Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 6, 2006
Author: P&S

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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Port Elizabeth ‘hums’ for the Hummer H3


  • Alcan seeks Coega partners


  • Railway safety regulator gets some teeth


  • Seychelles: Police crack down on media freedom protesters


  • Unctad investment policy review: Rwanda


  • Maputo welcomes first Delmas caller


  • Picture of the day






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    Port Elizabeth ‘hums’ for the Hummer H3

    A R7.5 million expansion of the Port Elizabeth car terminal has been completed in time to take absorb increased imports of components for the GM-produced H3 Hummers that are now being produced in the city.

    With the first vehicle expected off the production line next week (10 October), SA Port Operations is now capable of handling the fully built-up vehicles for export to countries in Europe, the Middle East and to Asia Pacific.

    As part of the terminal expansion programme a larger area has been granted bonded store status by SA Revenue Services and this area has been secured by fencing from the remainder of the terminal area, which is situated at the base of the East Quay (formerly known as the Chas Malan Quay).

    It wasn’t simply a matter of increasing the size of the terminal to accommodate the Hummers; the parking bays had also to be increased in size for the large vehicles.

    The H3 Hummer is being produced at a rate of between 36 and 40 a day to reach an annual output of 10,000 units annually in a contract that was quoted in April 2005 as being worth R18 Billion.


    Alcan seeks Coega partners

    Canada’s Alcan, one of the world’s largest aluminium producers and a front-runner to build a new aluminium smelter at the port of Ngqura in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, says it wants partners to invest in the projected US $ 2.7 Billion smelter.

    The decision being awaited from Alcan is turning into one of the most drawn out sagas as the company deliberates whether to make the trip to South Africa’s southern coastline. Alcan ‘inherited’ the project when it took over French producer Pechiney, who, if reports are to be trusted, was on the point of signing the much delayed (then) contract.

    Since then it has been Alcan that has hedged and delayed its decision, gaining in the process a series of concessions that will now see it investing in only a small portion of the capital necessary to build the smelter, saying that it is bringing ‘technology and management expertise’ to the partnership.

    If there wasn’t such management skill and expertise already available in the region in plenty (equally large smelters successfully in operation at Richards Bay and Maputo) one might be tempted to be suitably overawed or even impressed!

    With the latest proposal Alcan will own 30 percent of the project with the South African government (which is providing all the land infrastructure and the vast amounts of electrical power necessary) may have to take 15 percent of the ownership.

    Meanwhile talks with South Africa’s electrical supply company Eskom (which will ultimately do as required) are continuing. Eskom does not have the capacity to produce locally the amount of electricity needed in the Eastern Cape which would have to be ‘wired’ in from thermal power stations in the north over very large distances.

    The importance of electrical power can be judged by it contributing a third of all production costs – the electrical power required for the proposed smelter at Coega would be greater than that presently consumed by the entire Nelson Mandela (Port Elizabeth) metropolitan area.

    This comes at a time when Eskom is already sorely pressed to provide the basic needs of an expanding economy – ask the Western Cape how they feel about power outages.


    Railway safety regulator gets some teeth

    At last the railway safety regulator will have some teeth. They may or may not consist largely of false teeth, but the 12 retired railway engineers, appointed as safety inspectors to give the rail safety regulator the ability to do his job, are welcome news to rail users, both freight and passenger alike.

    The regulator has been in existence for two years but so far has lacked the ability to achieve much of what he set out to do and the lack of inspectors showed up clearly among the spate of rail accidents in the past 18 – 24 months.

    According to rail safety regulator CEO Mosenngwa Mofi, inspectors would undertake safety audits and inspections as well as conducting investigations and enforcing compliance. If necessary the regulator can serve notice on operators to stop operating if he feels they are failing to comply with safety standards.

    All this has been lacking until now and has been highlighted in recent years by an abnormally high incidence of rail accidents, which led to the Minister of Transport Jeff Radebe admitting that government was concerned.

    Much of the blame for the high spate of accidents has been put on ageing rolling stock and infrastructure, although informed sources suggest the real reasons lie with a lack of proper maintenance over the past decade plus inadequate training and observance of safety regulations by personnel.

    Spoornet is due to spend more than R7.2 Billion this year on re-equipping its fleet of locomotives, wagons and signalling systems out of a total of R31 Bn to be spent over a five year period.


    Seychelles: Police crack down on media freedom protesters

    Johannesburg, 4 Oct 2006 (IRIN) - Police in the capital of the Seychelles, Victoria, fired teargas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters demanding the opening of the airwaves on Tuesday. Some opposition party members were detained and others hospitalised.

    Up to a hundred supporters of the opposition Seychelles National Party (SNP) gathered outside parliament during a discussion on an amendment to broadcasting laws that deny other political parties access to radio and TV stations.

    "While the law was debated [SNP] asked supporters to come ... to sign a petition. While they were assembling there were lots of police and an anti-riot unit - they went into action immediately," Roger Mancienne, editor of the weekly opposition newspaper, Regar, told IRIN.

