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Ports & Ships Maritime News

3 July 2012
Author: Terry Hutson

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

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The ’banana boat’ – Japanese refrigerated reefer SASANQUA (7307-gt, built 1993) arrives in the approaches to the Port of Lyttelton, New Zealand on 17 June 2012 to discharge a cargo of bananas from the Philippines. Picture by Alan Calvert

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Due to be launched into operations at the Ngqura Container Terminal this month are two new Liebherr Super Post Panamax ship to shore cranes representing an investment of R150 million by port operator Transnet Port Terminals. The terminal now boasts a fleet of eight ship to shore cranes. Picture TPT

Coega, Eastern Cape, 2 July 2012 - The two new ship to shore cranes that have successfully undergone testing and are due to be launched into operations at the Ngqura Container Terminal in July, promise improved efficiencies and increased job opportunities for the region, says Transnet Port Terminals (TPT).

Representing an investment of R150 million by port operator TPT, the two Liebherr Super Post Panamax cranes were delivered in January and bring the terminal’s fleet of ship to shore cranes to eight.

Terminal Executive for the Eastern Cape Terminals, Siya Mhlaluka, said the cranes were procured to cater for the projected growth in the market's volume demand. They would also improve productivity by increasing Ship Working Hour (SWH), or the number of containers moved by the number of cranes working a vessel in one hour.

A total of 78 additional operators had been trained and were ready to operate the equipment, pointing to increased job creation for the region.

Mhlaluka said the port operator had carried out cold commissioning during June. This involved a dry run to test the integrity of the equipment including electrical, instrumentation and control systems.

Hot commissioning was also completed in June and this final stage - prior to start-up and first operation – involved testing the cranes under partial or full load.

Serving more than 30 container vessels each month, Ngqura Container Terminal has set container handling records since it commenced operations in 2009. It moves in excess of 500,000 TEUs per annum.

It offers berthing within two hours of vessel arrival and boasts an average quayside handling rate of 55 container moves per ship per hour (SWH) on mainline cellular vessels and a crane productivity rate of 30 gross crane moves per hour (GCH).

Transnet’s newly formulated Market Demand Strategy will see Transnet SOC Limited invest R300 billion on freight infrastructure over the next seven years. Of this TPT will invest R33 billion to boost port operations.

The portion allocated for the 600,000 m2 Ngqura Container Terminal includes just under R1.1 billion for Phase 2 A expansion to increase container handling capacity from the current 800,000 TEUs to 1.5 million TEU capacity by 2013/14.

A further R 808 million would be spent between 2015 and 2019 on Phase 2 B expansion that would increase the terminal’s capacity to two million TEUs.

One of two berths has already been extended by 100 metres and two additional berths are to be completed by August 2012.

NCT is well poised to serve as a global transhipment hub for new trade linkages between East and West, with figures showing that approximately 65% of the TEU’s handled in 2011 comprised transshipment cargo.

The container terminal is one of the deepest in Africa with a draft alongside berth of 16.5m. This means it can cater for the largest container and bulk vessels that the shipping lines are now deploying as part of their new fleet.

The two new cranes will work alongside some of the best port infrastructure and equipment in the Southern Hemisphere, comprising 22 rubber tyred gantry cranes, 50 hauler/trailer combinations, two rail mounted gantry cranes and the Navis SPARCS N4 terminal operating system.

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Beira to get new fuel terminal

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Port of Beira container terminal

Construction work for a fuel terminal at the port of Beira is due to begin ‘soon’ and will take 15 months to finish, a source linked to the new facility told radio station Rádio Moçambique last week, reports Macauhub.

The new terminal, the environmental impact study for which was presented Thursday in the capital of Sofala province, will have a capacity of 85,000 cubic metres and will require investment of US$50 million.

Altogether four tanks will be built to store diesel, gasoline, and Jet A1 aviation fuel, although Rádio Moçambique did not name the company chosen to build the facility.

