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Ports & Ships Maritime News

13 January 2015
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...

SMIT LOMBOK aad noorland 1 (3) adj 470

Smit Amandla Marine’s offshore service tug SMIT LOMBOK (1727-gt, built 2006) which is in the Sturrock dry dock in Cape Town. The tug is usually stationed at Mossel Bay where it is on contract to PetroSA for offshore supply and support. Picture: Aad Noorland

News continues below…


SAMWAF Line to call at Lobito

With effect from 23 December 2014 with m/v CMA CGM JASPER, SAMWAF line is including a call at Lobito (Angola) in its rotation, as follows:

Buenos Aires - Rio Grande - Itajai - Santos - Rio de Janeiro - Pointe Noire - Luanda - Lobito - Buenos Aires

CMA CGM says that the main features are as follows:

Direct call at Lobito
Direct service from Brazil and Argentina to West Africa
Relay service from Uruguay and Paraguay via Itajai hub
Significant transit time improvement by 5 days from South America East Coast to West Africa
Excellent servicing of the main West African markets: Angola, Nigeria, Congo, Gabon, DRC, Benin and Togo

WAX Line to call at Lobito

Effective as from yesterday (12 January 2015) with m/v CMA CGM AFRICA TWO, CMA CGM’s WAX line will include a call at Lobito (Angola) in its rotation, as follows:

Chiwan - Nansha - Tanjung Pelepas - Port Kelang - Cape Town - Lobito - Tincan Lagos - Lomé - Abidjan - Pointe Noire - Colombo - Port Kelang – Chiwan

CMA CGM says that the main features are:

Fortnightly direct call at Lobito
Direct service from South China to West Africa
Relay service from other China ports and Asia thanks to CMA CGM’s network of African Lines
Significant transit time improvement to Lobito: 28 days from Chiwan

CMA CGM connects all continents with Malawi every week

CMA CGM is now providing an extensive coverage of Malawi's major locations (Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mzuzu) via the ports of Beira and Nacala in Mozambique, either by road or by rail.

Malawi Three dedicated CMA CGM lines and services call at Beira and Nacala: Mozex, Swahili and Rhino Express.

Main features include the following:

Malawi 0 TBL

CMA CGM improves offer between Europe, Mediterranean and West Africa

The CMA CGM Group has announced the specialisation of its EURAF 1 and EURAF 2 services.

Those services will offer:
Two weekly services from Europe and the Mediterranean to Africa instead of one,
Improved reliability and punctuality, with a new calls distribution between the different EURAF services,
Strategic calls in Hamburg and London Gateway ports to Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal, The CMA CGM Group will still benefit from connections as follows:

Worldwide with the services’ calls in Tangiers
With the entire African continent thanks to the Group’s bespoke intermodal solutions and logistics expertise.

The EURAF 1 service will deploy six 3,500 TEU vessels on the following direct weekly rotation:

Dunkirk, Antwerp, Le Havre, Montoir, Tangiers, Dakar, Abidjan, Dakar, Tangiers and Dunkirk.

The first voyage will start from Dunkirk on 22 January 22 2015, on the CS DISCOVERY. The CMA CGM Group will be the unique operator of the service.

EURAF 1 service

The EURAF 2 service will deploy six 2,600 TEU vessels on the following direct weekly rotation: Antwerp, Hamburg, London Gateway, Tangiers, Tincan, Tema, Abidjan and Antwerp.

EURAF 2 service

The first voyage will start from Antwerp on 25 January 2015 on the MV FRISIA HELSINKI.

News continues below…


lobito bay 470
Lobito Bay

As part of its policy of extending logistical platforms across Africa, the CMA CGM Group has entered into agreement with Mutiparques Group in Angola.

A series of memorandum agreements were signed last month with Multiparques General Manager Leonel Pinto at an event held in Paris in the presence of the French and Angola Foreign Affairs Ministers, Laurent Fabius and George Rebelo Pinto Chicoti.

The agreements define the terms of a joint association for the terminal operation in the Port of Lobito and to develop logistic platforms within Angola.

Lobito is Angola second port, and its location and [railway] transportation connections make it a strategic entry point in West Africa, said Alexis Michel, CMA CGM Group Logistics and Reefer Senior Vice President. “This not only allows Benguela and Huambo – two major Angola cities - service, but also thanks to the new railroad renovation, to link the city to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia Copperbelt mining region to the sea.”

The statement added that these different elements offer the Port of Lobito a great intermodal future.

CMA CGM said it expects the new Lobito terminal to be operational during 2015.

