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Ports & Ships Maritime News

29 June 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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The French container ship CMA CGM TOPAZ (40,560-gt, built 2009) photographed arriving in Durban earlier in June. Picture by Trevor Jones

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We are proceeding with investment but we're watching that closely – Socikwa

Johannesburg - Despite a softening of cargo categories, Transnet is going ahead with its infrastructure build programme.

“In the earlier months of the current financial year, we have seen a softening particularly with the container volumes - imports and exports that we handle - for a variety of reasons,” Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) chief executive officer Karl Socikwa said at a breakfast briefing of the Africa Ports and Harbours Show, which was held in Johannesburg this week.

Socikwa said TPT was keeping a close watch on developments in Europe.

“We are not oblivious to what's happening in Europe at the moment and despite that, we are proceeding with investment but we're watching that closely.

“Imports/exports are a function of the level of economic activity that's taking place in the country. [There's] little we can do in driving ... import/export volumes - it's more your transhipment volumes where [with] innovative ways, you can have a handle on it and we're doing that,” he said on Tuesday.

Shipping lines had indicated to TPT that they were not overly concerned about the softening as this could be due to a soft blip or a softening of demand from markets they are servicing in Europe.

“They themselves are not in a situation where they are saying that they're in crisis mode,” said Socikwa.

TPT handles four types of cargo, namely container volumes; car volumes; break bulk and bulk volumes.

Transnet is investing R300 billion in the Market Demand Strategy. Through the state-owned freight logistics group's Market Demand Strategy, rail, port and pipeline infrastructure will be expanded over a seven-year period to the tune of R300 billion.

Of the R300 billion, TPT will receive about 10% of the amount, translating to just over R33 billion. TPT provides cargo-handling services at seven of the country's terminals. TPT customers include shipping lines, freight forwarders and cargo owners.

“The nature of investment in port facilities will be your ship-to-shore cranes, yard cranes ... We also will be investing in new technology in terms of the operating environment and our people,” said Socikwa, adding that the company's annual budget reviews would enable them to analyse the pace at which investment was taking place over the seven-year period.

Should a need to revise or review the investment be identified, this would be possible as there was ‘sufficient flexibility’ built into the system.

The focus of the investment will be on human capital, assets and technology.

“So a lot of investment is trying to reverse the historic trends of investment, so that we are not only investing in areas that have received attention in the past, but also starting to look at other areas in the business [to ensure] that there's an even spread of economic activity,” said Socikwa.

Richard's Bay terminal will receive the lion's share of the spend due to ageing infrastructure. The terminal is a complex one from an operational point of view as it handles a multitude of commodities, unlike Port Elizabeth that handles manganese or Saldanha that handles iron ore.

Durban, the busiest and largest container terminal in the Southern Hemisphere, will be second in line, while Ngqura - which has seen major investment in the past, is set to get two more mega-max cranes to be added to the other six cranes at the terminal.

At the Cape Town port, R5 billion has been spent in the last couple of years.

On talk that rates charged at ports were too high, TPT said it didn't believe this to be true.

“We don't believe rates are too high ... We continue to monitor our costs as tightly as we can to make sure we are running an efficient business to generate the level of earnings necessary to fund investment,” said Socikwa. – BuaNews

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“A lot of investment is trying to reverse the historic trends of investment..” – picture by Roy Reed

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Pretoria - Skills development and job creation is at the forefront of Transnet's Market Demand Strategy.

“Human capital development is going to be at the forefront of our plan and our programme because we have to make sure that as we create sustainable jobs through this level of investment and heightened level of activity, we are developing our people to be able to operate the infrastructure,” said Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) chief executive officer Karl Socikwa.

He was speaking at a breakfast briefing of the Africa Ports and Harbours Show on Tuesday (26 June).

Transnet is investing R300 billion in the Market Demand Strategy, which is informed by the requirements of the market. Through the state-owned freight logistics group's Market Demand Strategy, rail, port and pipeline infrastructure will be expanded over a seven-year period to the tune of R300 billion.

Of the R300 billion, TNP will receive about 10% of the amount, translating to just over R33 billion.

“We are working with organised labour,” he said, adding that apprenticeships programmes were being rolled out.

Socikwa added that Transnet was aware of the critical role it played in growing the South African economy, which faced high unemployment and recently low GDP growth.

“Transnet, in all that it does, is very aware and alive to the fact that it plays a vital role in growing the economy and ensuring that South Africa and the competitiveness of SA relative to other countries in the world is bolstered,” he said.

Transnet believed that it was important to involve private sector participation so as to be able to cater for levels of demand.

