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Ports & Ships Maritime News

14 February 2012
Author: Terry Hutson


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Image and video hosting by TinyPic The offshore dive support vessel GULMAR DA VINCI called at Cape Town yesterday Picture by Aad Noorland


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Port statistics for the eight commercial ports under the administration of Transnet National Ports Authority are now available for the month of January 2012 and they reflect in general terms a strong start to the year, with a total of 22.314 million tonnes of cargo having been moved during the period.

To compare the 2012 January figures year on year with those of 2011, please go to the following link HERE for the previous January’s figures. Use your BACK button to return to this page.

As is standard with figures reported in PORTS & SHIPS, these reflect an adjustment on the overall tonnage to those provided by Transnet. This is to include containers by weight – an adjustment necessary because Transnet NPA measures containers by number of TEUs and does not show the weight.

To arrive at such a calculation, PORTS & SHIPS uses an average of 13,5 tonnes per TEU, which may involve some under-reporting but until such time as the IMO enforces the weighing of containers at all ports we will have to live with these estimates. Nevertheless, we continue to make this distinction, without which South African ports continue to be under-reported internationally.

Figures for the respective ports during January 2012 are (we will only show the current month’s volumes – details from previous month’s are available on this site:


CARGO HANDLED by tonnes during January 2012

PORT January 2012 mt
Richards Bay 8.418
Durban 4.988
Saldanha Bay 5.732
Cape Town 1.318
Port Elizabeth 0.812
Ngqura 0.600
Mossel Bay 0.229
East London 0.217
Total all ports 22.314 million tonnes

CONTAINERS (measured by TEUs) during January 2012
(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA

PORT January 2012 TEUs
Durban 211,276
Cape Town 70,933
Ngqura 44,298
Port Elizabeth 15,972
East London 3,029
Richards Bay 1,669
Total all ports 347,177 TEUs


PORT January 2012 vessels gross tons
Durban 315 10,254,904
Cape Town 222 4,639,275
Richards Bay 141 5.641,518
Port Elizabeth 81 1.848,836
Saldanha Bay 47 3.370,879
Ngqura 39 1.819,619
East London 27 566,728
Mossel Bay 44 279,970
Total ship calls 908 ships 28,412,729

- source TNPA, but with adjustments made by Ports & Ships to include container tonnages



  Month's exports YTD exports Annualised estimate Ship calls Trains
January 2012 4,463,987 4,463,987 52.56 million tons 44 813
Total for 2011   65,511,840   636 8413

source: RBCT


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Part of the Durban Ro-Ro car terminal. Picture by Steve McCurrach www.airserv.co.za

Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has advised customers of an increase in container tariffs for its respective Container, Ro-Ro, Breakbulk and Agricultural Terminals of 8% with effect from 1 April 2012.

The following differentiated tariff increases are applicable:

- Storage: 5%
- Empty containers: 5% (imports & exports only)
- Reefer surcharge: 10% (this is the 2nd of a 3-year phase-in program to absorb electricity increases).


TPT does not fall under the eye of the Port Regulator and sets its own tariff increases without having to submit them to a regulating body for approval.

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) port tariffs are however subject to analysis and approval by the port regulator, whose decision regarding TNPA’s application for an increase averaging 18,3% is still receiving attention.

In his State of the Nation speech last Thursday, President Jacob Zuma referred to the necessity of reducing port charges. “I am pleased to announce that the Port Regulator and Transnet have agreed to an arrangement which will result in exporters of manufactured goods receiving a significant decrease in port charges during the coming year, equal to about R1-billion in total,” he said.

President Zuma said this followed discussions he had with the automotive industry in Port Elizabeth last year, during which the issue of high port charges was raised.


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Cyclone Giovanna on Tuesday at 0300 UTC. Imagery by passageweather.com

Cyclone Giovanna began coming ashore last night off the east coast of Madagascar in the region of the port of Toamasina. The powerful category 4 cyclone contains maximum sustained winds of 145 mph (125 knots) and may produce extensive damage on the island. The storm is expected to move inland across the island, losing strength in the process but once it reached the Madagascar west coast it would begin rebuilding its strength over the Mozambique Channel.

AccuWeather reports that Giovanna most resembles cyclone Geralda from 1994, which “destroyed 80% of the city’s seaport Toamasina.” IRIN news reported that Geralda “killed about 200 people, displaced 40,000 and affected another 500,000.”

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Projected path of the cyclone on Wednesday 15 February 2012. Imagery by passageweather.com

Current projections see the storm, back again at cyclone strength, going shore in Mozambique in the region of Angoche or Nacala by Friday 17 February.

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What the cyclone could be doing on Friday 17 February. Imagery by passageweather.com

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Safmarine names latest multipurpose ship

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Safmarine Sahara. Picture supplied

At a ceremony in Savannah, USA on Friday, 10 February, Safmarine officially named its second owned newbuild multi purpose vessel (general cargo ship), the SAFMARINE SAHARA.

