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Ports & Ships Maritime News

2 December 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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MSC LANA 26 November 2016 2 480

The container ship MSC LANA (29,337-dwt, built 1999) arrives in Durban ex India and the Middle East. The Maltese-flagged ship is owned and managed by Cypriot interests and is on charter to MSC since July 2014, having replaced another ship of the same name. This picture is by Trevor Jones

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The Cape Town-based firm of SMIT Amandla Marine has been acquired by African Marine Solutions Group (AMSOL), a 100% South African owned consortium that includes the management and employees of SMIT Amandla Marine.

To AMSOL consortium partners who include Pan-African Capital Holdings, Mineworkers Investment Company, RMB Ventures, employees and management, creating a 59% black South African-owned company, is part of a shared commitment to economic transformation in the maritime industry, says Managing Director, Paul Maclons.

And for permanent employees who own 12% of the company through a broad-based Employee Trust it means that when AMSOL excels those who are at the coal face delivering value will benefit, he said.

"Now, looking ahead into the future, we are excited for the opportunity to build a great African brand in AMSOL, and to remain relevant to our clients in the Energy, Mining, Ports and Maritime sectors."

Maclons said the sale of the business to AMSOL is in line with a stated commitment by shareholders to capacitate the company over time and return it to 100% South African ownership. Delivering on this commitment means that continuity of skills, competence and experience is assured.

"I would like in particular to thank our clients from both the Government and Private sectors who have actively encouraged and supported our company's transition to local ownership; and our employees who are a loyal and committed team. We're focused now on building a company we can all be proud of as we transition the business to the AMSOL brand.

"I look forward to engaging with you in the weeks and months to come. Please visit our new website, like us on Facebook and read our full media statement.

"Thank you for your support and for joining us as we enter a new and dynamic chapter in our company's history."

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Soren Skou, Maersk Line CEO

As anticipated, Maersk Line has announced that it is buying Hamburg Sud, subject to regulatory approvals. The confirmation of what was being widely speculated on was issued by the Danish company yesterday morning (Thursday 1 December 2016).

The announcement reads:

Maersk Line and the Oetker Group have reached an agreement for Maersk Line to acquire Hamburg Sud, the German container shipping line. The acquisition is subject to final agreement and regulatory approvals.

Hamburg Sud is the world's seventh largest container shipping line and a leader in the North-South trades. The company operates 130 container vessels with a container capacity of 625,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent). It has 5,960 employees in more than 250 offices across the world and market its services through the Hamburg Sud, CCNI (based in Chile) and Alianca (based in Brazil) brands. In 2015, Hamburg Sud had a turnover of US$ 6,726 million of which US$ 6,261 million stems from its container line activities.

"Today is a new milestone in Maersk Line's history. I am very pleased that we have reached an agreement with the Oetker Group to acquire Hamburg Sud. Hamburg Sud is a very well-run and highly respected company with strong brands, dedicated employees and loyal customers. Hamburg Sud complements Maersk Line and together we can offer our customers the best of two worlds, first of all in the North-South trades," says Soren Skou, CEO of Maersk Line and the Maersk Group.

"We are proud to join the global market leader Maersk Line. While gaining access to a superior network and systems we will continue the Hamburg Sud brand and business model offering personalised solutions to our shippers and consignees. By joining forces both Maersk and Hamburg Sud will strengthen their product portfolio and cost position to the benefit of their customers," says Dr Ottmar Gast, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Hamburg Sud Group.

"Giving up our engagement in shipping after an 80 year-long ownership in Hamburg Sud was not an easy decision for my family. We are very confident, though, to have chosen the best of all possible partners. Maersk will preserve and grow Hamburg Sud and what the brand and the whole organisation and a highly dedicated workforce stand for: reliable and high quality logistical services to our customers," says Dr August Oetker, Chairman of the Advisory Board of Dr August Oetker KG, the management holding company of the Oetker Group.

On 22 September 2016, Maersk Line announced that it would grow market share organically and through acquisitions.

