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Ports & Ships Maritime News

25 February 2014
Author: Terry Hutson

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


Click on headline to go direct to story – use the BACK key to return


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CAP SAN MARCO 20 February 2014 1 470 Yet another of the impressive Hamburg Süd ‘Cap San’ class container ships, CAP SAN MARCO (123,130-dwt, built 2013) called at Durban in the past week, where she worked cargo on Pier 1 of the Durban Container Terminal (Berth 107). Apart from the appearances of these splendid looking ships, what is noticeable is how well loaded each one has been on the return leg from South America to the Far east, with a call at Durban along the way. No doubt some of these may be empties but it all helps to make an appearance of the ships all the more noteworthy. Commissioned into service last year from the Hyundai Heavy Industries Shipyard in South Korea as Hull no. 2522, Cap San Marco has a container capacity of 9,814 TEU. Picture: Trevor Jones

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Tanzania CIA Factbook ex gif
Map: CIA Factbook

Dar es Salaam — The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) has joined forces with the Tanzania Investment Bank to finance various infrastructure projects.

The new partnership is expected to pay for the rehabilitation of berths one to seven at Dar es Salaam port and also parts of Mtwara port.

No details of the actual amount of money involved are provided; however in a memorandum of understanding the two banks will also pay for additional rail wagons and locomotives. Other projects include the construction of the new Mwanza and Arusha airport terminals, together with other projects in the water and energy sectors.

The joint fund is expected to enable Tanzania Railways Limited (TRL) to transport over three million tons of goods per year by 2015 and also allow Tanzania Airport Authority (TAA) to double its handling capacities for both Mwanza and Arusha airports after the completion of the terminals.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam recently, the Minister of Transport Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe said the government was looking at all available channels for raising the resources to modernise the country's transport system.

He said the government has long realised it cannot depend on its own resources to develop the much needed infrastructure.

"We have come to realise that dependence on government budget will not enable us to achieve our objectives in the short term.

"We welcome the efforts made by the two financial institutions that will enable the transport sector to meet its long term objectives and also enable the Ministry accomplish its projects," Dr. Mwakyembe said.

He said the signing of the MOU will support the financing of different projects in the country that will underpin the country's economic growth.

Peter Noni, TIB's Managing Director, said the cooperation and co-financing with ABSA (one of South Africa's top banks) is in line with the bank's collective objectives of supporting economic growth through development to ensure rapid and sustainable infrastructure development in the country.

Noni said the partnership was an important milestone for the bank in ensuring the attainment of the nation's Vision 2025.

According to Patrick Dlamini, the DBSA Chief Executive, their bank was proud to partner with TIB in development of an innovative financing solutions to fast-track infrastructure development.

Dlamini said that the synergies between the respective rich heritage and specialties of the two institutions was the main driver to promote regional economic development and growth by providing support to development projects in Tanzania.

The DBSA is a development finance institution wholly owned by the South African government with the main responsibility to finance key strategic infrastructure projects in South Africa and the rest of the African continent. This is intended to enhance the prosperity and well-being of the people across the continent. source - East African Business Week (Kampala)

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Port of Mombasa, support from Trade Mark East Africa

Kenya Ports Authority and Trade Mark East Africa have partnered to increase capacity in containerised cargo and to improve efficiency at the port.

The project funded by the United Kingdom and the Netherlands Government to the tune of Sh450.5 million ($53m) comprises 10 components which include infrastructure and improvement of facilities.

The funds will be utilised to address inefficiencies and improve capacity at East Africa's largest port and also support the setting up of long-term port operation improvements.

TMEA chief executive Frank Martsaet said KPA and other stakeholders have developed a Mombasa Port Community Charter to guide trade facilitation through the port for national and regional economic growth and prosperity.

Martsaet spoke during a presidential roundtable on the Mombasa Port Community Charter at State House, Nairobi.

The TMEA CEO said poor infrastructure, delays in cargo clearance and customs procedures at the port contributed to high cost of doing business along the transport corridor.

TMEA is a non-profit making organisation that supports East African integration through close partnerships with national governments, the private sector and civil society.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is expected to launch the Community Port Charter later this month, said the Kenya remains committed to measures and projects that improve on productivity at the port of Mombasa.

