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Ports & Ships Maritime News

12 May 2015
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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One of Durban Harbour’s older generation tugs but still giving good service is UMSUNDUZI (295-gt, built 1983), named for the river that passes through Pietermaritzburg before entering the Umgeni, and from which the ‘Duzi canoe race takes its name. Her original name was DUPEL ERASMUS but was renamed post 1994. Umsunduzi is one of a number of Schottel drive tugs still in service with TNPA. All of the new tugs being built use Voith Schneider propulsion units. Picture: Ken Malcolm

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Proposed first phase of the Durban Dig out Port, included in Transnet’s private sector participation programme. Illustration: TNPA

State-owned freight logistics company Transnet is partnering with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) in a drive to accelerate private sector participation (PSP) in its multibillion rand infrastructure investment programme.

The initiative, agreed to by Transnet Acting Group Chief Executive Siyabonga Gama and his DBSA counterpart Patrick Dlamini, paves the way for the development bank to provide funding and expertise for PSP preparation, work including transaction advisory services.

In terms of the agreement, DBSA will share in project preparation funding, contribute financial and project management skills and capacity, provide indicative terms and amounts to expedite funding of PSP project execution and provide strategic support for the execution of Transnet’s PSP programme.

“Finding innovative funding solutions is a key element of the market demand strategy (MDS). Partnerships with the private sector will not only broaden our sources of funding for capital investments, they will give us access to private sector skills and expertise,” Gama said.

“At the same time, they will help us manage risk and provide alternative procurement tools for large infrastructure projects. In addition, PSPs provide entities like Transnet with mechanisms to ensure black participation in large-scale projects.”

Increasing private sector participation in South Africa’s infrastructure investment programme is part of DBSA’s mandate as a development finance institution. In addition, once a project is ready to go to market, DBSA will also be eligible to compete as one of the funders.

“This partnership speaks to one of our core objectives of supporting economic growth through investing in economic infrastructure – with transportation being one of the four key focus sectors to achieve this objective,” Dlamini said.

Transnet’s MDS is pillared on a rolling seven-year R336 billion infrastructure investment programme.

The projects in the PSP portfolio include the manganese common user loading facility in Northern Cape, the Grootvlei coal loading facility in Mpumalanga, the Tambo Springs inland container terminal to be built in Ekurhuleni and the container terminal at the soon to be built Durban Dig-Out Port.

“Both DBSA and Transnet, as state-owned entities, should be immensely proud that we are able to work together in an innovative manner to unlock hundreds of billions of rand in value for the South African economy,” Gama said. – SAnews.gov.za

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Royal Caribbean Cruises has entered into an agreement with Germany’s Meyer Werft yards to order a fourth Quantum-class ship for delivery in 2019. “This is a reflection of the success of the first two Quantum-class ships,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “We have received a remarkable response from travel agent partners and travellers, and are thrilled that we'll be able to deliver another revolutionary ship.” The fourth Quantum-class vessel “will be a trailblazer in smart-ship design and vacation innovation…and the icons and amenities on that ship will continue to challenge and expand guests' expectations of the cruise experience,” he said. Quantum-class is a class of cruise ships from RCI that surpasses the earlier Freedom-class ships by more than 14,000gt, becoming the second largest class of passenger vessels behind RCI’s Oasis-class on a gross tonnage basis. The first three ships of the 168,666gt class, QUANTUM OF THE SEAS (soon to reposition to Shanghai for three- to eight-night itineraries year-round), was delivered late last year, while ANTHEM OF THE SEAS has just begun service out of Southampton (and will reposition to Cape Liberty in November.) OVATION OF THE SEAS (having Sydney as its home port, will be sailing Australian and New Zealand itineraries in Winter 2016-17). The fourth ship’s name and itineraries have yet to be revealed.

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Though not to every cruise lover’s taste, these RCI behemoths have more than captured public attention with their size and facilities, leaving just about every other cruise operator in their wakes. If it’s excitement you seek, you’ll get it with a capital ‘E’ on these amazing vessels. Enjoying perhaps too much popularity is the ‘NorthStar’ observation tower, located at the forward end of the top deck. Using a glass-walled capsule on the end of a 41-metre-long crane arm, it lifts groups of up to 14 guests up and over the edge of the ship…reaching heights of up to 100 metres above sea level. Rides on the NorthStar are complimentary, with the exception of sunrise, sunset and private trips, which have a charge, and can be reserved online in advance.