"The acquisition of Hamburg Sud is in line with our growth strategy and will increase the volumes of both Maersk Line and APM Terminals," says Soren Skou.

Hamburg Sud and Alianca will continue as separate brands and continue to serve customers through their local offices.

"Hamburg Sud and Alianca have competitive and attractive customer value propositions, which we want to preserve and protect. We wish to maintain the personal touch and engagement they offer their customers," Soren Skou said.

In the combined network, Hamburg Sud and Maersk Line's customers will have access to the dedicated end-to-end services provided by Hamburg Sud in the North-South trades as well as the flexibility and reach provided in Maersk Line's global network. Furthermore, the combined network will enable Maersk Line to develop new products with more direct port calls and shorter transit times.

"Our combined network will provide exciting opportunities to develop new products and exploit operational synergies. Hamburg Sud and Maersk Line customers will benefit from more choice and better products," he concludes.

The acquisition is subject to a satisfactory due diligence, final agreement and subject to regulatory approval in amongst others China, Korea, Australia, Brazil, the United States and the EU. Maersk Line will work closely with the authorities. Maersk Line expects the regulatory process to last until the end of 2017. Until then, Hamburg Sud and Maersk Line will continue business as usual.

With the acquisition, Maersk Line will have container capacity of around 3.8 million TEU (3.1 million TEU) and an 18.6% (15.7%) global capacity share. The combined fleet will consist of 741 container vessels with an average age of 8.7 years (9.2 years).

The agreement with Hamburg Sud has no financial impact in 2016.

Maersk Line expects to communicate further details following the approval of the sales and purchase agreement expected early in the second quarter of 2017. Maersk Line expects to close the transaction end 2017.

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The Mozambique Port of Beira is migrating this week from the Cosmos terminal operating system to Navis.

Cornelder de Mocambique, which holds the concession to operate the port terminals at Beira, says the move is in line with its quest to provide a world class service and improved efficiencies to all its clientele and business partners.

All preparatory work including training has been completed and the migration process is set to commence on Saturday, 3 December 2016. Container terminal operations will be as follows:

1. The Munhava truck park will close at 16h00 for accepting trucks with containerised cargo.

2. The main gate to the container terminal will close at 17h00

3. On Sunday 4 December at 10h00 the gate will be open for selected trucking companies to do testing

4. As soon as the testing proves satisfactory Cornelder will announce that the gate is open as usual

5. Ship operations will resume on Sunday 4 December at 19h00

6. In case of delays Cornelder will inform all clients directly.

Customers are asked to note the following:

A) It is now mandatory to provide a letter from the transporter 'Carta de carregamento/transportador' on submission of the rest of the clearance documentation for containers.

B) The processing of granite documentation will now be automated and will no longer be done manually.

Cornelder said that it has been preparing for this since April this year and that all users of the new Navis system have been through a training programme and are well prepared to use the new system.

"Our main target is that the migration will be with a minimum of delay to the operation of the port and terminals and will not result in any change of procedures for all stakeholders," Cornelder said in a letter to customers. Cornelder said that once they are confident with the new system and are internally used to operating with Navis, they will start using other modules to improve services to clients.

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The Lake Victoria ferry MV Kalangala

Residents of the island district of Kalangala on Lake Victoria are angry with government over the slowness in repairing the MV KALANGALA, which is the only vessel that connects the Entebbe-Kalangala route in Uganda.

The only alternative to commuters and cargo operators is to use small boats which are inevitably overloaded and dangerous.

The ferry Kalangala has been out of service for more than two weeks and is proving unreliable. Residents of the island area say they can no longer do business with the mainland. Tourism in the area is also affected as is the collection of local revenue in Kalangala District.

A group of affected residents, including local taxi operators, held an impromptu meeting with the local district chairman. They complained that it now cost them double to make the journey to the city, making use of the small boats. They said the ferry had provided them with the only safe means of transport but that since October the MV Kalangala had become unreliable due to constant breakdowns.

