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Ports & Ships Maritime News

13 May 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


News continues below...

2757 1399178684 Charles Baker SAR Connecta Dbn

As the Jolly Roger, a veteran harbour pleasure craft (and an institution in itself locally) sails past with a crowd of tourists, the final fully assembled Class 20E direct from China, 20 010, is about to be craned onto the wharf at O Shed in Durban Harbour via the floating crane Indlovu.

20 010 had just arrived in Durban from China aboard the ORIENTAL EXPLORER, together with four Class 20E bodies (bubble wrapped in blue), which are visible on the open deck of the floating crane Indlovu. The four bodies would then be transported by road to Koedespoort.
Fellow South African and RailPictures.Net contributor, Col. André Kritzinger, has done the most amazing work on Wikipedia (the free online encyclopaedia), in respect of a series of articles, where he covers the full technical and introductory details of each and every locomotive Class / Type / Series to have worked in South Africa and I quote from his insertion on the Class 20E:

“The first ten of ninety-five 3 kV DC and 25 kV AC dual voltage Class 20E electric locomotives for Transnet Freight Rail were built in China by Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co., a subsidiary of the China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corporation (CSR), China's leading train manufacturer. The first two of these locomotives, no. 20-002 and 20-003, were landed at Durban Harbour on 14 November 2013.

“Three more, no. 20-001, 20-004 and 20-005 were landed on 18 December 2013. The contract marked Zhuzhou’s largest single foreign order of electric locomotives to date and made provision for the company to export electric locomotive manufacturing technologies to South Africa to enable a local production ratio of more than 60 percent.

“The roll-out ceremony of the first locomotive, no. 20-001, took place at the factory in Changsha in central China's Hunan Province on 20 August 2013. The remaining eighty-five locomotives are to be built in South Africa by a consortium composed of CSR Zhuzhou and the South African Black Economic Empowerment company Matsetse Basadi.

“The Class 20E has regenerative braking, a maximum speed of 100km/h, and is equipped with low-speed controls. The units, with radio frequency distributed power (RFDP) technology, will be able to work mid-train in lengthy wagon consists.

“Following testing, the ten Chinese-built locomotives are expected to enter service in March 2014. The Class 20E is destined for the ore line between Sishen and Port Elizabeth.”

Picture and text: Charles Baker, SAR Connecta

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Port of Nacala (foreground)

The Japanese government plans to provide US$232 million, of which $32 million will be a donation, to Mozambique for reconstruction of the port of Nacala in the northern province of Nampula, said the outgoing Japanese ambassador to Mozambique, Eiji Hashimoto.

The total cost of repairing the Nacala deep water port is estimated at US$300 million towards which the two governments signed a financing agreement worth US$84 million last March.

The work, which includes repairing the northern jetty, paving the container terminal, installing the equipment necessary to modernise fuel operations and building a new rail terminal, began this month and was awarded to the Japanese company Penta – Ocean Construction Co Ltd.

The ambassador said that, although he had visited all of Mozambique’s provinces, he had paid special attention to Nampula province, where Nacala is located and where the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had focused its efforts. source - macauhub/MZ

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trillion project inside 470

East African regional leaders have formally signed the Standard Gauge Railway agreement with China for the financing and construction of the standard gauge railway connecting the port of Mombasa with Nairobi and other regional countries.

The deal was signed on Sunday at State House Nairobi, witnessed by Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta, Uganda's Yoweri Museveni, South Sudan's Salva Kiir and Paul Kagame of Rwanda.

President Kenyatta said the agreement should be seen as a milestone in improving infrastructural development in the region which he said has lagged behind for centuries.

“The relationship between ourselves and China is based on mutual trust, because we are pursuing inclusive development and promoting inventive practical cooperation,” Kenyatta said. He and other leaders drew comparisons between the aid provided by China and that of the Western World which was accompanied by questions and conditions.

“We are happy to see that China is concentrating on the real issues of development, they don't give lectures on how to run local governments, they concentrate on projects of mutual gains,” said Uganda’s President Museveni.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang who was in Kenya for the signing ceremony described the agreement to finance the railway’s construction as a major milestone in enhancing the partnership between Africa and China.

“This project demonstrates that there is equal cooperation and mutual benefit between China and the East African countries, and the railway is a very important part of transport infrastructure development,” Li said.

Highlights of the Standard Gauge Railway Agreement are:

  • Purpose - Provide efficient, reliable, safe and cost effective rail transport for both freight and passenger and passengers in order to reduce the cost of transport hence the cost of doing business translating into making Kenya a competitive Investment destination.

