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Ports & Ships Maritime News

8 March 2013
Author: Terry Hutson

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



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SMIT AMANDLA and her tow NILEDUTCH BEIJING (39,753-gt, built 2011) arriving outside the Port of Cape Town. The container ship had become disabled due to lubrication oil contamination. Both pictures by Glen Kasner

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Port statistics for the month of February 2013, covering the eight commercial ports under the administration of Transnet National Ports Authority, are now available. The total cargo handled by all the ports during the past month amounted to just over 22.307 million tonnes, as compared with 22.575mt in the month of January. Top performer, volume-wise, was once again the Port of Richards Bay, which handled 7.476mt of cargo during the month, of which 6.7mt was made up of bulk cargo exports, mainly through the Richards Bay Coal Terminal. Durban too enjoyed a high volume month having handled 6.343mt which is being achieved despite a continuing drop in the number of containers handled. Saldanha Bay handled 4.672mt, slightly up on the previous month. The Port of Ngqura continued with higher levels of container volumes, handling more than one million tonnes for the second month in succession which was achieved almost entirely with containers – 79,935 TEU.

Durban’s container volumes at 191,027TEUs ought to be of concern to TPT management, even though it is partly due to the non-availability of two berths on the North Quay. With the recent arrival and installation of seven new STS cranes at this section of DCT, cargo owners will be looking for some improvement in volumes handled.

The previous February (2012) figures can be found HERE - use your BACKSPACE button to return to this page.

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

To arrive at such a calculation, PORTS & SHIPS uses an average of 13,5 tonnes per TEU, which probably does 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 emphasize this distinction, failing which South African ports would continue to be under-reported internationally.


Port Statistics continue below…
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The Port of Durban Ro-Ro Terminal at the Point, showing one of Messina Line’s Con-Ro vessels working breakbulk and containers, with two pure car carriers alongside the normal ro-ro berths of G and M. In between can be seen a small breakbulk vessel while over at the N-Shed passenger terminal of the T-Jetty is yet another vessel. Picture by Steve McCurrach www.airserv.co.za


Figures for the respective ports during February 2013 are:


Cargo handled by tonnes during February 2013

PORT February 2013 million tonnes
Richards Bay 7.476
Durban 6.343
Saldanha Bay 4.672
Cape Town 1.465
Port Elizabeth 0.826
Ngqura 1.080
Mossel Bay 0.258
East London 0.188
Total all ports 22.307 million tonnes

CONTAINERS (measured by TEUs) during February 2013
(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA

PORT February 2013 TEUs
Durban 191,027
Cape Town 81,507
Port Elizabeth 19,371
Ngqura 79,935
East London 3,807
Richards Bay 2,398
Total all ports 378,045 TEUs

SHIP CALLS for February 2013

PORT February 2013 vessels gross tons
Durban 334 11,275,913
Cape Town 236 5,077,297
Richards Bay 168 6,700,504
Port Elizabeth 87 2,420,462
Saldanha Bay 42 2,603,572
Ngqura 43 2,446,388
East London 23 540,365
Mossel Bay 58 633,973
Total ship calls 991 31,797,474

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


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Richards Bay Coal Terminal. Picture TNPA

  Month's exports YTD exports Annualised estimate Ships Trains
January 2013 4,213,728 4,213,728 49.62 38 787
February 2013 5,451,541 9,665,468 59.79 50 757

source: RBCT


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Maersk’s First Triple E Class launched

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The first Triple-E class, which we understand will be named Maersk McKinney Moller in honour of the late Mr McKinney Moller, was launched on 27 February this year. The ship will enter service in July.

The first Triple-E class vessel, the MAERSK McKINNEY MOLLER was launched at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Okpo Shipyard on 27 February 27, 2013. The ship is due to be delivered in July this year.

The giant ship is set to become the world’s largest container vessel and at 400 metres long, 59m wide and 73m high will not be embarrassed alongside any giant supertanker.

The Maersk McKinney Moller has a capacity of 18,000-TEUs which is 16% more than what the giant Emma Maersk can carry. Emma Maersk at 15,550-TEU is currently Maersk’s largest container ship.

In February 2011, Maersk ordered 10 of these energy efficient container vessels with an option for another 20. The Triple-E is designed to produce 20% less CO2 per container moved compared to Emma Maersk and 50% less than the industry average on the Asia-Europe trade lane. According to Maersk the class will use about 35% less fuel per container than the 13,100 TEU vessels being delivered to other container shipping lines in the next few years for service on the Asia-Europe service.