The chairperson of Ssese Islands Tourism Development Association, Mr Robert Ssebalamu, said that the lack of a reliable means of transport at the peak Christmas season was preventing tourists from travelling to the district. Source: The Monitor

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Map: Wikitravel

French port and terminal operator Bollore remains interested in port management on a sub-concession basis if necessary at Cape Verde's main ports, according to Peter Vidicas of Bollore Logistics.

Vidicas was speaking to the Cape Verdean radio station, Morabeza.

"Bollore has always focused on French-speaking countries, we are now focusing on the Portuguese-speaking ones and Cabo Verde is part of our future strategy," Vidicas told the radio station during the Cabo Verde (Cape Verde) International Fair which was being held in Praia.

At stake are concessioning of the ports of Praia, Porto Grande on Sao Vicente, Sal-Rei on Boa Vista, and Palmeira on the island of Sal. A tender was issued by Cape Verde's previous government and only Bollore is left interested, Macauhub has reported.

Just as a contract was about to be signed shortly before the island country's general election, a newspaper report claimed potential losses for Cape Verde amid fears of a monopoly arising from a single port operator. The tender was subsequently suspended and Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva has instead talked of projects going ahead as public-private partnerships.

These it is understood will include the ports, the airports, energy and water.

Bollore has extensive operations across Africa, mainly in the French-speaking regions of West Africa, and operates container terminals in the Ivory Coast, Central African Republic, Benin, Congo, Guinea, Senegal, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, and Libya. Bollore also has strong interests in Comoros, Ghana, Gabon, Benin, Nigeria and Togo, as well as in the ports of Lagos, Luanda, Ngaoundere and Belabo (Cameroon), Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo), Kigali (Rwanda), Kampala (Uganda), Kisumu and Mombasa (Kenya) and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania). sources: Macauhub, Expresso das Ilhas, Radio Station Morabeza.

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UNCTAD rmt2016 infographic 400 1

The Review of Maritime Transport is an UNCTAD flagship publication providing an analysis of structural and cyclical changes affecting seaborne trade, ports and shipping, as well as an extensive collection of statistical information.

The present edition of the Review of Maritime Transport, that published this year reflecting on business in 2015, takes the view that the long-term growth prospects for seaborne trade and maritime businesses are positive. There are ample opportunities for developing countries to generate income and employment and help promote foreign trade.

Seaborne trade
In 2015, estimated world seaborne trade volumes surpassed 10 billion tons -- the first time in the records of UNCTAD. Shipments expanded by 2.1%, a pace notably slower than the historical average. The tanker trade segment recorded its best performance since 2008, while growth in the dry cargo sector, including bulk commodities and containerised trade in commodities, fell short of expectations. While a slowdown in China is bad news for shipping, other countries have the potential to drive further growth. South-South trade is gaining momentum, and planned initiatives such as the One Belt, One Road Initiative and the Partnership for Quality Infrastructure, as well as the expanded Panama Canal and Suez Canal, all have the potential to affect seaborne trade, reshape world shipping networks and generate business opportunities. In parallel, trends such as the fourth industrial revolution, big data and electronic commerce are unfolding, and entail both challenges and opportunities for countries and maritime transport.

UNCTAD rmt2016 infographic 400 2

Maritime businesses
The world fleet grew by 3.5% in the 12 months to 1 January 2016 (in terms of deadweight tons (dwt)). This is the lowest growth rate since 2003, yet still higher than the 2.1% growth in demand, leading to a continued situation of global overcapacity. Different countries participate in different sectors of the shipping business, seizing opportunities to generate income and employment.

As at January 2016, the top five ship owning economies (in terms of dwt) were: Greece, Japan, China, Germany and Singapore, while the top five economies by flag of registration were: Panama, Liberia, the Marshall Islands, Hong Kong (China) and Singapore.

The largest shipbuilding countries are China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, accounting for 91.4% of gross tonnage constructed in 2015.

