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Ports & Ships Maritime News

5 April 2016
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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The South Korean longliner DONG WON 637 has been one of several such vessels in Durban this past week, releasing their catches to be packed in refrigerated containers and shipped back to Korea or whatever destination has been arranged. The 49 metre vessel has a capacity of 304 tons in her fish hold. South Korea operates a fleet of about 190 longliner vessels in various parts of the world. This picture is by Ken Malcolm

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Durban Container Terminal, which faces a blockade as a protest against road trucks and road congestion

The busy Durban Container Terminal, which handles over half of South Africa's container imports and exports, faces a blockade of its road access later this month by members of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, better known simply as SDCEA.

The organisation is organising what it says will be a peaceful but effective blockade of all road transport accessing or leaving DCT on Wednesday, 27 April for a period of three hours.

"Our message is that local communities have had enough of Transnet and the business community development expansion of containers and trucks on our roads," said Desmond D'Sa, co-ordinator of SDCEA.

D'Sa is an activist and the 2014 Africa winner of the 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize, the world's largest recognition for grassroots environmental activists.

He said the blockade will commence at 10h00 on 27 April and will last three hours and called for support from the local communities.

In effect, the blockade will cause a backing up road trucks along the length of Bayhead Road and possibly even further, unless Transnet is somehow able to delay the arrival of vehicles for that morning.

D'Sa said that the livelihoods of fisherfolk and the airport farmers remain threatened by what he described as Transnet's irresponsible development in the Durban harbour and at the old airport site.

The dispute over fishing relates to a Transnet ban on fishing within the port precincts in terms of the international ISPS code, of which South Africa is a signatory. SDCEA and the fishing clubs intended taking the matter to court but Transnet relented a couple of days before the Durban High Court appearance, and has since allowed fishing to take place in selected areas to the licensed fishing community, which is largely made up of Indian people, many of whom are subsistence fishermen.

Similarly, SDCEA is acting on behalf of a small community of market garden farmers who leased sections of unused land on the outer boundary of the old Durban International Airport site from the Airports Company of South Africa, in order to grow vegetables. When this land was sold to Transnet for a planned so-called Dig-out-Port, the garden farmers livelihoods became threatened.

SDCEA is a highly influential environmental justice organisation based in south Durban. It is made up of 16 affiliate organisations, and has been active since its formation in 1996. Much of its success comes from being a vocal and vigilant grouping in terms of lobbying, reporting and researching industrial incidents and accidents in the area. One of the first successes of SDCEA was its formation as an Environmental NGO. Participants cut across all race, creed and colour lines in South Durban on common issues.

Among the tools used in the region are advocacy and lobbying which SDCEA has used extensively to fight for better air quality and which has led to a number of successes. However, the South Durban region is heavily industrialised with two large paper mills (Sappi and Mondi), two of the country's five refineries (Engen and Sapref), the giant Cutler Complex at the harbour which houses over a thousand storage tanks, and an estimated 300 other smaller industries all contributing to what has been described as a dangerous and toxic soup in the air. The region stretches from the Durban Harbour to Umkomaas in the south.

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Crystal Serenity in Cape Town in 2015. Picture is by Ian Shiffman

Alarm bells are sounding as the 69,000 gross ton cruise ship CRYSTAL SERENITY prepares to become the largest pasenger ship ever to attempt a crossing of the Artic Ocean in what is known as the Northwest Passage.

The cruise ship will make the attempt during the approaching northern summer with over a thousand passengers plus 600 crew members on board, leading to doubts over how prepared Canada's Coast Guard is should anything go wrong.

The Northwest cruise takes place this August -- previously several cruise ships have made the journey but they were all much smaller vessels with much less passengers and crew to worry about. The region is one of the least well-mapped areas anywhere in the world and is largely out of reach of Canada's search and rescue helicopters, reports CBC News.

As sea temperatures rise a shrinking ice pack is opening up even the longer passage across the top of Russia and Siberia but never anything on this scale has been attempted.

Michael Byers, a Canada research chair in global global politics and international law at the University of British Columbia told the American broadcaster that the Canadian Coast Guard was not properly equipped to handle a large-scale disaster across the route of the Northwest Passage.

"If the entire ship -- all 1,000 passengers, all 600 crew -- require search and rescue, for instance, if the ship sinks, then that would actually break the Canadian search-and-rescue system. They would not be able to get to those people and retrieve them in time," he told CBC News.

The report said that in 2010 the smaller Clipper Adventurer cruise ship was travelling through the passage when it struck an uncharted rock shelf in Coronation Gulf, near Kugluktuk, Nunavut. It took almost two days for a Coast Guard icebreaker to arrive.

Both the Canadian and U.S. Coast Guard are running a series of worst-case scenario drills and exercises in the Arctic in the next few weeks to prepare for a disaster of this magnitude.

