

Many passengers however were not happy with the substitution saying that Port Elizabeth is not Mozambique and that they felt robbed. According to IOL’s Daily News, MSC Starlight responded that it stipulated in the contract that MSC Cruises reserved the right to change the itinerary in the event of issues beyond their control.

Not so, said the disgruntled passengers. The contract says nothing of the sort, although they conceded that the company brochure and website did. One man said he could travel (from Durban) to Port Elizabeth by bus for just R160, not the thousands of rands he had paid for the cruise. People also complained of being charged in dollars for shore excursions in the Eastern Cape city.

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MSC Sinfonia


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A maritime alert has been issued advising that risks to hostages being held in Somalia may increase following the US Navy SEAL rescue of two western NGO staff held in Higlale, around 100km southwest of Galkayo on 24 January.

The hostages were rescued unharmed, but the operation reportedly involved an exchange of fire in which eight pirates were killed. Other rescue attempts have seen hostages injured and killed in recent years.

Pirates and criminals holding crew members and other aid workers and tourists in the country are likely to respond with increased vigilance, and may threaten increased violence towards hostages to deter future military rescue attempts.

The rescue coincided with reports that another hostage, the captain of a Taiwanese fishing vessel, had his arm amputated by his captors following continued refusal of a ransom payment by the vessel's owners.

The incident demonstrates that pirates will follow through on threats of increased violence towards hostages; operators should have crisis management and contingency plans in place to ensure negotiations proceed smoothly in case of a hijacking or kidnapping, thereby reducing the risks to hostages to ensure their safe release. Source GAC World


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MACS Line container ship LOMBARDIA (24,960-gt, built 2005) seen leaving Cape Town harbour during January 2012. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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