The President said the charter was timely as it augments the massive Government investment in port infrastructural improvements and cargo handling equipment.

"I’m happy to note that port stakeholders came together and developed the port charter to increase efficiency of the Mombasa port corridor," the President said.

In June last year President Kenyatta issued a number of directives including administrative reforms aimed at enhancing efficiency at the port to guaranteed investors a conducive business environment.

The Mombasa Port Community Charter spells out a number of broad goals, which include transforming the Mombasa port to a highly performing landlord port by 2016 and integration of all port community members systems into the Kenya National Electronic single window system by December this year.

The Charter also aims at bringing together the port community to complement individual institutional service charters in addressing challenges that act as efficiency barriers.

The meeting was also attended by deputy president William Ruto. source - The Star (Nairobi)

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MARIO A on charter to CMA CGM 

2014 pic Pedro Ama
CMA CGM’s Mario A which has inaugurated the Equatorial Guinea Express service. Picture: Pedro Amaral / Shipspotting

French container line CMA CGM has announced the launching of its new Equatorial Guinea Express service, direct from Tanger Med to the ports of Bata and Malabo in Equatorial Guinea on a weekly basis.

The Equatorial Guinea Express is already underway with MARIO A (22,016-dwt, built 2007) undertaking the maiden voyage of the service, voyage 9005S, having departed Tanger Med on 18 February, 2014, arriving Bata on 3 March and Malabo on 4 March 2014.

The full rotation for the Equatorial Guinea Express is as follows: Tanger Med (Tuesday) - Bata (Monday) - Malabo (Thursday) - Tanger Med.

Equatorial Guinea Express 470

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by Vernon Buxton

Allan Foggitt

“Cheers to the coming end of another fabulous cruise season,” said Allan Foggitt, the marketing director of MSC Cruises in South Africa. He and his team have been kept extremely busy “keeping up the numbers” on both MSC OPERA and MSC SINFONIA. He told Ports & Ships that the most popular cruises remain the three-night departures to Portuguese Island.

“They fall over a weekend, so are convenient…although, by making the cost of the four-night mid-week cruises cheaper we have seen a marked improvement in demand for these too. The least supported cruises,” added Allan, “are still the positioning cruises between Cape Town and Durban, but these have improved dramatically through ‘aggressive’ pricing.” Will you be in a cut-price cabin on MSC SINFONIA from Durban to Port Elizabeth and Cape Town on 1 March?

MSC Cruises felt the economic pinch like any other travel operation, “but the end result is that the 2013/14 Cruise Season has been a great success, setting a new record for the number of South Africans carried in a season,” said Allan Foggitt, in an exclusive interview for Ports & Ships.

Speaking to us last week, the company’s marketing director SA went on to say: “Between the two ships we currently have 120,721 existing bookings and expect to generate an additional 25,000 with the remaining MSC OPERA inventory for February, March and April,” said Allan, emphasising that this would bring the number to more than 145,000 passengers, a record for local cruising, and at least 10,000 up on the previous cruise season.

This considerable number of passengers also manifests MSC Cruises as by far the largest tour operator in southern Africa.

Allan went on to say that that the two vessels, MSC OPERA and MSC SINFONIA had operated “very successfully” in the prevailing challenging market “and the mix of itineraries incorporating Namibia, Mozambique, Madagascar and the other Indian Ocean islands has spread out the demand amongst different holiday groups and resulted in good occupancy.”

He revealed that the decision to bring back only one ship, MSC OPERA, for the 2014/15 season “has nothing to do with lack of demand in the South African market, but rather the fact that MSC is about to embark on a major upgrade of the smaller Lirica-class vessels in their fleet. This will involve them lengthening the ships to incorporate an additional 200 cabins and more public areas. They have delayed this work on MSC OPERA to make it available to us for the 2014/15 season, after which she too will undergo the same procedure.”

The lengthening of the ships was to be an expensive, major operation “which highlights MSC’s commitment to remain one of the leaders in the cruise industry,” he said.

Allan is advising local cruise lovers in advance that “one vessel only in the coming season is going to result in an early sell-out and generally higher prices, as we don’t anticipate any need for as many promotional specials.”

