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Ports & Ships Maritime News

12 April 2016
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


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cma cgm rio grande stern 2016 apr 2016 480
The French container ship CMA CGM RIO GRANDE (112,000-dwt, built 2016) outbound from Cape Town on her maiden voyage to South Africa on 5 April 2016, having sailed from Shekou (China), Singapore and Port Klang in South East Asia. Her next port after Cape Town was Walvis Bay in Namibia where the ship arrived yesterday. CMA CGM Rio Grande has a container capacity of 9,894 TEU. This picture is by Ian Shiffman

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Map: Drewry

Newton's Third Law says that for every action there has to be an equal and opposite reaction, or words to that effect. So it is proving as shipping lines backhauling their vessels around the Cape of Good Hope are being tempted with a 30 percent discount to return to making use of the Suez Canal in both directions.

The Cape route has become popular again for backhauling container ships on the Asia / East Coast North American continent service, as well as Asia / Northern Europe, with something in the order of a hundred container ships having passed the Cape of Good Hope in recent months rather than return to Asia using the Suez Canal for the shorter more direct route, thus avoiding high transit costs.

Faced with these missing ships and resultant revenue losses, the Suez Canal Authority is reported to be lowering their transit fees by a hefty 30 percent to induce shipping lines to return.

The trend to using the Cape once again to backhaul to Asia, when return cargoes are minimal and thus the ships are earning little revenue, has become attractive as a means of containing costs -- principally those involving canal transit fees -- despite the advantage of lower fuel costs. By slow steaming the lines believe there are overall savings being effected on the longer, slower route.

According to a report in Loadstar the diversion around the Cape has hit hard at the canal (and Egyptian) authorities as well as private investors who invested US$8 billion in building a 36 kilometre second channel that was confidently expected to increase canal traffic.

The report says that a re-evaluation of the cost of the additional sea passage against the cost of a canal transit indicated in favour of going via the Cape when the ship has little revenue earning cargo and no great rush to meet arrival deadlines. It has meant however the inclusion of additional vessels into the rotation in order to maintain that schedule integrity.

As an example of the costs, a 13,000-TEU ship adds 3,500 nautical miles and just over a week using the Cape route. That's a typical bunker burn of $180,000 against typical canal fees of $350,000.

In response the Suez Canal Authority is now offering a 30 percent rebate on canal fees for ships from the North American Atlantic seaboard destined for Port Kelang, or other ports east of the Malay hub.

According to Alphaliner data, there are currently six Asia-US east coast alliance services now backhauling ships via the Cape rather than via the canal, as well as two US east coast/Caribbean services previously returning via the Panama Canal. source: The Loadstar, Alphaliner

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by Vernon Buxton

Cruise Travel is a bi-monthly American magazine focusing on ships and destinations, plus a lively 'LETTERS' section where passengers invariably let-fly about things they have not enjoyed on a particular ship, or a recurring bad experience with any one of the popular cruise lines.

Some correspondents, however, have nothing but good to say about the act of cruising and one particularly pleasing contribution in the latest edition came from one Kari Jones from Norway, who wrote a charming piece entitled 'Why I love cruising':

So many people keep asking me why I go on all these cruises? Well, on no other form of a holiday can I feel like such a queen! I pack and unpack once only, even if I am away for 14 days, visiting 10-plus different destinations. My room steward makes me feel like he serves me and only me.

My cabin is made up twice a day, with a chocolate on my pillow each night. I have several options to choose from for dining. And the people who serve me care about me and my well-being.

I can choose what to do, with no pressure to do anything if I don't want to. I have a chance to wear diamonds and gowns if I want to, or simply be casual if I choose.

I am entertained, fed, and well rested. I have the wonderful open seas to smell, listen to, and admire. I can stay on one of many sun-filled decks, or sit in a lounge and people-watch. I can read a book, go to the gym, or just take a relaxing nap. I can order room service and eat on my balcony, or join my fellow passengers in a restaurant. If I feel like shopping, there are shops onboard to browse in, or if I feel lucky, to the casino I go. I don't ever have to leave the ship if I don't want to.

