Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 11, 2006
Author: P&S

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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Passenger terminal promised for Port Elizabeth

  • South Africa exports its entire wool clip

  • Kalmar to hand over 4000th straddle carrier today

  • South Africa – Tanzania strengthen economic ties

  • What’s in a name?




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    Passenger terminal promised for Port Elizabeth

    Port Elizabeth is to get a dedicated passenger terminal in response to the increasing number of cruise ships calling at the Eastern Cape port.

    That’s the word from Minister of Public Enterprises Alec Erwin, in response to a question sent him by an opposition MP, Eddie Trent. Erwin said that Port Elizabeth would have a new terminal constructed near berth 12, similar to what Durban and Cape Town makes use of.

    (Has Cape Town a dedicated passenger terminal? That’s news to us).

    In his written response Erwin said that Port Elizabeth’s disembarkment facilities (aka passenger terminal) cannot be compared favourably to conditions in other South African ports and possibly to other international ports. He said that PE used to make use of the car terminal on berth 100 but this was a ‘port operational area’ that now posed great difficulties with regards the safety of passengers.

    "As a result of increasing passenger traffic to South Africa, particularly Port Elizabeth, the National Ports Authority is currently planning to convert a berth next to Shed 12 into a dedicated passenger terminal, where the facilities would be suitable for passenger vessels and can be strictly controlled."

    According to Erwin the number of passenger ships calling at Port Elizabeth had increased dramatically in recent years, totaling 22 ship calls in the 2005/06 cruise season.


    South Africa exports its entire wool clip

    The other day someone at Ports & Ships made a comment about how difficult it is to find shops in a city the size of Durban that carry a wide selection of wool – an ordinary conversation reflecting casually on the changes of habit and style of the way we live early in the 21st Century.

    This came to mind when reading an article in the EP Herald newspaper last week, written by Ona Viljoen, the public relations officer for Cape Wools SA, which markets much of South Africa’s wool production. In her article (EP Herald, 7 April 2006) Viljoen reported that in spite of excellent qualities and efforts to promote the use of wool in South Africa, domestic consumption remained negligible and, so she reported, virtually the entire clip is exported, ‘either in greasy form or as semi-processed wool (scoured, top and noil).’

    As a young boy growing up in a largely agricultural South Africa I was taught at school about the annual wool clip auctions held in Port Elizabeth but also seem to recall a very large (for its day) warehouse in the south of Durban that was known as the Wool Mart, or some similar name. This was occupied by thousands of bales of wool during certain times of the year only, beyond which the warehouse was used for other purposes.

    Possibly my memory on the above point is scratchy and needs someone to refresh it, but what I clearly recall is the older female members of my family sitting conversing quietly together while their fingers knitted merrily away as the remainder of the family gathered around the ‘wireless’ during those long warm Durban evenings – ‘preparing for the winter’ they always said.

    Be that at is may, the days of people sitting knitting in quiet companionship would seem to be a thing of the past, as ready-mades imported largely from China fill our ‘woolly drawers.’

    Ms Viljoen’s report went on to say that ‘in the 2004/05 season (July 2004 to June 2005), 23.2 million kg from the total production of 45.6 million kg was exported as grease wool, mainly to destinations in Europe.’ The remainder, she said, was exported in semi-processed form, mainly as combed or scoured wool.

    The country’s total earnings from the season’s wool clip amounted to R876.2 million, which was down some 17 percent in value on the previous season. This decrease in earnings reflected a lower income received, as the production levels remained stable. The stronger rand also featured as a reason for the loss in earnings.

    Fortunately there are still places in the world that experience cold winters and will continue importing wool from South Africa’s Karoo and other regions for a while at least. What long-term affect a surging exporting China will have on these importers as that country floods the markets of Europe with cheap but well-made ready-produced garments will have to be seen. In the meantime however it would appear that South Africa’s role as a former leading wool producer is under threat through changing habits and a pace of life that leaves little time for a quite evening of relaxed knitting.


    Kalmar to hand over 4000th straddle today

    Finnish port terminal equipment manufacturer Kalmar will hand over the 4000th straddle carrier produced by the company at a ceremony at the Cape Town Container Terminal this morning (Tuesday 11 April).
    The straddle carrier with the rounded number is part of a large order of 53 seventh generation straddles placed with the Finnish company by South African Port Operations (SAPO) for use at the ports of Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

    Earlier SAPO placed orders for an even larger batch of straddle carriers with the same group, which have already been delivered to Durban and Cape Town.