Socikwa said collaboration was important and they could not do it alone, adding that Transnet is open for business. – BuaNews

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11,660-TEU ship due in Durban and Ngqura

When MSC SOLA arrives in Durban on Monday (2 July) she will become the largest container ship to work cargo at any South African port. The ship is arriving from Port Louis in Mauritius.

From Durban the 364-metre long, 131,771-gt ship will sail for Ngqura after which she returns to Asia as part of MSC’s Asia-South Africa pendulum (Cheetah) service.

MSC Sola is so far the only ship of this class and size - 11,660-TEU - to be scheduled for the South Africa trade and it is not clear whether she will remain on this service indefinitely. She has been replaced on the Asia-Mediterranean service with a larger recent build in the 13,100-TEU range, MSC RENEE.

Similarly displaced, the other three ships of the MSC Sola class have been transferred onto MSC’s Asia-West Coast North America service.

Ignazio Messina’s second newbuild arrives

Thursday (28 June) was a good day for Durban ship watchers as not one but two newly built ships arrived in port on their maiden visits. The first was Ignazio Messina’s RoRo vessel JOLLY PERLA (50,722-gt, built 2012) which arrived on a scheduled service from the East Coast and Italy.

Earlier this year the Italian line’s first newbuild JOLLY DIAMENTE was also introduced to the Italy-South Africa service, replacing one of Messina Line’s older vessels. Jolly Perla now takes a place on this service and is set to become a regular caller at Durban, Maputo and East African ports.

The second maiden caller in port was another RoRo vessel, the Cobelfret ferry WILHELMINE (17,278-gt, built 2012) flying the Luxemburg flag but managed and owned by British companies. The ship is currently on her delivery voyage to Europe from the Kyokuyo Shipyard in Japan and called at Durban for bunkers. Wilhelmine is a sister ship to CAPUCINE, SEVERINE and ADELINE.

Wilhelmine on sea trials CLICK HERE a video clip by yoshirou.

Maersk and Safmarine bring on Waxmax ships to extend West Africa loop

As more of the WAFMAX ships (4,496-TEUs) have come available Maersk and Safmarine are able to extend their Asia-West Africa FEW 3 service with calls included at Tanjung Pelepas, Qingdao, Ningbo, Shanghai, Guangzhou-Nansha and back to Tanjung Pelepas.

FEW 3 currently includes a call at Tanjung Pelepas on the Asia leg where east Asian cargo for West Africa is transhipped. By bringing in the wider 4,496-TEU Wafmax vessels in place of 2,500-TEU ships has enabled Maersk and Safmarine to replace the hub and spoke model with direct calls on the China ports. There are currently six Wafmax vessels available with the balance covered by 2,500-TEU ships which will be replaced as new Wafmax ships enter service.

This follows the pattern established about a year ago with the two companies’ FEW 2 service where in that instance the Wafmax vessels replaced ships of between 3,000 and 3,500-TEUs.

Another tweak to the FEW 3 service sees calls at Lagos-Tincan and Onne being dropped and a call at Tema in Ghana included. Ships on the FEW 1 and FEW 2 services continue to call at the Nigerian ports.

The changes to FEW 3 mean that the rotation will now take 12 weeks instead of 11, with the Chinese port calls made possible by excluding the two Nigerian ports where chronic congestion was the norm.

FEW 3 ships will continue to call at Cape Town in both directions. The new rotation becomes Qingdao, Ningbo, Shanghai, Guangzhou- Nansha, Port Kelang, Tanjung Pelepas, Cape Town, Pointe Noire, Tema, Cape Town and back to Qingdao.

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MSC Cruises to broadcast London 2012 Olympics live at sea

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MSC Magnifica

Those contemplating a cruise in the coming months will be delighted to learn that they can now combine their next holiday at sea with all of the excitement of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. From 27 July to 12 August 2012, guests across the entire MSC Cruises’ fleet can tune in live to London for the high drama, emotion and tension that the Olympics never fails to provide.

Over 2,000 hours of the games will be broadcast via satellite in public areas as well as in guests’ cabins. Coverage will include 29 Olympic sports as well as the opening and closing ceremony, and guests can cheer on their favourite sportsmen and women from the over 10,000 athletes competing in diverse events from archery to triathlon, athletics to volleyball.

As if that is not enough to satisfy everyone, onboard entertainment during this period is also going to be Olympic themed. A colourful parade celebrating different nationalities will take place on every cruise, and lesser known national anthems will be sung around the pool in a fun-filled ceremony.

