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Ports & Ships Maritime News

26 November 2013
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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News continues below...


john lethbridge cr 470

The British research vessel JOHN LETHBRIDGE (1835-gt, built 1966) is no stranger to Cape Town harbour and was back in port again recently. The ageing ship is owned by Global Marine and flies the Panamanian flag. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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RHINO SERVICE 202013 11 14 470

French container line CMA CGM says it has decided to expand its services opportunities and intends launching the Rhino Express, providing an extended coverage of five ports of call in Mozambique. Two new port calls are included: Quelimane & Pemba.

This new service will connect with CMA CGM Midas, SEAS 2, Shaka Express 2, ASAF and Mozex services in Durban and Maputo providing a faster and reliable connection for all cargo from Europe, the Mediterranean, India, Middle East Gulf and South America.

The French company adds that the Rhino Express will open the opportunity to develop cabotage in Mozambique.

The service becomes effective from 4 December 2013 with the sailing from Durban with the container ship ONEGO BURAN, voyage FZ001R. Rhino Express will be operated along the following rotation: Durban – Maputo – Beira – Quelimane – Nacala – Pemba – Maputo – Durban.

News continues below...


BLUE MASTER II 8 September 2013 first call 2 47
Blue Master II, one of the latest newbuilds to enter service with MACS Line which is deployed to the Europe-South Africa service. Picture taken in Durban by Trevor Jones

MACS Maritime Carrier Shipping (Pty) Ltd, otherwise known as MACS Line, has become the latest shipping company to sign up as a participating company in support of the South African national Cadet Training Project.

The project aims at assisting cadets in obtaining mandatory sea time to qualify as Officers of the Watch.

MACS Line, through the group’s management company, Vineta Bereederungsgesellschaft mbH, is involved in shipping and transport activities worldwide. Its main activity however are multipurpose liner services operating between the United Kingdom/Europe – South Africa, and Southern Africa - North America.

MACS currently have six national cadets serving on the mv GREY FOX, mv BLACK RHINO, mv AMBER LAGOON and the mv PURPLE BEACH. It is envisaged that more cadets will be accommodated, as and when cadet berths become available.

Once the cadets have graduated, they will be considered for future employment as Junior Officers. The South African National Cadet Training Project has been a success for both parties with two previous cadets already being employed as officers on vessels owned by MACS Line.

News continues below…


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CAM CGM Africa Two in Durban harbour. Picture by Terry Hutson

French container line CMA CGM recorded a decrease in third quarter profit to US$70 million, as compared with the same period for 2012, the company revealed this week. This was based on revenues of $4.1 billion, which is a 1.4 percent improvement over the second quarter but down 2.1 percent year on year.

Volumes carried rose by 11.0 percent year-on-year to 3.0 million TEUs, a new historical record for the Group. The average revenue per TEU declined by 11.8 percent year on year, when Asia-Northern Europe market rates contracted 45 percent over the quarter.

Operating profit (EBIT) was up 127 percent to $238 million. Excluding non-recurring items, core EBIT stood at $271 million for the quarter, said the company, adding that its operating margin improved 6.6 percent.

In a statement CMA CGM said the third quarter performance “in terms of volumes and price resistance illustrates CMA CGM’s resilience in a market that remains extremely volatile.

The company said that significant events during the quarter included the following:

as part of their future P3 operational alliance, CMA CGM, Maersk Line and MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company SA finalised their operating agreements on the Asia-Europe, Transatlantic and Transpacific trades. As announced, subject to the approval by the various regulatory authorities, these services will be deployed in second-quarter 2014 * see below.

CMA CGM has signed a strategic contract with SAP to implement a new information system dedicated to container shipping that will be deployed starting late 2015. This investment will enable the Group to improve its operating performance.

News continues below…


European Commission 172

The European Commission has opened formal antitrust proceedings against several container liner shipping companies to investigate whether they engaged in concerted practices, in breach of EU antitrust rules.

Container liner shipping is described as the transport of containers by ship at a fixed time schedule on a specific route between a range of ports at one end and another range of ports at the other end.

The opening of proceedings does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation, said the EC in a statement this week.

The EC said that since 2009, these companies have been making regular public announcements of price increase intentions through press releases on their websites and in the specialised trade press. “These announcements are made several times a year and contain the amount of increase and the date of implementation, which is generally similar for all announcing companies. The announcements are usually made by the companies successively a few weeks before the announced implementation date.