But who would not want to leave the ship? Because the best is that while this floating hotel looks after all my needs, it also takes me to new and exciting places every day. I can go for a hike in in the rain forest, or snorkel with sea turtles, or swim with the stingrays, or visit a botanical garden. What about a stroll around the town or a trip to the beach? Perhaps a tour of the island or some historical place? Then, at the end of the day I can go to my cabin and get rocked to sleep.. and wake up in a new place or exciting new country the next day.

The most difficult choice you have to make throughout your cruise vacation is what to choose what to do each day?

So now you know why I like cruising.
Kari Jones, Oslo, Norway.

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Richard Vallihu, Chief Executive of Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and his Executive Committee, invites businesses in Richards Bay and surrounding areas to a Business to Business (B2B) Breakfast.

The session will provide an update on TNPA's infrastructure development plans, Operation Phakisa initiatives, Section 56 projects and initiatives around 'Smart People's Ports'.

Through these engagements, TNPA hopes to continue to facilitate open communication with stakeholders and co-create a sustainable future.

  • Date: Thursday 14 April 2016
  • Venue: Protea Hotel Empangeni, 64 Turnbull Street, Empangeni
  • Time: 08h00 to 10h00
  • RSVP (essential): Jozi Meth -- jozi@logicocreative.co.za
  • Please indicate any special dietary requirements when RSVP'ing.

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    NORWEGIAN JOY, previously named NORWEGIAN BLISS, was built by Meyer Werft in Germany and enters service from the Chinese ports of Tianjin and Shanghai in a year's time.

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    After keeping features on the new NORWEGIAN JOY under wraps, Norwegian Cruise Line has revealed a long list of new and innovative onboard options for the Chinese market. The company also elaborated on homeporting plans for the first time, noting the ship will sail from Shanghai and Tianjin. With a capacity of 3,900 guests, down from 4,200 on the NORWEGIAN ESCAPE, the Joy will deliver on the promise that guests will enjoy 'First Class at Sea' experiences, insists NCL.

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    At the top of the ship there is a 'two-level' racetrack, a first-ever at sea. Also an open-air laser tag, in addition to the Galaxy Pavilion, promising an immersive virtual reality experience, thrilling simulator rides and interactive video walls. There will be hover-craft bumper cars and a racing simulator. The ship will have two multi-story waterslides and the top deck will feature a new open-space park.

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    The accent is also on VIP accommodations. The Haven will feature 74 suites, and there will be a new class of rooms as well: The Concierge level, featuring larger balcony staterooms with en-suite amenities and the services of a dedicated concierge to make arrangements onboard, from entertainment to dining.

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    Few cruise lines get this facility right, an expansive Observation Lounge from which to watch sea vistas sweep by. The picture reveals a truly exemplary focal point.

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    The Haven has its own pool area, with a sun roof, loungers and even tuck-away areas.

    The contemporary cruise liner has become something really special. The advances in just a decade truly defy comprehension. And now the Chinese market has a chance to savour uber-contemporary offerings, and they'll undoubtedly respond -- in their millions.

    for Ports & Ships

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    Wan Hai 222 480
    No sentiment wasted here. All of Wan Hai Steamship Company's owned container ships are identified simply by a number. This is WAN HAI 222 (23,805-dwt, built 1994), a 1368-TEU capacity, 174-metre long container ship built by Naikai Zosen Corp in Japan as their hull number 593. This picture by Yochan

    Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who's the most profitable of us all?

    According to shipping analyst Alphaliner, that honour no longer rests with the giant Danish shipping company of Maersk Line, but much less well-known Taiwanese company Wan Hai.

    The analysis is based on operating margins, which reveal that Wan Hai earned US$127 million before interest and tax, a 6.3 percent margin on its $2 billion revenue, just ahead of the six percent achieved by Maersk's $1.4 billion EBIT on revenue of $23.7 billion, the industry analyst said.

    French carrier CMA CGM ranked third at 5.8 percent followed by Hong Kong's OOCL at five percent in Alphaliner's survey of the 16 largest lines that have published full-year results for 2015.

    These four carriers since 2010 have consistently posted core EBIT margins at around six percent, above the industry average.

    The disparity in the scale of operations between Maersk and Wan Hai "suggests that size alone does not explain the outperformance of these carriers," Alphaliner said.

    "At the other end of the spectrum, several Asian carriers have continued to post dismal results."