With fuel constituting a major cost segment in the operation of container ships, the advent of these vessels should stand to benefit Maersk Line considerably in terms of the tight rate margins on the East-West services.


Fairmount Glacier deliver rig La Muralla IV

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Fairmount Glacier and her tow, the oil rig Muralla IV. Picture Fairmount Marine

The Dutch tug FAIRMOUNT GLACIER has completed delivery of the oil rig LA MURALLA IV to the Bay of Campeche in Mexico, after a lengthy tow from Okpo in South Korea via the Sunda Strait and the Cape of Good Hope.

La Muralla IV is a brand new semi-submersible drilling rig for ultra deep water operations, owned by Mexican Grupo R. The rig was constructed by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in South Korea.

La Muralla IV is designed to drill up to depths of 10,000 metres. The rig has a length of 118,6 metres and a width of 96,7 metres.

Fairmount Marine’s Fairmount Glacier hooked-up with the rig at the end of October last year offshore of the South Korean port of Okpo. The convoy sailed via the Sunda Strait and the Cape of Good Hope towards the Gulf of Mexico, where the two vessels arrived at the end of February after covering a distance of over 16,200 miles with an average speed of 6,6 knots.

During the voyage bunker stops were made in Singapore, Mauritius, Walvis Bay and Curacao. At Mauritius the Fairmount Glacier performed several runs between the port and the La Muralla IV to transfer cargo and crew.


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Two new ship-to-shore gantry cranes for Beira Port

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The heavylift vessel TEAL arrives in the Port of Beira with two Kronecrane STS gantry cranes for the port’s container terminal. Picture courtesy Cornelder de Moçambique

The Port of Beira has received two new Konecrane ship-to-shore (STS) gantry cranes, which marks a significant step for the Mozambique port as a gateway for Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and the DR Congo.

Beira has become increasingly important as an international trade hub, which has necessitated the upgrading and development of its port to enable Beira to handle the huge amounts of cargo that are coming through the southern Africa region, said Cornelder de Moçambique in a statement this week. Cornelder holds the concession to operate the port on behalf of the state-owned company CFM.

“Due to the dramatic growth in container movement internationally, ports all over the world are under extreme pressure to accomplish high levels of productivity. In order to meet these demands, we need to be able to handle bigger container vessels, which is why there is a need to employ such advanced crane technology, as well as to adopt top-of-the-line systems to handle these increasing volumes of cargo more effectively,” the statement read.

“These state-of-the-art gantries, manufactured by Konecrane, are characterised by their speed and flexibility in handling containers. They can handle two 20-foot containers (TEUs) and one 40-foot container to or from a vessel simultaneously, and have a capacity of 65 tons each and a reach of across 18 rows of containers. It is expected that they will be up-and-running around the beginning of April and productivity levels of container-handling will increase to 25 moves per hour.

“These new cranes, along with two existing cranes, will enable Cornelder de Moçambique to meet the demands of increasing international trade through the Beira corridor and to increase productivity, speed-up reloading process and help avoid congestion – thus improving the quality of services.”

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With the Teal now alongside, the next step is to begin discharging the giant new cranes which will provide a boost in improving service levels at the Mozambique port. Picture courtesy Cornelder de Moçambique


New Beira Dredger delayed

The newbuild dredger MACUTI is now due to arrive at the Port of Beira only in mid year, says Carlos Isidoro, the director for Transport and Communications of Sofala province.

The dredger is under construction at the Western Baltija Shipbuilding in Lithuania. The vessel is classed by Bureau Veritas.

Macuti was launched in October 2012 for the Mozambique Ports & Rail Company (CFM) and the National Dredging Company (EMODRAGA) and was originally scheduled to arrive in Beira this month, but has been delayed owing to some deficiencies that were revealed during tests and which have to be rectified.


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The dredger MACUTI under construction at the West Baltic Shipyards in Lithuania


Rail traffic being re-routed to Maputo via Swaziland line

The Goba railroad through Swaziland is being used to transport goods from South Africa to the port of Maputo as an alternative to the Ressano Garcia line, which was closed due to a derailment on 19 February, according to an official from state port and rail management company Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM).

The director of the CFM engineering department, João Mabote, did not give figures about the freight being re-routed, but noted that traffic along the railway was subject to restrictions due to work underway on the railway bridge in the town of Boane.

The Goba line is around 226 kilometres long and links the Matsapa Industrial Park and the port of Maputo and has capacity for trains with a maximum of 50 trucks travelling at speeds of between 50 and 60 kilometres per hour.