"As a coast guardsman, I don't want a repeat of the Titanic. We need to make sure we think this through and get it done correctly," U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Dan Abel said.

However, Crystal Cruises has chartered an icebreaker which will follow the cruise ship throughout the passage while on board will be polar navigation specialists and ice-spotting radar and lights.

If this journey proves successful then it seems likely that other cruise companies will follow. All in the search for new adventures for an increasingly jaded cruise population wanting something new and something different. source: CBC News

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Picture by Charles Corbett

South Africa's premier bulk port commemorated its 40th anniversary on Friday, 1 April, with further celebratory events planned for the remainder of the year.

The Port of Richards Bay was established in 1976 and, despite being one of the 'newcomers' to the industry, has expanded to include a variety of exports, while earning a solid reputation for itself.

Chief Executive of Transnet National Ports Authority, Richard Vallihu, said the landmark year for the port served as an indicator of the economic growth opportunities available.

"When you consider that this area was once seen as one lacking in potential as a harbour, the rise of the port and the town as a whole becomes that much more remarkable. The success of the Port of Richards Bay over these past 40 years demonstrates the capabilities of the country and our ports in providing a system of growth that is beneficial to the surrounding communities, promoting careers and business opportunities in the maritime industry," Vallihu said.

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Prior to the advent of port development here, Richards Bay was little more than a small fishing village to the east of the Zululand town of Empangeni. Thanks to the port activities Richards Bay has spread and is now linked with Empangeni as a small city.

The port was developed in order to export coal to Japan. Within a few years it was far exceeding export estimates and has since progressed to the stage where it handled almost 75 million tons of export coal last year, and with other commodities a total of 102 million tons of cargo was handled (calendar year).

Other products handled at the port include magnetite, chrome ore, alumina, coking coal and ferro alloys as well as liquid bulk products.

The creation of the port has seen various industries being attracted to Richards Bay, providing thousands of direct and indirect job opportunities for the people of the city and in turn, transforming the small fishing village into an industrial hub, while supporting big businesses such as Richards Bay Coal Terminal, BHP Billiton, Richards Bay Minerals and Foskor.

The port now consists of 23 berths, and boasts specialised cargo handling facilities, fast vessel turnaround, deep-water infrastructure, excellent rail links to the hinterland and a large greenfield development potential, all of which has made the Port of Richards Bay one of the world's leading bulk ports.

Preston Khomo, Richards Bay Port Manager, said the achievements of the port showcased the key aspect of working together to build the standing of an entire public. "The continued success of the Port of Richards Bay will be dependent upon partnerships with business and the community, and we see this landmark anniversary as a means through which these relationships can be strengthened," he said.

As part of the port's 40th Anniversary celebrations, TNPA has planned a number of events to mark the occasion. The festivities kicked off on 1 April, when TNPA honoured the real heroes of the port's achievements -- the employees.

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The Saldanha Bay IDZ Licencing Company Bill was at its final stage and the DA in the Western Cape says it is pleased with the progress that has been made by the Standing Committee on Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture in the Western Cape, together with all stakeholders.

The oil and gas service sector forms part of the Western Cape's strategic objectives and aims to increase direct jobs by more than 21,000 within the next five years.

The draft of the Saldanha Bay IDZ Licencing company Bill 2015 was referred to the Standing Committee on 28 February 2016 for consideration and reporting. Public hearings were conducted in Saldanha Bay and Cape Town on the 1st and 2nd of March. 2016. The Standing Committee deliberated the contents of the Bill and took into consideration both written and verbal inputs made by all stakeholders. The informal and formal consideration of the Bill was concluded by the Standing Committee on 22 March 2016.

This bill deals with only the essential provisions and is not isolated in its existence, but fits into a whole host of national legislation -- more specifically the Special Economic Zone Act, the Companies Act and the PFMA. Without this Bill, the Saldanha Bay IDZ cannot transact or conclude its property agreements with the IDC and TNPA, nor can it transact with SARS (SA Revenue Services).

The West Coast District economy contributed 32 percent of the Western Cape GDP in 2013 and is the fourth largest employer within the Western Cape. The development of the Saldanha Bay IDZ forecasts a R53.4bn cumulative contribution to the Western Cape GGP by the end of 2020, with an approximately R8,2bn in cumulative taxes back to the national fiscus.

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A maritime country profile provides a basic snapshot of a country's situation regarding maritime transport and international trade, facilitating convenient cross-country comparisons. The Maritime Country Profiles will be updated regularly as new data becomes available.

Throughout most of history, 'maritime nations' had their own national fleets, which were built, owned, operated, and manned by nationals of the same country whose flag the ship flew. Today, different countries mostly participate in different maritime businesses.

