Ports & Ships Maritime News

Apr 5, 2006
Author: P&S




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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Grindrod buys a piece of Maputo port

  • All aboard for the Patagonian Express as steam locomotive shipped from Durban

  • Four missing as trawler capsizes

  • Tanzanian president visits South Africa





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    Grindrod buys a piece of Maputo port

    South African shipping and logistics operator Grindrod announced yesterday that it has acquired a 12.24 percent share in the Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC) for an undisclosed amount. MPDC holds a 15-year concession to operate the port which was awarded in 2002 with a further 10-year optional period.

    According to Ivan Clark, Grindrod’s Managing Director, Grindrod has been positioning itself for concessioning of ports in Southern Africa for some time.

    “The Maputo Port provides an immediate opportunity for us to participate in the development of a port with a natural hinterland and which is an integral part of Southern Africa’s freight system.”

    He said that Grindrod’s South African customers were continually asking them to provide logistics solutions through the Maputo Corridor.

    “When one considers that our shipping lines, Unicorn, Island View Shipping and Ocean Africa Container Lines all call on Maputo, it makes strategic sense for us to participate in the Port of Maputo.”

    At 500km from Johannesburg the port is the closest southern African port to the main South African industrial and mining heartland centered on Gauteng. Historically the port shipped up to 14 million tonnes of cargo per annum. The main commodities which can be shipped through Maputo are coal, iron ore, fruit, ferro alloys, steel products, containers, cars and other related commodities.

    Grindrod also owns the Matola Coal Terminal which is part of the Maputo Port.

    MPDC chairman Ken Wharton of Mersey Docks said he was extremely pleased to have a South African major like Grindrod joining the consortium.

    “It is always important to have a local partner who has shipping expertise, the necessary contacts and financial resources to support an important and regionally strategic port like Maputo.”

    The Mozambican government holds a 49 percent share in the Maputo Port Development Company, the balance of 51 percent being held by the private consortium of which Grindrod is now part.

    Grindrod also announced that it intends spending up to USD 25 million over a period of time upgrading its Matola Coal Terminal facility in Maputo, with the intention of increasing the terminal’s capacity to 6 million tonnes pa. Matola currently handles 1,7 million tonnes of bulk cargo a year but is constrained by the railway network feeding the terminal.

    The Mozambican rail authorities have recently embarked on an upgrade of the line and will have to deal with the rolling stock and locomotive power capacity constraints in time. A number of diesel locomotives are already undergoing refurbishment in South African and Mozambique. Critical to the success of the rail upgrade is the support of Spoornet, the South African rail utility. However, indications are that the South African government views the Port of Maputo as an integral part of the freight infrastructure of Southern Africa.

    The Matola terminal is currently housed in African Portland Industrial Holdings (API) which was acquired by Grindrod in March 2005.


    All aboard for the Patagonian Express as steam locomotive shipped from Durban

    It was a special occasion last Saturday (1 April) in Durban when Clan Amazonas loaded a steam locomotive destined for Ushuaia in Patagonia. The steam locomotive, similar in appearance to but smaller than the class NG G16 type which operated on the Port Shepstone - Harding narrow gauge railway, was designed and built by a Port Sheptone engineering locomotive firm headed by Phil Girdlestone.

    The locomotive was transported to Durban’s Pier 1 on a heavylift truck for loading on board the Maruba’s 2500 TEU ship Clan Amazonas at Pier 1, from where it is being shipped to Buenos Aires. On arrival in the Argentine capital and port the locomotive will then be transhipped to Maruba's Patagonia Express Line, which calls direct at Ushuaia.

    Maruba operates extensive services throughout South and North America, and has recently launched an eastbound service from Durban to the Far East. General agents for Maruba in South Africa are Alpha Shipping Agency, and the forwarding was undertaken by Megafreight.

    Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world, located in the Beagle Channel and close to Cape Horn. It is the closest departure point for Antarctica, and is popular with expeditions and cruise ships. Ushuaia lies on the island of Tierra del Fuego, which significantly boasts the southernmost railway in the world together with some spectacular scenery.

    The name Tierra del Fuego means land of fires in Spanish, so-named by the first Europeans that saw the fires of the local Indians on the mountainsides. It is rather appropriate that it should be home to a steam railway


    Four missing as trawler capsizes

    Four seamen are missing feared dead after their fishing trawler, the Equinocio capsized off the central Mozambique coast near Pebane, north of Beira on Sunday.

    The Portuguese fishing vessel, which is used as a factory ship, was well known in Durban where she called regularly for maintenance and repairs in between fishing seasons. The ship is owned by Sociedade Industrial de Pesca (SIP), which is registered in Mozambique but has strong Portuguese interests.

    The vessel was apparently on a routine trawl when she capsized. A rescue operation was immediately launched by other boats belonging to the SIP company. 19 of the 23 sailors and fishermen on board the Equinocio were saved and returned to Beira on board another fleet vessel, the Polo Norte, which is also a familiar sight in Durban. Two of those who are missing are Mozambique citizens and the other two have Portuguese nationality.

    It is understood that bad weather existed in the area at the time and may have contributed to the accident.


    Tanzanian president to visit South Africa

    Pretoria - President Thabo Mbeki will host his Tanzanian counterpart, President Jakaya Kikwete in Pretoria on Friday.

    President Kikwete is expected to be in the country on a one-day working visit.

    Talks between the two leaders will focus on ways of strengthening political and economical bilateral relations.

    Briefing the media here on the significance of President Kikwete's visit, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad said: "Tanzania is regarded by the world as a successful story, not only in the SADC (South African Development Community), but in the eastern region of the continent as well."

    Currently, more than 150 South African companies have investments in Tanzania.

    These companies have invested in sectors such as information and technology, manufacturing and mining.

    Pahad also said South Africa and Tanzania had established two working commissions.

    "...These include the Ministerial Working Commission and the Presidential Economic Commission.

    "The Presidential Economic Commission is a forum where issues related to economic and bilateral projects are discussed," he explained. - BuaNews


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