Mozambican newspaper Notícias reported that according to information from the Swaziland railway company, the Goba line is in good condition both on the Swazi side and the Mozambican side, as a result of repairs that were recently carried out.

Traditionally the Goba line has been used to transport sugar from Swaziland to the port of Maputo, in volumes of between 200,000 and 240,000 tons per year but has recently started carrying ferrochrome. The line is available to carry goods from Komatipoort to Maputo that cannot be carried along the Ressano Garcia line due to the stoppage.

The Goba line was built in the days of Portuguese rule, specifically to carry iron ore mined in the west of Swaziland, and was one of the few places in southern Africa where during the 1970s one could watch large 2-10-2 steam locomotives of the CFM operating double-headed through the hills and the Lebombo Mountains. Source – macauhub and P&S


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The SA Navy frigate SAS Spioenkop arriving in Durban harbour. Picture by W/O Manny Gounden

The South African Navy is currently engaged in Exercise Red Lion, during which it is testing the ability of a Task Force in maintaining a continuous presence at sea, involving patrols, surveillance and maritime interdiction operations.

The exercise is taking place at sea in the region of Cape Town between 4 and 15 March 2013.

Ships taking part include the frigate SAS SPIOENKOP, the recently returned to service offshore patrol ship SAS ISAAC DYOBHA, two minehunters SAS UMHLOTI and SAS UMZIMKULU and the submarine SAS CHARLOTTE MAXEKE.

Several aircraft of the South African Air Force will take part including C130 transports and various helicopters.

Don’t look to the official navy website for details – such events seldom receive any coverage until it is all over and then often not at all. Try www.defenceweb.co.za instead.


Nigerian pirates attack ship and take more hostages

Another offshore supply ship has been attacked by Nigerian pirates and two seafarers taken hostage.

The attack on the offshore vessel ARMADA TUAH 22 took place on 4 March southwest of Brass, in Bayelsa State and is similar to a recent attack on Armada Tuah 101 from which six hostages were taken. They were released unharmed about a week later but only after, it is suspected, a ransom of US$1.3 million had been paid.

In the latest incident two Indonesians, thought to be the ship’s master and the chief engineer, were the victims of the kidnapping. The remaining crew were left aboard and were able to later sail the vessel into Onne harbour anchorage where the matter was fully reported.


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Dachser South Africa contributes to skills development in logistics

The South African logistics industry is experiencing a severe shortage of skills making it difficult to effectively respond to the demands of global logistics, says Detlev Duve, managing director of Dachser South Africa. “Areas that are critical and short of skills need to be identified and mechanisms devised to develop the necessary skills base to respond to the challenges.”

Dachser South Africa has responded to this skills shortage through a comprehensive skills development programme. “We initiated the Dachser Learnership Programme in September 2012. We have a dedicated and knowledgeable staff complement that can assist in educating candidates,” says Duve.

In addition to specific specialist training in the freight and transport industry, the 12 month programme offers computer literacy, telephone and business etiquette skills. “Our skills programme covers road, sea and air transport as well as customs. By offering comprehensive experiential training, we can start to close the skills gap and create employable candidates.”

Duve explains that skills within the logistics sector are rapidly diversifying and all employees need to pursue broader areas of learning to remain competitive. “Companies need to train their employees consistently. A solid base of logistics management skills, including the tactical and strategic aspects, is critical for a company to exist within the competitive logistics environment.”

Candidates for the skills programme are sourced through a TETA registered facilitator, such as the SA Maritime. All candidates must have a minimum secondary qualification equal to grade 12. “We have recruited three learners in Cape Town, two in Durban and five in Johannesburg for training. We hope they will eventually fill positions in the company. In this way, we are looking at development from grass-root level,” says Duve.

“This is our first skills development programme and will help us assess what we need to change or improve for the next programme. We are proud to say the programme is going very well. We have a close relationship with our candidates and they are succeeding in learning all the necessary skills,” says Duve.

Dachser will offer post-programme mentorship should the candidates require it, as well as detailed references for all candidates if they elect to proceed with careers in other companies.

The continuous training and education philosophy extends throughout the organisation and Dachser has a training committee that identifies development needs. “In each department we find that there are evolving market challenges, changes in the environment and in regulations that affect our work. Our training committee ensures that our teams get the training they need to keep ahead of these changes and offer the best service to our clients,” says Duve.


Government gears up to meet artisan shortage

by Dennis Cruywagen

Cape Town – The present production rate of qualified artisans in South Africa falls far short of the required targets, says the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande.

