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Ports & Ships Maritime News

6 September 2016
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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K-Line's 188-metre long car carrier SOUTHERN HIGHWAY (39,422-gt, built 2008) makes an entrance in the port of Durban last Thursday to load and discharge motor vehicles at the port's bustling car terminal. The vessel was this morning back outside the port in the outer anchorage after working her cargo in port, five days after her arrival in port! Built at the Shin Kurushinma Shipyard in Onishi, Japan as hull number 5500, the ship has the capacity to carry a maximum of 3,983 motor cars. This picture is by Trevor Jones

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Port of San Pedro, Ivory Coast. Picture courtesy OTAL

The port of Antwerp and the port of San Pedro in Cote d'Ivoire are to collaborate over the next few years to manage further expansion of this West African entrepot, the Port of Antwerp has announced.

San Pedro, the leading cacao (cocoa) port in the world, aims to develop at regional level so as to become a logistics hotspot for handling commodities such as fertilisers, cashew nuts and cacao, among other things. To achieve this ambition, work will start next year on construction of a logistics platform under the name of 'San Pedro Logistique.'

Part of the capital cost will be financed by Port of Antwerp International (PAI), the consultancy and investment subsidiary of Antwerp Port Authority. While PAI has already been active in West Africa for many years now, this will be the first time it has made a financial investment in the region.

The ports of San Pedro and Antwerp signed an agreement in 2011 for collaboration between them. Since then the freight volume handled by San Pedro has expanded to 4.9 million tonnes annually, a master plan for development of the port has been drawn up, logistics zones have been developed and mutual promotion has been carried out. This positive balance has now led the parties to renew the agreement for a further period of five years.

A new five-year Memorandum of Understanding was as a result signed on 1 September by Eddy Bruyninckx, CEO of Antwerp Port Authority, Kristof Waterschoot, director of PAI and Hilaire Lamizana, general manager of San Pedro Port Authority.

In addition to supplying the necessary technical expertise for the development, the agreement also specifies that APEC, the training centre for the port of Antwerp, will hold two training seminars per year for San Pedro port personnel.

Logistics Platform
One of the components of the master plan for development of the port of San Pedro is the creation of a logistics platform. The Belgian group Sea-Invest, which already operates in Cote d'Ivoire in the port of Abidjan, will take the lead for this initiative. On Thursday last week Sea-Invest presented its detailed plans for the new platform, construction of which is scheduled to begin early next year.

The overall price ticket for the project is 5.5 million euros, 35% of which will be financed by PAI. In exchange the latter will have two directorships in the company behind San Pedro Logistique. The platform is expected to be operational around the summer period of next year.

"This is the first concrete investment by the port of Antwerp in West Africa," says Eddy Bruyninckx, CEO of Antwerp Port Authority. "With this clear commitment we are emphasising our belief in the potential of San Pedro. Its geographical location and its connections with Liberia, Guinea and Mali represent enormous potential benefits for Antwerp which is already the market leader for West Africa."

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Artists impression of the MSC Meraviglia at sea

MSC Cruises has revealed the name of its second Meraviglia or Vista-class ultramodern mega cruise ship. She has been dubbed with as Italian a name as is possible and will be known as MSC BELLISSIMA.

The ship, which is being built by STX-France will come into service in the first quarter of 2019.

MSC Cruises is the Swiss-based world's largest privately-owned cruise line and a market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa.

"MSC Bellissima is a name that embodies the beauty and the magnificence of this entire next generation of MSC Cruises ultramodern mega-ships, so rich with new features and amenities for guests of all ages and interests," said Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises Chief Executive Officer. "We are so pleased to be able to make this announcement on the very day that her sister ship MSC Meraviglia is touched for the first time by water, a moment that symbolises the real 'birth' of a ship."

Onorato was referring to an announcement made that day (Saturday, 3 September) at STX France's shipyard in Saint Nazaire, as the company celebrated the floating out of MSC Cruises' first next-generation Vista-class ship, MSC MERAVIGLIA, which is due to come into service in June next year.