Vernon Buxton for Ports & Ships

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Star Cruises’ SUPERSTAR VIRGO (above) and SUPERSTAR AQUARIUS (50,760gt) will homeport in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, during the forthcoming season…though the 75,000gt flagship will also spend part of the season in her traditional homeport of Hong Kong, from where she invariably departs with a ship-full of Chinese gamblers. The size of Superstar Virgo’s casino (filling the entire bow section) is indeed jaw-dropping…as this correspondent discovered on an ‘educational’ cruise some 14 years back. Plenty of gaudy décor seemed appropriate, given the market, and, as I recall, the multiple dining options were truly impressive. I sailed from Singapore to Penang and back on this-then new vessel and, as I look back, it is hard to comprehend how far cruise liners have come since then…a long way, let’s be clear about that. In early February, the first steel was cut at the Meyer shipyard in Papenburg for the first of two new 150,000gt Star Cruises’ ships…this one is expected to be named GENTING WORLD, which may indicate a move towards more conventional cruising rather than the intense short cruises (not popular with westerners) for the casino trade, which currently forms a large part of Star Cruises’ business.

Vernon Buxton for Ports & Ships

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The 175th year of the founding of the fabled Cunard Line will not be passed without considerable fanfare and celebration. The first of the anniversary events took place on 5 February, when for the first time ever QUEEN ELIZABETH berthed at Long Beach, California, home of RMS QUEEN MARY. After an impressive firework display, Queen Elizabeth continued on her 112-night round-the-world cruise. RMS Queen Mary sailed primarily on the North Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967 for the Cunard Line (known as Cunard-White Star Line when the vessel entered service). Queen Mary, along with her running mate, the RMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, were built as part of Cunard's planned two-ship weekly express service between Southampton, Cherbourg and New York City. Queen Mary was the flagship of the Cunard Line from May 1936 until October 1946 when she was replaced in that role by Queen Elizabeth. The indomitable Queen Mary sailed on her maiden voyage 27 May 1936 and captured the coveted ‘Blue Riband’ in August of that year. She lost the title to SS NORMANDIE in 1937 and recaptured it in 1938, holding it until 1952, when she was beaten by the new SS UNITED STATES. (See the interesting feature on this greyhound-of-the-seas in the May edition of the British Ships Monthly magazine.) Queen Mary was officially retired from service in 1967. She left Southampton for the last time on 31 October 1967 and sailed to the port of Long Beach, where she remains permanently moored. The ship serves as a tourist attraction featuring restaurants, a museum and hotel.

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Many celebrations are planned to mark Cunard’s major milestone…among the early ones was when a meeting of the three current liners met at Southampton on 3 May. Following in the wake of that heralded event, another historic first meeting of the prestigious trio will take place in Liverpool on 25 May. Owned by America’s giant Carnival Cruises, Cunard tries hard to sustain its British heritage, though today’s crew members come from anywhere in the world…which was almost unthinkable in the line’s heydays. Nonetheless, the Cunard Queens enjoy a loyal following from repeaters and new guests and, from most accounts, the owners enjoy entirely agreeable occupancies. There is no mention of any planned addition to the fleet?...but it would come as no surprise, given the burgeoning popularity of a holiday pastime known as ‘cruising’.

Vernon Buxton for Ports & Ships

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Mein Schiff 4 being floated out of her building dock in October 2014

German cruise operator TUI Cruises has taken delivery of MEIN SCHIFF 4 from Finland-based shipbuilder Meyer Turku. This is the first ship to be delivered by Meyer Turku under Meyers’ ownership.

The 99,500-gross ton Mein Schiff 4 is designed for the German premium class market and has a total of 1,253 cabins. She is 294 metres in length and 36 metres wide. Through the use of a combined exhaust after-treatment system consisting of a scrubber and a catalyser, sulphur emissions are claimed to be lowered by as much as 99 percent and nitrogen oxide emission by around 75 percent.

Mein Schiff 4’s naming ceremony is scheduled for 5 June in Kiel, and on the following day she will set off on her maiden voyage into the Baltic. TUI Cruises have a further two Mein Schiff cruise ships on order, numbers 5 and 6 each of which are further evolved from their predecessor.

Mein Schiff 5’s keel-laying ceremony will be held next month and on the same day production of Mein Schiff 6 is due to commence. Mein Schiff 5 will be delivered in the European summer of 2016.

Hapag-Lloyd and Thomson

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Splendour of the Seas

According to media reports, TUI intends bringing its Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten brand in Germany and the UK-based Thomson Cruises into the fold of TUI Cruises, which is a joint venture involving Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

An announcement to this effect is possible this week when TUI publishes its first quarter interim result at an investor meeting in London.

Thomson Cruises will be taking delivery of SPLENDOUR OF THE SEAS from Royal Caribbean in the European summer next year and will operate the ship as THOMSON DISCOVERY.

“The ship will be acquired by the Group’s subsidiary TUI Cruises, a joint venture between TUI Group and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and chartered to the Group’s British cruise line Thomson Cruises,” TUI said in March. The ship replaces ISLAND ESCAPE which is currently operated by sister company Island Cruises.