  • Starting Point - Mombasa Port.

  • End Point - Nairobi (at Embakasi to ICD).

  • Gauge - Standard Gauge (1,435mm).

  • Design and Construction Standard - Class 1 Chinese Standard (Robust and low maintainance cost).

  • Axle Load 25 Tonnes (Minimum).

  • Number of Tracks - Single Track with 33 crossing stations each loop line measuring 1.2km long.

  • Total Track Length -609.3km.

  • Main Freight Stations - Mombasa Port and Nairobi (at Embakasi).

  • Main Passenger Stations - Mombasa and Nairobi (at Embakasi).

  • Intermediate Passenger Stations - Mariakani, Voi, Mtito Andei, Sultan Hamud and Athi River.

  • Design Speeds - Freight Trains = 80kph.

  • Passenger Trains =120kph.

  • Trailing Load per train = 4,000 tonnes (216TEUs).

  • Transit Time Freight Time = 8 hours.

  • Passenger time 4 hours and 30 minutes.

  • Motive Power Type -Diesel initially – future electrification.

  • Initial number of locomotives and rolling stock - Locomotives =56; Freight Wagons; 1,620; Passenger Coaches=40.

  • Loading Gauge - Double Stack Containers and electrification.

  • Estimated cost of the Project and financing - Cost $3.804b. China – 90%, GOK – 10%.

  • Contractor - China Road and Bridge corporation.

  • Start Date of the Construction - 1st October 2014.

  • Estimated period for construction - 42 months.

  • - source: The Kenya Engineer

    News continues below...


    Allure of the Seas cr 

    RCCL’s Allure of the Seas

    Royal Caribbean Cruises has opted for a fourth Oasis class cruise ship to be built at the STX Shipyard at St Nazaire, France.

    The announcement was made by RCCL’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard D. Fain and President and Chief Operating Officer Adam Goldstein, along with STX France Chief Executive Officer Laurent Castaing, during the keel-laying ceremony for the third Oasis-class ship at the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.

    “The Oasis-class was a revolution in maritime design when it was launched in 2009. Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas continue to be in a class by themselves both in terms of guest satisfaction and financial returns. Today’s announcement is a reflection of their success,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

    “We are thrilled to announce the order of a fourth Oasis-class ship during the keel-laying milestone of the third. This announcement is also a testament to the men and women of STX France who have worked so hard and so cooperatively on Oasis III.”

    The order is subject to documentation and satisfaction of financing and other customary conditions. Projected capital expenditures for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 are $1.4 billion, $1.4 billion, $2.2 billion, $0.3 billion and $1.5 billion, respectively, taking into account this order and existing ship orders.

    Oasis III will be approximately 20 percent more energy efficient than Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, which already are the most energy efficient cruise ships in the world. The fourth Oasis-class ship will further build on that efficiency.

    “We are very excited that Royal Caribbean has agreed to move forward with a fourth Oasis-class ship demonstrating their confidence in STX France to construct the most superior cruise ships in the world,” said Laurent Castaing, Chief Executive Officer, STX France.


img1805 400px
    Themed park down the centre of Oasis of the Seas

    News continues below…


    One of the Nigerian Navy’s offshore patrol craft, NNS ENCOUNTER, caught fire and sank while patrolling at sea in the anchorage area outside Lagos harbour.

    The crew of 13 were forced to hurriedly abandon ship and were afloat for several hours before a passing canoe notified the authorities. Initial reports suggested an electrical fault with the small patrol craft which got out of control and engulfed the craft. Attempts by the crew to extinguish the fire proved fruitless before they had to go overboard to avoid injury or death.

    According to one source the vessel was exactly 13 nautical miles from the naval jetty at NN Beecroft. The crew apparently spent about two hours in the water before being rescued. The men were taken to hospital for observation and were later released.

    Another Indian Navy ship catches fire


GANGA (2) Ian Shiffman Sept 2010 470
    INS Ganga. Picture: Ian Shiffman CORRECTION! It's been pointed out that this picture is of INS TABAR (F44), and not INS GANGA (F22). Our apologies!

    Another fire has occurred on an Indian Navy ship, this time the guided missile frigate, the locally built INS GANGA.

    Two Indian Navy sailors and two dockworkers were injured and have been taken to hospital following an explosion, thought to be in the ship’s boiler room and caused by an accumulation of gas. The loud noise, it said, was probably due to an accumulation of gases.

