Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jul 21, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson













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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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  • First View – DAL EAST LONDON

  • Piracy news – Victoria released but SA Navy remains hard to get

  • Drop in aluminium demand sees Mozambique exports plummet

  • News from the shipping lines

  • Customs reformer pledges to dredge Calabar approaches

  • US-Africa trade increased 28 percent in 2008

  • Pic of the day – HANSA TRONDHEIM




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    First View – DAL EAST LONDON



    The intermediate, or 2nd loop SAECS container vessel DAL EAST LONDON (17,360-gt, built 2006), which operates between Northern Europe and South Africa, arrived in Cape Town’s Duncan Dock on Saturday, 18 July. Picture by Maureen Marsberg



    Piracy news – Victoria released but SA Navy remains hard to get

    With a lull in piracy off the Somalia and adjacent coasts the only recent news coming out of the area concerns the release of the German bulk carrier VICTORIA, following the payment of a ransom of US$1.8 million by the vessel’s owners. All crew on board were reported to be in good health and cheer, notwithstanding their experience and two European warships, the Greek frigate NIKIFOROS FOKAS and the German Navy BRANDENBURG were on hand to escort her away from the Somali coast at the weekend.

    A spokesman for the Russian Navy, which has warships operating on anti-piracy patrol off Somalia says there are more than 5000 pirates in Somalia at present, broken up into at least five groups and that they have become more daring and aggressive in recent weeks, including some audacious incidents where pirates seized ships from under the noses (or guns) of patrolling and escorting warships. Vice Admiral Oleg Burtsev was speaking to a Moscow radio station.

    In a related matter the website www.defenceWeb.com says in an article written by Dean Wingrin that the South African government has not yet discussed at cabinet level the question whether to send South African warships to assist with anti-piracy measures in Somali waters.

    DefenceWeb posed the question to the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans and was told by Gen Godfrey Ngwenya, Chief of the Defence Force that he was not prepared to make a recommendation to the cabinet, as he did not believe the defence force was ready for the challenges.

    “We would have to prepare thoroughly. Now, it’s not just a question of sending one ship there, the question is how to support all those ships. That is the only reason, for now, I would say we are not ready to undertake this mission,” Ngwenya was quoted as saying.

    You can read the full article HERE



    Drop in aluminium demand sees Mozambique exports plummet

    The fall in worldwide demand for aluminium and a reduced price is the main reason for a drastic fall in exports for Mozambique, which plummeted 36% by value in the first quarter of 2009.

    This is based on statistics issued by the Bank of Mozambique which shows that following the decrease in aluminium prices on world markets, earnings by Mozal, the Mozambique-based aluminium smelter outside Maputo, dropped 45% to US$182 for this year’s first quarter compared with $ 330.7m for the same period in 2008.

    Mozambique also recorded a decrease in natural gas, from $60.9 million to $33.7m for the first quarter. Source AIM

    In other Mozambique news India’s Tata Steel is being reported in the Indian and Australian financial press as intending to start production at the Benga coal project within the next five years. The Tata initiative, in conjunction with Australia-based Riversdale, is expected to yield over 20 million tonnes of coal a year, which is said to be rich in coking coal.

    Tata Steel holds a 35% stake in the venture. A mining contract was issued to the joint venture in May this year.



    News from the shipping lines

    Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), which is one of, if not the leading container operators to South Africa, says it intends scrapping older tonnage and returning certain charter vessels to their owners in an effort to maintain existing levels of container capacity, in view of a reduced demand.

    The loss of these ships will be compensated by new tonnage, mostly of the very large container ship variety, now being delivered from the shipyards.

    “We will give back vessels we have on time charter, and we will be scrapping about the same amount of container capacity. The capacity will remain the same, but we will have less ships in the fleet,” explained Gianluigi Aponte, MSC chairman and founder.

    Uncertainty over the future of container line Hapag-Lloyd remains an issue after it appeared that Tui, Hapag-Lloyd’s largest shareholder, remained intent on avoiding having to make a cash contribution to the €1.75 billion that the company needs to conclude the deal. In March this year Tui sold 57% of the shipping line to a consortium consisting of Hamburg’s state government and local businesses, who were intent on keeping Hapag Lloyd in German (and Hamburg) hands.

    For its part the Hamburg consortium has to contribute approximately €428 million in cash to seal its side of the deal.