The Port of Beira serves several land-locked African countries, including Zimbabwe and Malawi. source: macauhub

Mossel Bay and Saldanha port managers redeployed

Transnet National Ports Authority has announced a reshuffle for two of its port managers, with the port managers of Mossel Bay and Saldanha swapping places.

“We are reviewing the best fit between the Port Managers’ passion, experience and skills and the operational requirements and challenges we are facing as the National Port Authority,” said Tau Morwe, CE of TNPA.

“It has therefore been decided that the Port Managers of Saldanha and Mossel Bay be re-deployed effective 1 July 2012.”

Ms Tandi Lebakeng who is currently the Acting Port Manager of the Port of Saldanha will move to the Port of Mossel Bay. This will provide her with the opportunity to further develop crucial skills as a port manager within an environment which is conducive to development.

Mr Willem Roux, who was Port Manager of the Port of Mossel Bay will re-locate as Port Manager of the Port of Saldanha, where he will use the considerable experience gathered in the petrochemical industry to further the objectives of the port development plans in the Port of Saldanha.

Hans-Ole Madsen joins ICTSI

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Hans-Ole Madsen

ICTSI Ltd, a subsidiary of International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), has named Hans-Ole Madsen as Senior Vice President for Europe and the Middle East (EME). Madsen, who has over 25 years in port management, shipping, trade and logistics, will be based in ICTSI’s regional office in Dubai. Before joining ICTSI, he was APM Terminals’ Vice President for Business Development in Africa, Middle East and Indian Sub- continent. From 2006 to 2008, he served as Chief Executive in South Asia of Maersk India. He also held various executive positions in Maersk offices in Nigeria, Pakistan, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Denmark from 1985 to 2005.

Madsen, a Danish national, is a graduate from the AP Moller Shipping School in Denmark and has attended various executive programs at Insead and IMD business schools.

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Sanko seeks protection of the courts Monday, 2 July 2012 – The Japanese shipping company Sanko Steamship today filed for bankruptcy after giving up on attempts to restructure some of the debt valued at US$1.95 billion.

“We have reached a conclusion in light of our current circumstances that the best way … is to file a petition for commencement of corporate reorganization proceedings," the company said in a statement.

This becomes the second time round that Sanko has filed for bankruptcy as a means of seeking protection from its creditors. In 1985 it did so following the shipping recession of several years earlier but Sanko was reformed in 1989 by way of a merger with Zuito Shipping. Sanko subsequently developed into Japan’s fourth largest shipping group, concentrating on tanker and dry bulk carriers. The current size of the fleet is just short of around 190 ships, with another 30 newbuilds on order.

NYK to install broadband internet on a hundred ships

Japan’s Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) Line is to install mini VSAT communication systems on 100 of its ships including container vessels, car carriers, dry bulk carriers, crude oil tankers and LNG tankers. The system to be installed uses KVH’s TracPhone and will support NYK’s IBIS (Innovative Bunker and Idle-Time Saving) project, providing real-time communications between ships and staff on shore.

“NYK is an industry leader that is constantly innovating and improving its shipping and logistics operations with the aim of optimizing safety, economy, and protection of the environment,” said Brent C Bruun, KVH’s senior vice president of global sales and business development. “Their industry-leading IBIS project, which helps improve the operation of their ships and reduce CO2 emissions, requires delivering real-time weather and sea current forecasts to the ship and automatically sending ship operation data back to shore for ongoing analysis… It also provides affordable communications for crew members to communicate with their families or use the Internet.” source gCaptain

CMA CGM sells La Compagnie du Ponant to Bridgepoint

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Compagnie du Ponant’s cruise ship Le Boreal

The sale of CMA CGM’s La Compagnie du Ponant to Bridgepoint was announced yesterday with the finalisation of the deal to be concluded by the end of August.

La Compagnie du Ponant was founded in 1988 and is a cruise line operating with four luxury ships. It is the only French ship owner of cruise ships under the French flag. The cruise line operates in the upper end of the market with yacht-like ships of between 32 and 132 cabins and specialises in sailing in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

CMA CGM is the third largest container shipping company after Maersk Line and MSC and has a fleet of almost 400 ships operating globally. With the economic downturn following 2008 and 2009, the French line has battled to return to profitability and liquidity. The Turkish Yildirim Group took substantial investments in CMA CGM, enough to give it a strong influence in CMA CGM’s future structure. The sale of Compagnie du Ponant is possibly a result of this.

