Ports & Ships Maritime News

Nov 3, 2005
Author: P&S







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Spoornet’s Mozambique concession cancelled

Mozambique’s minister of transport Antonio Mungwambe informed his country’s parliament yesterday that the rail concession held by a Spoornet-led consortium to manage and operate the railway between Maputo and the South African border had been cancelled.

He said Spoornet failed to take over management of the railway and had neglected to invest any money on a refurbishment programme. The situation had become so bad that the only option was to cancel the lease. He indicated that a dispute between Spoornet and its consortium partner, New Limpopo Bridge Project Investments seemed to be the reason for the non-performance.

There have been other indications that Transnet was not happy with the size of Spoornet’s share in the consortium and was prepared to let Spoornet default.

The concession to operate the line was awarded in December 2002 but initially Spoornet said it would not begin work until it received certification that the servitude on either side of the track was clear of landmines. This was duly accomplished but Spoornet still failed to take over management and operational duties.

Mungwambe said that CFM, the Mozambique state railway would begin restoring the line, a vital part of the important Maputo Corridor, from 2006.

He indicated there were also problems on the northern railway between Nacala and Malawi, where an American-led consortium, Nacala Corridor Development Company (SDCN) operates both the port and railway.

Although SDCN had taken over management of the railway earlier this year the government was concerned with some of the decisions taken, including the closing of stations along the main line and the dismantling of communication systems between the stations and trains. Added to that the branch line between Cuamba and Lichinga remained unused, which was contrary to the concession agreement.

He said SDCN’s excuse was that it lacked sufficient locomotive power to run a branch line service, although four locomotives had since been hired from South Africa’s Sheltam Locomotive and Rail.

The government was not satisfied with SDCN’s performance and was examining the manner in which the concession is being implemented.


Navy accepts first submarine

Earlier today (Thursday 3 November 2005) the first of three Type 209-1400 diesel-electric submarines being built in Germany for the South African Navy was commissioned.

On hand for the commissioning was South Africa’s minister of defence, Mosioua Lekota.

Numbered S101 (the sub will be named only after arrival in South Africa) the submarine will sail to Simon’s Town next year under escort once the crew of 30 under the command of Commander Gary Kretschmer have completed training in Germany.

The type 209-1400 boat was built by the submarine consortium consisting of HDW, Nordseewerken Emden and MAN Ferrostaal.


ICTSI invests in Toamasina

International Container Terminal Service, Inc (ICTSI) has revealed an impressive investment programme for the container terminal at Toamasina, Madagascar, where ICTSI took over the concession to operate container handling services recently.

The Manila-based company expects to spend in excess of US million over the next two years on civil works alone, says Jan Mors, senior vice president of ICTSI. He said a total amount of more than USM could be expected in the short term which would cover infrastructure, equipment, IT systems and human resources. In the longer term there will be further development that will require further sizeable investment.

Given the relatively small volume of container currently handled at Toamasina and Mors’ comment that Madagascar as a country is committed to expanding its role in world trade while ICTSI was determined to play a positive role in this, it could be assumed that ICTSI sees Toamasina playing the role of an Indian Ocean hub port in the future.


Congestion surcharge on West African ports

Members of the Asia-West Africa Trade Agreement (AWATA) have announced they intend raising congestion surcharges at ports in West Africa because of the current severe congestion being experienced,, which it says is preventing the smooth flow of cargo while increasing costs for shippers and freight forwarders.

The following surcharges will apply as from 21 November 2005.

Apapa US0 per TEU
Cotonou 0 per TEU
Dakar 0 per TEU
Luanda per TEU
Malabo 0 per TEU
Tema per TEU

Congestion charges to Tin Can Island and Onne will remain unchanged.

The member lines are: China Shipping, CMA CGM, Delmas, Gold Star, Maersk Sealand, MOL, PIL, P&O Nedlloyd, and Safmarine


New agency as two firms merge

Global Port Services (GPS) and Barwil Agencies AS Oslo have confirmed the merging of their two companies interests in South Africa to form Barwil Ship Services (Pty) Ltd, with Barwil as the majority shareholder (see our report dated 6 October 2005).

The new company is headed by Captain Marinus van der Zande as managing director. Existing directors in Barwil South Africa and GPS have resigned.

In a statement the company says its objective is to grow into the largest independent shipping agency and related services in South Africa within three to five years.

Barwil Ship Services’ head office is situated in Durban and the company operates with fully staffed and equipped offices in Richards Bay, Durban, Cape Town and Saldanha Bay. There is a sub-agency network in Walvis Bay, Port Elizabeth and East London, but Barwil expects to open fully owned and operated offices in Port Elizabeth and East London during the first quarter of 2006.


Clipper Race update 3 November

Approximately 600 nautical miles south of the fleet lies the island group of Tristan da Cunha, consisting of Tristan, Nightingale and Inaccessible Islands, with Gough Island the fourth one some way off to the south east. Only one is inhabited, Tristan, by approximately 300 people (who are, by the way, limited to two cattle and seven sheep per family, to conserve grazing).

The island has a self-supporting economy, a portion of which is lobster fishing using lobster pots. One of the bits of debris which was reported by Graeme Johnston on Glasgow was a lobster pot, which was a little out of place in the roughly 5,000m deep water in which they were at the time. It could conceivably have come from the island, however, and been circulating the South Atlantic on the currents for some time.

As the high pressure system moves off to the east, the yachts have stayed on the port tack to head further south and so pick up the winds as they back around from the east towards north. This has also had the effect of taking them in to colder regions, and on being asked for his position, Graeme Johnston replied “In long johns reaching at 10 knots”. For those who know him, a quite terrifying thought.

One good thing though is that the drop in temperature keeps fruit for longer, and delays the moment when the first caterpillar crawls out from a dodgy apple.

The biggest thing on the minds of the crews now will be the high pressure system. The fleet will be in decent northerly winds by tomorrow morning, but ahead of them is a large hole. If any of the yachts do fall in to this, they run the risk of being completely becalmed, slowly doing doughnuts as they lose speed and then steerage.

Over the last few days New York Clipper has been dogging the leading pair of Western Australia and Jersey, and this morning has finally picked one of them off, moving up to second place behind Dave Pryce and his crew on Western Australia. Joff Bailey, skipper of New York, has been continuously upbeat in his emails, and his recent diary gives a good insight into the decision making process of navigating the weather systems. It will be interesting over the next couple of days to see whether the southern group of Liverpool, Qingdao and Singapore, and especially Glasgow who have really made a southern leap, will pick up stronger winds and move around New York and Western Australia.

- this report courtesy Clipper Ventures


Today’s seaside giggle

(This one’s so old it has whiskers… but worth repeating anyway)

Once upon a time there was a famous sea captain. This captain was very successful at what he did for years he guided merchant ships all over the world. Never did stormy seas or pirates get the best of him. He was admired by his crew and fellow captains. However, there was one thing different about this captain. Every morning he went through a strange ritual. He would lock himself in his captain's quarters and open a small safe.
In the safe was an envelope with a piece of paper inside. He would stare at the paper for a minute, then lock it back up. After, he would go about his daily duties. For years this went on, and his crew became very curious. Was it a treasure map? Was it a letter from a long lost love? Everyone speculated about the contents of the strange envelope.
One day the captain died at sea. After laying the captain's body to rest, the first mate led the entire crew into the captain’s quarters. He opened the safe, got the envelope, opened it and... The first mate turned pale and showed the paper to the others. Four words were on the paper, two on two lines:
Port Left, Starboard Right.

Acknowledgements MyBoatClub.com

p.s. feel free to share a good nautical joke or two with us – email them to info@ports.co.za


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