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Ports & Ships Maritime News

August 25, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson

Shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa

 

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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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First View – SUVARNA

 

The Indian-flagged offshore supply tug SUVARNA (4,820-gt, built 2002) seen in Cape Town earlier this month. Picture by Aad Noorland

 

News continues below...

South Africa open for business, Zuma tells Chinese

Pretoria, 24 August - President Jacob Zuma has told Chinese's business executives that South Africa is open for business.

Addressing a forum of business executives from China and South Africa on Tuesday on the first day of his state visit, Zuma said strengthening and enhancement of South Africa's political economic and commercial relations with China is critical for the advancement of national priorities.

He called for greater investment in his country from China. “China is indeed a key strategic partner for South Africa, and South Africa is open for business in a big way,” he said.

Trade, said Zuma, will help South Africa meet its development needs as well as improve infrastructure and livelihoods.

“The quest for beneficial international trade relations is aimed at helping us to achieve the necessary economic growth to enable us to achieve our developmental objectives.

“There are also opportunities to be explored in manufacturing, especially in the automotive, agro-processing and textile areas, the promotion of a green economy, agriculture, infrastructure and skills development,” he said, adding that it was the responsibility of the business sector to make the wheels of trade turn, and to keep them properly oiled.

Zuma is in China to broaden ties with the emerging superpower which is fast becoming a top investor in Africa.

The visit is seen as an opportunity to harness shared interests.

Already bilateral trade grew two percent last year to R119.7 billion, driven by Chinese demand for raw materials.

Zuma is accompanied by 13 Cabinet ministers and a delegation of 350 business people, the largest such group to travel with a South African president. – BuaNews

 

News continues below…

IMB issues warning about NVOCC shipments

 
picture by Ian Shiffman

The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has identified a number of fraudulent shipments originating in India, all appearing on otherwise convincing shipping documents, reports GAC World.

The shipments, which all appear on documentation purportedly issued by the same Non-Vessel Owning Common Carrier (NVOCC), were all for containerised cargoes of garments and footwear out of Indian ports. Enquiries conducted by the IMB quickly ascertained that these shipments had never taken place.

IMB enquiries found that although the nominated vessels called regularly at the ports of loading, they were not at the ports on the specified dates.

Furthermore, although the container numbers detailed on the Bills of Lading related to actual containers, these containers were at different ports around the world on the dates on the Bs/L, as parts of entirely different consignments....

....When the supposed NVOCC was contacted, it was quickly established that it had not issued the documents in question, and IMB was able to inform its member that they were not genuine. It later emerged that the NVOCC regularly gave blank Bills of Lading to its customers for them to complete in at their will. It would appear that in this case blank Bs/L fell into the hands of individuals who realised that they could exploit a loophole and defraud unwitting customers and banks. In this case, the NVOCC has reported the incident to local authorities and a criminal investigation is under way....

....As part of its service to members, IMB conducts due diligence on all trade documents, including Bills of Lading, and seeks independent third-party verification to provide an extra level of confidence in transactions.

News continues below...

UN lays out options for prosecuting pirates operating off Somali coast

 

New York – An international tribunal set up by the Security Council under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter authorizing the use of force is among several options to prosecute pirates operating off the Somali coast, as laid out by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a new report that has been made public.

Piracy attacks have escalated worldwide in recent years owing almost entirely to increasing numbers of incidents off of the coast of Somalia since the overthrow of Siad Barre’s regime in 1991, he wrote.

In 2008, 111 vessels were attacked, and that number nearly doubled to 217 in 2009. “Bearing in mind that each incident involves a number of individuals, it is clear that there are large numbers of persons involved,” the Secretary-General said in the report, which will be discussed by the Council today (Wednesday).

Although the number of incidents continues to be high, increased naval patrols off the Horn of Africa and in the Gulf of Aden have helped reduce the success rate of these attacks.

In spite of this positive development, as of May, 450 people continue to be held hostage on ships captured by pirates off the Somali coast.

One of the seven options put forward by Mr Ban in the new report – enhancing UN assistance to bolster regional States’ capacities to prosecute and imprison those behind acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea – has already been going forward.

In June, Kenya opened a new high-security courtroom, built by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in the port town of Mombasa, which is intended to increase trial efficiency in the system and provide a secure, modern environment suitable for piracy cases.

Other options listed in the new report include creating a Somali court in the territory of another State in the region and setting up an international tribunal agreed upon by regional country and the UN.

The Secretary-General stressed that arrangements for imprisonment are just as important as the prosecution of pirates, given the large numbers of suspects apprehended by countries’ navies.

Acknowledging the difficult current economic climate, he underlined the need for political and financial commitment from the international community to not only create a new judicial body, but also to sustain it.

