Ports & Ships Headline News
Sep 23, 2005
Richards Bay acts to double coal exports
Bold plans to double the expansion programme for export coal at the port of Richards Bay were disclosed this week. The Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) currently exports less than 70 million tonnes a year and has lost its crown as the world’s largest single coal terminal. Earlier plans to expand capacity from the present 72 million tonnes to 86mt by 2008 are now considered insufficient to meet demand, says RBCT chief executive Trevor McGiddy, and the terminal will have to look at ways of doubling this planned expansion capacity, particularly if it is to meet the expectations of newly emerging black empowered coal mining groups. In terms of the Phase 5 expansion programme, black empowered miners were to receive an allocation allowing them to export 4mt of coal through RBCT, but instead it now seems clear that demand from these quarters will increase to between 15mt and 20mt by 2008.
“We’re aware of that demand, so we’re looking at ways to expand beyond what we originally envisaged,” said McGiddy.
The expansion also requires an upgrade of rail capacity from the mines and along the Richards Bay coal line which is costing an estimated R2.5 billion. The railway, known as CoalLink is operated exclusively by Spoornet, a division of Transnet. Similarly the port is undergoing expansion and work has commenced on the construction of an additional berth at the coal terminal.
Focus on oil at World Oil Congress
Oil will be the subject of much discussion next week when the five-day World Petroleum Congress gets underway in Johannesburg. This is the first time in its 72-year history that the World Congress is being held on African soil and is an acknowledgement of the increasing role that the continent is playing in the production of world energy. African oil producers currently produce only 8% of all world output but this figure is expected to increase as more fields come on stream and are discovered. The majority of oil produced in Africa is in West and North Africa but increasing volumes are being extracted off Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome and Principe. It is expected that some attention at the congress will focus on corruption in African oil producing countries and finding ways of countering the wholesale theft of oil from these and other regions.
Cleanup operations at Walvis Bay
A cleanup operation to remove about 100 tonnes of fuel oil spilled when the South African coaster Umfolozi was holed and subsequently sank at her berth in Walvis Bay last Friday night (16 September 2005) is underway and by yesterday it was being reported that about three quarters of the spilled oil had been cleared. The salvage operation to recover the remainder of the containers remaining under deck on the vessel flooded holds has been awarded to the Cape Town firm of Smit Salvage. Eighty-six of these boxes contain a variety of cargo while the balance of 35 are empties.
The other vessel involved in the collision outside the port, the National Ports Authority dredger Ingwenya from Richards Bay, has damage above the waterline although it is also believed the vessel has damage to the bow thrusters.
Shipping lines beware, warns Nigerian customs
Shipping companies and ship owners will be held responsible if contraband goods are discovered being brought into or smuggled out of Nigeria with false documentation, warns the Nigerian Customs Service. The department has also warned operators of bond stores in Nigeria to be careful and honest in discharging their duty. It says there are laid down rules and regulations that must be adhered to and anyone transgressing the law including the masters of ships, will be held accountable.
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