    China Shipping was the worst performing line with a full-year loss of $335 million and a -6.5 percent EBIT margin. Cosco, its merger partner, lost $227 million for a -3.2 percent margin.

    Mediterranean Shipping Co, the world's second-largest carrier by capacity after Maersk, is privately held and does not publish financial results.

    Wanhai remained the most profitable carrier in the quarter with a sharply reduced margin of 1.2 percent, followed by CMA CGM at 0.6 percent and Germany's Hapag-Lloyd at 0.1 percent.

    Maersk slipped to fifth, behind Israeli carrier Zim Integrated Shipping Services, with a negative margin of 2.3 percent.

    "While the fall in bunker prices initially boosted the carriers' financial performance, this effect was rapidly eroded when shipping lines forcibly passed all these cost savings on to shippers through lower freight rates." source: schednet

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    Enjoy this short [4:56] time lapse video clip of one of three the Maersk Brazil container ships, Mercosul Suape (2,478-TEU) visiting several ports while operating under Brazil's cabotage rules. Video ex YouTube

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    HMS Somerset (foreground) escorting Russian Udaloy class destroyer Admiral Kulakov. Photo: UK Crown Copyright 2016

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    HMS Somerset (foreground) with Russian tanker and Udaloy class destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov. Photo: UK Crown Copyright 2016

    A Royal Navy warship shadowed a Russian Naval Task Group transiting the English Channel and steaming up the East Coast of the UK in late March.

    HMS Somerset, a Type 23 frigate, along with her Merlin helicopter was used to detect and monitor the movement of the Russian warship, Vice Admiral Kulakov and her supporting ships.

    Somerset was on a training mission when she received the signal to locate and escort the Russian units. As with other Royal Navy ships operating around the UK, Somerset was at a high state of alert to deal with any maritime security task, including the monitoring of transits through the UK area of responsibility by non-NATO warships.

    Vice Admiral Kulakov is a Russian Udaloy class destroyer and was returning from a deployment to Syria. She was accompanied by a tanker and a tug, which is standard procedure for Russian ships. Somerset intercepted the Task Group off Brest as it approached the south west entrance to the English Channel on 23 March and escorted the Russian warships through UK waters until they turned for home on 29 March, after spending the Easter weekend off the east coast of Scotland.

    This group carried out an underway replenishment in the North Sea and off the Scottish coast, outside UK territorial waters.

    The Royal Navy's operation involved collaboration with NATO forces, with the French warship La Motte-Picquet and the Royal Netherlands Navy's Friesland also tracking the Russian Task Group as it passed French and Dutch waters respectively.

    Somerset kept a watchful eye on the ships as they anchored in international waters, twenty miles from shore in the Moray Firth, to avoid Storm Katie. It is understood that this was not Vice Admiral Kulakov's first visit to UK waters as she paid a goodwill visit to Portsmouth in August 2012.

    From time to time Russian warships of the Northern and Baltic Fleets routinely take passage through UK waters en route to deployments in the Mediterranean and Gulf regions.

    Commander Michael Wood, CO of Somerset, commented: "This transit was continually monitored through a co-ordinated response between the Royal Navy and our NATO partners. The transit of Russian ships from the Mediterranean to their northern ports is not unusual, but the Royal Navy is ready at all times to protect UK territorial waters."

    Based in Plymouth, Somerset is about to start a short maintenance period before resuming patrol duties around the UK as part of the Royal Navy's commitment to protect the nation's interests.

    Paul Ridgway

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    Request a Rate Card frominfo@ports.co.za


    Port Louis 470
    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
    SA Navy 480

    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.


    HAMBURG 10 April 2016 1 480

    HAMBURG 10 April 2016 4 480

    The German cruise ship HAMBURG (15,067-gt, built 1997) has arrived on the South African coast and is seen here sailing from Durban after a two-day stop-over. The ship, which can carry up to 420 passengers, is operated by Bremen-based Plantours Kreuzfahrten and from Durban was headed for East London (in port yesterday) and Port Elizabeth (today). Her expected arrival in Cape Town is on Friday, the 15th of this month. Hamburg once operated for Hapag-Lloyd as their Columbus. These pictures are by Trevor Jones


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