Most demolitions take place in Asia; four countries: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and China accounted for 95% of ship scrapping gross tonnage in 2015. The largest suppliers of seafarers are China, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Freight rates and maritime transport costs
In 2015, most shipping segments, except for tankers, suffered historic low levels of freight rates and weak earnings, triggered by weak demand and oversupply of new tonnage. The tanker market remained strong, mainly because of the continuing and exceptional fall in oil prices.

In the container segment, freight rates declined steadily, reaching record low prices as the market continued to struggle with weakening demand and the presence of ever-larger container vessels that had entered the market throughout the year. In an effort to deal with low freight rate levels and reduce losses, carriers continued to consider measures to improve efficiency and optimise operations, as in previous years.

Key measures included cascading, idling, slow steaming, and wider consolidation and integration, as well as the restructuring of new alliances.

UNCTAD rmt2016 infographic 400 3

The overall ports industry, including the container sector, experienced significant declines in growth, with growth rates for the largest ports only just remaining positive.

The 20 leading ports by volume experienced an 85% decline in growth, from 6.3% in 2014 to 0.9% in 2015. Of the seven largest ports to have recorded declines in throughput, Singapore was the only one not located in China.

Nonetheless, with 14 of the top 20 ports located in China, some ports posted impressive growth, and one (Suzhou) even grew by double digits. The top 20 container ports, which usually account for about half of the world's container port throughput and provide a straightforward overview of the industry in any year, showed a 95% decline in growth, from 5.6% in 2014 to 0.5 per cent in 2015.

Legal issues and regulatory developments
During the period under review, important developments included the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015 and the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2015. Their implementation, along with that of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, adopted in July 2015, which provides a global framework for financing development post-2015, is expected to bring increased opportunities for developing countries.

Among regulatory initiatives, it is worth noting the entry into force on 1 July 2016 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea amendments related to the mandatory verification of the gross mass of containers, which will contribute to improving the stability and safety of ships and avoiding maritime accidents.

At the IMO discussions continued on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping and on technical cooperation and transfer of technology particularly to developing countries. Continued enhancements were made to regulatory measures in the field of maritime and supply chain security and their implementation.

Areas of progress included the implementation of authorised economic operator programmes and an increasing number of bilateral mutual recognition agreements that will, in due course, form the basis for the recognition of authorised economic operators at a multilateral level.

As regards suppression of maritime piracy and armed robbery, in 2015, only a modest increase of 4.1% was observed in the number of incidents reported to the IMO, compared with 2014.

The UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport has been published annually since 1968.

The document can be read at:


Edited by Paul Ridgway

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* See story above

CAP SAN LORENZO 11 October 2013 1 480
Hamburg Sud's impressive San-class ships called at South African ports mostly during delivery voyages. The 9,840-TEU, 332-metre long Cape San Lorenzo (123,130-dwt, built 2013) was one such arrival in 2013 when she called at Durban with a good load of containers. This picture is by Trevor Jones

As the question marks surrounding the future status of German container line, Hamburg Sud, remain unresolved, speculation is mounting that Denmark's Maersk Line is the most likely contender to buy out the Oetker family shares and take control of the company.

On Tuesday (29 November) we reported the news that the Oetker Group was meeting on Wednesday to decide the future of Hamburg Sud. This came after reports said that the Oetker family was divided over the issue of selling the business, the seventh largest of the container lines. Hamburg Sud is particularly strong in the North-South trades.

It would be inevitable under the circumstances that the Oetker Group would have explored the possibility of selling to one or more shipping lines, or to other investors perhaps not involved directly with shipping. And whenever a shipping line is said to be for sale, thoughts usually turn automatically to Maersk as a possible/probable buyer, and so it is proving with Hamburg Sud.

