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Ports & Ships Maritime News

25 August 2015
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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Clemens Schulte

The Port of Mombasa last week handled her largest (so far) container ship, the Maersk operated ship CLEMENS SCHULTE (65,193 dwt, built 2014) when the ship called at the Kenyan port from Malaysia.

With a capacity of almost 5,400 TEUs she is the biggest container ships to arrive in port - a record that will no doubt soon be broken. The advent of berth 19 at the port's container terminal has made it possible for Mombasa, with 840 metres of container quay now available, to handle up to three large container ships at once. Dredging of the channels and alongside the quays has also played a significant role in adapting Mombasa to the neeeds of modern container shipping.

The port entrance channel has recently been dredged to a depth of -15 metres and the turning basin enlarged to 300 metres at its narrowest point.

The dredging and the construction of berth 19 have boosted customers' confidence, especially the shipping lines, Kenya Ports Authority said.

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The Port Elizabeth manganese terminal with the fuel terminal on its right. Picture : TPT

On Monday last week (17 August 2015) we reported that Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) had been issued with a license to open a manganese terminal at the Port of Ngqura, Green light for Ngqura manganese terminal). In a statement issued yesterday, TPT confirmed these reports and said that it will be investing an estimated R8 billion in the development of a bulk minerals export terminal for the Eastern Cape port and that the first vessel may be expected in February 2019.

"It’s all systems go for us to relocate our Port Elizabeth manganese operation by the 2018/19 deadline. We will operate the existing two deepwater dry bulk berths C100 and C101 at the Port of Ngqura (PoN) while the full expansion project ramps up to meet an anticipated throughput demand of 16mt per annum by 2020 and thereafter to 22mt if required." said Karl Socikwa, TPT's Chief Executive.

TPT said that it has invested in additional capital for minor refurbishment of the total plant at the existing Port Elizabeth terminal to sustain the current plant capacity until the anticipated Ngqura Manganese Export Terminal start-up. The annual Port Elizabeth terminal shut down commenced on 11 August 2015 and coincides with the TFR and Manganese Industry shutdowns.

"An innovative plan to minimise the disruption of manganese exports during the relocation has been devised and shared with our mining clients. It includes directing some of the ore through Saldanha and Durban and containerising it, among other things. Our commitment to excellence will be evident in the operation of the new, modern terminal in Ngqura," Socikwa said.

Socikwa said that TPT has proven their expertise in the operation of bulk facilities, as evidenced in the Iron Ore terminal in Saldanha, the manganese terminal in Port Elizabeth and the Richards Bay Dry Bulk terminal.

"The granting of the license issued in terms of Section 79(1) of the Ports Act, not only recognises TPT’s more-than-50 year operation at PE but endorses us as an efficient and experienced bulk minerals terminal operator. It will also ensure a smooth relocation of the operation," he said.

New terminal infrastructure at the port will comprise of new bulk materials handling equipment, including stockyard, stackers, reclaimers and surge bins, roads, infrastructure services and buildings, as well as a train marshalling yard with an unloading system (tippler) to deal with what Transnet believes will become much higher volumes.

Engineering designs for the Ngqura Manganese Export Terminal project are expected to be completed by November 2015. Thereafter, the project will progress to construction which is expected to be completed around the end of 2018.

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AGOA 621x350 picture 480

South African Ambassador to the US, Mninwa Mahlangu, is in Libreville, Gabon, to participate in the 14th African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum, the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) said yesterday (Monday).

AGOA is a preferential agreement that has been in place since 2000 between the US and sub Saharan African countries. The current AGOA is due to expire at the end of September.

Ambassador Mahlangu said he is confident that South Africa will continue benefiting from AGOA for the next 10 years.

The Forum is an annual event held on a rotating basis between the United States and Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries with the last Forum having been hosted by the US in Washington in 2014.

The Ambassador reiterated government's message that AGOA has generated enormous goodwill for the US in the continent and more can still be done.

In addition, South Africa has made tremendous progress to address the issues that were previously raised by the US.

"One of the issues was related to poultry. The South African Poultry Association has since the Paris deal drafted the industry-to-industry agreement to confirm the understanding of the discussions in Paris and forwarded it to the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC), and the National Chicken Council for consideration. A response was received recently.

"The South African Government is ready to implement the agreement once finalised by the respective poultry industries," stated Ambassador Mahlangu.