If taking a wager is your thing, secret or otherwise, guests will be able to place bets on the games, the finals and on the number of medals each nation will take home. Video quizzes on the history of the Olympic Games will also allow sports buffs to show off their knowledge.

For the most competitive guests, five-aside football, ping pong, darts and shuffleboard tournaments will be organised, with medals awarded to the champions of each event. And for something a bit more light-hearted, many amusing events have been dreamed up, including fully-clothed relays in the pool, football juggling, and exciting scavenger hunts.

MSC chefs have also taken inspiration from the games, and impressive cakes decorated with the famous symbol of the Olympics, the six interlocked rings, will tempt even the most serious athletes to break their strict regimes. Cocktails have also been renamed and matched with different events, so guests can enjoy the “Muhammad Ali” Strawberry Daiquiri during the boxing, the “Kung Fu Panda” Negroni during the wrestling, or the “Tour de France” Aperol Spritz during the cycling, amongst many more.

And you thought that going on a cruise was the best way to relax!

Hapag-Lloyd 2013/2014 expeditions brochure now available

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Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has just published its 2013/2014 expeditions brochure, detailing 12 itineraries involving cruises onboard the MS HANSEATIC and the MS BREMEN.

The English/German brochure details itineraries on the small but well appointed expedition ships to the following destinations. Alaska, Spitsbergen, Iceland, Greenland, The Northwest Passage, The Amazon, The Chilean Fjords, Antarctica, The South Seas, New Zealand, Antarctica, Africa and Madagascar.

The Hanseatic, the world’s only 5-star expedition ship and the Bremen, a 4-star plus expedition ship, were created to provide intensive exploration in the most elegant surroundings for a maximum of 184 guests on the Hanseatic and 164 guests on the Bremen.

Full details are in the brochure which is available on request or from agents but one that we will include here is what is described as a cruise to ‘Paradise on Earth – Expedition Madagascar and Africa’.

‘Between huge baobabs and grand volcanic mountains, between unexplored rainforests and pristine beaches, guests will explore this jewel of the Indian Ocean, Madagascar on the BREMEN in Winter 2013. This itinerary concludes with an optional South African safari.’

New ports to be visited are Nosy Hara, Mahajanga, Morondovar, and Nosy Bé all in Madagascar. This 17-day itinerary is from 1 – 18 December 2013 from Port Louis in Mauritius to Cape Town. Rates start at $7,020 per person.

Each ship holds the highest ice class ranking for passenger vessels (E4). Both are shallow drafted and possess high manoeuvrability which allow the ships to enter waters that larger cruise vessels cannot reach. Guests are able to explore the world’s best-kept secrets in zodiacs (small motorized boats) with only 10-12 guests. Onboard experts include a team of experienced scientists, expedition leaders and specialists who guide landings and offer guests the rare opportunity to observe plant and animal life up close.

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Green Phoenix, the first ship to load coal from the Vale mine in the Moatize region, seen here at the transhipment point off the Port of Beira. Picture by Rogan Troon

Rio Tinto has started exporting premium hard coking coal from its Benga Mine in the Moatize Basin in Mozambique. The first shipment of 34,000 tonnes left the Port of Beira on Monday (25 June), bound for an Indian steel mill.

“Today's shipment marks an important point in the phased development of our tier one coking coal resources in Mozambique,” said Rio Tinto Energy chief executive Doug Ritchie. “It is the first step towards our aim to become a significant supplier of hard coking coal to the seaborne market.

“The Moatize Basin is one of the most prospective coking coal regions in the world. We continue to evaluate the most effective means of developing our resources to create value for shareholders and bring benefits to the people of Mozambique.

“We are also continuing to work with the Government of Mozambique to secure the development of comprehensive infrastructure for efficient transport of coal from mine to port, which is a priority for the further development of the region.”

The Benga Mine, located in the Moatize Basin of Tete in the north of Mozambique, is operated by Rio Tinto and is a joint venture between Rio Tinto (65 percent) and Tata Steel Limited (35 percent).

Mozambique needs US$50 billion to develop natural gas sector

Mozambique needs US$50 billion to develop its natural gas sector, the country’s Mining Resources Minister, Esperança Bias said in Cape Town recently.

She made the statement at an international mining conference held in Cape Town.

“The Mozambican government wants companies that are prospecting to build natural gas processing plants in the country,” Bias said, as reported in the Mozambican newspaper Notícias.

Bias added that the government did not plan to increase taxes on mining and said that the companies involved would be consulted if this position was changed.

