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Ports & Ships Maritime News

12 August 2014
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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The container ship SAFMARINE LONGA (12,000-dwt, built 2010) in Cape Town harbour recently. The ship which is deployed on Safmarine’s SAFWAF service (South Africa – West Africa) makes direct calls at Durban, Cape Town, Walvis Bay, Sonils, Pointe Noire and Matadi plus inducement ports. The 712-TEU capacity ship which is on charter to Safmarine is German- owned and flagged in Sri Lanka. Picture: Pamela Yerushalmy News continues below…


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Port of Dar es Salaam and city

The government of Tanzania has published plans for new transport projects to be undertaken in the country over the next five years, reports World Cargo News

This follows a decade of strong economic growth, and what the government is attempting to replicate is the Malaysian model of development with its ‘Big Results Now’ (BRN) strategy that involves concentrating investment in five main areas, including transport, via public private partnerships (PPPs).

In the port sector, berths 1-7 at the Port of Dar es Salaam are to be upgraded; two new berths will be added to the same port. Hutchison Port Holdings which operates the container terminal at Dar es Salaam is investing US$30 million in container handling equipment and facility upgrades. Four rubber tyred gantry cranes (RTGs), two reach stackers, ten terminal trucks are due for delivery by next month where they will join two ship-to-shore (STS) cranes and three hybrid RTGs ordered earlier this year.

By the end of September 2014 Dar es Salaam container terminal will be equipped with seven quay cranes, 19 RTGs, nine reach stackers and 49 tractors. Meanwhile, the yard surface is being repaved and a shunt capacitor is being installed to handle the unstable power supply from the national grid.

Elsewhere in Tanzania, the Port of Mtwara in the south will be expanded; and new ports will be developed at Bagamoyo and Tanga. These last two ports were historically important, but now receive relatively little use. In addition, incentives for industrial investors are to be concentrated at Bagamoyo Export Processing Zone.

Tanga is to be positioned as the main port for northern Tanzania, Uganda and other countries to the west. A new US$1.9B railway is to be constructed from Tanga to Arusha and on to Musoma on the shores of Lake Victoria. It is hoped that cargo will be shipped from Ugandan ports on the lake to Musoma to be transferred on to the new railway. This will obviously require huge improvements to current port infrastructure on the lake, including the deployment of container vessels by Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA).

Elsewhere, rail links to new mines at Mchuchuma and Liganga in the far south of the country are to be constructed, while the main highway from Kenya to Tanzania is to be rehabilitated with a US$223M loan from the African Development Bank.

Complementing and buttressing the waterside developments at Dar, dedicated dry ports are to be developed in the port for each of the countries that make use of it. The Tanzanian government’s Ministry of Transport has set aside 160 hectares of land next to the Mandela Expressway for the dry ports.

Plans for associated road and other infrastructure are in the process of being drawn up, but it is not yet known whether any rail connections will be required. The TPA is to provide a list of licensed and approved clearing and forwarding agents to the respective countries, which are expected to include Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), Rwanda, Burundi and Zambia.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) provides 25% of the transit cargo that passes through the port, or 1.1Mt in 2013. Another dry port is to be set up at Kasumbulesa on the border of the DRC and Zambia, which is designed to reduce congestion at Dar es Salaam. In June, the TPA opened a liaison office in Lubumbashi in the southeast of the DRC.

A feasibility study into the development of yet another dry port, in Kibaha District, close to Dar es Salaam, is approaching completion. It is being carried out by Black Ivy Group of the US. Kibaha District administrative secretary, Jusseim Mwakipesile, said: “At the moment they are dealing with legal and other procedures which need to be finalised first, and the area is located not far from Tazara (Tanzania Zambia Railway) and Central Line Railway which will simplify transportation activities.” - World Cargo News and Port Finance International

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Port of Takoradi after current improvements are completed

According to Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority director-general Richard Anamoo, the West African country needs a third port.

Anamoo made this announcement at a stakeholders forum held by Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) in which he reviewed progress being made on the Port of Takoradi project. Takoradi is Ghana’s second port after Tema.

Both existing ports are coming under increasing pressure as a result of the discovery of oil off the Ghana coast in 2007. This is now beginning to be exploited and Takoradi in particular is feeling the pressure, being in the west of the country and closest to Ghana’s Jubilee Field where it has become a port of call for many of the services required by the oil industry.

An expansion programme for Takoradi began in December last year which includes land reclamation and dredging. Despite this, Anamoo says Takoradi will be unable to cater for the increasing demand in maritime trade.

The ports of Tema and Takoradi collectively handle about 17 million tonnes of cargo, while container volumes of 1 million TEU per year are likely to double within the next ten years.

