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Ports & Ships Maritime News

18 February 2014
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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De Beers Marine Namibia’s diamond mining vessel DEBMARINE PACIFIC back in Cape Town harbour. Debmar Pacific (10,208-gt, built 1977) was built at the Levingston Shipyard in Texas. In service on the offshore Namibian coastal diamond fields where she operates as a diamond mining vessel she has operated under several names, Glomar Pacific and Deepsea Pacific being the most recent other than her current name. The ship is flagged in Namibia. Picture: Aad Noorland

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Picture by Steve McCurrach www.airserv.co.za

by Terry Hutson

Durban Bay and its harbour has been much in the news of late, with mixed reports ranging from the condition of the bay to the success or lack thereof of implementing ongoing port plans.

These plans are described as being ongoing because ever since the first harbour board was convened in the 1840s, planning of some sort has taken place in anticipation of the future use of Durban Bay as a safe haven for ships bringing people and trade goods to the region. These plans continue to be drawn and re-drawn on a regular basis, often in five year batches that are updated annually, and can be seen in publications like the annual General Manager’s Reports of the SAR&H, SATS and Transnet from 1910 onwards. For the next 80 or so years these remained as wonderfully useful and highly informative sources of the progress made and planned for all the country’s ports.

Unfortunately this is no longer so and the more recent reports are drab affairs that deal almost exclusively with financial matters.

On most years these older reports would carry maps showing the plans for various ports, allowing for a study of how the engineers fancied changing the outline of Durban Bay to suit the perceived needs of shipping. Had all of these plans been implemented, Durban Bay would have looked completely different to what it is today and we would be discussing a different set of arguments about whether this or that should happen. However, for reasons that were considered important at the time, the bay took on its modern appearance including in the mid 1970s the turning of Farewell Island and adjacent swamp areas into what became the biggest and busiest container terminal in the southern hemisphere.

With it, business in Durban soared as the city became a logistic centre without peer throughout the African continent. Tens of thousands of jobs were created to support not only those already living here but a significant percentage of the people that, as with other metro centres across the land, were migrating to the cities.

All this was accomplished with little of the environmental pressure that is imposed on such development today. Had it been so then possibly Farewell Island and the swamps might still be there, along with a greater bird and marine life and the container terminal might have been developed in another part of the bay – perhaps the Bayhead. Or for that matter, in another port!

While many still lament the passing of the pristine appearance of an estuarine system and bay on the doorstep of the emerging town, today we must accept that this was a price to pay for progress from which we all benefit. Yet, although tidal flats and birdlife have suffered, the bay remains home to a surprising variety of marine and bird life, even if the flamingos of my youth have gone for good. I also lament the loss of seaplanes on Durban Bay but have to accept that as well.

When people talk about the bay becoming a cesspool or a slum port it is disturbing, sad and unfortunate (Mercury, 3 Feb 2014), for Durban Bay is far from being any of these.

Perhaps it would be better if everyone joined in with finding a better way of further developing the port, and ensuring that progress can continue without further unnecessary deprivation of the natural environment surrounding the bay.

We learned recently that the city and port authorities were now talking to each other, which is a big step forward. How could they not have been, one must ask? Hopefully this will include conversations about the development of areas surrounding the port, the so-called back-of-port areas which are so important to the efficient moving of cargo in and out of the port itself and which cannot be progressed without input from both.

So too the local communities must be involved, and not simply in report-back meetings virtually after the event.

Coincidentally, the back-of-port area covers much of the area that lies geographically between the existing and the planned dig-out port, which is again an area of much concern to affected communities. It’s a large area and answers can surely be found to meet the requirements of everyone.

Clairwood, for instance, lends itself admirably to embracing both requirements, where a preserved section of the community can continue to live and work in a preserved area adjacent to South Coast Road. This could easily become something of a tourist attraction – a must-see ‘casbah’ of the Asian community taking in the historic Indian shops along South Coast Road.