The US poultry industry represented by USAPEEC had demanded that the current anti-dumping duties that South Africa has in place should be dropped from the tariff book so that the exports can resume.

"The Paris meeting agreed to pass on the debate with regard to the merits or demerits of the anti-dumping duties that South Africa legally imposed on US bone-in chicken pieces. Instead both industries agreed to focus on finding a mutually acceptable solution to the US interest in seeking to secure market access for its bone-in-chicken pieces."

Mahlangu emphasised that South Africa has also already made significant progress, and continues to make progress on addressing other market access interests and regulatory concerns of the US on beef and pork.

The Forum, which takes place from today until Thursday, is being held under the theme 'AGOA at 15: Charting for a sustainable US-Africa Trade and Investment Partnership.' source : SAnews.gov.za

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Houston commercial photography
MSC Lirica, prior to being lengthened

MSC Cruises has confirmed what was hardly a best-kept secret, that it will be positioning a cruise ship in Chinese waters as from next May.

The newly lengthened and refurbished 65,000-ton MSC LIRICA will spearhead the Swiss Italian company's first dip in Chinese waters when she arrives in Shanghai on 1 May 2016. This will be a the conclusion of her 60 day round the world Grand Voyage which departs from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil on 3 March.

"We are delighted to once more be able to offer our guests a brand new itinerary – from Brazil to China via Europe – which offers the chance to visit some of the most appealing places on earth, certainly across a huge array of people and cultures," said MSC Cruises CEO, Gianni Onorato.

Before she sets off MSC Lirica is to undergo a total renovation and enlargement under the Renaissance Programme, as part of MSC’s overhaul programme. This will be completed in November this year.

Travellers will have three different versions of the Grand Voyage to choose from. They will be able to embark in either Rio de Janeiro for the entire voyage (60 nights), Genoa (41 nights), or Dubai in the UAE (26 nights), before completing their voyage in Shanghai.

MSC Cruises decision to cruise out of China follows the news earlier this month that MSC would become the first global cruise line to operate voyages out of Cuba. From December 2015, the line will offer 16 cruises onboard MSC OPERA, sailing out of Havana.

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One of the world's biggest container ships, the 19,224 TEU MSC ZOE arrived at the beginning of August in the German port of Hamburg to complete her maiden voyage from Asia to Europe.

As the 395.5 metre long ship sailed up channel for the container terminal she was met with tugs providing a water salute in welcome, a fitting tribute to one of the port's biggest customers and to the latest new ship in that customer's fleet.

As hundreds of people lined the banks to watch the procession, harsh discordant sounds began to be heard across the water, as a loudspeaker on the ship (presumably?) belched out a version of the theme music from what sounded a bit like Star Wars - it was hard to judge.

Not only was the great ship on her maiden voyage but she was also about to undergo her naming ceremony in Hamburg and the organisers presumably thought the music would be a fitting idea. Judging from the video clip version of the event, it was hardly that, but then it may have sounded nicer on the banks of the river.

MSC Zoe is the latest of MSC's Oscar class, and follows MSC Oscar and MSC Oliver. The three ships currently hold the record as the world's biggest container ships by way of TEU capacity.

They are deployed on MSC's Asia - Northern Europe trades.

The Youtube video clip below presents a longer and much more dignified and traditional arrival.


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Bahamas Celebration in her days as Color Line's Prinsesse Ragnhild. Picture by Matthias Schalk and Wikipedia Commons

Walvis Bay had an unexpected, out of season cruise ship visit on 14 August when the former Celebration Cruises' ship BAHAMAS CELEBRATION arrived off port in need of urgent lubrication.

The ship lay at anchor in the anchorage outside port while agents ashore made arrangements to supply the necessary delivery, which was eventually taken out to the ship by launch.

Bahamas Celebration was involved in a collision last year with a submerged object in the Grand Bahamas that left the 35,855 gross ton ship "irrepairably" damaged. See our report of the accident Not a good weekend for the cruise industry

Her owners replaced her with GRAND CELEBRATION and sold the former PRINSESSE RAGNHILD of Color Line to be broken up.

While approaching southern Africa earlier this month the ship began to run out of engine lubrication, necessitating the call outside the Namibian port.

At present Bahamas Celebration is sailing off the South African coast and last night was opposite Cape Agulhas. Her next port of call is listed as Port Louis, resumably to refuel after which she will head for the breakers.