Can you sell more cabins in South Africa?...we asked Allan. “We’re confident that in the future the South African market will continue to grow in terms of the number of berths and the length of the season,” he said, continuing: “But for the coming two seasons we know we have MSC OPERA here for 2014/15 in her current form, followed by the MSC ARMONIA in 2015/16 in her first season here…and it will also be the first time the extended version of the ships will operate in local waters. We much look forward to that,” said a patently confident Allan Foggitt.

Allan’s father, John G Foggitt, doyen of travel and cruising in South Africa, celebrated his 96th birthday in Johannesburg last week. Family and friends gathered around the revered gentleman who founded the now-famous TFC Tours “and we all enjoyed cakes and doughnuts and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him. Being 96 is a heck of an innings, but he is still so strong,” said Allan.

Ports & Ships joins in wishing Mr John Foggitt a Happy Birthday, with the continued zest and will he always conferred on his own life, as well as his family’s and those who worked with him in the travel industry.

Pic 2 OPERA1600 470

The 59,058-ton MSC OPERA (berthed in Durban, above) and sister-ship MSC SINFONIA have taken Indian Ocean cruising to new levels with their impressive size, spaciousness and prodigious facilities. These vessels have attracted families and couples for cruises throughout the busy 2013/2014 season. MSC SINFONIA sails from Durban to Cape Town on 1 March, followed by a short Cape cruising season. She departs Cape Town for Genoa on 17 March. Meanwhile, MSC OPERA leaves our shores for England on 28 April.

“OPERA’s northbound cruise to Southampton is 100% sold out, with a wait-list,” says Allan Foggitt. “There was a huge demand locally and abroad owing to the interesting itinerary and the bargain pricing that was in place,” he said. “Southbound 2014 (later this year) OPERA will depart Southampton for Cape Town down Africa’s west coast and a big demand is already evident, although - also owing to demand - is selling at higher rates than previously.”

Pic 3 OPERA3 470
MSC Opera. Pictures: Vernon Buxton

The party starts even before an MSC vessel leaves Durban harbour…and is well underway by the time the ship sails across a notorious sandbank known as ‘The Bar’. A cruise director and entertainment team have perfected a means of stirring up a storm of entertainment. No passenger is left in any doubt that these are essentially party ships, aimed at the mass market, specifically families, with each member being catered for.

There is plenty of ‘calm’ space for couples too, making this service universally popular with South Africans. Bringing two ships out to South Africa was a gamble that paid off but, because four MSC vessels of the same size are to be lengthened, South African cruisers will have to book earlier for the coming and next cruise seasons, when only one vessel will operate in local waters. “The 2016/17 season will be the earliest we could see two ships back here,” said Allan Foggitt.

Four MSC vessels are to be Lengthened

Pic 4 OPERA5 USE 470
MSC Opera

MSC Cruises will spend US$273 million to lengthen and upgrade its Lirica-class ships: ARMONIA, LIRICA, SINFONIA and OPERA. The four vessels will end up heavier…from 60,000 to 65,000 gross tons…and longer, from about 274 metres to nearly 300m…and will ultimately carry about 2,680 passengers each. In addition to extra cabins, also added will be more crew cabins and crew areas, passenger public areas, shops and a water park. In a breathtaking display of contemporary engineering genius, each ship will be literally ‘lasered’ and sawn in half, with the two halves separated. A completely pre-constructed section, with new cabins and everything included in place, will be slotted in between the two halves before workmen commence to weld and patch each liner together again.

The end result will decidedly be a sleeker, more elegant, profile (try to picture an expanded MSC OPERA above?), never mind the considerable extra revenue-generating space now added. Complex arithmetic equations will ensure that each vessel finds its natural watermark, an achievement that baffles most people who have no knowledge of the intricate machinations of nautical engineering. The work will be done by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri over the next two years, commencing with MSC ARMONIA, the vessel that will be sent out to South Africa for the 2016/17 cruise season…its first venture into local waters.

MSC’s Lirica-class ships were built between 2003 and 2005 at the STX yards at Saint-Nazaire in France. Watch this space for a lot more on this fascinating marvel of engineering.

