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Ports & Ships Maritime News

19 July 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 African Navy hydrographic survey ship SAS PROTEA has been undertaking surveys of the KZN coast outside Durban in recent weeks, updating charts and records of the coastline leading to southern Africa's busiest and most strategic port. Here we see the Hecla class ship returning to port on 12 July. The picture is by Trevor Jones

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Stolt-Nielsen's chemical and oil products tanker STOLT INVENTION (36,905-dwt, built 1997) arrives off Durban earlier in July. This picture is by Ken Malcolm

Stolt-Nielsen Limited, which is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, announced yesterday (18 July) that it has agreed to acquire the organisation and chemical tanker operations of Jo Tankers.

The transaction comprises 13 chemical tankers and a 50% share in a joint venture with eight chemical tanker newbuildings. The total purchase price is approximately US$575.0 million, including the proportional share of the newbuildings in the joint venture.

Funding for the transaction has been secured through some of Stolt-Nielsen Limited's main banks with a combination of bridge financing, secured term loans and available corporate funds. The transaction is subject to competition authority approval, with a decision expected before the end of September 2016.

Commenting on the transaction, Mr Niels G Stolt-Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer of Stolt-Nielsen Limited, said, "The transaction covers the tonnage replacement needs of our current chemical tanker fleet for the next several years. While giving us some operational savings, it adds new trade routes to our service offering, thus expanding our presence on key tradelanes and enabling us to better serve the needs of our global customer base."

Mr Stolt-Nielsen said that with the expanded fleet Stolt-Nielsen will be better positioned to serve its customers with the quality, reliability and flexibility they require from their logistical provider. "Because Stolt Tankers and Jo Tankers share similar approaches to ship management and trading, we will be able to quickly, cost effectively and synergistically integrate these ships into our worldwide operations."

The 13 chemical tankers consist of eight all stainless steel ships, ranging from 19,000 dwt to 38,000 dwt, and five ships with a combination of stainless steel and coated tanks, all of approximately 37,000 dwt. Six of the 13 ships have been on time charter to Stolt Tankers for the last five years. The newbuildings included in the transaction consist of eight all stainless steel eco-friendly ships of 33,000 dwt on order from New Times Shipbuilding in China, the first of which was delivered in early July 2016. The seven remaining newbuildings are to be delivered in the second half of 2016 and in 2017.

Tankers of both Stolt-Nielsen and Jo Tankers are frequent callers in South African ports.

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Hapag-Lloyd has announced the enhancing of its West Africa-Med Express service (WMX) as from the end of July, in which it will feature an increased port coverage with the ports of La Spezia, Genoa and Takoradi, with sailings every 8 days from and to the Mediterranean. The port rotation will be La Spezia, Genoa (Genoa & Messina Terminal), Tarragona, Valencia, Algeciras (TTIA & APMT), Tangier, Dakar, Tin Can, Tema, Takoradi (twice monthly), Abidjan and back to La Spezia.

With the revised WMX service together with the WAX (West Africa Express), Hapag-Lloyd says it will have a further enhanced West African Network, with competitive transit times from the Mediterranean to West Africa and vice versa.

Tarragona, Valencia, as well as Algeciras and Tangier are used as connecting ports for transshipment to and from North America, Latin America and to and from the Far East.

"With the additional ports La Spezia, Genoa and Takoradi, we can offer you a sustainable service which will meet your transport requirements," said the company statement.

The West Africa Mediterranean Express (WMX) will commence in week 30 at La Spezia with the 34,973-dwt VIVIEN A, voyage 0116S, ETD La Spezia 30 July.

In other Hapag-Lloyd news.......

Hapag-Lloyd and United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) have signed an agreement to merge their two companies, subject to the necessary regulatory and contractual approvals.

The merger is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, with the new Hapag-Lloyd ranking among the five largest container shipping lines in the world, with 237 vessels and a total transport capacity of around 1.6 million TEU, an annual transport volume of 10 million TEU, and a combined turnover of approximately US$12 billion.

"With an average age of 6.6 years and an average vessel size of 6,600 TEU, the combined company will have one of the most modern and efficient fleets in the industry," Hapag-Lloyd claimed in a release yesterday.

The combined company will remain a registered and stock listed company in Germany with its head office in Hamburg.

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Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) has pleaded guilty in Australia's Federal Court to criminal cartel activity, following an investigation by the Australian Competition Consumer Commission (ACCC).

"This is the first criminal charge laid against a corporation under the criminal cartel provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act," said the chairman of the ACCC, Rod Sims.

The maximum fine for a criminal cartel offence in Australia is said to be the greater of US$10 million.

