Ports & Ships Maritime News

Sep 14, 2006
Author: P&S

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  • UAE’s Gultainer takes an interest in Comoros ports

  • Mbeki arrives in Brazil ahead of historic IBSA summit

  • Profit and production down at Saldanha Steel

  • EU tightens up on Cameroon timber

  • COTE D IVOIRE: Health fallout from toxic dumping worsens

  • Now CMA CGM commits for the big ships

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    UAE’s Gulftainer takes an interest in Comoros ports

    Emirates-based Gulftainer has been awarded the concession to operate and manage the ports of Moroni and Mutsamudu in the Comoros for a period of 15 years.

    Gulftainer takes over the port operations at Moroni with immediate effect and Mutsamudu from next year. In terms of the concession the UAE company will begin upgrading and expanding the islands’ ports with new infrastructure to improve cargo handling, increase the cargo storage areas and provide new warehouse areas.

    Gulftainer, which currently manages the container terminals at Sharjah and Khorfakkan, says the move into the Comoros is another step in the furthering of its international links and will help raise its profile.

    Gulftainer’s GM Peter Ricjhards said the main aim in the Comoros was to drastically reduce the time that vessels take to discharge and load their cargo in the port of Moroni. He said this would allow the consignees and shippers of the Comoros Islands to negotiate better freight rates from the shipping lines, and in turn reduce the cost of doing business in the Comoros. The same principle will apply to the port of Mutsamudu.

    - source Maritime Global Net

    Mbeki arrives in Brazil ahead of historic IBSA summit

    Brasilia, 14 September (BuaNews): President Thabo Mbeki touched down early yesterday morning (Wednesday) in Brasilia, Brazil, ahead of the first strategic trilateral summit of India-Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) scheduled for later in the day.

    This was the first time the South African, Brazilian and Indian Heads of State and Government - that is Presidents Thabo Mbeki, Lula da Silva and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh respectively met at Summit level within the context of the IBSA Forum.

    Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma had previously met with her counterparts in Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, and New Delhi.

    The ministers met once more on Tuesday, ahead of the Heads of State Summit which took place yesterday.

    Delegations of academics and business leaders have also been meeting in Brasilia this week in the context of the IBSA forum.

    The department said President Mbeki's visit to Brazil comes within the context of the need to strengthen political, economic and trade relations amongst the three countries with a view to advancing and consolidating South-South relations for increased market and trade access.

    President Mbeki's delegation includes Minister Dlamini Zuma, Transport Minister Jeff Radebe, Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa, Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica and other senior government officials.

    Issues on the agenda for discussion are expected to include, among others, a focus on energy, transport and climate change.

    Deliberations between President Mbeki and his counterparts will culminate in the signing of a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding among the three countries including renewable energies (bio-fuels); trade facilitation for standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment; maritime transportation; co-operation in agriculture and allied fields; and co-operation in the information society.

    President Mbeki is expected to depart from Brazil later today (Thursday) for Havana, Cuba, where he will lead a senior South African government delegation to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit.

    Profit and production down at Saldanha Steel

    The production and profit melt down continues at Saldanha Steel, the Western Cape-based arm of Mittal Steel, reports Cape Business News.

    The paper quotes a quarterly report ending March 2006 that suggests that Saldanha Steel suffered power disruptions which in turn led to delays in iron and steel making units. But it also says that figures released in the quarterly report suggest other factors also impinged on the Saldanha Steel performance.

    “In the quarter ending March 2006 sales slumped almost 30 percent to R714 million from R1 billion in the March quarter of 2005. The previous December quarter already showed sales slipping to R864 million.

    “But while the previous quarter showed a R97 million profit the latest quarter shows Saldanha Steel has slumped into a loss of R25 million.

    “The quarter ending March 2005 showed a profit of over R300 million – which highlights just how the profit situation has deteriorated at Saldanha Steel.
    Higher input costs – the price of coking coal and so on - appears to be the main culprit.”

    According to the CBN report the production side does not look that pretty either. Liquid steel production fell markedly to 260,000 tons in the March quarter from the 318,000 tons recorded in the same quarter in 2005.

    “The December quarter recorded production of 299,000 tones. It seems Saldanha lost more ground in export production.

    “At least local production at 108,000 tons was up slightly on the previous quarters 103,000 tons – but export production crumbled from 197,000 tons in the December quarter to 159,000 tons in the March quarter. The weaker rand may pump up export revenue in the next two quarters, a development that hopefully won’t be stymied by production hitches.”

    - source Cape Business Report www.cbn.co.za

    EU tightens up on Cameroon timber

    Timber exports to Europe from Cameroon are under threat from European Union countries over concerns that much of the timber exported is illegally exploited. As a result stakeholders are having to urgently find new criteria that will convince the EU that the timber is being legitimately harvested.

    The EU is the main export market for timber from central Africa but concerns have been growing over how the timber is obtained. As a result the Cameroon government has agreed to a review of how the timber is harvested and exported.

    A meeting of stakeholders was held in the capital Yaounde last week to identify some of the elements making up possible illegal exploitation of the forests and how to go about flushing clean the industry.