Vernon Buxton for Ports & Ships

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Tanzania CIA Factbook ex gif

Mwanza — The government plans to upgrade two railway lines to strengthen the transport infrastructure.

The railway lines currently earmarked for immediate upgrading are the Tanga-Arusha, Isaka-Mwanza and would also provide a new railway link between the proposed Mwambani port and Tanga line.

The move is in line with Tanzania's determination to limit inadequacy of transport services along the main international and regional trade routes as well as internal and rural access so as to facilitate economic growth.

The aim is to increase freight and passengers transport quality and capacity along the two corridors.

Already COWI Tanzania Limited, a consultancy firm, has been contracted on behalf of Reli Assets Holding Company (RAHCO) to undertake full Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIA) for upgrading the two lines.

According to ESIA and Audit Regulations, 2005, activities associated with this type of construction fall under projects requiring mandatory EIA.

The ESIA seeks to address all potential significant impacts, both positive and negative associated with the project in order to provide objective information to the decision makers.

According to RAHCO Managing Director, Eng. Benhadard Tito, Tanzania aims at upgrading 982 km of railway line from Dar es Salaam to Isaka from the existing 'metre gauge' to 'standard gauge' and the construction of about 620 km of new railway line from Isaka-Kigali (Rwanda)/Keza/Gitega-Musongati (Burundi).

This is contained in RAHCO's statement to mark the Ministry of Transport to mark 50 years of Tanzania (mainland) independence.

Eng. Tito was reporting about the development plans of Tanzania's railway network of 2,707kms previously operated by TRC and now by TRL.

RAHCO will also construct about 664 km of a new standard gauge railway line from Arusha to Musoma. The line will include two branch lines to the already operational fertiliser plant at Minjingu and the other to the proposed soda ash plant at Wosiwosi near Lake Natron.

Upgrading of 435kms from the Tanga - Arusha railway line so as to be compatible with a new Arusha - Musoma railway line and construction of the Mtwara - Songea to Mbamba Bay railway line with spurs to Liganga and Mchuchuma mineral areas is also a priority.

Section 11 of the Railways Act of 2002, confers powers on RAHCO to develop, manage and maintain rail infrastructure and to provide rail transport services through Joint Venture, Concession and the like. source - East African Business Week (Kampala)


1422004 CSAV RIO NEVADO Shipspotting 

CSAV Rio Nevado. Picture: Shipspotting The tip-off was received from Bulgarian authorities who contacted the French embassy in Sofia earlier this month. How the Bulgarians are involved is not clear.

The cocaine was carried to Le Havre on the vehicle carrier CSAV RIO NEVADO, which arrived from Valparaiso in Chile. The drugs were hidden in the tyres of a truck being carried by the ship. The truck had been used as a support vehicle for the recent Dakar road rally which ended in Valparaiso.

The French drug enforcement agency which carried out the raid said the four people they arrested in connection with the smuggled drugs have no links to the organisers of the Dakar Race.

Similarly, the owners and operators of the ship are not thought to have any connection to the smugglers.

French authorities allowed the truck to be driven off the ship and cleared through customs before following the vehicle as it left Le Havre. When the truck stopped at a lay-by in central France, police moved in and arrested two Spanish nationals. It appears that the truck was being driven to Spain.

In Bulgaria police arrested another two men.

It is thought that the drugs were produced in Colombia and Bolivia and taken to Chile to avoid detection.

According to police the seizure is a big blow to the drug traffickers who use ports as a means of smuggling drugs across the world.


East London 470
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.


RYUSEI MARU NO 2 aad noorland 1 (2) 470

The Japanese tuna longline fishing vessel RYUSEI MARU No.25 (577-gt, built 1989) arrives at the port of Cape Town from the fishing grounds. She is being assisted by one of the port tenders. The vessel is owned and operated by Ryusei Suisan of Ichikikushikino, Japan – try saying that in a hurry. Picture by Aad Noorland

sea axe 25 adj 470

An unusual looking vessel in Cape Town harbour recently is the SEA AXE 25, described as a fast support vessel and fresh from the Cape Town Damen Shipyards. Picture by Ian Shiffman

Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome – please email to info@ports.co.za


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