Bridgepoint is a European private equity firm focusing on the acquisition of companies valued up to €1 billion. With some €11 billion of capital raised to date, it typically focuses on acquiring well managed companies in attractive sectors with the potential to grow organically or through acquisition. It has offices in Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Stockholm and Shanghai.

MSC SOLA further delayed

The arrival of the 11,660-TEU MSC SOLA in Durban was further delayed at the weekend after a late arrival in Port Louis and the latest news is that the ship, which will become the largest container ship to call at a South African port to work cargo, is now due in Durban on Wednesday (tomorrow) during the early hours of the day. According to MSC the ship will enter port shortly after first light which means around 7am currently.

From Durban the ship will sail to Ngqura before returning to the Far East.

It appears that the ship is likely to make one or two voyages on the Far East – South Africa trade before being deployed elsewhere, suggesting that the move has been more of a public relations exercise using a vessel that was conveniently available. Three of MSC ships of similar size to MSC Sola have been deployed on the company’s transpacific services.

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Ethiopia has signed two agreements with Chinese and Turkish companies to construct a US$3.2 billion railway network, according to a report by Sudan Tribune, which reports the Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC) as saying that a Turkish firm Yapi Merkezi will build a $1.7 billion section of the project, while a Chinese company, China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) will build the remaining portion.

The Horn of Africa country has ambitious plans to construct 5,000 km of railway lines by 2020. Some 1,808km of it is expected to be completed by 2015.

The railway network in the northern part of Ethiopia will run from Mekele - Woldiya Hara Gebeya – Semera - Dicheto-Elidar, ultimately linking northern regions with Port Tadjourah in neighbouring Djibouti allowing an alternative route to landlocked Ethiopia.

The northern railway project will have an extension which runs from Woldiya-Awash joining the Addis Ababa-Djibouti line.

Upon completion, Ethiopia hopes to transport potash, metals and other products from the country’s northern mines to Djibouti's Port Tadjourah for the international market.

The nationwide massive railway network will enable passengers to easily travel to every corner of the country. The government hopes the railway will further boost trade across the nation. India has granted Ethiopia a $300 million loan which will cover 665km of rail line construction.

Since Ethiopia launched the 5-year growth and transformation plan (GTP) in 2010, the country has invested billions of dollars for infrastructure and industries.

Zambia says it is on board financially with TAZARA

Zambia says it will meet its US$5 million obligation toward running costs required to help salvage the battered operations of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA).

In a report in the Times of Zambia, the Zambian Government said that it is committed to contributing its share while Tanzania was expected to put up the other half to get to the agreed US$10 million. Zambia and Tanzania are trying to raise funds to meet the US$21 million required working capital for TAZARA so that the company can get back onto a profitable path. Zambian Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Deputy Minister, Panji Kaunda said the balance of US$11 million would be sourced from various supporting partners.

The minister said the amount would be made available to TAZARA on a grant basis, as provided for in its Act and as a demonstration of the shareholders' responsibility.

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QE2 to become 300-room floating hotel in Dubai

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QE2 – facing the sunrise again?

If the reports coming out of Dubai are to be believed, the former cruise liner QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 (QE2) will become a floating hotel.

This follows the aborted attempt to refurbish the ship and stage her on The Palm, that grotesque yet inspiring man-made island off the coast of Dubai. The plan for the ship was abandoned amidst the sudden financial troubles faced by DP World, the owners of the ship, following the 2008 economic crash.

Istithmar, the investment arm of the DP World group which is owned by the Dubai ruling family, plan to keep the ship at Port Rashid where Dubai has a successful cruise terminal. The ship will be refitted and in 18 months time will emerge as a floating 300-bed hotel, said Ahmed Bin Sulayem, the chairman of DP World and the head of Istithmar.

