Ports & Ships Maritime News

Mar 8, 2007
Author: P&S


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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Plans for Eastern Cape oil refinery revealed

  • China plans to help Gabon with port and railway development to ship iron ore

  • INDUSTRY NEWS - Durban-based Dive Solutions introduces unique NEPSYS underwater welding system

  • Polaris changes name to Zim Integrated Shipping Services

  • SA delegation to visit US to lure investors in key AsgiSA sectors

  • Pic of the day – ANZE JIANG





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    Plans for Eastern Cape oil refinery revealed

    Bidevco, an Eastern Cape empowerment company says it hopes to build an oil refinery near the port of Ngqura (Coega) in partnership with a Brazilian/Japanese company.

    This was announced in Port Elizabeth yesterday when Bidevco’s CEO, Jacques van Wyk revealed his company was exploring synergies between the South Africa and Brazilian markets. The company has linked up with K Inada, a Brazilian operation and was exploring the possibility of an oil refinery at Coega.

    In terms of their proposals oil would be imported from Brazil, refined at Coega and the refined product shipped to the Far East, in particular China.

    Bidevco is also looking at other possible sites in South Africa, he said.

    Yesterday the Coega Development Corporation took steps to emphasise that there was no exclusive arrangement between the CDC and Bidevco, and that the CDC was exploring the concept of an oil refinery at Coega with a number of interested parties.


    China plans to help Gabon with port and railway development to ship iron ore


    Map of Gabon showing economic activity - CIA maps. Click image to enlarge

    Gabon in West Africa has revealed that a Chinese consortium will partner the country in a US $ 3 Billion project to mine and ship iron ore from the huge Belinga iron ore deposits in Gabon to China.

    The deal is one the latest to be announced in which China will invest heavily in African enterprises while benefiting by having access to vitally needed raw materials. The announcement follows recent visits to Africa of high ranking Chinese government leaders to a number of African countries.

    The Chinese consortium which is led by state-owned China National Machinery & Equipment Corp, will build a 560km railway from the iron ore mines at Belinga in the north-east of the country to Cape Santa Clara on the Atlantic coast, where an iron ore terminal as well as a container terminal will be built. The nearest large town to Belinga is Makokou, about 100km to the north-east and currently accessible along poor roads or by river transport.

    In addition two hydro-electric power stations will also be constructed by the Chinese. Financing has been arranged through China’s Export-Import Bank, also a Chinese state-owned entity.

    The Belinga fields are reported to have proven ore deposits in excess of 500 million tonnes.

    Among other companies that expressed an interest in developing the deposits are Brazil’s Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) and France’s Eramet. Gabon however, like a number of Africa countries is showing a preference to the no strings approach adopted by the Chinese. Western interests usually come with strong economic tags attached, often at the urging of the World Bank.

    The Belinga iron ore deposits are to be found in an undeveloped region of the country covered largely with forest and inhabited, it is said, by pygmy tribes.

    Gabon has a population of about 1.5 million people. The scale of this project is equal to about half that of the country’s GDP.


    INDUSTRY NEWS - Durban-based Dive Solutions introduces unique NEPSYS underwater welding system



    What does a ship owner do when his fully laden general cargo vessel, which is operating on a tight schedule, is found to have defects in the hull that require urgent repair. Adding to the complexity is the nature of the defect, which is in the stern and rudder region, and the insistence of the classification society that only sound permanent structural repairs may be undertaken, which rule out the option of a temporary wet weld that would have to be re-repaired in dry conditions later.

    His options include booking the ship into the nearest dry dock, but the ship may be far from any suitable dock at the time and in any case a suitable dock might not be available. On top of this, going into a dry dock incurs additional costs of discharging the ship’s cargo and then later having to reload, all of which takes time, which to a ship owner means money.

    He may of course be able to arrange for a cofferdam repair, in which a steel cofferdam is built to fit around the damaged area in which welders can operate. But this is not always feasible and is again time consuming particularly if the cofferdam has to be specially built and taken to where the damaged ship is.

    Now, thanks to an Australian development the ship owner has another option – one of performing a permanent dry weld without taking the ship out of the water and with the minimum of disruption to commercial operations. And being extremely portable it can be performed anywhere in the world at short notice. Just about as long as it takes to fly the technicians to the ship.

    The system, which has been introduced to South Africa by Durban-based Dive Solutions, is known as the Neptune Dry Underwater Weld System, or NEPSYS.