According to a separate report earlier this year, Tema has already overcome the Cote d’Ivoire port of Abidjan as West Africa’s premier container port, but this has not been independently verified. In the annual rankings published by Container Management neither port featured among the top 120 container ports for 2013.

Anamoo gave no indication as to where in Ghana a third port would be built but said work would commence in December this year. The project would cost US19 million for immediate structures.

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The financially troubled Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) has received a US$ 3 million bail-out from the Zambian government which is to clear an unpaid five-month salary bill owed to Tazara staff.

The government is also seeking to settle outstanding bills for former Railway Systems of Zambia (RSZ) workers.

This was announced at a media briefing held in Lusaka late last week when Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Minister Yamfwa Mukanga said that the $3 million was meant for the Zambian TAZARA workers.

Mr Mukanga said besides the five-month salary arrears, the other contributing factors to the TAZARA labour disharmony were lack of customer confidence, non-payment of retirees' benefits, loss of business to other transport modes and lack of operational funds to run the business.

“Arising from the above, I wish to inform the nation that the Government of the Republic of Zambia is committed to addressing the labour and operational challenges currently facing TAZARA in order to spur sustainable growth of the railway sector,” Mukanga said.

“In view of the above, the Government has released funds to clear all the outstanding salary arrears to normalise the operations of TAZARA on the Zambian side.”

The minister said Government was committed to securing more funds to dismantle the backlog of unpaid retirees' benefits and for business operations in the near future.

Following the Government's intervention, Mr Mukanga directed all TAZARA workers on the Zambian side to call off their strike. “I, therefore, urge all TAZARA workers on the Zambian side to resume work immediately without fail," he said.

He said that TAZARA workers should understand that the Government would not be held to ransom by striking action, especially when the right channels are not followed. He pointed out that any action that disrupted industrial harmony led to further losses on the part of TAZARA, which was not making a profit.

He called on shareholders and employees to explore innovative ways or reviving TAZARA.

His ministry had engaged the Ministry of Finance, Zambia Railways and the union to work out modalities of settling outstanding arrears of former RSZ employees through the 2015 National Budget.

“In this regard, I wish to assure all the affected workers that the Government is actively looking into their plight.”

Mr Mukanga said the Government had invested heavily in Zambia Railways after terminating the concession with the RSZ to make it viable and profitable, adding that the investments were already bearing fruit. - Times of Zambia

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The route of the new standard gauge railway from Mombasa to Nairobi, with later extensions to neighbouring countries

China to ship in 5,000 foreign workers for the Mombasa-Nairobi standard gauge railway project

China Road and Bridge Corporation will bring in 5,000 workers to work on the standard gauge railway, Kenya Railways MD has said. The work on the 609km railway is expected to kick off in September after a frosty start that has been marred with claims of corruption.

Parliament nevertheless gave the project a clean bill of health. “The contractor will bring in the workers and get additional ones locally. We have also commenced discussions to reduce timelines and ensure that the project is completed by 2017,” Kenya Railway Corporation (KRC) managing director Atanas Maina is quoted by Business Daily.

President Uhuru Kenyatta said during a TV interview that the physical work on the railway is set to begin in September. The first phase Sh327 billion project that will link Kenya and her EAC neighbours is expected to be completed by 2018.

Kenyatta said the government is in the process of compensating landowners along the railway line, with National Land Commission already gazetting land along the 300km line. Kenya signed a Sh314.2 billion Mombasa-Nairobi railway deal with China at State House in Nairobi on May 11, 2014.

The first phase of the standard gauge railway project will cover 609.3kms from the port of Mombasa to Nairobi and will cost $3.6 billion (Sh314.2 billion). Ninety percent of the financing will come from China Exim Bank while Kenya will cover the remaining 10 percent. At least 30,000 Kenyans are expected to be employed by the project.

The standard gauge railway is aimed at providing efficient and cost effective rail transport for both freight and passengers. It is intended to reduce the cost of doing business by reducing the cost of transport. Passenger trains will have a speed of 120 kilometres per hour while those for freight will be designed to move at 80 kilometres an hour.

“It will take passengers four hours and 30 minutes to travel from Mombasa to Nairobi while freight will take eight hours. The project is slated to kick off on 1 October and take 42 months to complete,” Uhuru said during the signing ceremony witnessed by Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang at State House in Nairobi. - The Star (Nairobi)

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Open cast mining at Benga, near Moatize

India’s International Coal Ventures Ltd (ICVL) consortium plans to apply US$300 million to expansion of the Benga coal mine in Mozambique, the company’s executive chairman C.S. Verma told the newspaper The Times of India.

Verma also heads the state-owned Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL). He said the consortium has begun formal talks with the likewise Indian Tata Steel, which controls a 35 percent stake in that mine.

