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Ports & Ships Maritime News

24 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 SAMSA-sponsored training ship SA AGULHAS arrived back in Durban on Monday morning (23 July) where another 15 cadets joined the ship on her first full training cruise, which will take her to West African coasts and ports as well as to Antarctic waters if a press release is to be believed. The cruise eventually ends in London, UK. Some 32 cadets set off in the ship from Cape Town on 4 July and it is reported that other cadets from several African countries will be joining the ship when SA Agulhas visits their ports. As of 7am Tuesday morning the ship was still in Durban harbour. Picture by Charles Baker

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On Monday this week Transnet SOC Ltd celebrated the graduation of the first intake of 220 security personnel from the Transnet School of Security, which Transnet described as a major milestone in ensuring the successful execution of the company’s R300 billion Market Demand Strategy.

The graduation marked a significant shift in the company’s approach to the protection of its people and assets. The school is part of a broad initiative to secure Transnet's interests and address some of the critical areas of the business which are most affected by crime.

The graduation of the officers, who will all be absorbed into the company, follows 10 weeks of comprehensive security training accredited by the Safety and Security SETA.

The programme included training on the basic requirements for becoming a security service provider (officer), the use of security equipment as well as application of legal aspects in a security environment.

In addition, the recruits received specialised training specific to Transnet’s operations, such as practical training on various legislation governing the ports and pipelines, securing goods in transit and occupational health and safety.

The protection of our people and assets is crucial to our ultimate goal of delivering freight reliably, especially in reducing incidents such as cable theft, which has a disruptive impact on our service to customers, Transnet said in a statement.

Transnet is facing major security challenges, for example, the theft of copper, overhead cable theft and goods stolen in transit. These incidents affect not just Transnet, but the economy of South Africa. They affect jobs, the families that rely on those jobs, and the ability to create new jobs in future. In reality, some of the crimes committed, like cable theft, are economic sabotage.

“We need to change the perception of our people, especially female colleagues, as soft targets for the criminal elements within our society,” the company said.

“Currently we are 100% reliant on external service providers. We envisage a mixed model where we use both internal and external services.”

Of the 220 recruits, 61 are female, while 153 were recruited from the Military Skills Development System (MSDS). The MSDS is the South African National Defence Force’s entry level programme which offers South Africans, especially the youth, an opportunity to serve in uniform over a period of two years. After this the recruits can either become part of the defence force’s core service system or serve in the reserve force. According to Transnet it has made some real progress in preventing the theft of overhead copper cable. “Now we have to reduce all areas of crime that affect our company and our operations, then secure ourselves against it in future and keep up with the changing environment. The School of Security will be an important tool in achieving that.”

The recruitment of the security officers is conducted through an open and public process, in line with Transnet’s human resource policies. The minimum entry requirements includes matric, a certain level of physical fitness and no criminal record.

The school, which is based in Esselen Park, East of Johannesburg, has a staff complement of 50 trainers with vast experience in policing, defence and security operations. Transnet plans to recruit up to 800 students per year in groups of 200.

The next intake of 200 recruits will commence training in a week’s time.

Transnet, which recently announced a R300 billion investment programme to expand its rail, ports and pipelines network, has set aside R7,7 billion for skills development over the next seven years.

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Richards Bay’s newest asset, the Rio Tinto Alcan Alesa unloader, which will mark the start of its multi-billion rand equipment replacement programme. Picture TPT

Port operator Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has earmarked the biggest slice of its R33 billion budget over the next seven years for new equipment acquisition projects at Richards Bay, the country’s largest bulk export facility.

This week will see the arrival of one of the terminal’s largest assets, a custom-built pneumatic ship unloader produced by Swiss shipping manufacturer, Rio Tinto Alcan (RTA) Alesa Engineering Ltd.

The unloader is only the seventh of its kind in the world and its arrival signals the start of the Richards Bay Terminal’s ambitious R3 billion equipment replacement programme to improve capacity, equipment reliability and service delivery. This will better enable the terminal to yield maximum results by meeting the needs its customers.

This machine will be able to unload alumina and petcoke from vessels and will facilitate a homogeneous and dust-reduced material flow. It has the capacity to unload 1000 tons per hour by design, making it a valuable acquisition in improving the terminal’s operational efficiency.

TPT client BHP Billiton Aluminium SA expressed its commitment to working with its long-standing partner TPT to ensure the success of the newly acquired pneumatic unloader.