The other half of Clairwood, on the Bluff side of things and bounded by the Bluff railway could be developed in an orderly manner for container parks. DSCF9910 470
The Amanzimnyama Canal which stretches from near the Clairwood Racecourse to the Silt Canal in Durban Bay, where it empties into the harbour. Picture: Terry Hutson

This brings us to the highly emotional arena of road access. Isn’t it time here for some lateral thinking? Over a million containers a year go into container parks across Durban for stuffing or unloading, for temporary storage or as empties. All of these are moved by truck along a few of Durban’s overburdened roads – mainly Bayhead Road, South Coast Road and Solomon Mahlangu Drive (Edwin Swales VC Drive). Even with the promised link road these roads will continue to suffer as will the affected residents.

Instead, why not develop a canal system, possibly using an existing river like the Amanzimnyama Canal which could be widened and deepened, leading to a common landing spot within the Clairwood area where trucks would collect and take the containers the short distance to container parks, thus avoiding the over-stressed road system completely. Container depots already in the Bayhead area could be serviced from a similar landing spot along the way.

A canal accessing Durban Bay would develop opportunities for a whole new industry of small tugs and barges, operated by private enterprise, which would become a long term solution to Durban’s chronic road congestion surrounding the port. The only trucks then entering the port would be those employed on long distance operations.

The expense of the canal need not be not much greater than widening and building new roads, although two bridges would have to be deepened. The river mentioned already follows the required path across Bayhead and Clairwood. At a much later stage it could if necessary be used to join with the [proposed] dig-out port.

Food for thought for enterprising planners and engineers?

* This article first appeared in The Mercury Network dated 12 February 2014

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Liebherr STS cranes at the Durban Container Terminal, on berth 109. Picture: TPT

After placing its previous order with Chinese crane builder ZPMC, Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has signed a contract for the supply of four Ship-to-Shore (STS) cranes and 18 Rubber Tyre Gantries (RTGs) with Liebherr Container Cranes of Ireland.

This is not the first time that TPT has placed orders with Liebherr but on the most recent occasion TPT turned to the Chinese supplier apparently because only ZPMC could deliver within the timelines required by Transnet.

It now appears that Liebherr has remained a preferred supplier ever since the first three Liebherr STS cranes were ordered ‘second-hand’ from an Italian port. Since then orders for a number of additional STS cranes have been placed and delivered, bringing the total number to 31 in the service of TPT.

The South African state-owned terminal operator has also taken delivery of nine mobile cranes from Liebherr that have been gone into service at a number of South African ports, bringing the total in service to 13.

The new ship to shore cranes will have an outreach of 65m, a span of 30.48m and a back reach of 19m. The cranes have a lift height of 41m and will be capable of lifting a 65 tonne load under a twin lift spreader. These cranes have been designed to handle container vessels of up to 24 rows across, allowing the world’s largest container vessels to be serviced.

The new Liebherr RTGs destined for Ngqura are state of the art machines, will span 7 containers and a truck lane and can stack up to 5 containers high. This is he first time that Transnet Port Terminals has acquired Liebherr RTGs, Kalmar having been the preferred supplier until now. The RTGs will be fitted with Liebherr’s DGPS, Auto Steering and Container Location Recognition systems and will interface with the TOS system providing container location and weight information.

The RTGs are fitted with numerous safety features including a whisker RTG to stack and ultrasonic RTG to RTG anti-collision systems. Cameras will be fitted to the RTGs that monitor the long travel in both directions, which are then displayed on independent monitors in the driver’s cabin.

In common with all Liebherr RTGs and RMGs, Liebherr’s 8 rope reeving anti-sway system is installed as standard and effectively eliminates sway, even under the windy conditions of exposed port environments. This allows for productivity increases of between 30%-40% over alternative models.

Liebherr’s dual speed drive system is installed on the RTGs allowing for significant environmental benefits including reductions in noise levels, emissions and fuel consumption.

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Pretoria - The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) canoeists have received silver medals for finishing 15th at the Dusi Marathon in Durban.

Mhlonishwa Hlongwane and Nqobile Makhanya, part of the SAMSA Change Life Academy entrants, made it in good time on Saturday. They were in the first batch where Sbonelo “Eric” Zondi, also a Change a Life entrant shared the winning prize with Andy Birkett.

The rest of the SAMSA Change a Life team members, Patrick Canham and Mmeli Ndimande, Sifundo Gumede and Mhlonishwa Gcwensa and Spamandla Shozi and Nduduzo Shozi all successfully completed the race. Most of the group comes from the Inanda area and this was their first Dusi race.