More troubles for Carnival over the Costa Concordia

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A US law firm says that it intends suing Carnival Corp, the owner of the capsize COSTA CONCORDIA which lies on its side near an Italian island, after capsizing earlier this year when the ship sailed too close to land and struck a submerged object. A total of 32 people on board the 114,500-ton ship were killed as a result of the accident.

The law firm of Eaves says that it is suing for punitive damages in California against Carnival and the ship’s naval architects for what it claims is a design flaw in the vessel, which made it too top heavy with a propensity to roll.

“The sad tragedy is the race to build the biggest ship with the shallowest hulls and room for the most passengers. When will it stop? We decided we must file this complaint to stop a race which is destroying safety,” Eaves said.

The law firm alleges that Carnival “controlled or at least heavily influenced the design of the MV Costa Concordia to suit its commercial needs as opposed to best or even good marine practices.”

Legal proceedings have also been brought against the architects, who are named simply as ‘John Does’, for “designing the vessel to maximize passenger carrying capacity, but at the expense of seaworthiness, and passenger safety. The ship's shallow draught made it unstable, so that it tilted quickly over and many lifeboats became useless,” Eaves said.

The suit asks the court to award plaintiffs “at least $US10 million and punitive damages.” Eaves said he expects a ruling within a year. Should the court find the corporation guilty of using a dangerous design for the Concordia, the ruling may mean “a significant if not majority of the existing cruise fleet would be suspended. We have filed this complaint with a great sense of urgency. As things stand at the moment, we're simply sending empty coffins out to sea, just waiting for tragedies to happen," Eaves said. source: smh.com.au

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A Turkish bulk carrier, Geden Lines’ NAMRUN was attacked by armed pirates while underway in the Arabian Sea last week but thanks to a security team on board the ship, the attack was aborted.

This was not before several of the pirates were wounded in the attack, with three thought to have been killed. The act of attempted piracy took place on 27 June (Friday) approximately 110 n.miles north of the island of Socotra. The pirates were on an arab dhow and as it approached the bulk carrier, two pirates hiding under a blanket appeared with weapons in hand and proceeded to fire upon the ship. The armed guards on board the Namrun returned the fire causing the pirates to break off the engagement and move away. There were no injuries to personnel on board the ship.

Two days later the Dutch naval ship HNLMS EVERTSEN which had been searching for the dhow, boarded an Omani dhow named NEBARKAD in Yemeni waters and released seven Indian and Banladeshi crew members who had been taken prisoner by the pirates on 20 June off the coast of Oman. They said they had been forced to sail the dhow for Somalia but bad weather had forced them to return to the coast of Yemen.

It is thought that this was the same dhow that attacked the Namrun. Seven pirates on board were taken into custody.

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HNLMS Evertsen, the Dutch Navy frigate that was involved in the incident described above

Djibouti Naval Operations centre opened

On Wednesday 23 June, the President of the Republic of Djibouti, Ismail Omar Guelleh attended the opening of the new Djiboutian Naval Operations Centre, reports EU NAVFOR.

Also present were military and civilian authorities from Djibouti, and representatives from the United States and France, who provided support to Djibouti for the building and fitting of the operations centre.

The centre provides the Djiboutian maritime forces with an enhanced capability to track ship movements in their territorial waters.

EU NAVFOR says is ships will be conducting exercises in the coming weeks with the Djiboutian Navy and Coast Guard and that it very much welcomes the opening of new operational centre which is seen as another step in contributing to the fight against piracy and maritime capacity building in the region.

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The container ship MOL CALEDON (58,289-gt, built 2005) in Cape Town harbour during May 2012. When she entered service in 2005 this ship was named P&O Nedlloyd Livingstone but not long afterwards with the sale of P&O Nedlloyd to Maersk Line, she was transferred to Mitsui OSK Line and renamed, all a result of competition laws in South Africa and Europe concerning the SAECS conference agreement. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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The Singapore owned and flagged offshore supply vessel PERIDOT (2428-gt, built 2010) which was in Cape Town during May this year. The ship is managed locally by Smit Amandla Marine of Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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