Ports & Ships Maritime News

Feb 7, 2008
Author: P&S









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TODAY'S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • R1.1 bn project to boost SA gas supply

  • Kei Rail receives operating licence

  • Cape Town bunker supplies under threat

  • RBCT keeps up its ISO management ratings

  • South Africa and Egypt to increase business ties

  • Pic of the day - LNG BENUE




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    R1.1 bn project to boost SA gas supply

    by Gcina Ntsaluba (BuaNews)

    Komatipoort - Sasol has announced that a R1.1 billion gas compression station will be built in Komatipoort to increase gas delivery from Mozambique to South Africa.

    Sasol media manager, Johann van Rheede, said on Tuesday the compression station would increase gas delivery from 120 million gigajoules to about 147 million gigajoules a year.

    "Two gas-turbine driven compressor units and ancillary equipment will be used at Komatipoort to increase gas flow," said Mr van Rheede.

    He said the flow rates would be increased from the Republic of Mozambique Pipeline Investment Company's (ROMPCO) 865km-long trans-border pipeline that transports gas from the Pande and Temane gas fields in Mozambique to Sasol stations in Secunda and Sasolburg.

    Construction will start by mid-2008 and continue until the end of 2009.

    Mr van Rheede said the engineering and construction management contract had been awarded to a company called Foster Wheeler South Africa.

    The project will provide short-term employment for about 450 people, of whom about 150 will be skilled artisans.



    Kei Rail receives operating licence

    After a lengthy delay Kei Rail has received clearance to begin offering an alternative transport operation between the port city of East London and Mthatha in what used to be known as Transkei.

    This became possible on Tuesday (5 February) after Kei Rail was handed its operating licence by the Rail Safety Regulator, enabling it to commence operations. According to a Kei Rail spokesman the first train is expected to roll by the end of this month. Initial operations will be confined to passenger haulage but freight traffic is in the pipeline with special attention centering on the transport of timber for export.

    Should contracts be awarded to haul timber to East London by rail it will provide a much needed fillip for the port as well as the railway project. However some rail analysts believe the feasibility of carrying either timber or general freight remains unlikely to succeed against road competition without some form of incentive being provided.

    Referring to the passenger service Eastern Cape government MEC for Safety, Liaison and Transport, Thobile Mhlahlo said that a one-way train ticket between East London and Mthatha will cost R30, with tickets being available on East London, Amabele, Komga, Butterworth and Mthatha railway stations two hours before the train departs. The service will initially be confined to weekends.

    The Eastern Cape government claims the railway will save R800 million annually on road maintenance while providing a much safer environment for the traveling public. On the flip side the train will take much longer than mini-bus taxis to complete the journey ĘC the distance by rail from East London to Mthatha is 358km and will take an estimated 10 hours whereas the journey by road is about half the distance (168 km) and takes less than 3 hours to complete.

    Spoornet closed the line to traffic in 1988 since when only occasional special trains have run, mostly for tourist purposes and then only as far as Kei Bridge. The line traverses a number of highly scenic river passes, in particular the spectacular Great Kei Pass.

    Adding to the complexity of the operation is the number of companies involved in its operation. Grindrod Sheltam will provide the locomotives while Rail Focus will handle the operating side of the business. Railway stations will be manned by Metrorail and the coaches will be leased to the provincial traffic department by Shosholoza Meyl, which is the passenger carrying division of Transnet Freight Rail. Other infrastructure will be leased from Transnet Freight Rail (formerly Spoornet).



    Cape Town bunker supplies under threat

    A power outage that caused the Chevron Refinery in Cape Town to stop production has resulted in a temporary shortage of gas oil at Cape Town port.

    A spokesman for the refinery said yesterday that no supplies of gas oil would be available until the weekend or later. Production is not likely to commence until Friday (tomorrow) but in the meantime the refinery has adequate reserves of most products but does not have an adequate supply of ships' gas oil, she said.

    Supplies of all bunker products remain available at Durban and Richards Bay, both of which draw from the Sapref refinery in Durban.



