Ports & Ships Maritime News

May 17, 2006
Author: P&S

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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Maputo Corridor ten years on

  • Unions and Transnet reach common ground over transformation

  • Kenya’s MRCC first in Africa to use Inmarsat

  • Safmarine provides new container school for Eastern Cape

  • HORN OF AFRICA: Saudi donation for drought-stricken region





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    Maputo Corridor project ten years on

    It is ten years since the launch of the Maputo Development Corridor SDI project and a large number of stakeholders are this week traveling through Mpumalanga this week en route to Thursday’s annual general meeting of the Maputo Corridor Liaison Initiative (MCLI) in Maputo.

    According to Brenda Horne, CEO of the MCLI, the Maputo Corridor has become a corridor development flagship for Nepad. She explained that the MCLI is the result of a grouping of infrastructure investors, service providers and users focused on the promotion and further development of the Maputo Corridor, each of which contributing to the aims and objectives of the Maputo Development Corridor.

    “MCLI was established in the true spirit of public-private partnership – launched in Maputo on 18 February 2004 and incorporated in South Africa as a membership organisation on 17 March 2004, with members drawn from South Africa and Mozambique to co-operate closely with organized business. MCLI then moved on to engage with relevant authorities to represent the combined views of all parties involved in the provision of services in the corridor and of all users of the corridor to ensure the Maputo Corridor becomes the first choice for the region’s importers and exporters as well as all other stakeholders alike.”

    Horne said that MCLI acknowledges the various pioneers who played a substantial role in their various positions to develop the corridor, as well as current role players who impact hugely on its successful optimisation.

    “For this reason the board of MCLI decided to optimise the opportunity of the annual general meeting in Maputo this year to bring together as many as possible of these role players to participate in a commemorative discussion directed by Dr Mathews Phosa, the South African MCLI chairman, who expressed the dream of this corridor in his inauguration speech of 1994, and to look at the yesterday, today and tomorrow of this very strategic corridor.”

    Horne said that it was important to reflect on all the work and achievements of the corridor in order to gain a fresh focus of those elements that are not yet in place as per the original blueprint.

    She said the current membership of MCLI stands at 70, and includes large industries, importers, exporters, shipping lines, clearing agents, financial institutions, investments initiatives, transporters and associations .

    Participants at the historic AGM on Thursday include Joaquim Chissano, the former president of the Republic of Mozambique and now the president of the Chissano Foundation; Mr. Nazir Ali - CEO of the South African National Roads Agency Limited; Mr.Carlos Fargo - Chairman of Mozambique Water Affairs; Mr. Peter Lowe - CEO of the Port of Maputo Development Company; Mr. Hannes van Wyk – the Load Control Manager of TRAC (which administers the Corridor’s road system); Mr. Jurgens Van Zyl - Economist: Regional SDI Programmer of the Development Bank of SA; the CEO of CPI Dr Mohamed Rafique; Mr. Oldemiro Baloi Executive Board member of BIM; Ms Filomina Malelane - advisor to the Mozambique Ministry of Industry & Commerce; the representative of the Mozambique Minister of Transport and Communication, Director Francisca Soares; Antonio Matos – co-chairman of MCLI; and Mr Tiago Massinga from ANE Mozambique.


    Unions and Transnet reach common ground over transformation

    The threat of further strikes affecting South AFrican ports and railways receded yesterday with the joint announcement by the four trade unions and Transnet that they had agreed a common approach to the group’s restructuring.

    The agreement was signed at the Carlton Centre (headquarters of Transnet) in Johannesburg on Monday (15 May 2006), ending a nine-month dispute that brought crippling stoppages to public transport and port terminal operations.

    “The management of Transnet and the leadership of the unions agree that the restructuring is vital to ensuring that Transnet contributes to economic growth by, amongst others, reducing the cost of doing business, investing in Transnet’s infrastructure, investing in employee training and improving productivity,” said the joint statement issued by all parties yesterday.

    As part of the agreement the parties have resolved that:

  • The restructuring process must have clear timeframes for the disposal of non-core businesses (in other words, those businesses that do not form part of freight rail, ports and pipelines)

  • A framework with principles to govern the transfers has been agreed by the signatories

  • Metrorail’s transfer to the South African Rail Commuter Corporation, the utility under the control of the Department of Transport, will be effective 1 May 2006. No employee will lose any benefits, including pensions and travel, as a result of the transfer

  • The future of Autopax Passenger Services (Pty) Ltd will be determined by the Minister of Public Enterprises after consultation with labour

    The parties have agreed that unions will be consulted timeously on strategic and operational issues to enable labour to communicate and consult with their members on issues that will impact on members.

    “The parties also recognise that it is important that South Africa builds higher levels of trust and co-operation between management and unions in order to promote faster and more widely impactful rates of economic growth. The drive for accelerated and shared growth will be made more possible by higher levels of social capital.

    “Therefore, the parties undertake to act in ways that promote co-operation by adopting problem solving approaches to dealing with differences. In light of that, the parties have agreed the establishment of the Strategic Leadership Forum (SLF). Led by Ms Maria Ramos, Transnet Ltd chief executive, the forum will meet four times a year to engage on Transnet’s strategy.”

