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Ports & Ships Maritime News

12 April 2013
Author: Terry Hutson

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



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The Russian polar research ship and ice-breaker AKADEMIK FEDEROV (12,660-gt, built 1987) is a regular visitor to Cape Town and arrived back in the Mother City last week. The vessel is the flag ship of the Russian Polar Research fleet and is owned and operated by Russia’s Arctic & Antarctic Research organisation of St Petersburg. Picture by Aad Noorland.


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SA Navy will continue operating patrols from Pemba for another year

The South African Navy is to continue with anti-piracy patrols in the northern Mozambique Channel, based out of the port of Pemba, until at least the end of March 2014. This was announced by government this week.

Operation Copper has been in operation since early 2011 when the South African Navy began patrolling the northern approaches to the channel from a forward base in Pemba. Initially one of the navy’s four frigates took up the duties, assisted by aerial reconnaissance carried out by the SAAF using either C47TP maritime patrol aircraft the single engine Cessna 208 Caravan. The ships have been rotated on a regular basis and have included the combat support ship SAS DRAKENSBERG

The current naval ship on patrol in the Mozambique Channel is the frigate SAS Amatola (F145).

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SAS Amatola sails from Durban in 2012 on her previous deployment to Pemba. Picture by Clinton Wyness

MPDC to invest US$400 million on Maputo port

The Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC) intends investing US$400 in the port of Maputo to improve conditions, says the commercial director, Johan Botha.

Speaking during the port of Maputo’s 110th anniversary and the 10th year since the concession to operate the port was awarded to MPDC, Botha said that since 2003 the amount of cargo handled each year had risen until in 2012 Maputo was handling 15 million tons. By improving conditions in the port this increase in volume could continue, he said.

The MPDC, which is a national private company consisting of a partnership between the Mozambican Railway Company (Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique), Grindrod and DP World, expects investments in the port to total $1.7 billion. By 2020 the port should be handling in excess of 20 million tons a year. The investments would also focus on the repair and maintenance of equipment and infrastructure, including the purchase of 12 new shovel loaders, of which six have already been installed. These improvements are aimed at reducing the time taken to load and unload cargo at the port.

MPDC’s initial concession was initially for 15 years and in 2010 this was extended for a further 15 years, with an option of an additional ten years after 2033. The concession covers the full control of and operation of the port, including marine services.

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The harbour tug Xefina undergoing maintenance in the Maputo dry dock


Mozambique-SA railway line reopens

Goods trains are expected to commence running along the railway which operates between the port of Maputo and the South African border at Ressano Garcia/Komatipoort.

This follows repairs to damage caused by a freight train derailing in section between the port and the border on 19 February this year. The accident seriously damaged a bridge and trains carrying freight including the heavy ore trains loaded with magnetite and coal for export through Maputo have been unable to run, leading to huge financial losses for exporters who were forced to turn to road haulage where possible.

The increase in road vehicles as a result of the railway closure led to enormous gridlocks as trucks queued to enter the port. One newspaper report said it took two hours to complete the 15km journey between the cities of Matola and Maputo.

According to Mozambique newspaper reports, repairs to the bridge were completed a week ago and several test trains have been run over the damaged section without problems.

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Matola coal terminal, adjacent to Maputo port


Rio Tinto Group shortlisted to build Mozambique port and rail project

Anglo-Australian group Rio Tinto is one of six groups shortlisted by the Mozambican government to build a rail and port project costing US$3 billion with a view to increasing coal exports, the Mozambican Transport Minister said Tuesday.

An absence or lack of quality transport facilities is the main problem facing international groups that have invested in mining projects in Mozambique. Rio Tinto recently took an impairment loss of US$3 billion on its Mozambican project.

“We had 21 companies or groups in the pre-selection process and have chosen six who will now have to present their proposals,” Minister Paulo Zucula told financial news agency Reuters.

The minister added that, as well as Rio Tinto, the other five groups selected were logistics companies. He added that the tender would be awarded in July.

The public tender is to build a 525-km railroad from Tete province to Macuse, in Zambézia province, and a new port with a capacity to handle 25 million tons of coal per year, with a possibility of doubling that amount in the future. The line will have to handle other commodities as well as passengers. Zucula said Mozambique was not building infrastructure just for coal.

The proposed new rail and port is in addition to a venture by Brazilian mining giant Vale which is investing $4.4 billion to revamp another, much longer railway line from Tete province to the deep-water port at Nacala via Malawi. Source – Macauhub

Macuse lies to the north of Quelimane.