    Coal exports take a dip

    Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) exported about 10 percent less coal in January than for the same period of 2007, according to figures published by Bloomberg. In the month just passed the terminal shipped 3.87 million tonnes, compared with 3,98 mt for January 2007.

    This is a considerable decrease from December export figures during which RBCT shipped 6.77 mt of coal.

    The drop in January is accredited to the heavy rains in the coal mining regions which affected mining operations.

    On happier news, the South African Bureau of Standards has just completed independently auditing RBCT on-site and RBCT reports that it has again managed to maintain its ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certification.

    "There was an improvement from 21 minor findings last year, as identified during the separate audits of the two management systems, to 17 minor findings this year," says the company statement.

    RBCT's Executive Chairman, Kuseni Dlamini, thanked all RBCT employees and contractors on ensuring that the company maintained its certification, along with the SHE department and SHE committees.

    In unrelated news Rio Tinto has announced a discovery of open-pit coal in Limpopo Province with reserves estimated at 1.04 billion tonnes. The coal is bituminous and is suitable for generating electricity and is seen as a significant discovery.

    "This is a significant find in an area that has previously been viewed as having little geological potential," said the chief executive of Rio Tinto Energy & Minerals, Preston Chiaro. "The project's potential to produce thermal coal for electricity generation comes at a time when South Africa needs to rapidly increase its generating capacity. In addition, the basin offers the opportunity to produce a range of products, from thermal to hard coking coal for the export markets. We are currently planning the next phase of the project by beginning our pre-feasibility studies."

    The exploration work has been conducted in conjunction with Rio Tinto's BEE partner, Kwezi Mining.



    South Africa and Egypt to increase business ties

    Pretoria, 6 February 2008 (BuaNews) - South Africa and Egypt have agreed to increase trade and investment relations through identifying business opportunities in both countries.

    South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma concluded a visit to Egypt on Tuesday, having met with President Hosni Mubarak and other political roleplayers.

    Among these, the minister held talks with the Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry, Rashid Mohamed Rashid.

    "Within this context both ministers agreed that reciprocal trade missions will visit both Egypt and South Africa to identify trade and investment opportunities," said the Department of Foreign Affairs.

    Minister Dlamini Zuma also held discussions with her Egyptian counterpart Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Aboul Gheit regarding the South Africa - Egypt Joint Bilateral Commission (JBC), on Sunday.

    Ministers Dlamini Zuma and Gheit considered regional, continental and global political, economic and social issues and committed themselves to consolidating bilateral political and economic relations between South Africa and Egypt.

    South Africa and Egypt cooperate in various multilateral forums especially in the World Trade Organisation.

    Egypt is South Africa's third largest trading partner in North Africa, after Algeria and Morocco.

    Work towards the removal of statutory and non-statutory barriers to trade between the two countries and closer co-operation in fields of agriculture and health are underway.

    The Egyptians have also proposed a Free Trade Agreement between Egypt and the Southern African Custom Union.

    Other potential areas of opportunity for South African companies in Egypt include processed food, pharmaceuticals and clothing and textiles.

    PetroSA, Sun International and Sasol are among South African companies currently doing business with Egypt.

    Between October 2006 and October 2007 South African exports to Egypt grew by 44 percent while imports declined by 64 percent. South Africa consequently enjoys a positive trade balance with the Republic of Egypt.

    On Monday, Minister Dlamini Zuma held discussions with the Secretary-General of the Arab League Amre Moussa.

    Upon conclusion of discussions, Minister Dlamini Zuma and Secretary-General Moussa signed an agreement to establish a Diplomatic Mission of the Arab League in South Africa.

    Minister Dlamini Zuma arrived back in South Africa on Tuesday and is expected at the opening of Parliament and President Mbeki's State of the Nation Address.



    Pic of the day - LNG BENUE

    Click on image to enlarge - with some browsers click twice



    The Norwegian-owned and managed LNG BENUE (97,561-gt) in Cape Town harbour on 8 January this year. Table Bay has been the venue for a number of LNG carriers in recent weeks - at one stage three of the ships were in port or at the anchorage at the same time. Picture Ian Shiffman

    Don't forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome - please email to info@ports.co.za

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