However, government was making a concerted effort to meet this challenge, Nzimande said on Tuesday in a keynote address at the opening of Imperial Automobile Training Academy in the Bellville South industrial complex.

According to statistics, South Africa has a shortfall of about 40,000 qualified artisans against the annual production rate of 13 000 qualified artisans.

The National Development Plan, which aims to ensure that all South Africans attain a decent standard of living through the elimination of poverty and reduction of inequality by 2030, states that South Africa should produce more than 30,000 qualified artisans a year if the labour demand were to be met.

In squaring up to this challenge, government had identified Further Education and Training (FET) colleges as part of the solution.

A variety of strategies have been introduced. These include declaring 2013 the Year of the Artisan, with the slogan “It’s cool to be an Artisan”; introducing what can technically be called fee-free education for poor and deserving students at FET colleges; a concerted effort to change the negative perceptions around FET colleges, and a turnaround strategy to improve the quality of management and teaching at these institutions.

Nzimande said that government had made a firm commitment to implement a funding mechanism that would subsidise young people seeking work or placement in various companies.

Funding for loans and bursaries for students wanting to study at universities and colleges has been upped from R2.375 billion in 2008 to well over R6 billion this year. In addition, over the next three years, an amount of R1.7 billion has been set aside for student accommodation, while universities will contribute R600 million to this project.

“This confirms government’s commitment to making funds available to stimulate workplace training and employment opportunities for all our young people,” the minister said.

Government’s response was bearing fruit. Enrolment at these colleges had shot up from 350,000 in 2010 to 650,000 last year. About 42% of the 650,000 students enrolled were studying engineering.

Government’s massive investments and improvements had to be seen against one of the most concerning features of the South African landscape, a steadily growing number of young people aged between the ages of 18 and 24 who were not in education, employment or training.

“I must assure you though that a lot is being done to ensure that these young people have a second chance to become productive citizens and take their right place in society,” said Nzimande.

The Imperial Automobile Training Academy, one of three in the country, will focus on meeting the technical needs in passenger vehicles, heavy duty vehicles, auto electrical and autotronics through the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Industries Sector Education and Training Authority (MerSETA) apprenticeship training programme.

Sean Fenn, General Manager of Development and Training at the academy, said the pipeline that had produced apprentices in the past was broken. The academy was part of an engagement to repair that pipeline. Source – SAnews.gov.za


Nautical Institute to stage seminar on meeting the challenges of an African maritime economy

The Nautical Institute is holding a seminar in Cape Town on 4 and 5 April 2013 which is aimed at identifying and offering solutions to the technical challenges that will be encountered in the development of the anticipated African Maritime Economy emerging from the government and SAMSA’s initiatives in this direction.

The South African Maritime Industries Conference held in 2012 started a process that, once implemented, will see significant developments within the regional maritime environment over the months and years to come.

The rebuilding of the RSA ship’s register together with a range of possible state interventions in this industry have the potential to place sudden and dramatic demands on South Africa’s maritime technical capacities and on its maritime professionals.

The seminar will seek to inform these affected maritime professionals of developments and how they will impact on their industry sectors and their professions.

Papers focusing on the technical challenges likely to be encountered and strategies required to meet them will be presented by the convening organisations as well as from invited experts in their fields.

Organisations in association with the Nautical Institute are the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, the Maritime Law Association of SA, the SA Institute of Marine Engineers and Naval Architects (SAIMENA), and the Society of Master Mariners SA.

Registration forms and other details can be downloaded from the Nautical Institute’s Southern Africa branch website Nautical Institute - use your BACKSPACE button to return to this page. Alternately you can phone Diane Coetzee at 031 206 1861.

The seminar will be held at the Cape Peninsular University of Technology, Granger Bay Campus, Cape Town on 4 and 5 April 2013.


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The smooth lines of Moore-McCormack’s MORMACLAKE (9,301-gt, built 1961) are seen sailing from Durban after one of her regular calls in 1976. These were also the early days of containerisation in South Africa, as can be seen from the large containers on the deck. From 1977 the ship served as USNS Lake. Picture by Trevor Jones

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Royal Interocean Lines’ passenger and cargo ship TJITJALANGKA (10,972-gt, built 1939) coming alongside in Cape Town during 1964. The picture was taken during the photographer’s year-end school holidays, using an old range-finder camera. He comments that the original slide remains in pretty much perfect condition. “Sharpness, though, leaves a lot to be desired, especially at the edges.” Picture by Trevor Jones


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