Zanzibar calls for an end to Bagamoyo port project

Zanzibar parliamentary members have spoken out against proposals by mainland Tanzania to build a new port at Bagamoyo, saying that it should instead it be built on Zanzibar which lies opposite.

See related article China to build new port at Bagamoyo - use your BACKSPACE key to return to this page.

The matter was raised this week in the island’s house of parliament with several speakers calling on Tanzania to stop Bagamoyo port construction. “Since we are true brothers with Tanzania mainland, Bagamoyo project should be halted and instead be constructed in Zanzibar,” one speaker suggested.

Zanzibar’s deputy minister for Infrastructure and Communications, Issa Haji Ussi said that although ports were union matters, each country in the Union enjoyed liberty in port business. He called on Zanzibaris instead to work hard in the construction of their own new port. Source – Tanzania Daily News

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Tanzania and Zanzibar. Bagamoyo lies directly opposite the island. Picture IRIN


Tazara Suspends Train Operations

A new derailment along the Tanzania-Zambia Railway (TAZARA) has further halted train operations some 64 kilometres from the port of Dar es Salaam.

The latest derailment occurred when a crane that was engaged with clearing rail wagons from a previous derailment, suddenly tilted over due to unstable ground and blocked the railway.

Tazara is the only rail link between the port of Dar es Salaam and Zambia and its neighbouring countries.

According to reports, the crane that toppled is the only one available to Tazara to clear the wagons. A second rescue crane available to the railway company is considered unsuitable for a successful rescue operation. As a result, railway operations along the line have been suspended until other equipment can be outsourced.


Yemen Cancels Somali Maritime Debts

The Yemeni government agreed to cancel tax debts owed by the Somali government for ships docked off its coast, Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi announced Tuesday, 9 April.

Hadi made the announcement in Sanaa after meeting with a delegation led by Somali Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Mohamed Noor Gaal, who delivered a letter from Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, according to Yemen's official Saba news agency.

In the meeting, Hadi praised bilateral relations between the two countries. “Yemen has nearly 1.2 million Somali refugees sharing the living with the people of Yemen under the difficult circumstances experienced by the country,” he said.

Some of the ships docked in Yemen have been there for more than 20 years, Somalia's Shabelle Media Network reported. Somali representatives are expected to sign an agreement to repatriate the vessels. Source – Sabahi


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Somalia and Yemen – neighbours across the water


Nigeria to acquire three patrol boats for port security

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is to take delivery of three new patrol boats to improve its port security capability.

One of the three boats has been ordered from France and two will come from a South African boatbuilder. The French boat will be named DORINA and the two coming from South Africa, AGADE and OVIE.

“Let me tell you that, beyond the purchase of the boats, several other potent measures are being put in place, which may not be made public as a security measure, but we are not sleeping,” said public affairs GM, Iheanacho Ebubeogu.


Lekki port will contribute US$20 billion to Nigeria’s economy

The new port of Lekki, which is expected to come into operation in 2016 in the State of Lagos, is expected to contribute not less than N31.15 trillion (US$20 billion), according to the managing director of the Lekki Port Enterprise, Haresh Aswani.

He said that in addition to bridging the capacity deficit, Lekki Port will have significant positive macroeconomic impact estimated at USD 361 billion over the entire concession period.

“It is expected to contribute more than USD200 billion to the government purse, while also creating close to 163,000 new jobs in the economy. Furthermore, Lekki Port will spur the economic development around the Lekki sub-region and on a wider perspective, the whole of Lagos State through rapid industrialisation.”

Aswani said that the Lekki Port, conceptualised as a multi-product industrial and logistics hub, would spread across 90 hectares of land and would be built at an estimated cost of $1.55 billion.

He said that the deep-sea port, which is to be located 65 km east of Lagos Mainland and is intended as the gateway to the West African region, would be one of the most efficient and modern maritime facilities that would cater to liquid and dry bulk cargo. Source – allafrica.com


Windbound at Cape Town

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The passenger liner QUEEN MARY 2 on her berth in the working part of Cape Town’s Duncan Dock with Table Mountain acting as the scenic backdrop in this view. Yesterday the 150,000-gt ship was delayed from sailing because of strong winds, having at one stage to return to her berth after winds gusted to 45 knots. With the South Atlantic beckoning as the ship heads north on her return to Southampton and the conclusion of her 2013 World Cruise, there will be plenty of time to make up the delay. This picture by Aad Noorland


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Contrary to widespread belief, the proposed Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) will create almost 6,000 jobs in its first year, according to UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) economist, Barry Standish.