“The Commission has concerns that this practice may allow the companies to signal future price intentions to each other and may harm competition and customers by raising prices on the market for container liner shipping transport services on routes to and from Europe. The Commission will now investigate whether this behaviour amounts to a concerted practice in breach of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and of Article 53 of the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement.”

The Commission said that it has informed the container liner shipping companies concerned, which includes the big three of Maersk Line, MSC and CMA CGM, and the competition authorities of the Member States that it has opened proceedings in this case.

“There is no legal deadline for bringing an antitrust investigation to an end. The duration of an investigation depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of the case, the cooperation of the undertakings with the Commission and the exercise of the rights of defence.”

Unofficial sources say that 14 shipping lines are affected by the probe. If collusion is found the lines could be subject to stiff fines. The investigation puts into doubt whether the P-3 Alliance announced by the Big Three will now receive approval. The three lines announced earlier that through the P-3 Alliance there would be a sharing of capacity on some of the heavily trafficked trade routes, notably between the Far East and Europe and the Far East and North America and also between Europe and North America. Tariffs and other service agreements with clients would however be fixed independently.


RMS Queen Elizabeth 470
RMS QUEEN ELIZABETH in her heyday. With the decline in the popularity of the transatlantic route, the above liner and RMS QUEEN MARY were replaced by QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 in 1969.

by Vernon Buxton

With all the updates about on what days the Union-Castle mailship did, or did not, call at Durban…(and who cares?)…my mind went back to October, 1968 (don’t challenge that date, please anyone!) when I was on the penultimate voyage of RMS QUEEN ELIZABETH…from Southampton to New York.

My friend David and I were walking through London’s Trafalgar Square and we saw a sign in a window. ‘Last Voyage to New York’…from 90 pounds only. We entered the travel agency, booked in third class…and cancelled our air tickets.

In the event, third class was about half full, second class was not much better and first class was all but empty. The end of an era did not appear to capture the world’s attention. The Boeing 707 – that ‘ghastly thing’ that ended the Union-Castle run to South Africa – all but brought down the historic Cunard Line too. Suddenly, folk found it more fashionable to pop across The Pond at ten thousand metres in six hours…poor misguided souls but, hey, that’s progress for you.

It was exciting putting one’s clock ahead (or was it behind?) every bedtime, but not later than midnight. No jetlag on that run. You had six sea days to absorb the time zones, the ship and its activities…though a cruise liner she was not. Ordinarily, this was bouillon and deck quoits territory, but being out in those cold October gusts was unappealing and we spent most of the time indoors.

The menu was very Cunard, with consommés, au gratins, thinly-sliced roasts and cream-covered gateau…British, but French, you know?. The cheese platter was entirely commendable…and the service was white-gloved, of course. To some extent that is what has gone out of sea travel?…dining room style, with panache, ritual and exemplary manners.

Halfway across the Atlantic we were met with a Force 10 gale…and the QUEEN ELIZABETH sliced through the tempest like a knife through butter. A cargo ship to port was having a terrible time of it. I felt no envy…indeed I had visions of the crew all ‘hurling Persians’ overboard.

In New York, a smattering of small boats met us as we passed under the impressive Verrazano-Narrows Bridge…at which point you were wondering if the funnel is going to crash into it?...an illusion enjoyed to this day, I daresay.

Docking at a New York pier is a tricky business, and several tugs were employed to nudge the grand 83,673-tonner into position, adjacent to the passing highway. Having disembarked, I remember pausing as we walked past the bow. “Cheerio, QUEEN ELIZABETH,” I must have said to myself…knowing full well that a gracious era was on the verge of extinction.

Queen Elizabeth fire 470

In 1972, whilst undergoing refurbishment as a university ship, the newly-renamed SEAWISE UNIVERSITY had caught on fire under mysterious circumstances and was capsized by the water used to fight the fire. In 1973, her wreck was deemed an obstruction, and she was partially scrapped where she lay. How I hated those television images relayed to the world from Hong Kong. I shall remember her as she was…immense, magnificent and proud…and I was there, on her last voyage but one…four years before she met this tragic end.

Vernon Buxton



Lamu by Jimmy Kamude IRIN 470
Idyllic Lamu – the new port will be built well away from this historic position. Picture by Jimmy Kamude/IRIN

Kenya is looking to attract Arab funding for the development of the Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET), the Kenya newspaper The Star said this week. The estimated cost of the mammoth project is KES 1.5 trillion (US$ 17.4bn).