The TUI Group operates a fleet is 13 ships in its subsidiaries TUI Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten and Thomson Cruises. Two new ships for TUI Cruises are on order (see above).


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The Port of Tyne near Newcastle, UK is to be the new homeport of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ BALMORAL for the following European summer season May to August 2016.

Built in 1988 as CROWN ODYSSEY, Fred. Olsen Cruises had her lengthened in 2007 with a 30m insert to become a 1,778-passenger ship (plus 471 crew) and the flagship of the Fred. Olsen fleet. In 2016/17 the 218m long Balmoral will make a total of 11 sailings from Tyne port, providing a 45 percent increase in capacity on the Fred. Olsen ship currently operating here, the 880-passenger BOUDICCA.

“Fred. Olsen is one of many leading cruise lines operating from the Port of Tyne and in 2015 the Port has 27 cruise calls planned during the year, and 2016 promises to be a record year for cruise calls,” said Port of Tyne CEO, Andrew Moffatt.

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Chris Hoare in his studio

Have you ever wanted to see your ship and Durban harbour from the air? Now, with the introduction of a new aerial photography service, you can do exactly that, free.

Says photographer Chris Hoare, “When clients book an aerial shoot with me, two of them get to ride in a comfortable Jet Ranger – free. Take-off and landing is at Virginia Airport, and flights usually last up to 25 minutes.”

Other services include enlargements, creative on-board or wharfside photographs and prints, night photography, aerial photos of ships in other Southern African ports, and video photography. – Chris 082 44 37 589


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Port of Cape Town

Port user performance roadshows will be held for stakeholders in the ports of Cape Town and Saldanha this week, SAMSA has announced.

The first roadshow is being held tomorrow, Wednesday 13 May 2015, at the port of Saldanha, in the TNPA Admin Building, Siyabonga Hall in Saldanha.

Please rsvp by the end of today to pccsa@samsa.org.za
cc to fkhamissa@samsa.org.za
tel 021 938 3332 or 074 588 9782.

The roadshow involving the port of Cape Town is to be held this Friday, 15 May at the Protea Hotel Fire and Ice, 198 Bree Street, Cape Town.

Please rsvp by the end of today to pccsa@samsa.org.za
cc to fkhamissa@samsa.org.za
tel 021 938 3332 or 074 588 9782.

Roadshows involving the other ports are due to be announced possibly later this week. PORTS & SHIPS will publish these as they come available.


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Who can dare say what a port’s container capacity is, or when it has been reached? In 2013 the Sustainable Integrated Next Generation Advance (SINGA) Port concept won the ‘Next Generation Container Port’ challenge, taking a cool US$1 million prize with it.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) jointly organised the NGCP Challenge to encourage participants from all over the world to submit innovative proposals and ideas on how to plan, design and operate the next generation of container ports that exemplify performance, productivity and sustainability.

The winning concept is not exactly new. The South Korean Busan New Port already boasts of having the first vertically-automated container terminal in Asia, and has the best truck turnaround times of any port.

The video clip above demonstrates the automated SINGA port concept which proposes a double-storey automated container port with a capacity of 20 million TEUs, which was designed by the National University of Singapore, Shanghai Maritime University and crane manufacturer Zhenhua Heavy Machinery (ZPMC).

A spokesperson for the winning team said “The innovative double-storey container port concept, named the SINGA (Sustainable Integrated Next Generation Advanced) port, was made possible through the synergistic and team effort of NUS, ShMU and ZPMC. The team, which includes leading researchers and highly experienced practitioners, was able to generate innovative ideas that are achievable, namely a port concept that promises high productivity and throughput, through the integration of the unique features of a double-storey structure with the latest technologies.”

Dare one think that such a concept could be the answer to Durban’s space challenges – would it render a dig-out port as totally unnecessary? Imagine a double storey automated container terminal erected as part of the Salisbury Island development. And with our current energy challenges of load-shedding, wouldn’t the roof of solar panels help overcome some of that problem for the port?

One can dream, but why not…

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Request a Rate Card frominfo@ports.co.za


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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.


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The multi-purpose offshore vessel NORMAND INSTALLER (14,506-gt, built 2006) is currently in Durban to assist with the exchange of the offshore single buoy mooring at Isipingo outside Durban. The contract calls for the disengagement of the SBM, which has developed a problem requiring some extensive repairs, and the installation of an older SBM which is kept in reserve. Once the first SBM has been repaired the process will be reversed with the no.1 SBM being returned to site and moored off the coast. The country’s oil imports rely almost exclusively to this facility, adding to the urgency of the project. These pictures: Trevor Jones


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