    Forestry minister Achuo Hillman warned that EU countries had threatened to boycott timber from Cameroon unless the matter was dealt with. "Many of these countries have officially stated their intention to ban the use of timber where the legality of its exploitation cannot be established", he said.

    Part of last week’s meeting was to build an understanding of what constituted legal exploitation of the forests. Subjects under scrutiny include environment and forest regeneration, land tenure, health and safety, labour law, common law, exploitation rights, and trade.

    - Cameroon Tribune

    COTE D IVOIRE: Health fallout from toxic dumping worsens

    Abidjan, 13 Sep 2006 (IRIN) - As the foul, eggy smell from toxic waste dumped last month in Cote d’Ivoire’s main city dissipates, thousands of people are still falling sick, and the United Nations has warned the pollution could seep into the food chain.

    The fallout from 400 tonnes of gasoline residue dumped at a number of sites across Abidjan during the night of 19 August has so far killed six people, including four children, according to the Ministry of Health.

    A team of French experts confirmed on Tuesday that the toxic waste contains hydrogen sulphide, a foul-smelling and highly toxic chemical.

    Nearly 9,000 people have flooded into the city’s public hospitals seeking treatment for nausea, headaches, and respiratory problems, and 19 have been hospitalised, said Jean Denoman, a spokesman for the Health Ministry.

    Medical staff at the public Cocody Hospital, which has set up an emergency centre on the hospital grounds for toxic waste victims, said the facility received nearly 800 patients on Tuesday, and the number of people seeking treatment is increasing daily.

    Treatments including X-ray scans and medicines are being offered free of charge at nearly all hospitals in Abidjan. But doctors warn they are already pushed beyond capacity.

    “All our hospital staff has been mobilised to deal with this problem,” said Elise Kouadio, a doctor at the facility. “We don’t have time to do anything else.”

    Hundreds of residents near the city's garbage disposal site Akuedo said they were still waiting to see a doctor as their local clinic was not able to cope with the daily influx of patients.

    "I have a bloated stomach, headaches, and irregular heartbeats," resident Didier Kone told IRIN. "Most of the people here suffer from the same symptoms."

    Doctors say even if people like Kone can get to a hospital, they are fighting a losing battle so long as the waste is not cleaned up. “People get treated, but they fall sick again when they return home because they have nowhere else to go,” Kouadio said.

    Officials are warning that this might just be the beginning of Abidjan’s problems.

    The waste has so far been found at 11 open-air sites including the main garbage dump, most of which have not been sealed off and lack warning signs. Government and UN officials said on Tuesday they expected more sites to be discovered.

    "Reliable sources indicate that a significant amount of waste was dumped in the sea and the lagoon as well as near the market gardening zones," acting UN humanitarian coordinator Youssouf Oomar said in a statement released on Tuesday.

    French scientists from the French Office of Geological and Mineral Research have conducted an assessment of Abidjan and said drinking water wells are not contaminated, but UN officials have warned the pollution could spread to the food chain if it is allowed to stay in the environment.

    According to the UN’s coordination office OCHA, some of the substance was dumped in the Abidjan lagoon and sewage system, and other suspected dumping sites may be close to water sources.

    Cleaning the toxic waste already discovered will take between 10 and 15 days, according to the French scientists.

    The toxic waste scare had sparked another health concern.

    To stop tanker trucks from discharging potentially hazardous material, residents blocked access to the main garbage dump with makeshift roadblocks and hastily built brick walls, causing fast-growing heaps of uncollected household garbage across the city.

    Mounting public anger over the dumping of the so-called “chemical slops” resulted in the resignation of Cote d’Ivoire’s power-sharing government last week. Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny, who remains in office, is expected to announce a new cabinet by the end of this week.

    But the main opposition parties have warned they will not participate in the new government until those responsible for the dumping have been detained.

    Authorities have arrested seven people in connection with the dumping, including three customs officials and a high-ranking official at the Transport Ministry, according to local news reports.

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

    Note: The toxic waste was shipped to Cote D’Ivoire on board the Panamanian-registered vessel named Probo Koala, which is thought to have taken the waste on board in the Netherlands. The ship was under charter to a Dutch company at the time of its arrival in West Africa.

    Now CMA CGM commits for the big ships

    Maersk Lines led the way with the delivery a few weeks ago of its first post-11,000 TEU container ship the Emma Maersk, the first of a number of the class to be built for the company at the Odense Shipyard in Denmark..

    Now other shipping lines are getting in on the act, which is likely to see a splurge of super container ships being churned out by an ever hungry market. French shipping giant CMA CGM is the first to follow in Maersk Lines footsteps with an order for eight 11,400 TEU ships placed with South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries.

    The cost of each ship is reported to be US $ 150,000 million or $ 1.2 Bn for all eight, according to Korean media sources. The ships will be delivered in 2009 and 2010. Korean sources add that Hyundai already has more than 21 ships over 10,000 TEU in size on order.

    Speculation now is on how long it will take MSC to place their first super post 11,000 TEU vessel.

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