Last week, Clean Carbon Industries (CCI) announced it plans to build a coal-to-liquid fuel production plant in Mozambique. source:macauhub

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The first of 133 class 43 diesel-electric locomotives being manufactured for Transnet Freight Rail. Loco number 42 was delivered this week. Picture Wikipedia Commons

US-based General Electric (GE) Transportation has announced that another locomotive, which forms part of a deal sealed with state- owned Transnet, was delivered with local content that exceeds the commitment from GE’s initial Transnet order of 100 locomotives.

The locomotive is the 42nd and is the most advanced diesel electric locomotive ever built in South Africa. Its official unveiling took place at an event held at Transnet Rail Engineering’s facilities in Koedoespoort, Pretoria, on Wednesday.

With this order, GE overshot its self-imposed target of 30% local content. The locomotives assembled in South Africa now have 37% local content.

Transnet concluded an agreement with GE for a further 33 diesel-electric locomotives, over and above the 100 already being purchased under a deal concluded in 2009.

In terms of the contract, 10 of the locomotives were manufactured in Erie and Grove City, Pennsylvania, USA and 133 are being assembled locally at Transnet Rail Engineering’s site in South Africa.

A total of 53 will be deployed in the Phalaborwa-Richards Bay corridor, 30 on the Sishen-Saldanha iron-ore corridor, 32 on the Witbank-Nelspruit-Komatipoort line and the remaining 28 will be used to transport coal to Eskom power stations.

GE Transportation President and CEO Lorenzo Simonelli described the delivery of the locomotive as a big milestone.

“We are celebrating the first South African product delivered by our joint venture company GE South Africa Technologies. These locomotives represent great opportunities for Transnet and South Africa as well as GE.”

Transnet would be able to significantly improve its hauling capability while reducing fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Simonelli said the partnership with Transnet Rail Engineering demonstrated the progress that GE's transportation business was making in duplicating its global model of localising content in countries it operates in.

The partnership has also produced a significant investment in job development, economic advancement and infrastructure growth for all parties. – BuaNews

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The well-known firm manufacturing and supplying navigation, communication and technical equipment, Radio Holland has changed its name as from 14 June to Imtech Marine South Africa.

The change in name shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering that Radio Holland has been a part of the maritime division of Imtech since 2006. Imtech was founded more than 150 years ago and is today a global technical services provider. It has more than 28,500 employees worldwide and specialises in electrical, ICT, and mechanical solutions.

Radio Holland specialised as a navigation and communication supplier and services company, with over 100 staff at seven locations in South Africa and with four service depots in Africa.

Wit its full absorption into Imtech Maine the company can now offer a full package of ship solutions, of which Radio Holland’s navcom services remain an important part.


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At a meeting of the International Maritime Organization Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation (July 2-6 in London) the International Chamber of Shipping - which represents global shipowners and 80 percent of the world merchant fleet - will be opposing a proposal to establish a new recommended route for all ships in the Mozambique Channel that would be about 1,000 miles long.

The proposal has been made by Comoros, France, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, the Seychelles, South Africa and Tanzania, having been given impetus by work conducted by the World Bank.

“ICS is very concerned with this proposal for a new recommended route in international waters which will result in all vessels following the same proposed track,” said John Murray, ICS Director Marine. “This will increase the risk of collision to the hundreds of ships that would be using the scheme at any one time, particularly given the current lack of Vessel Traffic Services in the region. The concept could also set an unwelcome precedent for the management of deep sea navigation elsewhere, and will require very careful consideration by IMO.”

The main aim of the proposal is advised to be a reduction to the risk of collision and grounding in the Mozambique Channel. However, despite vessels favoring certain routes, shipping currently is free to use the entire width of the channel, which is in international waters. The proposed measure would seek to concentrate shipping into very restricted lanes and could potentially increase the risk of collision.

Even at its narrowest point the Mozambique Channel is over 200 miles wide, and today many ships make use of this width and keep well away from the routes used by transiting tankers and similar vessels.

“Piracy of course is a major problem in this region, and the implications to safety and security of introducing such a routeing measure, in effect bunching ships together as they enter a high risk area, have also not been addressed by its supporters,” Murray said.

ICS is coordinating with its member national shipowners’ associations to ensure that governments attending the IMO meeting will seriously question the proposal for a routing measure in Mozambique Channel.


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Ignazio Messina’s latest RoRo vessel, JOLLY PERLA (50,722-gt, built 2012) arrived in Durban yesterday (Thursday, 28 June 2012) on her maiden voyage to South Africa. She is a sister ship to JOLLY DIAMENTE that called in Durban earlier in the year also on her maiden voyage. Pictures by Trevor C Photography

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