The transfer of lubrication outside Walvis Bay was not without incident. Due to rough seas and the high freeboard of the passenger ship, the launch could not transfer the material across and arrangements then had to be made for the ship to move into the shelter of the bay area and for the ship to lower her stern cargo doors to enable easier transfer of the lubricants, there being no suitable launch or work boat at Walvis Bay with cranes big enough that could transfer the cargo aboard.

Even with these precautions drama followed when one of the crew was injured, which resulted in him being taken ashore and transferred to hospital in Windhoek, where he was reported as being in a satisfactory condition. Once discharged he was repatriated to his home in the Ukraine.

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Houston commercial photography
Panama Canal's Cocoli locks where the leaks are occurring

[0:48] YouTube video clip showing massive cracks in Panama Canal lock

Massive leaks have formed in the sill of the new Cocoli locks on the canal’s Pacific side. Video evidence shows water seeping through the concrete across the width of the chamber near the top of the sill, just below one of the giant rolling gates that forms the barrier between lock chambers.

Construction contractor Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) has confirmed the leaks and immediately held meetings with the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) to assess the problem and discuss solutions.

Panama Canal Administrator, Jorge Luis Quijano, said in a tweet that the relevant parties were discussing a plan to repair the leak.

The leak appeared during testing of the Cocoli locks. From photographic evidence it looks almost as though several layers of concrete have not properly bonded together.

The testing programme for the locks is a lengthy one, having begun in June with a 90 day period in order that any potential defects can be uncovered and measures taken to remedy them. The leak displayed in the video clip on this page suggests that remedial action may prove not only urgent but also problematic. Acccording to the Panama Canal Authority it will not accept the project until all necessary repairs are conducted by the contractor.

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Houston commercial photography
Southern Power Products CEO, Jacques Brϋmmer and Cimco Diesel Marine AB CEO Special Projects Account Manager, Andreas Blomdahl

Following an exclusive agreement between Southern Power Products and Cimco Diesel Marine AB, South Africa will join the focused worldwide pre-series testing phase of Cimco’s OXE Diesel S-BPU engines.

Southern Power Products has partnered with Cimco Diesel Marine AB to supply Sub-Sahara with OXE Diesel S-BPU engines – a new outboard motor conceptualised for the commercial market that powers off a horizontal instead of a vertical engine configuration.

"We are extremely excited to be part of the revolutionary OXE technology and to introduce a true diesel outboard solution to the marine industry," says Jacque Brummer of Southern Power Products.

The engines will be fitted to a customised Nautic Africa vessel that will be earmarked to do a long range trip around parts of the African continent, with product demonstrations at key markets. Locally, a test inflatable vessel will be outfitted with a single OXE configuration for customer demonstrations and will be tested once they arrive in December.

Not currently in production or available to the market, the OXE engines will undergo real world testing internationally via Cimco's global distributorship prior to production finalisation.

The engines are due to enter into production in the second quarter of 2016, but the series is already attracting the attention of international maritime media who anticipate that the combination of inboard diesel type power and outboard flexibility will appeal to the commercial market.

"The exclusive agreement between Cimco and Southern Power Products will make the engines available to the local shipbuilding market on their release," says James Fisher, CEO of Nautic Africa.

The patented S-BPU (self-contained belt propulsor unit) technology is the key to the development of a unit that answers to the needs of the commercial sector for continuous daily operation. With the elimination of bevel gears and transfer shafts, the belt technology provides increased torque transfer to the propeller.

Designed to meet the needs of US military and NATO with regard to Tier 3 emissions standards as well as refuelling in terms of the geographical availability of diesel, the OXE Diesel S-BPU – now in its seventh generation – has already undergone rigorous in-house testing.

The engine will be further validated over a variety of different environments and applications as Cimco distributes approximately 20+ units to collaborative partners worldwide.

The local industry will have the added opportunity to engage with the innovative outboard at the Cape Town Boat Show in October this year where Southern Power Products will demonstrate the OXE Diesel S-BPU ahead of its official commercial release.

Southern Power Products is anticipating the successful introduction of the engine and aims to establish sales and service network for the Cimco release in Sub-Sahara.

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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 French container ship, CMA CGM's 3,600 TEU capacity CMA CGM AFRICA TWO (51,634 dwt, built 2010) seen sailing from Cape Town earlier in the week bound for West African ports. Pictures by Ian Shiffman


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