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Ports & Ships Maritime News

1 February 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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57,105 readers and over one million hits on PORTS & SHIPS in January 2012 – thank you readers


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An unusual parting view of the Queen Mary 2 as she heads off on Sunday away from Durban, bound for Port Louis and Mauritius. The arch is that of the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban’s iconic soccer stadium built specially for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. A funicular railway car takes the less energetic to the top where there is a large viewing platform – another excellent place from which to watch Queen Mary 2 when next she calls. You can also bungee jump into the stadium but for the more sane folk the arch provides a wonderful viewing platform with 360° panoramic views of Durban, the harbour and the beachfront, and of course ships entering or sailing from port. Picture by John Petters, who took the photograph from his veranda in the suburb of Morninsgide.

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Will service southern African region

Maputo, 31 January – Mozambican state rail and port company, Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM) has signed a memorandum of understanding with a Chinese company for the construction and acquisition of freight cars by the Mozambican state company, a spokesman said in Maputo.

The source declined to name the Chinese company and the figures for the deal.

Mozambique’s Transport and Communications Minister, Paulo Zucula, said that the southern African region had a big enough market and demand to justify setting up a freight car factory in Mozambique.

During a meeting between Mozambique and Portugal, Zucula noted that Mozambique was interested in setting up an industrial unit for assembling freight cars “as quickly as possible,” although it is not clear if the current financial crisis affecting Portugal will affect these plans.

As well as the prospect of supplying Mozambique with rail freight cars to carry the coal mined in Tete province, there was also the possibility of meeting regional demand for rail transport, Zucula said.

Projections from the Mozambican government show that the country will need at least 600 rail wagons over the next five years. (macauhub)

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Cruise News: Costa Magica to replace Costa Concordia Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Costa Magica in Oslo. Picture by Daniel/Wikipedia Commons

Costa Cruises will replace the shipwrecked Costa Concordia (114,147-gt, built 2006) with the smaller COSTA MAGICA (102,587-gt, built 2004) for the 2012 (northern) summer season, it has been announced. Costa Magica is currently cruising in South American waters.

Although only a little smaller in terms of her gross registered tonnage, Costa Magica carries over a thousand less passengers than her ill-fated sister, 2,720 as against 3,800.

Meanwhile the fallout from the disaster which occurred alongside Giglio Island is growing by the day. With the salvage team from Dutch company Smit Salvage on site to recover the oils on board the cruise ship, but no word yet as to how she will be salvaged, her ultimate owners US-based company Carnival Corporation says the loss of the ship and resultant fallout will set 2012 financial year profits back by up to US$175 million.

These estimates do not include any impact on possible bookings. Carnival revealed that the net value of the Costa Concordia at 31 December 2011 was $490 million and that the ship carried insurance coverage of $510m.

Norwegian Epic voted ‘Best Overall Individual Cruise Ship’

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Norwegian Epic – picture by Brian Burnell/Wikipedia Commons

Norwegian Cruise Line is feeling so chuffed by having the NORWEGIAN EPIC voted (by readers of Travel Weekly) as their ‘Best Overall Individual Cruise Ship’ that the cruise company says it will place a complimentary bottle of bubbly in each stateroom for the benefit of guests that book a cruise on the ship between 29 January and 5 February 2012.

Yes we know you’ve already lost a couple of days of opportunity but it takes a while for the cruise lines to remember that we out here in the wilds of Africa actually do exist and are also keen on cruising!

Norwegian Epic is currently sailing 7-day voyages to the east Caribbean from Miami, with calls in Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas, along with three relaxing days at sea - with all the activities available on this ship, it’s not certain if relaxing is the right word.

On 14 April 2012, Norwegian Epic embarks on an 11-day Transatlantic positioning cruise from Miami to Barcelona with a stop in Ponta Delgada, Azores. From 29 April until 14 October the ship sails 7-day Western Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona, Spain. Ports of call then include Naples, Rome (Civitavecchia) and Florence/Pisa (Livorno), all in Italy; and Cannes and Provence (Marseille) in France.

Apart from being tempted by the free bottle of sparkling wine, passengers can enjoy the “Norwegians Take it to the Next Level” sales event, where new reservations made between now and 31 March 2012 can receive category upgrades, reduced deposits and e-coupons worth up to $400 in on-board savings.

This applies for sailings taking place before 31 December 2012. With these coupons, guests can splurge on some of the most popular amenities at sea. Once booked and checked-in online, guests will receive electronic coupons for spa treatments, internet minutes and a complimentary dinner in a specialty on-board restaurant.

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MSC introduces pendulum service Europe to Far Eat via South Africa

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MSC Methoni in Durban. Picture by Trevor Jones

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has announced the introduction of a pendulum service from Europe and the Med to the Far East via South African ports.

The service will include 15 vessels in the 6,000-TEU range. The first vessel from Europe will be the 6,724-TEU MSC METHONI Voyage NZ 1024A that left Antwerp on 26 January and the MSC MELISSA Voyage FH 1024A that will sails from Fuzhou on 18 February 2012.

Japan’s MOL, NYK and ‘K’ Line warn of bigger losses

Japan’s three biggest shipping lines, Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), NYK and ‘K’ Line have each warned of greater losses during the 2011 financial year ending 31 March 2012 due to continued tough business conditions.