The ICVL consortium includes the state-owned Steel Authority of India (SAIL), Rashtriya Ispat Nigam (RINL), National Minerals Development Corp (NMDC), Coal India and NTPC (previously known as the National Thermal Power Corporation). It acquired the company Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique for US$50 million.

The latter company controlled the coal assets of the Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto group in Mozambique’s Tete region, namely the Benga mine (65 percent), the Zambeze mining concession and the Tete Leste exploration licences and associated coal exploration licences as well as Benga Energia.

Verma told the newspaper that the top priority will be to increase production from the current 5 million tons per year to 11-12 million tons in the next three or four years and then 16 million tons a year later. To achieve that production increase the consortium will have to invest nearly US$300 million, he said.

Regarding other coal assets, the ICVL chairman said they would only be evaluated in three or four years, “because our immediate priority is the Benga mine.”

He announced that a team of 25 to 30 people would be sent to Mozambique to take control of the operations, adding that the first shipment of coal mined at Benga should reach India next December “at a price probably lower than what we are currently paying.”

Indian group to mine coal at Mutarara

In related news, Sol Mineração Moçambique, which is the Mozambique subsidiary of India’s Sunflag Group, is reported to be ready to invest US$222 million in a coal mione in the Mutarara district of Tete province.

The mine is said to have an estimated lifespan of 25 years, with reserves of 115.46 million tonnes of coal.

Mining is expected to commence in 2017 with an initial 5 million tonnes being produced each year including coking and thermal coal.- macauhub


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HMAS Bundaberg at sea. Picture: Wikipedia Commons

An Australian Armidale class patrol boat, HMAS BUNDABERG (91) has caught fire ad is burning in a repair building in Brisbane.

The 57-metre patrol boat, which is built largely or aluminium, was in a civilian shipyard undergoing a refit on Monday (11 August) when the fire broke out in the generator room, it is being reported, although the cause of the blaze is not known. It is speculated that a spark from a welding torch may have been the cause.

Two civilian workers were treated for smoke inhalation. There were no other injuries reported.


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HMAS Bundaberg on fire in a shipyard in Brisbane. Picture: 7 News

From photographs obtained by a television station it appeared as if the ship was engulfed in fire, as flames on the front deck were clearly visible. The extent of the damage to the vessel is not known, although it would have been shorn of weapons and ammunition prior to entering the dry docking facility. The popular Australian television series, Sea Patrol, which has been aired in Africa on DStv featured an Armidale class patrol boat carrying the fictional name HMAS Hammersley.


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A senior executive with DP World’s Europe and Russia region, Ganesh Raj thinks that ports are the best place to weigh containers.

I doing so Raj is going against the tide of opinion which says do it elsewhere, anywhere but in the ports because that will lead to congestion.

But Raj, who is senior vice-president and managing director for DP World’s Europe and Russia region argues that as long as it doesn’t impact on terminal operations then containers should be weighed in the terminals.

However, he warned that if terminal were to weight each container, then there would be an incremental cost attached on account of the need to install weighbridges. He said the alternative of shippers providing certified container weights could pose problems for highly automated facilities.

He pointed to London Gateway, which has unmanned automated gates, as will DP World’s soon to be opened World gateway in Rotterdam, as examples of having to physically check weight certificates could be more of a problem than installing approved weighing platforms.

In terms of the IMO’s Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention agreed in 2013 following a lengthy industry-wide debate on how to best eliminate container mis-declarations, all containers will have weight checks from mid-2016. The only issue remaining is how to arrive at each container weight.

According to Raj, the logical step is for all containers to be physically weighed at the container terminal. He says that by the IMO allowing for a choice where shippers can either weigh each fully loaded box or provide a certified figure based on the weight of individual items to be shipped, plus the container itself, has become confusing.

The ideal answer, he says, is to follow the simple process of weighing all containers at the terminal. - rewritten from a report in www.lloydslist.com


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Gateway port

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 container 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.


L' ATALANTE 9 August 2014 1 


L' ATALANTE 9 August 2014 3 


The French research vessel L’ATALANTE (3,559-gt, built 1990) which has been in Durban for the past couple of months undergoing maintenance work at Elgin Brown & Hamer’s shipyard at the Bayhead. L’Atalante is a multipurpose oceanographic research ship engaged in research into the marine geosciences, physical oceanography and marine biology. The vessel carries all the necessary scientific equipment that can include the sophisticated submarine Nautile, thus allowing scientists on board to study the sea surface, the water column and the sea floor, while sampling and monitoring activities across a wide range of scientific tasks. She has accommodation for up to 30 scientists and can stay at sea for 40 days. L’Atalante is state-owned and operated by IFREMER, the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea. Pictures: Trevor Jones

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