    Customs reformer pledges to dredge Calabar approaches

    Plans are afoot to begin dredging Nigeria’s Calabar River and help restore the port of that name, says Bello Mohammed, Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Customs Reform.

    Why should a Customs Reformer be concerned about dredging a river port, you ask? Because customs revenue has dropped drastically as a result of less ships being able to call at the port of Calabar.

    According to Mohammed, when he and his committee visited the port recently all that they heard was how few ships called at Calabar. He described how this has affected Customs revenue from the port and gave an assurance that the government would soon begin a dredging programme to deepen the Calabar River and improve access to the port. Government would also attend to poor road conditions in the area.

    Calabar, which is Eastern Nigeria’s main port, lies about 80km up the Cross River and boasts a quay of 860m. However the port channel is restricted to a draught of just 7m although port authorities have been saying it will be dredged to a depth of between 9m and 13m.



    US-Africa trade increased 28 percent in 2008

    By Charles W Corey (America.gov)

    US trade with sub-Saharan Africa, exports plus imports, increased 28% in 2008 and US imports under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) are becoming increasingly diversified, according to a just-released profile of US-Africa trade trends.

    The report, compiled by the International Trade Administration at the US Department of Commerce, was released as a preview of major US-Africa trade trends that will be discussed at the eighth annual United States-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum to be held from 4-6 August in Nairobi, Kenya.

    US exports, the report explains, increased by 29.3% to $18.6 billion, driven by growth in several sectors including machinery, vehicles and parts, wheat, non-crude oil, aircraft and electrical machinery (including telecommunications equipment).

    US imports in 2008 increased by 27.8% to $86.1 billion. This growth is due to a significant increase of 31.9% in crude oil imports (accounting for 79.5% of total imports from sub-Saharan Africa).

    Of the top five African destinations for US products, exports to South Africa rose by 17.6%, to Nigeria by 47.7%, to Angola by 65.4%, to Benin by 192.4% (due to a large increase in the export of non-crude oil and vehicles and parts), and to Ghana by 46.2%.

    US imports from the oil-producing countries grew in every case, the report says, with imports from Nigeria growing by 16.2%, from Angola by 51.2%, from the Republic of Congo by 65.2%, from Equatorial Guinea by 89.5%, from Chad by 55.4%, and from Gabon by 4.4%.

    US imports from South Africa grew by 10.2%. Declines in the import of platinum and diamonds from South Africa were more than balanced by strong growth in the import of ferroalloys and extremely high growth of more than 350% in the import of passenger vehicles (caused by a surge in imports from South Africa as new car lines produced in South Africa came on the market at the end of 2007).

    In 2008, US imports under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) were $66.3 billion, 29.8% more than in 2007. This figure includes duty-free imports from AGOA-eligible countries under both the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the expanded AGOA GSP, plus textile and apparel items imported duty-free and quota-free under AGOA provisions.

    Petroleum products continued to account for the largest portion of AGOA imports, with a 92.3% share of overall AGOA imports. With these fuel products excluded, AGOA imports were $5.1 billion, increasing by 51.2%. Much of this product increase was due to a 224.8% increase in imports of transportation equipment, virtually all from South Africa as mentioned above.

    AGOA minerals and metals also increased by 58.8% and AGOA chemical and related products by 38.7%. AGOA textiles and apparel imports declined by 10.4% and AGOA agricultural products by 7.9%.

    US imports under AGOA are becoming increasingly diversified. Some of the more significant products include: jewelry and jewelry parts; fruit and nut products; fruit juices; leather products; plastic products; and cocoa paste.

    The top five AGOA beneficiary countries in 2008 were Nigeria, Angola, South Africa, Chad and the Republic of Congo. Other leading AGOA beneficiaries included Gabon, Cameroon, Lesotho, Madagascar, Kenya, Swaziland and Mauritius.

    The US merchandise trade deficit with sub-Saharan Africa continued to widen in 2008 to $67.5 billion, from $53.0 billion in 2007. Nigeria, Angola, the Republic of Congo, South Africa, Chad, and Equatorial Guinea accounted for 97.2% of the US trade deficit with sub-Saharan Africa in 2008. – source america.gov



    Pic of the day – HANSA TRONDHHEIM



    The container ship HANSA TRONDHEIM (15,988-gt, built 1998) seen in Cape Town harbour earlier this month. The ship has had a varied history in her 11 years, with eight name changes, of which four were a return to that presently carried. Picture by Ian Shiffman



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