Policy makers have an interest to identify those maritime sectors where their countries participate at present, or might participate in future. To assist policy makers in depicting their country's market shares and trends in its maritime sectors, UNCTAD has launched a novel set of Maritime Country Profiles. Each Maritime Country Profile consists of six blocks:

1. Basic Data: The UNCTAD Maritime Country Profile provides core data on each country's economy, trade and maritime sectors.
2. Market shares: A key component of the UNCTAD Maritime Country Profile is each country's share in selected maritime sectors (ship registration, owning, building, demolition and container port traffic) as well as its population, gross domestic product, coastline and merchandise trade.
3. Merchandise trade: Each profile gives a snapshot of what commodities are traded (all modes of transport), what is the trade balance, and who are the main trading partners.
4. Trade in transport services: Another component of each country profile is a table on basic trade in services data, including trade in transport services, and the trade balance in these services.
5. The nationally flagged fleet: The country profile shows trends in the nationally flagged fleet, as well as the composition as regards types of ships.
6. Liner shipping connectivity: The Maritime Country Profiles also illustrate each country's position within the global liner shipping network. It includes a time line of the national Liner Shipping Connectivity Index, as well as a list of the countries with the highest bilateral connectivity.

The profiles can be accessed on the UNCTAD website HERE. They are also available in French.

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Bollore has announced that it is grouping together its transport and logistics businesses under a single brand -- Bollore Transport & Logistics.

The announcement was made last week and as a result SDV, SAGA, BLP, Bollore Africa Logistics and Bollore Energie are now under one single branding.

Bollore says this is in line with the needs of customers.

The company said the organisation of company activities into geographic sectors has been replaced with an organisation by business lines, to be known as Bollore Transport & Logistics, which has four entities -- ports, logistics, railway and energy.

The purpose of the re-organisation of the group is aimed at enabling the respective businesses to consolidate their leading positions in France and in Africa and to generate external growth and accelerate the global development of activities. The synergies between the four business units should promote the diversification of business lines and offerings and bring specific solutions to clients' requirements, while adapting to market developments.

Speaking about the new development, Cyrille Bollore, chairman of Bollore Transport & Logistics, expressed his enthusiasm towards the new organisation and its challenges.

"The grouping together of our businesses is above all an opportunity for our clients. We are anticipating their needs and developing management and operational tools, adapted to SMEs and to industrial companies, whether they are in Tokyo, Houston or Lome," he said.

"Our investment policy over the long term enables us to design, finance and operate major projects. This single brand also enables us to provide all our clients with our expertise in Africa, where we have been present for thirty years with a honed knowledge of the region.

In 2014 Bollore Africa Logistics merged two subsidiary companies operating in South Africa, SAEL and SDV, with the merged company becoming SDV South Africa.

In 2015 Bollore Transport & Logistics had a turnover of EURO 8.3 billion. The group employs a staff of 36,000 in 105 countries. Founded in 1822, the Bollore Group is one of the 500 largest companies in the world.

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Port Louis - Indian Ocean 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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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

We publish news about the cruise industry here in the general news section, but this is also available in a dedicated Cruise News section. This section will include various stories and news not covered in the general news so if you have an interest in this sector don't forget to check regularly on our CRUISE NEWS page.

This you will find here in CRUISE NEWS & REVIEWS

Naval News
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Similarly you can read our regular Naval News reports and stories which also have their own dedicated section, although some stories may be duplicated in the general news section.

Find the Naval Review section HERE

Remember to use your backspace key to return to this page.


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The top picture is courtesy of the UK Ministry of Defence, the lower picture is by Alan Calvert

The Royal Navy's polar research ship HMS PROTECTOR A173 is due in Cape Town on 12 May for a six week laybye until 28 June, according to the Port of Cape Town. In February this year the ship called at Lyttleton in New Zealand when we last reported on her activities.

Unlike most other warships, HMS Protector is painted in bright red, indicating that she will frequently be operating in Antarctic waters. She was designed for this purpose but not by or for any navy. Instead she was the Norwegian research ship POLARBJORN which was placed in the charter market. That was when she first attracted the attention of the Lords of the Admiralty and in 2011 the ship was chartered for a three year period.

Prior to her entering the Royal Navy fleet, albeit as a charter vessel, her Norwegian owners agreed to allowing her heli-deck to be repositioned on the stern of the vessel, navy style, and a multibeam echosounder for survey work was installed. She also received modifications in order to carry the ancillary vessels and land-based vehicles of the British Antarctic Survey.

Apparently the Sea Lords were satisfied with her performance because the British Ministry of Defence bought the ship outright for GBP 51 million and HMS PROTECTOR undertook her first deployment as an owned naval ship in November 2013.

Her laybye in Cape Town itself is not unusual, the ship having similarly laid over in September 2014 for a short period.


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