    The SLF, which brings together Transnet Ltd Executive Committee and the leadership of the unions, will not be a decision making or negotiating forum. Instead, the key purpose of the SLF will be to promote engagement on strategic issues in a way that helps all parties contribute to Transnet’s success.

    According to the joint statement the agreement between Transnet, Sarwhu, Satawu, Uasa and Utatu was reached in the interests of Transnet, its employees and the country.


    Kenya’s MRCC first in Africa to use Inmarsat

    The establishment of a maritime search and rescue co-ordination centre (MRCC) at Mombasa, which was officially opened by the secretary-general of the IMO, Efthimios Mitropoulos on 5 May (see Ports & Ships News dated 8 May), has become the first in Africa to make use of Inmarsat communication equipment.

    The MRCC and two sub-centres (MRSC’s), in the Seychelles and Tanzania, have the capability to co-ordinate search and rescue operations in the Indian Ocean region and the eastern Atlantic, with the Mombasa centre being managed by Kenya’s Maritime Authority.

    “The three governments and the IMO have co-operated further in the provision of the housing facilities and equipment for the MRCC and two MRSCs, said Mitropoulos at the opening.

    “Private donors have also contributed significant equipment to this project through Inmarsat and the International Mobile Satellite Organisation, and deserve recognition and praise.”

    He explained how co-ordination and control of search and rescue operations had in the past been organised by individual countries, resulting in plans being developed along different lines and giving rise to potential difficulties.

    “There can be no doubt that inauguration of this facility in Mombasa will help fill a massive gap in the effective search and rescue coverage between the SAR centres in Oman to the north and South Africa to the south – both thousands of miles away,” he said.

    “It will play a considerable part in achieving the overall objective of improving the safety of life at sea, increasing the chances that those who find themselves in distress will be able to reach shore safely, and also strengthening the sub-region’s measures on maritime security.”

    Speaking at a workshop on the occasion of the official opening, Chris Wortham, Inmarsat’s manager of maritime safety engineering, outlined the company’s continuing commitment to search and rescue and the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).

    “Inmarsat has provided safety services for more than 25 years and has made a five-year commitment of USD 10,000 a year to the IMO’s SAR fund, which commenced in 2005,” he said.

    Inamrsat manufacturers have also generously donated all satellite communications equipment for the three East African rescue co-ordination centres. Nera has donated two Fleet F77 terminals and antennas for Mombasa, while JRC and Thrane & Thrane have donated Inmarsat C and mini-C equipment.

    - source Inmarsat website


    Safmarine provides new container school in Eastern Cape

    Shipping company Safmarine opened a new school in the remote Tsenekana district in the Eastern Cape on 12 May 2006.

    The Tsenekana Primary School, situated 15km from the small town of Peddie (midway between King William’s Town and Graham’s Town), was constructed from four 12m retired seafreight containers. The container school replaces old facilities that, while built to accommodate 50 pupils, had to accommodate 120.

    The new school was built under extremely difficult conditions in a community so isolated that it does not have running water, electricity or easy road access.

     
    Safmarine's East London sales manager, Jenny Ahlschlager addresses the audience at the opening of Tsenekana Primary School in Peddie.

    Speaking at the official opening, Safmarine’s East London Sales Manager Jenny Ahlschlager said Safmarine chose to assist the community because of its real need for new facilities.

    “The original school was built out of mud bricks which collapsed in 1997 and ever since then, learners were accommodated in a shack made of corrugated iron.”

    She said tackling difficult projects under trying circumstances was necessary if companies, such as Safmarine, wanted to invest in the youth of South Africa.

    “This is one of a number of initiatives Safmarine is active in throughout South Africa in order to support those who live in remote rural areas.”

    Support was also given to the community as a whole by employing local labour to construct the school.

    Ahlschlager said Safmarine intends maintaining an ongoing relationship with the school to ensure the long-term success of the project.

    Summerpride Foods in East London assisted with building material such as poles, planks and gates, which were used to build an ablution block, garden and a soccer field.


    HORN OF AFRICA: Saudi donation for drought-stricken region

    Nairobi, 16 May 2006 (IRIN) - The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has donated USD 10 million to the United Nations World Food Programme's (WFP) operations in several Horn of Africa countries where some six million people are rapidly running out of food following severe drought

    The countries are Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Somalia.

    "WFP is extremely grateful to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Saudi people for this important contribution that comes at a crucial time," said James Morris, WFP's Executive Director. "Many of the people who will benefit from the Saudi donation are nomadic pastoralists who have tragically lost all their livestock."

    The new donation comes at a time when WFP is having severe funding difficulties in East Africa, where the agency faces a shortfall of some USD 200 million for its drought-related operations.


    Somalia and the Horn of Africa - map courtesy IRIN.

    "This latest donation is the largest ever to WFP from Saudi Arabia or from any Gulf country and is a sign of the government's commitment to work more closely with the UN and with WFP in particular, so that we can reach these survivors quickly and effectively," added Morris.

    "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has donated billions of dollars bilaterally or multilaterally to relief and development projects over the last 30 years and the recent donations to WFP are examples of its ongoing commitment to help humanity," said WFP's special ambassador Abdulaziz Arrukban.

    (This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations)



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