    Approved by the classification societies and patented internationally, the technology provides a permanent dry quality weld in an underwater environment. And like all good ideas it is basically simple, working on the principle of taking the dry environment to the damage, wherever it is.

    In basic terms, the system encloses the weld zone in a completely controlled environment of high temperature inert gas, eliminating hydrogen from the weld area, preventing quenching and providing for an even thermal distribution. It achieves this via a relatively small framework that fits over the damaged section and is held in place by positive pressure, with the welder working alongside and able to observe his work through a small window in the framework.

    Already a number of successful applications have been undertaken both to ships and with the oil and gas industry, where it has a particular relevance and many applications.

    “Unlike the cofferdam approach, the highly portable NEPSYS system enables a double-sided, full penetration, permanent dry weld that meets class rules and original manufacturers codes and standards,” says Neptune Marine’s Geoff O’Connor, who was in South Africa recently to assist Dive Solutions with the launch of the product.

    The Durban-based company has embarked on a training programme with Neptune and will act as accredited operators of the system.


    Polaris changes name to Zim Integrated Shipping Services

    ZIM Integrated Shipping Services, the Israeli shipping line has gone on a shopping spree with orders for a number of super container ships.

    In 2006 Zim announced its intention of ordering eight new container ships costing a total of US $ 1 Billion for delivery in 2010. In the past week the company has confirmed orders for two 10,000-TEU ships with an option for a third and now there are reports of an order with South Korea’s Hyundai Shipyard for another two.

    The sheer size of these ships collectively will swell Zim’s box capacity by 30 percent.

    Zim has long been represented in South Africa by Polaris Shipping, a Durban-based ships agency. Now it has been announced that the Polaris name is to disappear with the company being known as Zim Integrated Shipping Services of Southern Africa.


    SA delegation to visit US to lure investors in key AsgiSA sectors

    by Oupa Segalwe, BuaNews

    Pretoria, 7 March - A public-private sector mission is to leave South Africa in the next two weeks on a working visit to the United States in a bid to promote and lure American investments into the country.

    Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa is expected to lead the 76-person mission, which will include business people and government officials on the trip to New York, Detroit, Chicago and Dallas from 17 to 23 March.

    Delegates are expected to explore investment opportunities by US companies into South Africa's- Business-Process Outsourcing (BPO), biotechnologies, automotive and financial services sectors.

    All these sectors are considered key priorities under government's Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (AsgiSA).

    AsgiSA seeks to achieve an annual economic growth rate of no less than 6 percent in order to halve poverty and unemployment by 2014.

    Briefing members of the delegation ahead of the trip on Tuesday, Investment Promotion and Facilitation Chief Director at the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) Saliq Jaffer said the US was chosen because of its status as a key investor and trade partner to South Africa.

    "This trip is part of a long term mission in which we will go on working visits to the United States at least once a year," Mr Jaffer said.

    He said most members of the delegation would concentrate on the trips to New York and Chicago, in order to focus on the BPO sector.

    Others will focus on Detroit, which is considered the automotive sector hub of the US, often referred to as Motor City.

    "We believe the automotive sector is key for us in terms of the Motor Industry Development Programme (MIDP)," Mr Jaffer said.

    The MIDP is aimed at making the South African automotive sector internationally competitive through phased global integration, increasing the volume and scale of local production, expanding exports, and modernising and upgrading the industry.

    International Trade Chief Director at the Dti, Iqbal Sharma said while investment from the US had been good, the mission aimed at increasing it.

    "Its also aimed at highlighting new opportunities in which South Africa has pockets of excellence that can be grown with US investments," Mr Sharma said.

    According to the dti, the US has consistently been the largest Foreign Direct Investor (FDI) in South Africa, representing about 40 percent of FDI since 1994.

    Through the new and returning investments, the number of US companies in South Africa now exceeds the pre-sanction period, the dti said.

    The department said the US Embassy in Pretoria estimated that there were about 900 US companies operating directly or otherwise in the country, employing about 125,000 people in the process.

    The US is second only to the European Union as South Africa's largest trade partner.

    According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), trade between the US and South Africa is approaching R60 billion yearly, with an annual increase of approximately 11 per cent.


    Pic of the day – ANZE JIANG

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice


    The COSCO general cargo vessel ANZE JIANG seen arriving in Durban on a clear December afternoon. Picture Terry Hutson


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