Ports & Ships Maritime News

Oct 11, 2007
Author: P&S





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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • Cunard to build new QUEEN ELIZABETH

  • SAECS adds seventh vessel to service

  • Don’t blame us, says Rift Valley Railway’s Puffett

  • Grindrod’s biggest ship to date delivers in the wake of record high shipping markets

  • Warning Bells Sounding over Changes to Port Access

  • Pic of the day – IVS CABERNET





    Cunard to build new QUEEN ELIZABETH

    New liner to enter service in 2010

    The following announcement was received yesterday (Wednesday) from Cunard:

    Cunard Line announces that it has ordered a new 92,000-ton liner, to be named ‘Queen Elizabeth’, scheduled to enter service in the autumn of 2010. Cunard, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE CUK) signed an agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for the construction of the new 2092–passenger ocean liner, which will be built at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone yard at an all-in cost of approximately €500 million. The vessel will be the second largest Cunarder ever built.

    In making the announcement, Cunard's President and Managing Director, Carol Marlow, said:

    “Cunard already owns and operates the two most famous ocean liners in the world, Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2, and a third - Queen Victoria - is due to be named by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales, in December of this year. The decision to order another ship for Cunard Line has been taken as a result of the strong booking response to the new Queen Victoria, and we are extremely pleased that Cunard will once again become a three-ship fleet so soon after the departure of the much-celebrated Queen Elizabeth 2 in November next year. Furthermore we are delighted that Her Majesty The Queen has given her blessing to our calling this new Cunarder ‘Queen Elizabeth’, after our first vessel of that name”.

    The new ship follows a long line of famous Cunard liners stretching back to the company's inception as the first operator of a timetabled transatlantic service 167 years ago.

    Speaking for Fincantieri, Chief Executive Officer Mr. Giuseppe Bono said:

    “It is a particularly special moment for Fincantieri to have secured a second order from Cunard at a time when we are nearing the completion of Queen Victoria. Cunard is the most famous name in passenger shipping and we are honoured to have been chosen to build Queen Elizabeth and to continue the tradition and heritage of that great company".

    Queen Elizabeth will offer the very best of Cunard’s values and traditions, blended with every conceivable modern luxury that today's discerning travellers expect. Through her opulent public rooms and impeccable service, the new ship will reflect the grandeur which has been associated with Cunard ships since the introduction of the Mauretania in 1907; and from the outside, her black hull, gleaming white superstructure and distinctive red funnel will echo the classic characteristics of the company's distinctive liner heritage.

    Queen Elizabeth will fly the Red Ensign with her home-port Southampton, as is the case with the other ships in the Cunard fleet.

    The agreement is subject to approval by the board of directors of Carnival Corporation & plc. Design details and initial itineraries will be announced in due course.



    SAECS adds seventh vessel to service

    With port delays both in Europe and South Africa disrupting schedule integrity, the four shipping lines (Safmarine, MOL, DAL and Maersk Line) in the SAECS vessel-sharing agreement in the trade between Europe and Southern Africa have agreed to add a seventh vessel to the ‘SAECS Core Service’.

    The statement issued yesterday by Safmarine says that the addition of a seventh vessel comes in response to continued operational challenges at the ports of call and is aimed at meeting the levels of service expected by exporters and importers.

    According to Safmarine’s SA Trades Executive, Alex de Bruyn, “The partner lines in the Europe-South Africa trade have made a substantial investment in acquiring an additional vessel in order to ensure all our customers – including fruit exporters - receive a more reliable service during the peak season."

    The current schedule (port rotation) will remain unchanged as the addition of the seventh vessel is aimed at ensuring schedule reliability, thereby illustrating the commitment from the shipping lines concerned to provide a best-in-class service for the trade.

    The additional vessel, LICA MAERSK, has the same specifications as the remaining specialised reefer tonnage on the service and it will join the ‘SAECS Core Service’ on 11 November, 2007.

    SAECS (South Africa Europe Container Service) consists of the four independent shipping lines that share vessels on two services catering to the markets in Southern Africa and Europe. The two services are the SAECS Core Service and the SAECS Intermediate Service.

    The current port rotation for the SAECS Core Service is Tilbury – Rotterdam – Bremerhaven - Las Palmas - Cape Town - Port Elizabeth – Durban - Cape Town - Las Palmas - Tilbury.



    Don’t blame us, says Rift Valley Railway’s Puffett

    Rift Valley Railway’s managing director Roy Puffett says his company is not to blame for the port of Mombasa’s woes.

    Puffett was responding to ongoing claims by politicians and port officials of the Kenya Port Authority that RVR is partly responsible for the congestion at the Mombasa container terminal.

    He said that on the contrary RVR had exceeded its set targets and pointed out that on Thursday last week the container count at the Mombasa Container Terminal was 10,727 containers, of which only nine percent was documented for rail haulage. At the same time a staggering 5,302 containers, almost half, were marked as undocumented and therefore unallocated for either road or rail cartage.

    A total of 1,019 of documented containers were marked for rail transportation and 1,562 for road haulage. An additional 1,936 were marked for export and 908 boxes were empties.

    "With such numbers, RVR takes great exception to claims that we are contributing to congestion at the port," Puffett said.

    According to Puffett RVR has been able to grow its rail volumes from Mombasa to Nairobi, Malaba and Kampala on a month to month basis. In June RVR carried 1,576 containers and in September the number was 1925.

    Puffett disclosed that RVR will have invested US$29 million on improvements to infrastructure by the end of this financial year. In terms of the concession agreement the company is required to invest an amount of $5 million each year for the next five years on infrastructure upgrades.