The criminal cartel conduct involved collusion with other operators while shipping motor vehicles to or from Australia between July 2009 and September 2012, the period that was investigated.

The case in Australia is simply the latest in a series of investigations into cartel type collusion by some of the world's leading RoRo carriers. Cases have been brought here in South Africa, with guilty parties paying heavy fines. In the United States, last week Wallenuis Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) agreed to plead guilty and pay a US$98.9 million criminal fine for its involvement in a conspiracy to fix prices of international ocean shipments of roll-on, roll-off (Ro-Ro) cargo to and from the Port of Baltimore and other locations in the United States.

WWL was the fourth shipping line charged in the US with conspiracy among international ocean shipping lines. According to the one-count felony charge filed last Wednesday in the US District Court for the District of Maryland, WWL conspired with other roll-on, roll-off ocean shipping lines from at least February 2000 until at least September 2012 to fix prices, rig bids, and allocate customers. See yesterday's PORTS & SHIPS (18 July 2016) for this full report.

In the United States several shipping executives from other companies have been sentenced to jail for their part in these conspiracies. Others have reportedly become fugitives of justice.

In Australia the case against NYK is scheduled for a directions hearing on 12 September 2016.

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>i>Picture: Wikipedia Commons

Transnet says the first phase in the expansion of the coalline between the Waterberg in Limpopo province and the port of Richards Bay in KZN has been completed.

The project entailed the construction of a 1.8 km long passing loop at Matlabas, enabling 100-wagon trains to cross without disrupting the operation of other trains on the line. The investment has resulted in a significant increase in rail capacity, improved operational efficiencies and faster turnaround times.

Rail capacity between Lephalale in the Limpopo Province and Richards Bay Coal Terminal has increased from 400,000 tons to 2 million tons of coal per annum since the completion of the project.

In addition, the loop has enabled Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) to increase its services from two trains to five a week, consistently without requiring more wagons. This improvement creates a high potential to run one train a day. Previously, Matlabas loop could only accommodate 50-wagon trains.

The project is a key aspect of Transnet's plans to spend R21.8 billion over the next seven years increasing rail capacity on the export coal line to 81 million tons pa. The investment is in line with the company's infrastructure investment programme, the Market Demand Strategy, which is aimed at creating capacity ahead of demand.

The construction of the Matlabas loop is the first of five phases to increase capacity on the Waterberg line.

Construction of the second stage has begun and is expected to increase the current 2 million tons of coal from Lephalale to Richards Bay, to 6 million tons per annum.

The second stage entails:

  • The construction of a 2.8km loop at Thabazimbi
  • Building a new 5km line to connect the loops at Bleskop and Norite
  • Creating a double line section
  • Building a new 7km line to connect the loops at Dam and Onderstepoort creating another double line section.
  • The long loops and short double line sections will enable long trains to pass without disrupting operations. Upon completion of the second stage, Freight Rail will increase the current service from one jumbo wagon train (200-wagon train) a day to three big trains a day.

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    East London maritime students

    SMIT Amandla Marine says that, as industry sponsor of the first maritime economics textbook published in January 2016 as well as a dedicated online maritime economics resource at www.maritimesa.org, it considers that its support for maritime education in South Africa at secondary level is without compare.

    For the leading employer of South African seafarers, inspiring the mariners of the future is part of the company's strategic approach to raising maritime awareness and supporting maritime education, SMIT Amandla said in a statement this week.

    It is this ethos that underpins the company's partnership with the Eastern Cape Department of Education, and SMIT Amandla Marine's involvement with George Randell High School and Ngwenyathi Senior Secondary School in East London. Both schools began offering Maritime Economics and Nautical Science to Grade 10 learners this year. With motivated learners and engaged educators, as well as high commitment from the Department of Education, industry support is essential in order to maintain momentum.

    "It is important to us to partner at grassroots level, moving beyond donations and really getting involved," says SMIT Amandla Marine's HR Executive Nceba Mfini. "It's an approach we have also adopted in the past in KwaZulu Natal, where we have worked with JG Zuma High School's Maritime Economics staff and learners. We're now working to assist those involved in making this ground breaking initiative in East London a success into the future."

    SMIT Amandla Marine has equipped the learners and educators with textbooks and online resources and will be presenting four laptops in the new school term for use by educators in ensuring that vital resources can be shared, and access to various support tools is easier. In April 2016, SMIT Amandla Marine also funded a holiday maritime economics support programme -- rolled out for 60 learners and their educators from both schools in East London and hosted by textbook author Ms Balungile Masuku.

    "It's a partnership that is essential in ensuring a solid foundation from which these programmes can gain traction," notes Nceba Mfini. "We feel honoured to work closely with the Eastern Cape Department of Education and the management of the two schools, under the stewardship of DDG in the Office of the Premier, Mr Mahlubandile Qwase."

