Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 13, 2006
Author: P&S





TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

  • Namport gets money for expansion


  • Transport strike set to resume on Wednesday


  • IMO brings in UK and France to assist with ferry inquiry


  • PSA gives up on P&O


  • Kingsley Holgate arrives back in Tanzania


  • New rail link provides shippers with better access to Kazakhstan







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    Namport gets money for expansion

    A grant by the US Trade & Development Agency (USTDA) of US0,000 will be used to fund technical assistance with Namport aimed at improving efficiency, security and petroleum receiving capabilities at the ports of Walvis Bay and Luderitz.

    Announcing this last week, the USTDA said the grant would help increase Namibia’s trade capacity in support of the economic development goals of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

    “Namport is undertaking a significant modernisation program of increasing port capacity in order to meet projected increases in traffic flow stemming from the nation’s ongoing expansion of its rail and road network from its ports to neighbouring countries,” said the USTDA.

    The rail and road expansion projects include the Trans-Kalahari Corridor into South Africa across Botswana, which USTDA originally supported through a feasibility study in 2003, and the Trans-Caprivi Corridor into Zambia.

    The USTDA said that an expansion of Namibia’s trade capacity would enhance the country’s ability to benefit more fully under AGOA in its trade relationship with the United States.


    Transport strike set to resume on Wednesday

    Strike action by members of three Transnet trade unions is set to resume on Wednesday (15 February) at the Western Cape ports and rail services (Cape Town and Saldanha), with the port and rail services at Saldanha in particular being targeted.

    A planned strike for the Eastern Cape region (Port Elizabeth and East London) which was originally scheduled for today has been deferred, possibly because it would have little national impact.

    When the strike focused on KwaZulu Natal two weeks ago the target then was clearly directed at the Durban Container Terminal. When it comes to the Western Cape the unions have made it clear that Saldanha and its strategic iron ore exports are in its sights but Cape Town won’t be ignored. The strike is intended to last one day.

    Next week between Monday and Wednesday (20 – 22 February) the unions will extend their strike action across the remainder of the country including the Gauteng region. Originally listed as a one-day strike, this has now been extended to three days.


    IMO brings in UK and France to assist with ferry inquiry

    The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has arranged for the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) and the Bureau Enquêtes Accidents-Mer of France to provide consultants, including experts in voyage data recorder technology, to assist with the investigation into the Al Salaam Boccaccio 98 ferry disaster.

    The UK and French teams will act as independent technical advisers.

    Earlier IMO secretary-general Efthimios E Mitropoulos paid a one-day visit to Cairo to ‘demonstrate the solidarity and compassion of the IMO membership to the people and government of Egypt and those other nations affected, and to provide moral support at the heavy loss of life suffered.”

    He also offered to assist the ongoing investigation into the accident with independent technical expertise and advice. This was intended to ensure that the outcome would not only identify beyond any doubt what caused the accident, bit would also identify what lessons, if any, might be learnt, “so that through the IMO system, prompt and expeditious action was taken to prevent similar accidents happening in the future.”


    PSA gives up on P&O

    Singapore-based has indicated it is withdrawing from bidding for UK-based port and ferry operator P&O, and in so doing is leaving the field open to Dubai-based DP World.

    This means that P&O shareholders will now give serious consideration to DP World’s latest bid of 520 pence (UK) in cash for every unit of P&O deferred stock. After the see-sawing of recommendations to shareholders, it is expected that they (shareholders) will again be advised by their board to accept the DP World bid, knowing that this is now the final and top offer they can expect.


    Kinglsey Holgate arrives back in Tanzania

    Time magazine January 2006 reports two African children dying every minute around the clock from the blood sucking bite of the Anopheles mosquito. Durban-based Grindrod continues to support Kingsley Holgate’s “one net, one life” expedition, which has now reached the Tanzanian island of Pemba.