    As a result of having to withdraw up to half of the wagon fleet for necessary repairs the railway has been forced to operate on a scaled down basis for the past eight months. By introducing a ‘Preventative Maintenance Programme’ based on international standards, RVR has significantly reduced the number of locomotive and rolling stock breakdowns.

    source – East African Standard



    Grindrod’s biggest ship to date delivers in the wake of record high shipping markets

    Grindrod, the JSE listed shipping and logistics business, this week celebrated the delivery of the largest vessel built for the group to date.

    The new 180,000 deadweight ton (dwt) Cape Size vessel, named the IVS CABERNET (reflects her South African “flavour”) is 289 metres long and 45 metres wide which is almost the length of 3 rugby fields and almost the width of one.

    The ship built by Namura shipyard in Japan has a maximum draught of less than 18 metres and is designed to carry coal and iron-ore, making her ideally suited to complement the Island View Shipping fleet (Island View Shipping is a 100 percent owned subsidiary of Grindrod Limited). The demand for commodities such as coal and iron-ore has continued to rise contributing to the demand for this type of vessel. The shortage of newbuildings and the high level of confidence in the market’s long term sustainability have impacted on new and second hand ship prices, pushing them to all time highs.

    Grindrod concluded the long term charter deal with G-ACE Pte Limited in 2004, at rates determined by the market value at that time. Though the specific amount is not disclosed, three years ago the long term rates were around US$20,000 per day. They are currently almost double this amount.

    “The strategy of ordering ships when markets have indicated a future shortage of a particular class of ship, has served us well,” said Alan Olivier, CEO Grindrod Limited. “We now have a modern, diversified fleet which will grow to 56 ships by the end of 2011.” Mr Olivier went on to say that Grindrod will continue to look for opportunities to grow the fleet.

    He also indicated that although a portion of the fleet is positioned to take advantage of high spot rates in the market, much of Grindrod’s fleet (89 percent in 2007, 58 percent for 2008 and 32 percent for 2009) has been contracted. This means that a good portion of Grindrod’s income and therefore profits are locked-in and will not be affected by fluctuations in the shipping markets.

    In August this year Grindrod reported its capital commitments of R2.2 billion on ship expenditure over the next few years. To date for 2007, the group has spent in the region of R800 million on ships.

    “We wish the IVS Cabernet well as she sets sail on her maiden voyage, carrying iron-ore from Cape Lambert in Australia to Redcar in the United Kingdom” concluded Olivier.



    Warning Bells Sounding over Changes to Port Access

    Capacity constraints, reams of administrative red tape and uncertainty on the commercial impact are sounding warning bells for the shipping industry ahead of new regulations geared at tightening access controls into the country’s ports.

    The National Ports Act, which came into effect last year, made provision for port rules regulating access permits and licences aimed at ensuring the safe and proper management of the facility. These port rules have now been drafted. The move followed compliance with the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code, a comprehensive set of measures intended to enhance the security of ships and port facilities in response to the perceived threats to these facilities in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the US.

    The opening salvo required world ports to tighten their seaside activities; enclose their ports to prevent free traffic movements and demand detailed crew information from the ships calling in the harbour. The second stage requires Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) to validate access permits for everyone seeking entrance into the port and enables the authority to impose conditions for granting these permits. Public comment on the new legislation closes on 19 November 2007.

    However, Shepstone and Wylie Attorneys’ associate partner Anisa Govender says the sheer magnitude of the regulation and permit granting process raises questions on whether the authorities are adequately equipped to handle the administration.

    “The industry has never been wholly regulated and registered in the past and the number of permits required for consideration and processing runs into thousands across every aspect of the shipping trade – divers, ships agents, chandlers, clearing and forwarding agents, stevedoring and the associated businesses whose representatives access the port either daily or periodically,” she says.

    Service providers like road and rail companies, vessel searchers, baggage handling companies and tour bus operations may apply for longer-term access permits, while other industry players will require ad hoc access permits.

    Given that every employee within these businesses needs to submit detailed personal information, Govender believes the NPA should be dedicating whole departments to the administration. Yet, limited information on how the authority will be preventing bottlenecks and backlogs has been forthcoming with even the draft legislation shedding little light on the issue.

    From a business perspective, she says the onerous administration is likely to strain human resource departments while also raising flags in terms of adding another level of cost to doing business in South Africa. Most of the permits require annual renewals incurring further levies.

    Govender says although the legislation is founded in international requirements, the South African application is being used to enforce broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) as the law demands certain compliance levels.

    Permits will be linked to level four compliance, requiring companies to incur further costs associated with obtaining compliance certification. Despite the industry adopting its charter several years ago, Govender says transformation has been slow and the government is thus keen to ensure BBBEE and equity occurs more rapidly.

    “The whole process can only negatively affect South Africa’s competitiveness, compounded by the reality that the new legislation will not guarantee licences are renewed after each period,” she says.

    Considering stakeholders in the shipping industry, the implementation will “inevitably result” in administrative difficulties. While the regulations provide for the NPA to revert within 20 working days on the outcome of applications, the responsibility lies with the applicant to ensure that forms are properly completed and all necessary information provided. The Authority is not obliged to require an applicant to supplement its application prior to refusing it.

    “That alone brings along its own problems and it can only be hoped that the authority puts in place the necessary structures and resources,” she says.



    Pic of the day – IVS CABERNET

    Click on image to enlarge – with some browsers click twice



    Island View Shipping’s latest newbuild, the 180,000-dwt bulker IVS CABERNET undergoing sea trials before her delivery this week – see report above. Picture – Grindrod


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