Standish revealed the findings of his team’s economic analysis of the Saldanha Bay IDZ business plan at a panel discussion held at the GSB on the 13 March 2013, reports Cape Business News.

According to Standish’s analysis of the business plan, the Saldanha Bay IDZ will have created 2,600 direct jobs by the end of its first year, and 14,702 total (direct and indirect) jobs will be created within 18 years of business. The results of the cost to benefit analysis for South Africa showed a total benefit with a present value of R42,807,700, versus only R4,503,300 in present value costs.

“The real benefit comes from the benefit cost ratio – for every R1.00 that society spends, it will equate to R9.50 return,” said Standish.

The proposed development had been met with criticism from academics and media as far back as 2010, who felt expectations given to the development were optimistic. Standish said that in conducting the analysis, his team took efforts to show the unfeasibility of the project, but were instead surprised at encountering the second highest cost-benefit to society in South Africa of any analysis his team has ever managed.

Standish’s team then performed a more extreme analysis, known as a sensitivity analysis. “A sensitivity analysis tightens assumptions made in a basic cost benefit analysis – it pushes up costs such as infrastructure setup costs and private business setup costs, essentially looking at a worse case scenario. After analysing the business proposal with these extremes in place, the proposed project remained economically efficient,” said Standish.

“The conclusion of our analysis was that the IDZ will create jobs, have significant economic impact, and prove economically robust,” he said.

The application for the IDZ was proposed by the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone Licensing Company (SBIDZ LiCo), a wholly- owned subsidiary of the Western Cape Investment Promotion Agency (WESGRO).

The purpose of the proposed IDZ is to encourage the creation of an engineering and logistics services complex, serving the needs of the upstream exploration and production service companies operating in oil and gas fields in sub-Saharan Africa.

Herman Jonker of the Western Cape Government's Department of Economic Development and Tourism said the biggest concern in the development of the Saldanha Bay IDZ to date, and part of the reason for the MBD’s initial skepticism, has been the history of enterprise and development in the area: “Many different projects have been taken at the Saldanha Bay site before, with little ‘trickle-down’ benefit and sustained economic development coming from these; some of the projects have themselves proved profitable, but with little benefit to wider society,” said Jonker.

Speaking at the panel discussion, Kaashifa Beukes of SBIDZ LiCo, said that “in compiling the business plan, SBIDZ LiCo looked at the history of projects in the sector, and undertook various studies to determine the best project for the region in order to meet job creation, economic development, and regional and local imperatives,” said Beukes.

As a result of this, Beukes said that the IDZ will primarily operate in three spheres: renewable energy production and manufacturing; as an oil supply base; and in steel and mineral manufacturing.

SBIDZ LiCo submitted the business plan to the Manufacturing Development Board (MDB) in October 2012, and despite initial scepticism from the MDB, Beukes said that following review of the business plan, the board showed enthusiastic support.

On 2 February 2013, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said: “Saldanha Bay has been recognised as an area with great economic potential both for the quality of its port facilities, and for the entrepreneurial quality of its residents. As such, it is strategically placed in the Presidential development node and thus the national, provincial and municipal authorities have explored ways of unlocking this potential. It is equally important that local industry participate and be involved in the economic upliftment of the area.”

Beukes said that they have managed stakeholders in the local community to ensure full participation and approval “We met with each of the 13 different area wards to ensure that the different values and interests were taken into account,” she said.

Oil and gas rigs operating offshore of Namibia and Angola and as far north as Gabon on the west coast and in Mozambique and Tanzania on the east coast could be serviced in the proposed IDZ, which would exist alongside those at Coega and Richards Bay.

If granted IDZ status, Saldanha Bay will join Coega, East London, Richards Bay and OR Tambo International Airport as existing IDZs. Source Cape Business News

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Saldanha Fabrication Centre. Picture Graeme Clemitson


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A partnership initiative to support the important role of early childhood education in rural South Africa was realised recently when two Grade R classrooms, constructed from decommissioned shipping containers, were handed to the Agter-Witzenberg farm community outside Ceres in South Africa's Western Cape region.

Two years ago shipping line Safmarine and fruit exporter, Capespan, a Safmarine customer for more than 30 years, identified the need to provide the Agter-Witzenberg community with a facility that would give parents working on fruit farms in the area the peace of mind that their young pre-school children were receiving the necessary educational support and care.

Speaking at the handover of the classrooms, Safmarine Southern Africa Cluster Manager, Dirk Hoffmann, told the Agter-Witzenberg community:

“Safmarine shares your passion for developing this community by investing in the education of your children and it is our honour and our privilege to contribute towards a facility which will be used to nurture young minds.