    This commitment has been recognised by the Eastern Cape Department of Education's Deputy Chief Education Specialist, Mr Siphiwo Ngeni. "On behalf of the Department of Basic Education, I would like to thank SMIT Amandla Marine for the generous donation invested in our Maritime Schools. Your contribution makes it possible for us to operate normally without any hindrances. Since we started this year you have played a major role in the running of the programme."

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    Palm Springs commercial photography

    Palm Springs commercial photography
    Wave action at Walvis Bay (top) and construction of new Walvis Bay container terminal

    Strategic advisory services for ports and marine terminals from Advisian

    Advisian, the global advisory business of the WorleyParsons Group, reports significant growth in their Ports and Marine Terminals division in recent months, as increasing emphasis is placed on efficient terminal operations. These are considered essential for sustaining national competitiveness, addressing the challenges of population growth, urbanisation and climate change, and maintaining and growing market share for any port complex.

    Advisian is headquartered in Cape Town, where its sub-Saharan Ports and Marine Terminals practice plans, designs and provides construction oversight for port terminals and marine and coastal structures.

    The South African based team comprises multi-national engineering professionals, bringing together capabilities and experience from Brazil, Australia, Spain, Italy and South Africa.

    Francois Smit, Practice Manager for Ports and Marine Terminals in Sub-Saharan Africa, heads up the team and says that Advisian's range of expertise includes coastal and marine structures engineering, ocean and coastal processes modelling, and marine terminal planning and design.

    He adds that the team's capabilities extend across the full range of terminal types and incorporates support for clients in all project phases, from feasibility studies and preliminary and detailed engineering design, through to procurement, construction supervision and management.

    According to Advisian, ports and marine terminal operators are faced with their own challenges, such as the rapid growth of freight volumes, cyclical demand for mineral resources (and the remoteness of these resources), as well as the increasing role of ports in global supply chain management. In order to cope with these challenges, brownfield ports around the world are finding it necessary to revisit their capacities, production efficiencies and service offerings, and in some instances greenfield ports need to be developed to meet changing and growing demands.

    Smit says that Advisian is unique in having the capability to provide management and strategic advisory services that are coupled with in-house technical consulting supported by deep domain expertise.

    In addition to providing port and terminal operators with a comprehensive range of services spanning the full project lifecycle, Advisian also offers customers access to industry knowledge and technical specialties needed to compete effectively in a rapidly changing and competitive environment.

    Smit says that while the South African branch of Advisian primarily supports sub-Saharan Africa, the Ports and Marine Terminals team also provides assistance to Advisian and WorleyParsons' global offices, as illustrated by the team's recent involvement in projects in the Black Sea, Turkey, Iraq, the UAE and Oman. Conversely, the African market likewise benefits from leveraging the group's global capabilities, such as iron ore expertise out of Australia, subsea and floating systems expertise through the Advisian INTECSEA group, and high value design services through Global Design Centres situated in India and China.

    Locally, the team works closely with other Advisian SSA practices, including Transport, Minerals and Metals, Energy, Environment & Society, Operations Improvement and Specialist Consulting. The team similarly supports the WorleyParsons RSA hydrocarbons, mining and infrastructure engineering services divisions on projects throughout the region, and has extensive experience working with Chinese EPC contractors in both engineering design and independent review engineer roles.

    Globally, the WorleyParsons group is at the forefront of marine engineering, offering master planning, comprehensive design, field services, permitting assistance, project and programme management and construction supervision for port projects. These diverse marine capabilities and understanding of complex port requirements for commercial ports and the mining and hydrocarbons industries allows for the integration of environmental, coastal, geotechnical and market conditions in designs to deliver long-term, cost-effective and efficient solutions.

    As part of the WorleyParsons Group, Advisian has over 2,700 consultants in 19 countries around the world and draws upon its global expertise and experience to provide management and strategic advisory services to their clients at all stages of the project life cycle in order to drive capital productivity, minimise operational expenditure and increase operating margins through environmental optimisation.

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    Request a Rate Card frominfo@ports.co.za


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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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    IMG-20160717-WA0004 Dormac pic 480

    As has been featured in PORTS & SHIPS this week, the new Dormac Dock 1 floating dock has arrived in Durban on tow from the Ukraine where it was built by the firm of Pollada. The new dock will soon be going into service alongside a new quay being built adjacent to the floating dock basin at Bayhead. Here we see the tug and dock arriving in Durban after a long two and a half month voyage around the bulge of Africa. The tug doing the tow was Fairplay No 33. These pictures are courtesy of Dormac Marine


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