    Unsubstantiated sources say that it was a welding accident in which the welding gun took time to ignite and when it did, thick flames erupted from the gun, injuring the men in the vicinity who sustained burns that were treated at the naval dispensary.

    INS Ganga is a Godavari-class guided-missile frigate built in Mumbai and commissioned on December 30 1985. The ship has been deployed for patrolling in the Gulf of Aden on counter piracy missions.

    The incident follows a string of other incidents and fires involving the Indian Navy ships, including the Kilo-class submarine INS SINDHURATNA in which two officers died in February this year. A month later a toxic gas leak in INS KOLKATA, which is under construction at the Mazgaon Dock in Mumbai, resulted in the death of a navy officer, Commander Kuntal Wadhwa.

    As a result of that incident, the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral DK Joshi said he took moral responsibility for the accidents and resigned his post in the navy.

    In an earlier accident in August last year, blasts ripped through the torpedo compartment of the submarine INS SINDHURAKSHAK while berthed at the naval dockyard in Mumbai. Fifteen sailors and three officers were killed in that incident.

    News continues below…


    Nacala Corridor map cear cdn new 470 moatize li
    Nacala Corridor with dotted red line showing the connection from Muchinji into Zambia as well as the proposed Vale connection to Moatize in Mozambique further south

    After a delay of nearly 30 years, the Muchinji railway has become a reality with the connection of the Zambian railway network to the Nacala Corridor.

    This gives Zambia and the DRC another more direct alternate route to the sea outside of the Tazara railway to Dar es Salaam and the longer but more reliable traditional route south to the ports of Durban and Richards Bay in South Africa.

    The new route to the port of Nacala is 1050km in length and crosses three countries - Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. A train from Zambia is expected to take four days to complete the journey.

    Zambia’s Acting High Commissioner to Malawi, Henry Ngilazi, says the opening of the Nacala corridor will enhance business opportunities for the three countries. Zambian Eastern province Minister Malozo Sichone said the Zambian government has undertaken to service the railway line with the provision of two locomotive engines and 264 wagons from Zambia Railways.

    The line is expected to carry at least 300,000 tonnes of cargo per year which may include Zambia's Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs), copper and other products. Farmers will also be able to import goods such as fertiliser and export cash crops like cotton, tobacco, maize, soya beans and groundnuts from international markets at reduced costs due to the shortened route.

    The developers believe that the new connection to the sea and a port will also trigger a scramble for investment opportunities in all sectors of the economic strata along the route of the railway corridor.

    While enthusiasm reigns during the advent of the new route from Zambia, it will be wise to remember that Vale Mozabique intends utilising the Nacala Corridor to run coal trains at levels reaching up to 20 or more million tonnes a year, which is going to create pressure on conventional freight sharing the line.

    Nevertheless, Zambia Railways board chairperson, Davis Chama, says his government is happy that the Muchinji railway station has become a reality after the project has lain dormant for so long.


    800px aerial 

view of mombasa adj 470
    Port of Mombasa

    In the past Mombasa Port has been controlled by the Portuguese, the sultan of Zanzibar, and the British. Today, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), a state-run enterprise, is responsible for the port.

    The city of Mombasa, its port and the facilities around it, as well as the railway that runs from the coast to Rwanda Uganda and Burundi are important to the economy of the whole of East Africa. Transit trade to these countries, the DRC, Tanzania and South Sudan accounts for 30 percent of the port's throughput and this proportion is growing by up to ten percent a year. Mombasa is Kenya's only international sea port.

    The port has grown rapidly in recent years as a transshipment node for fuel and containers. KPA aims to increase its container capacity to 1 million twenty foot equivalent units (TEU). This means that ships with a deeper draught will be entering the port. To accommodate them, it was necessary to widen the access channel and the turning basin, deepen some landing stages along the quays, and build a new container terminal. The work started in June 2011. The existing channel was deepened at nine different points and around 6.5 million cubic metres of material dredged up by the international dredger company Van Oord who worked with the contractor to construct the container terminal, which is thought to be the only berth on the east coast of Africa to be built on reclaimed land.

    Increased container capacity
    The project was successfully completed in April 2012, and container capacity increased by 250,000 TEU to a nominal 800,000, though in fact the total amount handled is already more like 900,000 a year thanks to careful planning and the use of off-port container freight stations. With the completion of Berth 19 last year the expanded container terminal can now handle three 250 metre-long panamax vessels at the same time. To cope with these, the new terminal has been equipped with three ship-to- shore gantry cranes, eight new reach stackers and 27 terminal tractors. It has 120 reefer hookups.