“We would like to take the opportunity of thanking and congratulating TPT for providing this essential equipment,” said Lucas Msimanga, Asset President of BHP Billiton Aluminium SA. “As BHP Billiton Aluminium SA, we feel this clearly demonstrates TPT’s commitment to improving operations and delivery of a high quality service to its partners. The offloader will significantly improve the efficiency of BHP Billiton’s operation and will undoubtedly make a positive impact in reducing spillages.”

The R3 billion earmarked for equipment replacement in Richards Bay falls within a total of R12.1 billion allocated for the plant over seven years.

“This investment in Richards Bay shows TPT’s sound commitment to the terminal and will make a remarkable difference in enabling the plant to achieve improved operating efficiencies and deliver on customer expectations,” said TPT’s Richards Bay Terminal Head, Victor Mkhize.

“A number of tasks will be executed when the new unloader arrives. This includes assembling, operator training, endurance testing, hot and cold commissioning and handover. This is an historic moment for TPT and an important milestone we can be proud of,” he added.

Transnet SOC Ltd’s Market Demand Strategy (MDS) will see the company invest in excess of R300 billion on capital projects over a seven-year period aimed at building freight capacity to support South Africa’s economic growth.

Commenting on the seven year capital investment programme, TPT Chief Executive Karl Socikwa says: “The MDS has major implications for our division’s responsibility to facilitate unconstrained growth, unlock demand and create world-class port operations through improved efficiencies.

“Acquiring the unloader in Richards Bay is certainly a significant step towards us achieving our MDS objectives and huge thanks must go to the project team for many months of intensive work involved in getting us to this milestone,” he said.

TPT has prioritised major MDS projects to be embarked on in Richards Bay over the next seven years which include:

  • R3.7 billion on capital sustaining investments including mobile equipment, quayside equipment and weighbridges. Also included are safety critical projects as well as environmental and legal compliance projects.

  • Approximately R1.2 billion to be spent on capacity creation, such as new or upgraded storage areas and re-engineering of the port to create additional capacity.
  • New STS cranes at Ngqura help break records

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    MSC Sola at Ngqura Container Terminal, under six cranes. Picture TPT

    In other port news Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) achieved new cargo handling productivity levels with the MSC SOLA when the giant ship visited the Port of Ngqura recently. The vessel – at 364 metres long, 45.6 metres wide and 15.5 metres deep – was the biggest container ship so far to call at a South African port and presented the opportunity for TPT to deploy six ship-to-shore cranes for the first time ever to load and discharge cargo from a single ship.

    MSC Sola had called at the Durban Container Terminal Pier 1 on Thursday, 5 July before sailing on to the deep water Ngqura Container Terminal on Sunday, 8 July.

    The Ngqura consignment of 5,408 mainly transhipment containers was the biggest single load to be handled from any vessel calling at the terminal. It comprised 1,872 import and 3,536 export containers.

    Terminal Executive for the Eastern Cape Terminals, Siya Mhlaluka, said two of the eight-strong fleet of Liebherr ship-to-shore cranes had only recently been procured and commissioned to cater for the projected growth in the market's volume demand.

    With six cranes in use on the first and second days, quayside operators achieved a record breaking Ship Working Hour (SWH) rate, of 153 SWH on day one and 121 on day two. SHW refers to the number of containers moved by the number of cranes working the vessel in one hour.

    Two cranes were then transferred to another vessel on day 3. The terminal had its work cut out for it in the final days before the vessel’s departure from the port, when strong winds affected container handling productivity.

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    South African state-owned freight transport and logistics company Transnet SOC Ltd last week announced the successful issuance of a US$1billion 10-year bond at a coupon (interest) rate of 4.0% following road shows in Europe and the United States.

    The bond is the highest amount of money that has ever been raised by Transnet in a single issuance without a government guarantee. At 10 years to maturity, it is also the longest tenor ever issued by Transnet in the international debt capital markets. The bond was competitively priced at 262.5 basis points above the 10-year US Treasuries.

    The bond issuance was significantly oversubscribed, confirming the confidence of the international financial markets in Transnet’s R300 billion Market Demand Strategy (MDS) and the South African government's recently announced infrastructure development programme.

    The proceeds from the latest issue will be used to finance the company’s capital investment programme, which is focused on rejuvenating and modernising Transnet’s rail, port and pipelines logistics infrastructure as well as for general corporate purposes.

    Transnet issues tender for new dredger

    Transnet has issued a tender calling for a new grab hopper dredger for operating at the South African ports.

    The tender calls for the design, manufacture, assembly, commissioning and delivery of the grab hopper dredger with a hopper capacity of 750m³. Provision must be made to incorporate the fitting of an existing Liebherr HS895 hydraulic excavator to the main deck pedestal into the design for the dredger.