Nevertheless there may be other suitors for the hand of Hamburg Sud. French operator CMA CGM certainly cannot be ruled out. CMA CGM recently concluded the purchase of Singapore's Neptune Orient Line (NOL), which it went after with great determination, and which has seen it consolidate its position as the world's third biggest container line. A deal involving another of its bigger competitors could be the icing on the cake as far as Rodolphe Saade and his co-directors are concerned.

China's COSCO is also being mentioned as an interested party, and in these times of consolidation and mergers, anything is possible.

Pundits however fancy Maersk Line as the most likely to buy out Oetker Group's shares. Maersk has a history of growing its dominant position through takeovers -- Safmarine and P&O Nedlloyd are just two, but it has also been quiet in this regard for over ten years. However, the bringing into the fold the world's seventh biggest container line, with about 170 ships of which less than 50 are owned, would help adjust the imbalance that sees Maersk, like most other container lines, losing money on the major trades due to too many ships chasing too few containers.

Maersk has of course also indicated that it intends growing through acquisitions and not through newbuildings, although this doesn't necessarily mean buying whole companies. The Oetker family has owned Hamburg Sud since 1955 and has interests in other business areas. According to the Wall Street Journal, the younger sons in the family want to sell and move on, whereas the older generation prefers to keep Hamburg Sud. Just three years ago the Hamburg-based company was in talks with a fellow Hamburg shipping line, Hapag-Lloyd about a merger, but that failed to come about. Instead Hapag-Lloyd went into mergers with CSAV and more recently with UASC.

Media reports said the Oetker family was to meet to discuss Hamburg Sud's fate yesterday (Wednesday). The Oetker Group and Hamburg Sud have declined to comment on any potential sale, but Hamburger Abendblatt reports that there is division within the family about which course to take: Rudolf August Oetker's eldest sons are in favour of keeping Hamburg Sud, while his younger children favour a sale. The family's corporate group has a wide range of other business interests, from wine to private banking to food products, most of them highly profitable -- but shipping is by far its largest division, accounting for about half of group sales last year. News continues below


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One of the proposals for new Type 31 frigate includes this variant

An independent report on British naval shipbuilding has just been issued by the UK government. The report was undertaken by a British businessman, Sir John Parker, who is chairman of Anglo American Plc and has chaired five FTSE companies but who started his career in 1958 by joining the shipbuilder Harland & Wolff when aged 17, as an apprentice naval architect.

Among his findings, Sir John said the current RN warship programmes take far too long. "The innate complexity of modern warship systems and manufacture cannot alone account for the disparity with complex ships in other sectors or with commercial programmes for other departments, or historic RN programmes." In a telling statement he says: "Despite many good professionals at the Ministry of Defence (MOD), procurement of Royal Navy ships is affected by a lack of pace with time scale and cost impacted by a non-assured capital budget (i.e. subject to annual change)" and by "lack of a governance system that grips design and specification to budget and time to contract" among other things.

His report also says that naval ships are not designed to be export friendly.

"There is a renaissance in shipbuilding in commercial UK shipyards, fueled by an entrepreneurial attitude and an enthusiasm to embrace change with flexible skilled labour practices and the ability to manage fluctuating workloads. In sum, there is a vibrant UK shipbuilding, marine and defence supply chain sector which the MOD should seek to harness."

The report makes a large number of recommendations. One of these is for proposals involving using the new "more affordable" Type 31 general purpose frigate program to kick start the desired changes.

Sir John says that the Type 31 frigate should not be built at the BAE Systems Plc's Scottish dockyards in order to encourage competition and to pare costs while maintaining Britain's naval capabilities. BAE however should retain responsibility for the Type 26 frigate but not its successor.

"There no precedent for building two first-of-class Royal Navy frigates in one location," the report states.

It suggests that a modular design along the lines of the two new aircraft carriers, with sections built around Britain and assembled at a lead dockyard, would help deliver the right balance.

The report further says that the Type 26 order and a deal for five offshore-patrol vessels will safeguard the Clyde dockyards into the 2030s.

Another suggestion is that the navy should look at using commercial vessels to meet low-threat tasks such as mine-sweeping.