NYK has increased its loss forecast for the year to ¥26bn ($340m) from ¥18bn. “The severe business environment surrounding the shipping industry is expected to continue amid protracted yen appreciation stemming from European financial and fiscal issues as well as the delay in the US economic recovery, and concerns that western-led economic sanctions on Iran will lead to higher bunker oil prices,” NYK said.

Meanwhile both MOL and ‘K’ Line have increased their respective loss forecasts for the year. MOL says its loss forecast is now ¥29bn (from ¥4bn) Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (‘K’ Line) increased its loss forecast to ¥54bn from ¥32bn previously.

Previous predictions were made in October 2011.

CSAV raises US$659m in first pre-emptive option period

The financially troubled Chilean-based shipping line Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores (CSAV) achieved the largest capital raising operation in its history with the first pre-emptive option period of the capital increase of US$1,200m being carried out by the company realising $659 million.

CSAV shareholders subscribed and paid for 3,222,357,834 shares at a price of US$0.2045 per share. $312m was subscribed by shareholders other than CSAV’s controllers, Quiñenco and Marinsa.

“This figure is significant and very positive for CSAV as a reflection of the market, as it is a sign of the confidence there is in the new project which the board and management are carrying out, plus the high value that the market assigns to SAAM,” said CSAV in a statement. SAAM is CSAV’s separate port and terminal business.

CMA CGM raises India to Africa freight rates

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CMA CGM Africa Two, in Durban on this occasion. Picture by Terry Hutson

Following in the footsteps of Maersk, Emirates and MSC, the French line CMA CGM has announced a freight rate hike for containerised cargo moving on its ships between India to East and West Africa.

CMA CGM rates between India and East Africa go up by US$200 per 20-foot container and $400 per 40-foot container, effective from today (1 February). The increase on shipments from India to West Africa will be $150 per 20-foot container and $300 per 40-foot container, effective 1 March 2012.

Just in case you were wondering why, CMA CGM explained that it was “… to maintain the high level of reliability and efficiency of our services to meet the needs of customers.”

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AP Moller-Maersk has appointed senior vice president Lars Reno Jakobsen as ‘promoter and coordinator’ of the AP Moller–Maersk Group's business expansion on the African continent, with particular focus on Sub-Saharan Africa.

This is a new position and an extension of the group’s stated intention of expanding its business in growth markets in Africa.

Jakobsen who until now was in charge of the Network and Product division in Maersk Line, takes up his new position from 1 March 2012. He has long-time experience with international trade, having worked on four continents including Africa.

“We already have strong positions in Africa, but there are many more opportunities to be explored for our group. Lars Reno Jakobsen is the right person to coordinate and promote our initiatives,” said Kim Fejfer, CEO of APM Terminals. Fejfer is a member of the group's Executive Board and is Lars Reno Jakobsen's immediate superior on behalf of the Executive Board.

"Lars Reno Jakobsen is one of our most experienced leaders and an expert on Africa and global trade. He knows the group's businesses both from the frontline and on the planning side. He has a widespread network and the skills needed to coordinate our initiatives and strengthen our relationships with customers, partners and authorities,” he said.

Jakobsen said he was looking forward to taking on the challenge. “It is a very exciting new position in a region I know well. Africa has huge growth potential and we are investing significantly in the region. It is a privilege to get the chance to work with all of our businesses in Africa to push forward and make the most of our potential to enable trade and fuel growth and development.”

He joined the AP Moller-Maersk Group as a trainee in Maersk Drilling in 1977 and has since worked in several management positions across the group in numerous countries around the world. From 1998 and on, Jakobsen worked with Africa-related trade; in the years 2002-2009 he was located in Cape Town. In 2009, he was appointed head of Network and Product in Maersk Line.

Due to his new position, the 53-year old Lars Reno Jakobsen will return to live and work in Cape Town.

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The Durban-built South African Navy torpedo recovery and dive support vessel SAS FLEUR seen in Cape Town in this 1974 photograph. The little ship remains in service but is no longer in naval service, being operated instead by the Durban-based salvage and dive company Subtech who have renamed her FLEUR DU CAP. Unsuccessful attempts were made to operate Fleur du Cap as a guard ship on anti-piracy duties off the east coast of Africa but when these didn’t pan out the ship returned to her roots and is being utilised for dive support and other salvage type activities. SAS Fleur was launched from the Dorman Long (Africa) Shipyard at Bayhead, Durban on 30 June 1969, becoming the first operational vessel to be designed and built locally for the South African Navy. This picture is by Trevor Jones

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Continuing with a naval theme for this batch of pictures from Yesteryear is the Royal Fleet Auxiliary RFA RESURGENT which visited Durban for some rest and recreation over Christmas and New Year 1974/5. The photographer Trevor Jones reports that she was completed as the cargo-passenger liner CHANGCHOW for China Nav (Swire), like her sister RFA RETAINER. Unlike Retainer, Resurgent never actually traded as a passenger ship, but was taken over on completion by the Admiralty and converted into her naval support guise. The picture was taken as the ship sailed from port on 2 January 1975. Picture by Trevor Jones

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