It appears to be customary lately not to immediately name new ships and to wait on a variety of reasons before breaking the traditional bottle of bubbly over the bows. Safmarine Sahara (14,859-gt, built 2011), which was built at the Wuhu Xinlian Shipyard in China, has been deployed on Safmarine’s MPV trade between North America and West Africa.

The naming was performed by Mrs Anita Edmondson, Director of International Logistics at M-I SWACO, one of Safmarine’s US customers. The ceremony was made possible with the assistance and support of the Georgia Ports Authority.

The naming of the new MPV vessel coincided with the delivery of Safmarine’s first new WAF MAX container vessel, the SAFMARINE CHILKA.

“The Safmarine Chilka is the first of three new containerships in our colours and livery this year. All three vessels have been purpose-built for the trade with Africa and are examples of the AP Moller-Maersk Group’s commitment to growing both the Safmarine brand and the trade with Africa,” said Grant Daly, Safmarine CEO.


Safmarine resumes Tangiers calls on West Africa loop

In other news involving Safmarine, the line has added northbound calls at Tangiers in Morocco on three of its weekly Algeciras-West Africa services, the WAF 1, WAF3, and WAF11.

The WAF1 service is operated with five ships averaging 2,283-TEU and with a rotation of Algeciras, Tema, Takoradi, Tangiers and back to Algeciras. The WAF3, operating four vessels of a slightly larger capacity, has a revised rotation of Algeciras, Apapa, Tangiers and back and Algeciras.

WAF11, using four similar ships to WAF3, has a rotation of Algeciras, Lome, Port Harcourt-Onne, Tangiers and Algeciras.


Evergreen founder leaves fortune to charity

Chang Yung-fa, the founder and chairman of Taiwan’s Evergreen Shipping, who is said to have accumulated a fortune worth US$1.6 billion, announced in the Taipei Times that he intends bequeathing all his assets to charities and not to his children..

He said this was a way of giving back to society and having his money perform good deeds long after his death.

“Money is something that should be circulated around the world and not enjoyed exclusively by one individual,” he said.

“A lot of people think that earning a lot of money constitutes wealth. For me, working hard to earn a lot of money is certainly not a bad thing, but the happiness from earning a lot of money is fleeting because of the pain you feel when you lose it. “But if that money is used for good deeds, it’s wonderful to see people get back on their feet because of the help you’ve given. The happiness gained from doing a good deed always remains in your heart,” Mr Chang said.


Great Tang having repairs in Durban

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Great Tang from a distance. Picture Terry Hutson

A large bulker that has attracted considerable attention from ship and harbour watchers in Durban is the GREAT TANG (180,247-dwt, built 2011). The large vessel arrived in port during November and took up residence at berth 104 on Pier 1 where she has remained.

Ship movement reports distributed by the port initially indicated that the ship was to sail on 4 December but that date, like one of those predictions of the end of the world, came and went without incident.

Great Tang is a newbuild but when she arrived in Durban it was with problems to her tail shaft. Being newly built there are also legal implications – who pays for the repair – the Hong Kong owner/operators certainly won’t want to.

Unless these issues are quickly settled Great Tang could be around for a while longer.


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Several reports of vessels coming under attack have been received from West Africa. In one incident an alert was issued for the Gulf of Guinea after a drifting bulk carrier was chased and fired upon by pirates 100 n.miles off Lagos.

The attack occurred yesterday (Monday 13 February) and although the pirates never gained control of the ship, two of the crew, reported elsewhere to be the master and chief engineer who remained on the bridge, were shot and killed. The remainder of the crew had taken shelter in a citadel and were unharmed.

The vessel was in position 04:43N – 003:44E. A rescue team was on the way.

In a second alert involving the Gulf of Guinea, a cargo ship was chased and fired upon on Saturday (11 February) at position 05:11.5N – 003:27.1E by two smaller vessels. The firing on the ship continued for 25 minutes before being aborted at 19h13 local time. The crew were reported to be unharmed although the ship took some damage.

Several days earlier a product tanker was highjacked approximately 82 n.miles south of Cotonou. There have been no further reports concerning this ship although it is thought that the cargo is currently being transhipped onto other vessels after which the tanker will be released.

In the Gulf of Aden region, three separate attacks on ships have taken place in the area of the Bab el Mandeb Strait, all in a space of three hours on 6 February. This report has only just come to hand. In each case the ships were able to increase speed and make their escape. Source GAC


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Lubango — The first commercial trains of Moçâmedes Railways Company (CFM) connecting Namibe, Lubango and Menongue localities is now due to be operational between March and April, reports the Angolan news agency ANGOP.

Announcing this in Lubango city in southern Huila province, CFM’s CEO Daniel Quipaxe said that because of the amount of time being taken to complete the works, the inaugural commercial train would not operate before March or April this year.




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The products tanker STOLT MOUNTAIN (39,005-dwt, built 1994) seen in Cape Town harbour during January this year. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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