"Since we opened sales last year for MSC Meraviglia's inaugural season in the Western Mediterranean, from the very beginning demand has been extremely encouraging. This make us believe that this is a generation of ships with a bright future ahead, that has already caught the attention of holidaymakers from all markets," he said.

The float out is a key milestone in the construction of a ship, the equivalent of its launching. The dry dock in which the ship has been built is flooded and the ship is moved to a wet dock, where she then enters the final phase of her construction.

The Meraviglia class cruise ship is 315m long and 43m wide and has a gross tonnage of 167,600 tons. She will have 2,244 cabins fopr a maximum of 5,714 passengers and will be the biggest ships in the MSC Cruises' fleet. The event on Saturday allowed an unique opportunity to showcase some of the cutting edged design features that promise to make the Meraviglia generation ultramodern mega-ships uniquely innovative.

This includes, amongst her many on-board features, the specially designed Carousel Lounge where Cirque du Soleil artists will perform shows created exclusively for MSC Cruises guests, a 96 metre-long Mediterranean-style promenade with an 80 metre LED Sky that runs through the centre of the ship as well as an enhanced MSC Yacht Club, MSC Cruises' exclusive ship-in-ship luxury concept, with its own private facilities spanning three decks.

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Pomene Bay Lodge

Cruise lovers know that one cruise is never enough. MSC Cruises, which is the market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa, say it is constantly exploring new ways to make each season more irresistible than the last, and the 2017/18 season is no exception. "Guests can now look forward to stepping out onto a far-flung peninsula lauded as one of Mozambique's hidden jewels," Allan Foggitt, Marketing and Sales Director of MSC Cruises South Africa says.

Pomene Bay, 605km north of Maputo and 170km south of Vilanculos, is arguably one of the most picturesque destinations in Mozambique. The azure colours of the Indian Ocean seas lap onto the powdery white sand of this peninsula's palm-lined beaches on one side, while the other side is framed by the clear waters of a spectacular mangrove estuary.

"This is a destination that was as irresistible to us, as we know it will be for our guests," says Foggitt. "When Pomene Bay Lodge came onto the market, it was an easy call, we snapped it up. It may be challenging to reach by land, but its potential for cruise liner visitors was undeniable."

"With the economic downturn, more and more people are looking local, and while we pride ourselves on providing unbeatable value, we also strive to give our guests something spectacular -- something they will never forget," Foggitt says.

As with all its other exclusive destinations, MSC Cruises will develop its new property on the peninsula to mirror the sublime offerings that guests experience on board. The lodge's existing restaurant, bar, and sunset pool will be upgraded and extended, while new additions will include additional bars and restaurant dining decks, plus a spa for ultimate relaxation.

MSC Cruises is also developing an exciting catalogue of excursions for visitors to the peninsula. World class snorkelling surrounded by an astounding variety of marine life, exploring the jungle-like mangroves that burst with birdlife and juvenile reef fish, and 'forever' walks on pristine stretches of beach are just the start.

No stranger to developing exclusive destinations for cruise guests along Mozambique's shores, MSC Cruises says it will act with the same careful consideration for the local economy and ecology in its development of Pomene Bay as it has with Mozambique's island playground, Portuguese Island in the Inhaca Archipelago.

All construction is to be done in a way to protect the environmental integrity of the peninsula, and will completed in time for MSC Sinfonia's first call in 2017.

The MSC Sinfonia returns for the 2017/18 season which starts in October with almost 50 local cruises during six of Southern Africa's sunniest months. Portuguese Island remains a firm favourite on the new season itineraries, while 18 departures will be visiting Pomene Bay or a combination of both Pomene Bay and Portuguese Island.

Other firm favourites that remain on MSC's new itinerary are the Cape Town to Walvis Bay cruises, the popular 11 night New Year Durban, Reunion and Mauritius festive season cruise, and the promise of unforgettable experiences, and of course, the surprising affordability.

The ship will position to and from Durban via the popular East Coast route through the Suez Canal which will be great news for the many avid cruisers who were unable to get cabins on-board this season.

MSC Sinfonia provides stylish accommodation, an abundance of delicious cuisine, non-stop entertainment, and a wealth of activities available for adults, teens, and kids. Children under 18 years of age who share their parents cabins still stay and eat FREE.