    Mombasa port2 470

    Now a second container terminal is being planned for the port as a further extension of Mombasa's capacity. “The new project will complement the recently launched berth number 19 and the general growth in volumes of cargo arriving at the port,” said KPA managing director Gichiri Ndua. This is a major capital project, with funding provided through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the work is being carried out by Toyo Construction Ltd, also of Japan. It will be completed in stages, with three new berths providing a total 900 metres of space, at an alongside depth of 15 metres. The first phase is scheduled for completion by 2016 comprising Berth 21, 320 metres in length, a side berth 20 with 11 metres draught. Berth 21 will have the capacity to handle 450,000 TEU annually, with two ship-to-shore cranes and four rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes supported by a 50 hectare stacking yard.

    The second and third phases are due to be built concurrently and delivered by 2019, adding two further berths (21 and 22, with lengths of 320 and 350 metres respectively). These will be equipped with some eight ship-to-shore cranes and 20 RTGs and with a further 50 hectare stacking area. Once these facilities are in place the Port of Mombasa will be able to handle a throughput of 2.5 million TEU per annum.

    Emphasis on containers
    The emphasis on container development reflects the growing global shift from bulk cargo and breakdown goods to container traffic, and the huge investments being made around the world to keep up with it. Container throughput already accounts for more than 40 percent of the tonnage that passes though Mombasa, and the local infrastructure has struggled to cope. However that will all change following the completion of these projects, at least as far as the port itself is concerned.

    Meanwhile the port authorities have shown they can play a good game with a poor hand. Despite constraints the port has improved its productivity significantly over recent years, recording 22 crane moves per hour and removing many bottlenecks. Waiting time for vessels is now down to internationally acceptable standards, generally less than two days. Though transshipment still only accounts for about one percent of total traffic delaying the establishment of Mombasa as a transport hub for the Indian Ocean, the aim following commissioning of the new container terminal in 2016 is precisely that. Mombasa is ideally positioned to service the many smaller ports of the Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar or Zanzibar, which cannot berth the large container ships now coming into service.

    Standard gauge railway
    But for mainland Africa it's no good having an international standard port facility if the hinterland infrastructure that supports it is lacking. In November 2013, Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta laid the foundation stone for the construction of a new standard gauge railway line that will connect Mombasa with the capital Nairobi. “The project will define my legacy as president of Kenya,” Kenyatta said. “What we are doing here today will most definitely transform ... the whole eastern African region.”

    The standard gauge railway is planned to run between Mombasa and Malaba near the Uganda border and thence to other major east African cities such as Kampala in Uganda, Kigali in Rwanda and Juba in South Sudan. With this, the Kenyan government is hoping to strengthen ties between those countries through the growth of trade.

    Intraport competition
    Mombasa is in rivalry with the smaller but also rapidly expanding port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, though the latter tends to be looked to by the landlocked countries of Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia. KPA however has the great advantage of having been established over many decades and enjoying rapid growth in Kenya itself and benefiting from international investment in its neighbours, notably Uganda and South Sudan.

    Lamu Port
    Kenya's $25.5 billion Lamu Port and New Transport Corridor Development to Southern Sudan and Ethiopia (LAPSSET) could become the country's biggest ever civil engineering project. It includes the construction of a 32-berth port, three international airports, and a 1,500 kilometre railway line. A new oil refinery, in nearby Bargoni, and an oil pipeline are also planned. The pipeline would run to Kenya's Eastern Province before splitting, with one branch running to South Sudan's capital, Juba, and another through Moyale in the north to Addis Ababa. A 1,730km road network is also being planned.

    To give an idea of the scale of this project for KPA, the Lamu megaport will be Africa's largest port, three times the size of Mombasa. Its 32 berths will give a total quay length of ten kilometres, with alongside depths of up to 18 metres – enough to handle the largest post-panamax vessels. Construction of the first three berths will start in June under a $488 million contract awarded to China Communications Construction Company (CCCC). “The Lamu megaport is one of our major projects this year,” said Ndua.

    source - www.kpa.co.ke, written by John O’Hanlon, research by Stuart Platt, published in Business Excellence


    East London 470
    East London harbour

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BERING 1 3 May 2014 cro 470

BERING 2 3 May 2014 adj 470

    Looked after by the harbour tugs of the port of Durban, the chemical/oil products tanker MAERSK BERING (29,057-dwt, built 2005), which is owned by Maersk Tankers of Singapore, moves away from where she was berthed at Maydon Wharf and eases into the Esplanade Channel before heading for the open sea. Pictures: Trevor Jones

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