The CMA CGM Group with its brands CMA CGM and DELMAS operates in 43 African countries and has seven services calling regularly in Angola.

News continues below…


P1220651c Africana 470 David Erickson
RS Africana is eased away from her quay in Simon’s Town harbour where she has remained since a naval crew accidently pumped water into the fuel tanks in November 2012. The vessel was undertaking a pelagic survey at the time and has since remained out of commission.. Picture: David Erickson

By David Erickson

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (DAFF) research ship AFRICANA had been lying alongside the East Breakwater in Simon’s Town Naval Dockyard for many months, and on Fri 12-Dec-2014 was repositioned to the West Breakwater by Navy tugs.

Everyone thought that this was to provide a welcome change of scenery for her long-suffering crew, and also to marginally cut the walking distance between the ship and the Lord Nelson Hotel! However it turned out to be a brief interlude. The salvage tug SMIT AMANDLA was spotted in False Bay on the afternoon of Monday, 22 December and by 16h30 hrs was tied up on the West Breakwater ahead of Africana. Has the steeply declining lack of skills and competencies at the Simon’s Town dockyard finally got to the point where routine engine repair work can no longer be undertaken? Since SAS AMATOLA F145 has had to be taken to the private Southern African Shipyards at Durban for a major refit (estimated at R335 million), this must be a question that requires serious thought.

The then Navy Chief Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu warned in April 2013 that the Navy faced a ‘crisis which could leave it on the verge of collapse’ through the dockyard’s inability to carry out repairs and maintenance. At that time barely a quarter (less than 250,000 of the 900,000) of the scheduled repair manhours were being completed at the dockyard, under the leadership of General Manager Themba Goduka.

Mudimu stated at the time that he wanted to ‘wrestle the dockyard back [to Navy control] from Armscor’. Of course, since then he has retired on a handsome pension and now augments that income with a salary from none other than Armscor, as its new Board Chairman……… out of all this mess of incompetency only two things are certain: that there has been a phenomenal drain on the South African taxpayer, and that this is set to continue.

P1220702d Africana and Smit Amandla 470
RS Africana leaving Simon’s Town under tow behind Smit Amandla. Picture: David Erickson

News continues below…


video clip: The world’s largest container ship

The never ending race to claim the world’s biggest container ship entered a new phase at year end with Mediterranean Shipping Company somewhat surprisingly announcing it had taken top stakes with the 19,224-TEU MSC OSCAR, a behemoth of 395.4m long and 59m wide. The ship is owned by China’s Bank of Communications and is on long-term charter to MSC and was due to enter service early this month (January 2015).

How long this ‘milepost’ will stand is anyone’s guess, except that Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) has already announced its entry into the stakes of the world’s largest container ships by saying it intends building ships of 20,000-TEU.

Can anyone say that the first 24,000-TEU ship won’t be on the builder’s blocks before the end of 2015?

Meanwhile, watch the video clip above showing the process of building the (current) world’s largest container ship, MSC Oscar, seen below.

MSC Oscar

MSC extends Africa Express service to Tianjin

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) says it will extend its sub-Saharan Africa Express weekly service beyond its present limit of Shanghai and will go on to turn at Tianjin instead.

The result is that the rotation becomes 11 weeks which in turn requires the addition of an 11th ship in the 4,000 to 8,500-TEU range.

The new rotation will be: Tianjin, Shanghai, Ningbo, Guangzhou-Nansha, Shenzhen-Chiwan, Singapore, Port Louis, Cape Town, Lomé, Ngqura, Singapore, Tianjin. The new rotation commences with the sailing from Tianjin of the 4,444-TEU CATHERINE RICKMERS on 28 January 2015.

On the West African end of the service, the port of Lomé is currently the only one that can handle 8000-TEU size container ships, posing a challenge for MSC which began phasing in such sized vessels with the 8,500-TEU SERPIA ENAM which sailed from Shanghai on 25 December.

A second 8,500-TEU ship, NAVARINAO will be joining the service later this month.

News continues below…


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CSCL Tianjin 470
CSCL Tianjin (50,953-dwt, built 2001)

China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) and Pacific International Lines (PIL) are launching two new direct weekly services between Asia and West Africa.

The first joint service (WAX) will see 12 ships of 4,250-TEU being deployed on the following rotation: Shanghai, Ningbo, Xiamen, Shekou, Nansha, Singapore, Lomé, Tincan, Tema, Abidjan, Colombo, Port Kelang, Singapore, Shanghai

CSCL is providing five of the ships and PIL seven. The first sailing is with KOTA LAHIR which is ETA Shanghai on 20 January 2015.