With the adventures of Season 2017/18 just around the corner, bookings are already open, and MSC Cruises' dynamic pricing policy provides holidaymakers who book early with discounts of up to 50%.

MSC Sinfonia will meanwhile be cruising in South African and Mozambican waters as from 1 November at the start of her 2016/17 cruise season, with local cruises out of Durban and Cape Town.

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Barge 42, an example of the type of craftbuilt by Privinvest. A 42 metre multipurpose barge designed for unrestricted navigation, and specifically for areas which are difficult to access for it has a reduced beam and draught. A ramp at the bow enables landing and permits close beach approaches. Illustration: Privinvest

Privinvest together with Simportex, will develop and operate a shipyard in Angola. This was reported from Luanda, Angola, on 2 September where the Middle East-based shipbuilding group announced the start of a major shipbuilding and maritime economy programme with the Republic.

"This marks another step in our co-operation with one of the most dynamic economies in Africa. It shows that we have the skills and capabilities that generate appetite to promote high-level programmes in countries around the world," said Boulos Hankach, President of Privinvest Shipbuilding Investments LLC.

This programme will initially see Privinvest provide a range of vessels for the Angolan Navy. In parallel, Privinvest together with Simportex, will develop and operate a shipyard in Angola.

Furthermore, it is understood that this shipyard will have modern facilities, use advanced technology and will be able to build new ships, to service ships and to provide a wide range of servicing facilities for the existing fleet.

In addition to supplying a number of ships Privinvest will be providing technology transfer to enable construction of naval vessels in Angola.

This initiative is yet another component of Privinvest's investment strategy in Angola and the strengthening of business relations between Privinvest and the Republic of Angola, as part of the commitment to the development of the country's maritime economy.

Privinvest has facilities and shipyards in France and Germany and elsewhere with offices in the Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.

Core areas of Privinvest activities are the design and construction of naval and commercial vessels, supply of integrated systems, support programmes for naval fleets along with the support and transfer of technology to countries wishing to develop their shipbuilding industry. Ancillary to its shipbuilding activities Privinvest is increasingly involved in the hydrokinetic and turbine industry.

It is understood that Privinvest's shipyards have delivered more than 2,000 vessels and the company's products are to be found in more than 40 navies around the world.

Currently, it is reported that in addition to a number of private customers, the Privinvest group is working for six major navies. Privinvest's shipbuilding interests have consistently enjoyed export success and there is a strong order book from the group's customers worldwide.

Paul Ridgway

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PE's manganese terminal with oil tanks alongside. Picture courtesy TPT

As various cargo types slowly migrate over to the nearby deepwater port of Ngqura, attention is turning towards the future use of land and property as it becomes available at the Port Elizabeth harbour.

Some of the biggest challenges will be with the transferring of the manganese export terminal to Ngqura, and likewise with the fuel tank sites, both of which have severely contaminated the areas they occupy and which will have to be rehabilitated. Some very ambitious plans for this area have been discussed in recent years, including one of turning the area into an upmarket waterfront zone but given the known contamination of the existing terminals, especially at the liquid bulk terminal waterside level, makes this an extremely unlikely scenario.

One interesting factor concerns who will be left with the responsibility for rehabiliating these areas -- Transnet National Ports Authority, or those holding the current leases.

Port Elizabeth's main quay (Pier 1) is currently home to the container and car terminals, and as container volumes gradually dwindle in favour of Ngqura one might have expected that the car terminal would expand in proportion while leaving a smaller area for container handling.

In the 2010 Calendar Year Port Elziabeth container terminal averaged 27,000 TEU per month -- in July this year that number had dropped to 15,818 TEU. Some of that reflects the state of the economy, but much of the loss has been in container migration to Ngqura. Containwerwise, Port Elizabeth is being allowed to die slowly -- a once busy port that rivalled Cape Town in volume and importance.

Despite this, port development plans appear to indicate that the container terminal will be expanded!