    Today’s ceremony is in keeping with a tradition of celebrating the delivery of every 1000th straddle carrier with a high level function in the country where the machines are being delivered. No.4000 happens to be in Cape Town at the port’s container terminal and this morning’s function will be jointly hosted by Kalmar and SAPO.

    Kalmar is sending a high-powered delegation led by Juhani Lukumaa, President Kalmar Container Handling and the Finnish ambassador to South Africa, Heikki Tuunanen.

    Transnet is to be represented by Maria Ramos, Group CEO who will ‘christen’ straddle carrier number 4000. Also expected to attend are the Premier of the Province Ebrahim Rasool and Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille.


    South Africa - Tanzania strengthen economic ties

    By Sello Tang (Bua News)

    Pretoria : 9 April 2006 - Trade relations between South Africa and Tanzania are due to be broadened following bilateral talks between President Thabo Mbeki and his newly-elected Tanzanian counterpart, Jikaya Kikwete, on Friday.

    After a closed meeting that lasted nearly two hours, President Mbeki said he had had a successful discussion with Mr Kikwete that included "widening bilateral relations with Tanzania".

    Mr Mbeki explained that the two countries were intending to strengthen existing bilateral agreements in a bid to fast-track political and economic development in their respective countries.

    "One of the matters we need to move on quickly is the implementation of the longstanding relations ... we should look into activating the Presidential Economic Commission," said President Mbeki.

    The Presidential Economic Commission, which was inaugurated in September 2005, seeks to provide the necessary co-operative framework to manage the development and implementation of bilateral projects between the two countries.

    The commission also provides a platform for discussions on addressing challenges posed by poverty and underdevelopment in both countries and in the South African Development Community (SADC) and East African Community regional blocs.

    President Mbeki announced that they had arranged to have the next meeting of the Presidential Economic Commission in June in Tanzania. He said the next meeting would help them to move quickly towards fast-tracking economic development and increasing trade relations.

    South Africa's annual exports to Tanzania were projected to be over R2.4 billion in 2004, while imports were forecast at R206.8 million in the same year. South Africa's exports to Tanzania are predominantly in manufacturing: machinery, mechanical appliances, paper, rubber products, vehicles, iron, steel, as well as services and technology.

    South Africa, which ranks fourth on the list of foreign investors in Tanzania, contributes about 10 percent of investment in that country. About 150 South African companies are operating in Tanzania, according to the Department of Trade and Industry.

    The two presidents have also observed that the level of trade between the two countries was imbalanced in favour of South Africa.

    "We need to address the trade imbalance between our two countries, which is heavily weighted towards South Africa," said President Mbeki.

    President Mbeki further lauded Tanzania for its efforts in bringing the rebel groups in Burundi to the negotiating table.

    "But there is only one issue we need the president to move on ... to bring the Paliphutu-FNL to join the process," he said.

    Regarding the Democratic Republic of Congo, President Mbeki was confident that, due to mediation by the both countries, the up-coming election in there would go smoothly. Regarding the coming election in the DRC "and the SADC involvement in this process ...we are ready for any request that may come from the DRC", he said.

    President Kikwete said his country was prepared to increase its exports portfolio to South Africa, noting that trade with South Africa "is quite healthy". He however indicated that they were looking forward to an increase in South African tourists in Tanzania, saying this would help in alleviating poverty and unemployment there.

    "If we did that we'll go a long way towards poverty alleviation, promoting development and allowing a better life for all, for the people of both countries," President Kikwete said.

    This was first the working visit by President Kikwete to South Africa since he was elected last year. President Kikwete left for Lesotho to continue his working trips in the SADC countries in a bid to strengthen bilateral relations and also to meet the leaders as the newly-elected head of Tanzania.


    What’s in a name?

    Well, plenty actually, when one thinks about it. Noted among the ships due at the Mozambique port of Maputo this week is one called enticingly ‘Please Please Me.’

    The rather appealing name belongs to a 1994 bulker owned by Japanese interests and managed and flagged in Hong Kong. One trusts that the owners’ wishes for their ship have been wholly fulfilled.

    The names that owners bring to their ships are often colourful and inventive, while some others lack any romance or imagination. Definitely not falling in the latter class, in recent years a certain European ship owner named eleven of his ships after the members of an English football team – whether these players or the team lived up to his expectations is not known but surely the ships made him a good living.

    Ships of the South African coastal service, now in the hands of the Grindrod Group, make repeat the names of ships once famous along this coastline. This is an attractive practice and one that will continue to be perpetuated, one hopes.

    The subject of ships names is quite large and needs some thought and research for a future article – watch this space (and any contributions are welcome – send to info@ports.co.za


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