After taking part in the Council of Ministers Meeting ahead of the Third Africa-Arab Summit, which was held in Kuwait, Kenyan Foreign Affairs secretary Amina Mohammed said that Kenya would benefit by inviting Arab states to invest in the country and project.

LAPSSET is a transport and infrastructure project that will link Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia. The initiative entails construction of a deepwater port at Lamu, a railway line to Juba, the capital of South Sudan, a road network linking the respective countries, oil pipelines from Southern Sudan and Ethiopia to the new port, an oil refinery at Bargoni, new airports and resort towns. source The Star


Plangeneral Tema 470
Port of Tema, Ghana’s principal port

Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority is preparing to award contracts in 2014 that aims to double the capacity of the nation’s two ports, Tema and Takoradi.

The tender process closes on 27 January when a pre-selected group of 18 companies will present technical and financial bids for the massive project, worth an estimated US2.5 billion.

The upgrading of the ports follows the evolving of Ghana as an emerging oil producer, with several major strikes offshore. In addition the port authority has ambitions of placing Ghana ports on the map as regional hubs, for container traffic and breakbulk and bulk cargoes. Tema currently handles less than one million container TEUs annually (822,000-TEU in 2012) but seeks to double this with increased container terminal capacity.

Takoradi, which caters mainly for breakbulk and bulk cargoes, last year handled just less than 61,000 TEU.

The country is also a major exporter of cocoa and its ports are handling increasing machinery and equipment for the oil industry. With Ghana’s territorial waters seemingly immune from the influence of pirate activity, Ghana is confident of attracting business away from neighbouring ports in the Gulf of Guinea.


From Paper Charts to ECDIS cover 250px

by The Nautical Institute

Advice and practical assistance to help cope with the extra risks posed by the transition from navigating by paper charts to navigating by ECDIS are given in a new book published by The Nautical Institute. The second edition of From Paper Charts to ECDIS offers practical guidance to the shipping industry on equipment, training and operational practices.>p> In the four years since the publication of the first edition, members of The Nautical Institute’s Sea Going Correspondence Group (SGCG) have amassed additional experience of using ECDIS and that has been assessed and distilled into this volume.

Author Captain Harry Gale FNI commented: “As well as supporting its members through this fundamental change, The Nautical Institute wants to ensure that the best practice encapsulated in this second edition, incorporating experience at sea, reaches as wide an audience as possible throughout the industry. Bridge procedures have to be amended to accommodate the very different working practices needed for using ECDIS and failure to instigate the discipline of being alert and engaged when using ECDIS may lead to distraction, complacency and ultimately accidents.”

Speaking at the launch, the Institute’s Chief Executive, Philip Wake FNI, described the second edition as timely. “When we brought out the first edition four years ago, the industry was just beginning to realise that it needed to provide training for crews in the lead-up to the mandatory introduction of ECDIS. The members of our Sea Going Correspondence Group have helped us offer practical strategies for those who are faced with dealing with the transition from paper charts to ECDIS.”

He pointed out the scope of the Institute’s work to support those involved in this transition. “Many of you will be familiar with Dr Andy Norris’s book ECDIS and Positioning. The checklists in that book have provided the substantive element of the industry’s recommendations for ECDIS training and familiarisation.” These recommendations were drawn up by a group coordinated by the Institute and are included as appendices to the second edition of From Paper Charts to ECDIS.

He expressed the hope that the book would take people right through to 2018 and that by then everyone would have got their training right, especially in support of experienced mariners who trained originally on paper charts.

From Paper Charts to ECDIS is available from The Nautical Institute price: £20; ISBN: 978 1 906915 17 9 www.nautinst.org/pubs


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Port Elizabeth harbour

Ports & Ships publishes regularly updated SHIP MOVEMENT reports including ETAs for ports extending from West Africa to South Africa to East Africa and including Port Louis in Mauritius. In the South African container ports (Durban, Ngqura, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town), access to Stack Dates is available.

You can access this information, including the list of ports covered, by going HERE - remember to use your BACKSPACE to return to this page.


CAP SAN AUGUSTIN 8 November 2013 2 470

Hamburg Süd’s newly built 9,814-TEU container ship CAP SAN AUGUSTIN (123,130-dwt, built September 2013) makes a splendid sight at the busy Durban Container Terminal. The ship is deployed on the German line’s Far East – South Africa – East Coast South America service. Pictures by Trevor Jones

CAP SAN AUGUSTIN 8 November 2013 1 470

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