    We pick up the story in Kingsley’s words…

    Sailing back home, from the Somali border with the Kaskazi N.E. monsoon, and the help of the ‘Grindrod red Simba’, the tough 120 hp marine engine sponsored by Grindrod, we’ve reached beautiful Pemba. Here we are part of a project called Kataa Malaria, a hard-hitting Swahili word which means, “to resist Malaria”. Supported by USAID, the Global Fund and the Zanzibar Malaria control programme and our other South African sponsors, we are assisting with the distribution of 240,000 long lasting, insecticide treated mosquito nets to every pregnant mother and child under the age of 5 years. It’s proving a great challenge, The Spirit of Adventure dhow, loaded with thousands of life saving mosquito nets, reaching the difficult to get to outlying islands. And then, by inflatable boats, dug out canoes, bullock carts, and finally to mums with babies.

    We’ve just played host to a media safari, local TV, radio and press, to include the Voice of America. We gave them a taste of expedition life in a journey to the island of Makongwe… rough seas, rain and mud, the joy on the mother’s faces, the children dancing; all part of an adventure to save lives.

    Tonight we sail south with the moon, to Ras Nungwe, Zanzibar, Mafia Island and the ancient slave-trading terminus of Kilwa, following the old dhow routes. The Land Rover support party, also loaded with mosquito nets, is on its way to meet us.

    January 25

    We nearly lost it on an all night sail to Kilindoni… a rain squall hit us. The giant lateen rigged sail wrapped around the mast; massive swells, wild confusion lit by lightning and a swaying paraffin lantern. Then the relief of sunrise, the sighting of Mafia Island, and a good tasting dorado caught on Ramazan Mangumbi’s handline.

    We will keep you updated… Grindrod, thank you for your support

    This and an earlier illustrated report will be posted in our SEA STORIES section either later today or on Tuesday


    New rail link provides shippers with better access to Kazakhstan


    Shippers moving cargo to and from Kazakhstan and central Asia now have the benefit of a new express rail freight service between Georgia and Kazakhstan.

    According to Istanbul-based freight forwarder Advance International, which is marketing the service, the Advantage Express Service offers shippers a much more efficient transport gateway for any cargoes that they are moving to and from the Central Asian Republic and could one day form part of a through transport freight link between Europe and China.

    The service, between Poti in Georgia and Almaty in Kazakhstan, offers an alternate form of transport to limited road and river routes - many of which are ice-choked in winter - and could help in unlocking the potential of energy-rich Kazakhstan.

    For shippers from Africa this offers an alternate route to Kazakhstan via the Black Sea compared with an existing route through Banda Abbas in Iran.

    Following the signing of a protocol between the two countries during a visit by the Kazakhstan president to Georgia, the express rail service will offer an advertised transit time of eight days between the two cities from 1 March, although a recent trial shipment was completed in only six days. This was the fastest ever cargo delivery overland from any international sea port to Almaty.

    Initially, the service will operate weekly. But, with traffic to Kazakhstan growing rapidly, the plan is to increase frequency to five departures a week by the end of 2006. There is an urgent need for faster and more reliable transport links to supply equipment and supplies to Kazakhstan's burgeoning oil and gas regions.

    Later, in about six months' time, the plan is to extend the service eastwards from Almaty to the north-west Chinese city of Urumqi - which would potentially provide a link from this inland region of the country to the Black Sea port of Poti and then by feeder ships to all of Europe and the East Coast of America. Rail transport would potentially be possible from the entire East Asian land-mass to Europe.

    The service is being marketed by Poti-based Black Sea Transit Ltd and Advantage International Transport and Logistic Ltd. The latter is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Advance International.

    According to Advance International president & CEO Jawad Kamel the Chinese government keen to open up inland parts of the country to international trade. “More shippers will need to consider the overland option. Central China is a long way from the ports of the country's eastern seaboard and the new express link will be vital in opening up these areas to the outside world."


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