Ports & Ships Maritime News

Dec 6, 2005
Author: P&S







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SOUTH AFRICA – Ports keep Transnet afloat

Healthy profits from the National Ports Authority (NPA) and SA Port Operations (SAPO) helped keep parent body Transnet afloat during the half year ended 30 September 2005, according to the reviewed consolidated results published today.

From a half year revenue of R24.158 billion (up by 7.38%) Transnet generated an operating profit of R3.107 billion, which is down 4.7% on the period for the period ending 30 September 2004.

Of the R3.1 billion operating profit Transnet’s maritime divisions (NPA and SAPO) generated R2.469 billion, up from R1.957 billion a year ago. Spoornet, the rail operator generated an operating profit of R682 million compared with R676m the year before. Pipelines also turned in a healthy operating profit of R526m, up from R489m for the half year in 2004.

Aviation (SAA) was the big loser, with an operating loss of R155m for the half year compared with a profit of R420m in 2004. Government intends moving SAA out from under Transnet with the airline reporting directly to government.


SOUTH AFRICA – Ports function well in half-year results

According to Transnet’s half year results published today, the National Ports Authority increased turnover by 13% to R2.6 billion compared to the same period ending 30 September 2004. It said cargo revenue from bulk and breakbulk imports increased due to the favourable economic environment. Operating profit rose 34% to R1.9 billion while capital expenditure amounted to R253 million for the period.

SA Port Operations increased its turnover by 9% to R1.8 billion, driven mainly as a result of increased volumes at the various port terminals. Operating costs were well managed and increased by only 6% over the comparative period. Operating profit before fair value adjustments and finance costs increased by 4% to R552 million, slightly up on the R530 million for the same period in 2004). Capital expenditure for the period amounted to R272 million, with the major portion of this being on the Saldanha Bay Iron Ore Terminal expansion and the acquisition of new cranes for the port of Durban.

- source Transnet published results


SOUTH AFRICA – Unions accuse Transnet of lost integrity

The three trade unions opposing Transnet’s restructuring plans, SATAWU, United Transport & Allied Union, and SA Railway & Harbours Union say their dispute with Transnet lies not with the planned restructuring but a loss of integrity.

Transnet is accused of having departed from the letter and spirit of the constitution of the Transnet Restructuring Committee. “Transnet management has got it wrong when it claims that this dispute is about the company’s strategy. It is about management arrogantly proceeding to make changes which materially affect workers outside of agreements being reached in the correct restructuring consultative structures,” a joint statement says.

“Management is also misleading the public when it implies that because it first presented its turnaround plan in October last year it has been engaging intensively since then. This is not the case. Labour has consistently requested a tighter process, including more regular meetings and improved secretarial backup to the process. Our track record on previous Transnet restructuring engagements with both management and government, particularly on the future of port operations and railways, speaks for itself. Required to engage three days a week over a period of six months, we are ready to do that.”

The joint statement said that the unions have had enough of Transnet’s bully-boy and arrogant approach. “We cannot shy away from our responsibility to protect our members from unilateral decisions that impact on their futures. We have tried talking but management is unable to listen to words. That is why we are now considering protected strike action, a weapon of last resort to pressure the company to reflect and talk.”

It said the combined unions will be consulting and mobilising their members over the next week with a view to developing a detailed strategy. “While we remain open to genuine talking, we are ready to strike. The only question is when and where.”

A fourth union, the United Association of South Africa (UASA) representing mainly train drivers and railway technicians withdrew its support from the combined statement of the other unions at the weekend (see yesterday’s News Bulletin).


SOUTH AFRICA – Erwin says Port Master plan will be revealed in first half of 2006

Minister of Public Enterprises Alec Erwin said at a media briefing today that the national port master plan will be made available in the first half of 2006. “Speed is of the essence,” he said.

Erwin recently told a business breakfast in Durban that the master plan would go before the cabinet before the year end and would then be taken on a countrywide roadshow.

He reiterated today that legislation to separate SAA from Transnet should be tabled in the first quarter of 2006, but a number of issues needed to be resolved.


SOUTH AFRICA – SAPO receives new straddle carriers

SA Port Operations (SAPO) today took delivery of the first batch consisting of four Kalmar series 7 straddle carriers at the Durban Container Terminal. The new machines, which arrived in knock-down form and will be assembled on site, are part of an extended order for new container handling equipment designed to replace aging infrastructure at the country’s terminals.

Further deliveries of straddle carriers will be made to the ports of Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. The machines being delivered to Durban are capable of stacking containers three high, compared with earlier straddles that could only stack two high. This represents the first example of vertical expansion for the Durban Container Terminal.

A total of 16 new 3-high straddles will be positioned at Durban Container Terminal to join 60 2-high straddles delivered recently. Another 11 will go to Port Elizabeth and 26 to Cape Town. The first five for Port Elizabeth’s is expected in January for commissioning the following month, while Cape Town will receive its first delivery in February for commissioning in March with the last batch being fully commissioned in July 2006.

Meanwhile the Durban Container Terminal took delivery today of the second of three new IMPSA shoreside post panamax gantry cranes that are being assembled in Durban. The third new crane is due for commissioning in January. This will increase crane capacity at DCT to 19 cranes and is expected to help improve productivity at the terminal. However certain of the older cranes are likely to be taken temporarily out of service for maintenance in the coming months.


CLIPPER RACE UPDATE

Tuesday 6 December 2005

As the ten yachts approach the half-way point, and the leading yacht Durban Clipper sailing 500 n.miles north of Kerguelen, the log position is as follows: In the lead is Durban, which is however slowly being overtaken by Victoria, now only 20 miles behind and slightly to the south. In third place is Westernaustralia, followed by Qingdao, Jersey, Liverpool, Singapore, New York, Cardiff and Glasgow.

In the 12 hour period to 17.00 today Jersey made the most progress by sailing a distance of 128 miles, compared with urban which achieved 91 miles. On the basis of the last few days expect Victoria, which is following a course fairly similar to that of Durban to the south of the pack, to overtake Durban within the next day or so.

- source http://www.clipper-ventures.co.uk


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