“Education is without a doubt one of the most effective ways to alleviate poverty, unemployment and achieve social and economic equity in South Africa and we encourage you to continue your commitment to educating your youth.”

“The Capespan Foundation is committed to investing in corporate social development initiatives which not only provide an environment suitable for alleviating social challenges in our communities, but which also offer solutions which integrate the needs of all community stakeholders in fruit production,” said Capespan Foundation Manager, Ansonette van der Merwe.

Safmarine donated the two 12 metre reefer (refrigerated) containers which were converted into classrooms with the help of Cool Maintenance and award-winning industrial designer and architect, Y Tsai of Tsai Design Studio.

The two new classrooms - which were officially opened at the end of March 2013 - are able to accommodate approximately 40 pre- school children.

Safmarine pioneered the use of shipping containers for social uplifment purposes 21 years ago.

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Luke Ramsey (Safmarine's Southern Africa Business Performance, PR and CSR Manager) and Ansonette van der Merwe (Capespan Foundation Manager) share in the celebrations at the official handover of the two container classrooms


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MSC Opera arriving in Durban at the start of the recent summer cruise season, November 2012. Picture by Trevor Steenkamp of www.nauticalimages.co.za

It’s the end of the Southern African cruise season next week as MSC Sinfonia, one of 11 ships in the MSC Cruises fleet and one of two to sail in Southern African waters, begins her northbound voyage back to Genoa in Italy on 15 April 2013 signalling the end of a record breaking South African season.

MSC Cruises SA recently announced the return of MSC Sinfonia and the popular newcomer MSC Opera, for an extended 2013/14 season which includes new destinations and itineraries.

A popular choice for many South Africans are the Grand voyages from Italy to Cape Town in November . These Grand Voyages of both MSC Opera and MSC Sinfonia down the west coast of Africa represent the best value holidays with rates as low as R7000 for 19 nights.

MSC Sinfonia will head back to South Africa on 11 November 2013, departing the port of Genoa Italy, with ports of call such as Marseille, Barcelona, the Portuguese calls of Lisbon and Funchal and the Cape Verde island of Mindelo before reaching the popular Namibian port of Walvis Bay. MSC Sinfonia will reach her Cape Town destination on 30 November 2013 after 19 nights at sea.

MSC Opera, a recent newcomer to South African shores, departs Genoa on 25 October 2013 for the ports of Monte Carlo and Nice before heading to Valencia, Casablanca, the Moroccan port of Agadir and Dakar in Senegal. MSC Opera then touches Walvis Bay before arriving in the Mother City on 11 November 2013 before going on to her final destination, Durban.

MSC Cruises SA offers fly/cruise packages from R13,485 for flights and cruise accommodation on either MSC Sinfonia or MSC Opera with flights provided by Swiss Air.

“Cruising remains one of the best value holiday options for South Africans, and the Southbound Voyage is no exception for cruise enthusiasts,” notes Allan Foggitt, head of Marketing and Sales for MSC Cruises South Africa. “Competitive package deals allow for a holiday of a lifetime visiting exotic west coast destinations.”

In addition to the popular cruises from Durban to Mozambique and the Cape Collection, some of the highlighted itinerary changes for the new season include a 12 night New Year cruise on board MSC Sinfonia and a series of new 7 nights itineraries operated by MSC Sinfonia visiting Portuguese Island, the beautiful fishing village of Anakao and Fort Dauphin in Madagascar.

A 14 night Island Discovery cruise has also been introduced for MSC Sinfonia visiting Mauritius, Reunion as well as Ile St Marie and the picturesque beaches of Fort Dauphin in Madagascar.

Bookings for the new 2013/14 season are open. Accommodation, meals, and entertainment are all included in the cruise fare, with children under 18 cruising free.

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MSC Sinfonia seen departing Cape Town for Europe in March 2012. Picture by Clinton Wyness


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The South African polar research and supply vessel SA AGULHAS II, with evidence along her hull of her recent voyage to the Antarctic. The ship was photographed in the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town last week. Picture by Trevor Jones

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Last week the annual navy week festival was held at the South African naval base of Simon’s Town, in which the various ships in the dockyard went on display for the public. Popular among many visitors were short trips into the bay on board the navy tugs INDLOVU and DE NEYS. According to several reports next year’s naval week will be held at Salisbury Island in Durban, which may be a pointer to when the island is to revert to being a naval base instead of a downscaled naval station. Picture by Trevor Jones


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