Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 17, 2006
Author: P&S





TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

  • Grindrod and Walvis Bay Corridor Group will develop the Trans Kalahari Corridor


  • SA Navy commissions first of four frigates


  • It’s the turn of the Eastern Cape as Transnet workers go on strike today


  • Massive investment planned for Angolan port


  • Trial of Somali pirates continues


  • Oil workers remain in captivity






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    Grindrod and Walvis Bay Corridor Group will develop the Trans Kalahari Corridor

    Importers & Exporters in Gauteng & Botswana can anticipate reduced transit times at competitive costs for cargo moving from or to Europe and the Americas.

    A memorandum of understanding was signed in Johannesburg on Wednesday (15 February 2006) between Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) and Grindrod. Grindrod having been selected as the logistics partner will together with WBCG, develop the Trans Kalahari Corridor, a freight route between Walvis Bay, Botswana and Gauteng (South Africa). This corridor will offer importers & exporters in Gauteng & Botswana an alternative port to that of Durban, specifically for cargo moving to or from Europe and the Americas. John Jones, Executive director Grindrod, said that using this corridor could reduce transit times by more than four days.


    Standing from left to right: Brian Black (General Manager Marketing Transnamib); Frank Gschwender (Business Development Executive WBCG) and Paul Leisegang (Business Development Grindrod) – click on image to enlarge

    Grindrod has undertaken to perform the logistics management & marketing function supported by the WBCG.

    “In order to offer a complete supply chain solution for customers, Grindrod will harness the services of shipping lines, Namport, Transnamib, road hauliers and clearing & forwarding agents, managing the movement of cargo between the port in Walvis Bay and the final destination or origin in Botswana or Gauteng”, said Jones. He went on to say that key enablers of this process are integrated IT systems and skilled logistics operators.

    Sebby Kankondi (Chairman of WBCG and MD Namport) said that this agreement would benefit both parties in that Grindrod would bring increased volumes to the corridor and in turn would benefit from gaining exposure to a new market.


    SA Navy commissions first of four frigates

    It was a proud day for the South African Navy yesterday (Thursday) when SAS Amatola, the first of four new frigate/corvettes built for the South African Navy by the German South Africa corvette consortium, was commissioned into the South African Navy.

    The Meko A-200 type stealth ship, officially designated a corvette although in every respect she is a ‘frigate in waiting’, has been fitting out for the past year at the Simon’s Town Dockyard along with three sister vessels, SAS Isandlwana, SAS Spioenkop and SAS Mendi. Their arrival marks the arrival of the navy’s first modern fighting ships in several decades and a return to ‘big ship’ capability for the navy.


    SAS Amatola manoeuvring at speed before her armament suite was fitted - click image to enlarge

    Three submarines which are also being built in Germany are due to begin arriving in South Africa shortly – the first boat, S101 was scheduled to sail for South Africa within the next month together with her escort, the combat supply vessel SAS Drakensberg but may be delayed because of technical difficulties experienced on her sea trials.

    SAS Amatola (F145) displaces approximately 3,500 tonnes and has a length of 121m with a beam of 16.34m. The ship is equipped with a CODAG-WARP propulsion system consisting of diesel and gas turbine engines powering a waterjet and twin-shaft refined propellers. Her weaponry consists of a 76mm main gun, a 35mm dual purpose gun, 16 surface-to-air missiles and 8 Exocet MM40 surface-to-surface missiles (that has provision for increasing to 16), plus decoy rockets. The high degree of stealth technology in her design makes the class extremely difficult to detect by radar and other electronic methods.


    It’s the turn of the Eastern Cape as Transnet workers go on strike today

    The Transnet workers strike moves to the Eastern Cape today and in particular the port cities of East London and Port Elizabeth.

    While the effect is not expected to be as dramatic as it has been in Durban and Cape Town, companies outside of Transnet are bracing themselves for staff shortages because the commuter trains won’t be running.

    The effect on the two ports is hard to judge but a union spokesman said they didn’t expect mass support. Marches are however planned for East London and Port Elizabeth.

    On Monday it becomes the turn of Gauteng and the busy metropolis of Johannesburg and Tshwane (Pretoria) as a three day strike is extended to that part of the country. Other provinces such as Limpopo and Mpumalanga will also be on strike although the Transnet influence is not so great outside the main centres.

    The threat of a national strike on 6 March continues to hang over the country as the unions and Transnet remain at odds with each other. All indications so far are that Transnet has no intention of bowing to the pressure.


    Massive investment planned for Angolan port

    The port management for Luanda in Angola have announced they will be investing US0 million over the next four years to upgrade and improve port infrastructure.

    Additionally, Japan has allocated a grant of approximately million for various social and economic projects throughout Angola, with special emphasis on the ports of Luanda, Lobito, Cabinda and Namibe.

    According to the Angola Press Agency the Luanda port authority intends refurbishing and replacing shoreside cranes and other harbour equipment as well as effecting repairs to quays throughout the harbour.

    Luanda is the capital city and chief port of Angola but since the Angolan civil war the port has not seen much improvement to its aging infrastructure. On the other hand shipping services to the country are beginning to boom, partly as the result of the oil industry in the northern region but also as the country redevelops after having been devastated by decades of war.

    The report says that Luanda currently handles about 4.7 million tonnes of cargo annually, which is expected to increase to 5.3Mt by 2010 (which appears to be on the conservative side). Shipping services from South Africa enjoy high volumes of traffic but complain of this being a one-way traffic, with not much cargo on the return voyage. Shippers complain of an over zealous bureaucracy and corruption among officials but also report the situation as improving.


    Trial of Somali pirates continues

    The US Navy fired missiles to destroy several boats used by ten alleged Somali pirates who are now on trial in a Mombasa court.

    Giving evidence before a Kenyan magistrate, the master of an Indian motorised dhow that had been forcibly seized by ten Somalis, said that shortly after the US destroyer USS Winston S Churchill forced the Somalis to surrender, the alleged pirates threw some of their weapons overboard. Other weapons were hidden and later discovered by American marines when they boarded the ship and arrested the Somalis. Sixteen 16 Indian crew members of the dhow were freed by the Americans who later destroyed the Somali’s accompanying boats.

    The case is continuing.


    USS Winston S Churchill undergoing ‘shock trials’ in which an underwater detonation is set off close to the ship as a test to her survivability – click image to enlarge. Picture courtesy US Navy


    Oil workers remain in captivity

    The four expatriates kidnapped by militants from a service vessel operating with a Nigerian oil platform remain in captivity, despite the fact that Nigerian authorities claim to know where they are being held.

    According to reports the four men, a Britain, a Bulgarian, a Honduran and an American are being held on board another vessel off the coast and the Nigerian government is negotiating to secure their release.

    Meanwhile another Nigerian oil rig has come under attack, this time from unarmed villagers who forced their way on board the Tommycraig Head to issue a demand for community development. After threatening to set fire to the rig if their demands were not met, they later returned to their villages taking several naval officers with them as hostages. The officers were later released when Nigerian military arrived on the scene and there were no reported injuries.

    Did you know that Ports & Ships lists ship movements for all ports between Walvis Bay on the West Coast and Beira on the East Coast?

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