The second string (WAX2) involves 13 ships each of 3,900-TEU capacity, with PIL providing all 13 ships and CSCL taking slots.

The rotation is as follows:

Dalian, Xingang, Qingdao, Incheon, Shanghai, Ningbo, Nansha, Singapore, Cape Town, Lomé, Apapa, Cotonou, Onne, Port Kelang, Singapore, Dalian.

The first sailing is with KOTA SEGAR which is ETA Dalian on 24 January 2015. The Cape Town ETA is for early March.


Sena Railway by Jason Quessouji 470
Picture: Jason Quessouji

A capacity upgrade of the Sena Railroad in Mozambique is in its final stages said Elias Xai-Xai, director of the Sena Line Reconstruction Brigade.

The upgrade will increase the cargo handling capacity from 6.5 million tonnes to 20 million tonnes of cargo per year.

The contract, costing approximately €163 million, has been underway since June 2013 and should be completed in the first quarter of 2015 and cover the full extent of the line, or 575 km between the coal town of Moatize, in Tete province and the port of Beira, in Sofala province.

Xai-Xai told daily newspaper Notícias that at the Sena stations of Magagade, Caia, Inhamitanga and Mazamba in Sofala, work had been completed to expanding lines (crossing loops) from 750 to 1,500 m long, including laying track at the remaining 20 of a total of 31 stations along the railway line.

Ongoing work includes laying ballast, rebuilding over 300 bridges, culverts and aqueducts, especially in the Lower Zambezi area, notably restoration of the Dona Ana bridge that connects the banks of the Zambezi between Sena in Caia, and Mutarara, over approximately 5 km.

The rehabilitation of the Sena Railway is being carried out by a Portuguese consortium made up of Mota-Engil and Edivisia.

Meanwhile, the Sena line was reopened to traffic on Saturday (10 January 2015) after four days of closure due to damage caused by heavy rains in various parts of the route, Noticias has reported.

Torrential rains fell in Lower Zambezia starting on 1 January, resulting in much of the railway ballast being washed away and water spilling over at culverts and stream crossings, with three large cuts opening up below the line.

Mozambican port and railway company CFM’s Rail Director, Boaventura Mahave, said the three cuts that led to the stoppage on the line affected around 350 metres of the track. He said there were an average of about 25 trains a day using the Sena line.


Cape Verde 470

The government of Cabo Verde (Cape Verde) has closed Cabmar, the state-owned shipyard company in order to reduce costs and the structures of the state business sector.

This was announced in Praia by a spokesman for the Council of Ministers, Démis Lobo.

Lobo was quoted in the local media as saying that Cabmar’s mission could be continued by another public company in the marine sector. He didn’t, however, identify any likely company.

The termination of the Cabo Verde shipyards state company was approved Thursday, 8 January, at a meeting of the Council of Ministers.

“The current decree also names an official receiver charged with carrying out all the actions necessary for CABMAR’s liquidation and for the conclusion of the process within four months,” explained the minister.

Lobo clarified that the company’s employees may opt to join another state company or to see their contracts rescinded, in which case they will be paid just compensation, he said.


BANSI Cyclone si201505 5day 12 j ANUARY 2015
Map: Weather Underground

Tropical Cyclone Bansi with winds reaching 185 km/h yesterday (12 January) was tracking in a south easterly direction and is expected to pass to the north-east of Mauritius, according to forecasters.

Bansi has moved from a Tropical Depression to a Category 3 storm without as yet impacting over any significant mainland or large inhabited island. Provided it remains as forecast the cyclone will reach well southeast of Mauritius by Saturday 17 January by which time it will have reduced in intensity to a category 1 storm.


The eye of the storm was passing Mauritius approximately 175 morth to the north-east early Tuesday morning (13 Jan) as the cyclone intensified, with winds averaging 150km/h, equivalent to a Category 4 cyclone (hurricane).

The storm is expected to intensify to a Category 5 cyclone and will skirt Mauritius, which will however be affected by wind squalls as a result of Cyclone Bansi's passing.


Gateway port 470
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.


MODERN LINK aad noorland 3 (3) 470

MODERN LINK aad noorland 8 (3) RC 470

Car carriers are not that frequent visitors to Cape Town as they are to Port Elizabeth, Durban and even East London, but they do call at the Mother Port as can be seen with these two pictures of Chinese-owned, Panama-flagged MODERN LINK (33,831-gt, built 2000) arriving in Cape Town this week. Pictures: Aad Noorland

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