The SAMSA Change a Life Program, which started with 10 canoeists, today boasts 21 committed canoeists between the ages of 15 and 22 as well as a group of about 12 Guppies (the 8-12 year olds) who are showing promise of becoming well-trained canoeists in the near future.

“These results are phenomenal. After only four months of training, these youngsters have achieved resounding success,” said SAMSA Chief Operating Officer Sobantu Tilayi.

“It’s not important where they fall on the pecking order. That they finished the race, that they survived it, intact, that they competed with up to 50 international canoeists, that they competed with 1,800 other professionals, is remarkable.

“Who would have believed that these youngsters would finish? At SAMSA, we wanted them to believe in themselves. We wanted them to understand that they would be able to have access to water sport.”

Tilayi said it was an epic moment when each of the teams completed the race.

Following the race this weekend, SAMSA will continue with the Change a Life programme under the leadership of seven times Dusi winner Martin Dreyer. source - SAnews.gov.za

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Angola is due to start exporting wood to the Italian market in the next two years, as part of an agreement due to be signed soon by the Italian Organisation of Loggers and Decorative Materials and its Angolan counterpart, an Italian official has announced.

Speaking on board the Italian aircraft carrier ITS CAVOU, flagship of the 30th Naval Group that has been visiting Luanda since last Thursday (13 February), Gianmarco Orefice, the international promoter of FederlegnoArredo said that the agreement, for which a date has yet to be set, will bring to fruition talks between Angolan and Italian businesspeople that began in 2010.

“At that time we set up a number of contacts between Angolan producers, traders and designers and showed our interest in reaching agreements for trade cooperation in the wood sector,” he said.

The representative of FederlegnoArredo, whose sales to the Angolan market totalled US$6 million in the last two years, noted the importance of Angola for expanding the company’s business.

The president of the Angolan Association of Industrial Loggers, Luís Silva told Angolan news agency Angop that the agreement came at a good time considering that FederlegnoArredo was one of the world’s biggest operators in the wood production and processing sector.

The Angolan Association of Industrial Loggers currently has 75 members across the country. source - macauhub

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Moma mining pond in central Mozambique

Irish company Kenmare Resources has reached an agreement to restructure its debt to fund exploration of heavy sands deposits in Moma, Mozambique, the Irish Times reported.

The company was due to pay back US$165 million in subordinated debt by August 2015, the newspaper said adding that restructuring the debt had taken pressure off the company’s share price.

Under the new arrangement, 50 per cent of the debt will be paid back in regular instalments between August 2015 and August 2019, when payment of the balance is due, the newspaper said.

The company’s chief executive, Michael Carvill, said the deal took “huge pressure off the company,” as “commodities go in cycles, and they are in a serious downcycle at the moment. Consequently we haven’t been building up the cash pile as quickly as had previously been contemplated.”

Carvill also said that if the company managed to generate higher cash flow it could use some of that cash to make the final payment ahead of time. source - macauhub

* See related article Moma power hiccups - use your BACKSPACE key to return to this page.


2011 03 14 DMS Eagle in dock Beira 

2 for cleanin
Beira’s small but perfectly situated dry dock, with the dredger EAGLE in for cleaning

Mozambique is looking to refurbish and upgrade its two dry docks at Beira and Nacala, the Minister for Transport and Communications, Gabriel Muthisse has announced.

According to Muthisse the dry docks are important for competitiveness and efficiency at the sea ports in order for what he described as Mozambique becoming a benchmark in the regional and continental context. He said the dry docks at both ports were not meeting the expectations that led to their construction. Both operate within a legal framework that lacks regulation, he said, without saying what exactly he had in mind.

Stakeholders might want to suggest that what is needed is less regulation and more freedom in developing a ship repair industry in Mozambique that can take advantage of the developing oil and gas industry on the country’s northern borders.


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East London 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 case of South Africa’s container ports of Durban, Ngqura, Ports Elizabeth and Cape Town links to Stack dates are also 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.


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budapest bridge rotcro 470

K Line’s 4,500-TEU container ship BUDAPEST BRIDGE (50,270-dwt, built 2011) seen sailing from Cape Town earlier in February. The ship, which is 260m long, flies the Hong Kong flag. Pictures: Ian Shiffman

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