It appears that the current plan is to relocate the car terminal to the opposite side of the harbour, on the site of the liquid bulk and manganese terminals, while Piers 2 and 3 (a single pier) which lie in between would remain for fruit exports and passenger ship handling.

We are not aware of the time frame for these developments, if indeed they are ever to come off. There doesn't appear to be any great haste involved but perhaps an indication of Transnet's intentions comes with the announcement last week that it has signed its first long-term leisure and recreational tenant lease in the Baakens River Precinct. This, says Transnet, marks a "milestone in plans to develop a future waterfront precinct at the harbour."

It turns out that Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has signed a 15-year lease with a black economic empowered entity known as Lebolog (Pty) Ltd which has resulted in a restaurant being established in what TNPA calls the finest piece of real estate in the port. The venue was officially unveiled last Fiday (2 September) but has been open for business since earlier in August.

PE Restuarant 1
One swallow doesn't make a summer, nor does one African-style restaurant make a waterfront, but on the other hand we can remember when the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town consisted basically of a pub named after one of SA's finest yachtsman, Bertie's Landing.

Port Manager Rajesh Dana said the signing of the lease took the port further along the way of evolving into a Smart People's Port with improved community access and recreational activities.

"We look forward to attracting a variety of tenants into this precinct in order to promote recreation, tourism and leisure activities in the port. In the future the port's Marina Development project -- stretching from the Baakens River to Dom Pedro Jetty -- will provide opportunities for expansion and growth for businesses," he said.

According to Dana the future marina development is envisaged as an integral part of the harbour's development and would link up with the Mandela Bay Development Agency's plans to develop the city's Baakens River for leisure and recreational purposes. These plans are also anchored by Transnet's concept of a people centric port, which aims to accommodate the diverse people of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro both culturally and economically.

Port Elizabeth waterfront development 20090506 4
This appeared as an exciting proposal for a waterfront on the site of the present manganese and fuel terminals and berths at Port Elizabeth. Are any of these plans still active? You can read this 2009 PORTS & SHIPS report HERE

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The Cape Town International Conference Centre has been a buzz of activity as the finishing touches are made for today's opening of the Cape Industries Showcase 2016 (CIS).

The Showcase opens at 10am, with more than 100 exhibitors taking part alongside a three day conference.

CIS 2016 oversees three key areas:

Oil & Gas Africa 2016 is the sole engineering supply chain expo serving the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Maritime & Offshore Marine Africa is focused on shipping and maritime commerce, safety and security, offshore exploration, shipping and fishing.

Cape Logistics attracts exhibitors focused on oil & gas movement alongside refrigeration, storage and transportation supplies and services.

"Buildup has gone very well with some well-designed stands emerging. Everything is on track as we look forward to welcoming visitors and delegates today," said Brad Hook, Commercial Director of the organiser dmg-ems Africa.

CIS 2016 will see the launch of a new conference this year. The summit brings together industry leaders, government entities and trade organisations to share latest industry trends, insight, opportunities and challenges in a lively format of debate and discussion.

Day one of the OGP Summit 2016 offers a range of insight from an analysis of African investment opportunities, current regulation as well as a presentation examining South Africa's shale gas reserves. Conference speakers include David Van Der Spuy, Conventional Resource Evaluation Manager at Petroleum Agency SA, who offers An Overview of Sub-Saharan Africa's Oil & Gas landscape, and Laura Peinke, Executive: Business Development, Saldanha Bay IDZ, who talks about optimising the financing and investments in the oil & gas industry.

She believes that the South African Oil & Gas sector is one of the largest potential growth areas for the country's economy.

All of the conference sessions over the three days attract Continuing Professional Development (CPD) certification enabling participants to upgrade their skills and knowledge under the recognised CPD programme.

For more information about the OGP Summit 2016 and CIS2016 in Cape Town go to www.africaogp.com

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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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Hapag-Lloyd's container ship HS BERLIOZ (45,000-dwt, built 2007)in Cape Town harbour earlier in August. Capable of carrying up to 3586 TEU, the ship was built by STX Shipbuilding Co, South Korea as hull number 1201. HS Berlioz is registered in Monrovia, Liberia. These pictures are by Ian Shiffman


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