    Mancienne, who was among those detained by police, said: "The leaders of SNP were immediately apprehended - party officials were severely beaten and kept in custody in the hospital because of their wounds."

    SNP leader Wavel Ramkalawan, who lost to presidential incumbent James Michel in July elections, was among those injured and arrested.

    "He [Ramkalawan] was told the gathering was illegal, and to take steps to disperse the crowd. He was then suddenly beaten by riot police," said Mancienne.

    In a television address on Tuesday evening, Police Commissioner Gerard Waye Hive called the assembly an "illegal gathering", and said his officers were forced to act to disperse the crowd. He maintained that Ramkalawan had resisted arrest.

    Reporters Without Borders, an international media watchdog, condemned the police action, saying: "It is perfectly legitimate to demand an end to the state's broadcasting monopoly and strict control of the public media; it is incomprehensible that anti-riot police used violence against unarmed citizens, who turned out in support of the opposition and journalists."

    The Seychelles People's Progressive Front has been in power in the Indian Ocean archipelago for almost three decades since former President Albert Rene's bloodless coup in 1977. Multiparty democracy was restored in 1993, followed by the appointment of Michel as Rene's successor in 1994.

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


    Unctad investment policy review: Rwanda

    "Rwanda would like to become a knowledge-based and competitive economy by 2020", said Bernard Makuza, Prime Minister of Rwanda. Mr. Makuza was presenting the Investment Policy Review of Rwanda to UNCTAD´s yearly Trade and Development Board.

    Highlights of Review

    Rwanda is among the world’s poorest nations, and it faces particular challenges in leveraging FDI for development as a result of its economic structure, the low level of development of human capital, its landlocked position and its small size. Foreign investment flows have been negligible since independence, and Rwanda missed out on the global surge in FDI flows to developing countries in the 1990´s as a result of the genocide.

    Rwanda has nevertheless achieved remarkable political and social progress since the genocide in 1994. It adopted a democratic constitution in 2003 and organised free presidential and legislative elections. It has become one Africa’s countries with the highest degree of personal safety and lowest incidence of corruption. It has also started to rebuild its economy, and the Government is fully committed to building a peaceful, stable and prosperous nation through sustainable private sector led development. Much progress in reforming the investment climate has been achieved so far, even though much remains to be done to upgrade the entire framework given the situation inherited in 1994. A long period of sustained public and private investment will also be required if Rwanda is to achieve its development objectives.
    In particular, the economy will have to undergo a rapid and thorough process of transformation away from subsistence agriculture.

    The Investment Policy Review suggests three policy avenues to promote FDI and ensure that it contributes to achieving the national development goals, including peace and stability:

  • Turn Rwanda into a centre of excellence in soft infrastructure and governance. Rwanda should build on its commitment to reforms and the low prevalence of corruption to develop Africa’s best legal and regulatory framework for investment (laws, regulations, procedures)


  • Develop a skills attraction and dissemination programme. Rwanda suffers from a shortage of human capital, which is being slowly remedied through general education. A well-structured programme to attract skills from abroad could greatly accelerate and enhance the acquisition and dissemination of skills and entrepreneurship


  • Put in place focused strategic initiatives. In addition to these two horizontal measures to promote investment, Rwanda should elaborate a number of policy packages to promote the development of a wide array of sectors, from services to manufacturing, or agri-business to mining


  • - source UNCTAD


    Maputo welcomes first Delmas caller


    Delmas Komati at Maputo’s MIPS container terminal

    Maputo Corridor Liaison Initiative (MCLI) has congratulated Delmas Shipping SA of what it calls a ‘very successful and satisfactory first call’.

    The accolade is in reference to the first ship call at the Mozambique port by one of the Delmas line ships, the Delmas Komati which discharged 150 empty and 11 full containers before loading 92 full boxes at the MIPS container terminal in the port.

    Delmas Komati berthed late on Monday (2 October) and sailed the next day for Nacala, also a ‘first call’ on the service and en route to Port Victoria in the Seychelles and then Nava Sheeva in India.

    The next vessel on this new service expected in Maputo will be the Delmas Kaveri which is due on 20 October.

    “MCLI would like to express our congratulations to all the role players in this very historic first call and express the hope that more cargo carriers will take note of the strategic benefits offered by the Maputo Corridor where it is the shortest distance to your international markets,” said Brenda Horne, CEO of MCLI.


    Picture of the day
    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice


    The products tanker Bow Pioneer on Eldock, the floating dock owned and operated in Durban by Elgin Brown & Hamer. This was the largest ship to have loaded on the dock, filling it to capacity. Elgin Brown & Hamer also owns and operates (in partnership with Namport) another similar floating dock at Walvis Bay. To the top of Eldock is the smaller floating dock owned by the National Ports Authority, with one of the harbour tugs on board. On the other side of Eldock are a number of work barges. Picture courtesy EB&H


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