"New build might not always be the best solution. In terms of future support shipping and ships to deliver other capabilities, such as mine countermeasures, a number of successful ships in RN service have been conversions from commercial shipping, a current example being RFA Argus."

The UK Ministry of Defence said that the National Shipbuilding Strategy is intended to be a radical, fundamental re-appraisal of how the UK undertakes the shipbuilding enterprise in the UK, intending to place UK naval shipbuilding on a sustainable long term footing.

"The first step is Sir John Parker's independent report. The government will give Sir John's work the full consideration that it deserves and will provide a full and detailed response in the [northern] spring 2017. This response will be the National Shipbuilding Strategy."

Paul Ridgway

You can read the report HERE.

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South Africa's Ports Regulator intends announcing his decision regarding Transnet National Ports Authority's (TNPA) application on port tariffs for the next financial year 2017/18.

During the year the Ports Regulator has been conducting a review of the current Multi-Year Tariff Methodology (2015/16-2017/18) in order to finalise an agreed methodology that will apply from the 2018/19 tariff year going forward. They have also held Roadshows around the country during which questions and answers and responses were catered for.

Details of these and other factors are available on the Ports Regulator website at http://www.portsregulator.org/

PORTS & SHIPS hopes to issue a special News Bulletin tomorrow morning (Friday 2 December 2016) in which the decision relating to the TNPA's tariff application will be announced. PORTS & SHIPS will also carry another Breaking News item - look out for this in your mail or on your server tomorrow.

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African countries must make the most of the opportunities available through the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

"African countries should also ensure that there is alignment between AGOA and their development integration agendas, focus on their industrialisation and preserve policy space aimed at enhancing efforts to diversify their exports base and integrate supply chains so as to take advantage of market access opportunities under AGOA," said Minister Davies on Tuesday.

Davies was moderating a panel session at the Africa Trade Week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The panel discussion was on AGOA and the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).

Tuesday's session considered AGOA implementation over the remaining period of the legislation that grants trade preference up to 2025. The session also reflected on the future of Africa-US trade relations beyond AGOA, based on the type of trade arrangements that would support Africa's regional integration agenda.

Minister Davies said African countries need to increase their utilisation of the trade preferences granted by the United States under AGOA to attract foreign direct investment to priority sectors that favour industrialisation.

The panel also highlighted the low levels of the use of AGOA trade preferences by eligible countries in sub-Saharan Africa largely due to supply-side constraints, productive capacity constraints and onerous rules of origin requirements.

Other reasons are a lack of capacity to meet stringent sanitary and phytosanitary measures, labelling requirements in the US, as well as the fact that some products of export interest to the African countries are not covered under AGOA.

In terms of future US-Africa trade relations, the panel stated that the US is expected to advance a trading relationship based on reciprocity.

Minister Davies noted that the US proposed a number of options for post AGOA trade relations. He said these options need to be carefully considered by African countries to ensure that their developmental priorities are not compromised.

The panel agreed that the CFTA that is currently under negotiation can be a driver of structural transformation for sustained economic growth and enhanced intra-Africa trade and investment in the continent.

Earlier in the Africa Trade Week programme -- which is a new Pan-African platform for advancing intra-Africa trade dialogue -- former South African Ambassador to the World Trade Organization, Dr Faizel Ismail spoke on a coherent approach to achieving the African Union's Agenda 2063 through the CFTA.

Ismail said the success of the CFTA and the implementation of the continent's integration agenda would be dependent on the adoption of an inclusive approach. He said there is a need for academics and civil society to be greater involved in trade policy formulation.

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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
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.



The small coastal container ship TORONTO TRADER (13,064-dwt, built 2016) arrives off Port Everglades in Florida, USA earlier this month. The ship has a UK-registered owner with a distinctively Chinese name, indicating that to some London is still the centre of world shipping. Toronto Trader operates between US east coast ports and the Gulf of Mexico and Northern South America. This picture was taken by Tony de Freitas


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