    The closing date for all sealed submissions is 10am on 25 September 2012. Preference is to be given to BBBEE compliant companies in terms of Transnet’s policy and in line with the BBBEE Act.

    It would appear that the new dredger will be a replacement for the existing grab hopper dredger CRANE which is based at the Port of Durban but which services the other South African ports as required.

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    Togo, West Africa. Map by Lonely Planet

    Konecranes has received an order for 12 Rubber Tired Gantry (RTG) cranes from Lomé Container Terminal (LCT) in Lomé, Togo. The parties have agreed not to disclose the value of the order.

    In 2008, Lomé Container Terminal, one of investment company Terminal Investment Limited container terminal projects, was awarded a 35 year concession by the Government of Togo to develop, construct and operate a greenfield container terminal within the Port of Lomé in Togo. Upon completion, the terminal is expected to have an estimated handling capacity of up to 1.5 million TEUs.

    “LCT is an ambitious project, and we are proud to be part of it,” says Antoine Bosquet, Konecranes’ Sales Director, Port Cranes. “After the delivery to LCT, Konecranes will have 48 RTGs in operation in West Africa.”

    The RTG cranes will be equipped with the new Konecranes cabin, offering improved ergonomics and visibility. They will also be equipped with the latest DGPS-assisted technology for container yards including the RTG container positioning system, which is connected to the port’s terminal operating system ensuring correct, real-time container positioning and an accurate inventory. The Auto-steering feature keeps the crane on a pre-programmed, straight driving path, thus improving safety and increasing productivity. In addition, the cranes will be equipped with a Busbar power connection, which converts the RTGs to fully electric and quiet operation. The power is supplied by electrified conductor rails that provide the physical contact. This eliminates local emission.

    The 16-wheel RTGs have a lifting capacity of 40 tons stacking 1-over-6 containers high and 7 plus truck lane wide. The RTG cranes will also be equipped with remote access technology, enabling remote diagnostics and the related in-depth expertise and maintenance services.

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    The Busbar power connection which converts the RTGs to fully electric operation

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    Relaxed holidaymakers often don’t realize the complex reality that lies behind their wonderfully simple 7-day cruise. While guests bask in the sun, enjoy drinks around the pool or tickle their taste buds with succulent meals in one of the gourmet on board restaurants, it’s hard to imagine the number of people who are working on board to make this magic happen, be it backstage or on the front-line.

    So let’s have a closer look at these people and their professions.

    For instance, did you know that on board the 12 ships in the MSC Cruises’ fleet, over 2,230 cooks and kitchen staff and approximately 1,000 among artists, dancers and musicians are hard at work?

    Did you know that 110 plumbers are on board the fleet 24 hours a day, ready to fix all kinds of problems that can occur in anything from the kitchen’s industrial fridges to the hundreds of kilometres of on board piping? Did you know that there is even a crew of over 120 people to take care of polishing glasses and oiling locks and gears? Or that 100 firemen compose the MSC fleet fire brigade and nearly 50 people work in the ships’ medical facilities? Not to mention the 80 electricians and 54 carpenters who constantly renovate, maintain and repair, keeping MSC’s beautiful state-of-the-art ships looking as good as the day they were christened.

    MSC Cruises is proud of its Mediterranean heritage that brings with it a vast knowledge of breads and flours. Did you know that there’s a proper bakery on board every ship, with a team of eight to 14 people split over the day and night shift? At least one speciality “pizzaiolo” (pizza maker) is also part of the team, delighting guests with the 20 different varieties of MSC’s signature authentic Italian pizzas.

    Between 600 and 1000 kg of sweets and bread are produced daily depending on the class of ship, but do not expect an industrial production of only one kind of bread. Guests can find breadsticks, various varieties of bread rolls, toasts and buns, pumpernickel (rye bread) as well as speciality focaccias (with onions, grilled vegetables and fresh tomatoes), French baguettes, viennoiserie, croissants, muffins and vollkorn brot.

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    MSC Divina at Dubrovnik. Picture by Risto Brzoza

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    Scene overlooking R Shed and the tug basin on Sunday, 22 July 2012. The car carrier MIRACULOUS ACE (59,422-gt, built 2006) is working cargo at the Durban Car Terminal (R Shed) while in the forefront at the tug basin is the harbour tug UTHUKELA (378-gt, built 2003). Picture by Charles Baker

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    The reefer ship CHAITEN (13,312-gt, built 1988) at Durban’s O shed, where she has been loading citrus fruit; Sunday 22 July 2012. Picture by Charles Baker

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