“A new judicial mechanism to address piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia would be addressing a different situation to that addressed by the existing United Nations and United Nations-assisted tribunals,” Mr Ban pointed out. “Such a mechanism would face ongoing criminal activity and potentially a large caseload, with no predictable completion date.”

 

(source United Nations) News continues below…

Tanzania Ports Authority told to find a competent investor

 

Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) has been told by government to find a competent investor to enable the port to move forward and become efficient.

The instruction from Infrastructure Development Minister Shukuru Kawambwa comes several months after TPA removed a monopoly on container handling at the port of Dar es Salaam which was held by Philippine-based Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS).

Kawambwa also instructed TPA to undertake a study of successful ports around the world and to learn from them.

Dissatisfied with the lack of apparent progress at the port, and the container terminal in particular where congestion was the order of the day, government sought ways of removing TICT’s concession to operate the container terminal. After being dissuaded by the financial implications, an agreement was reached with the terminal operator that another would be allowed in to help develop the port and container handling to the level required. TPA was charged with this but has so far been unsuccessful in attracting additional investors.

Although TICTS appeared to have been targeted with the blame for the ongoing congestion at Dar es Salaam, the Tanzania Revenue Authority also came in for some stick for ships being delayed for nearly a month before berthing, leading to large volumes of cargo being diverted after lines opted to bypass the Tanzanian port and take cargo to Mombasa instead.

The minister said he had information that the process of identifying potential investors for the construction of additional jetties to handle container ships had been started. He said he would taken on the oversight of the port operation once another investor had been found, to avoid any pitfalls such as occurred when TICTS held an absolute monopoly at the port.

“The Board has to be careful about entering into an operations contract in order to protect the national interests and avoid being at risk of entering into dubious contracts,” he said.

Kawambwa called for strategies that would prevent any further loss or theft from the port, and the reduction of delays on cargo clearing because of overbearing bureaucracy, which he said was one of the main reasons why many port users had taken their business elsewhere for cargo clearing and forwarding.

Cargo should not remain in the port for longer than 10 days, he suggested, and said that options to discharge cargo onto lighters outside the port was one possible solution to help ease the delays.

Meanwhile, Tanzania Ports Authority has had to react to news that Zambia was being wooed by the Mozambique port of Beira (see yesterday’s news in PORTS & SHIPS). This came during a visit to Mozambique by Zambia’s President Rupiah Banda, who said Zambia would consider making Beira its major port for geographic reasons.

Speaking yesterday to a Tanzanian newspaper, the Citizen, TPA Communications Manager Franklin Mziray said he remained confident that Zambia would continue using Dar es Salaam for its copper exports.

“Zambia has been using Beira and other ports for some time now but it has almost always continued using Dar port for its copper exports, we are confident this will continue,” he said. With Chinese investment in Tazara (the railway connecting Dar es Salaam with Zambia and the Copperbelt) it is expected that the railway will again become competitive and that cargo volumes can be increased from the current 15,000 tonnes a month to at least 72,000t monthly. Currently, 97 percent of all imports and exports to and from Zambia now go by road.

The newspaper published figures showing that Zambia’s cargo traffic through Dar es Salaam increased from 684,277 tonnes in 2005 to 932,898 tonnes in 2009.

 

News continues below…

Richards Bay Minerals to go out on strike from Friday

It’s easy to be bemused by the irony in the country’s president (or in business terms, our CEO) being in China with half his cabinet on a venture aimed directly at selling South Africa as a trading partner to the world’s second largest economy (see report above) while back home his civil servants are all out on strike over a wage and housing allowance demand, bringing hospitals, schools and several other important services to a standstill.

Elsewhere elements of the motor industry have just begun returning to work after concluding their own industrial dispute, while the effect of the 18-day Transnet strike is still being felt in some of our ports and railway networks.

As if that’s not enough, we now learn from the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) that on Friday 1,700 workers at Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) will go out on strike, after negotiations over a wage demand broke down. Yesterday (Tuesday) NUM served management with a 48-hour notice of its intention to strike.

NUM says that workers were awarded a certificate of non-resolution to the dispute by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) after the company failed to accede to their demands. “NUM demands that the company should offer a 10% increment on a one year deal whilst the company insists on 8% and a three year deal. The company argues that it will give workers 8% in the first year and then CPI plus 1,5% in the second and third years with a guaranteed 6%,” NUM’s Lesiba Seshoka said yesterday.

The union also wants an increase in its housing allowance to between R4000 to R6000 a month according to grade.

RBM mines titanium dioxide north of Richards Bay harbour in a stretch of mineral-rich coastal sand dunes, using a process of dredging to extract the titanium iron ore ilmenite, rutile and zircon, which is then processed before being marketed and exported. RBM is a 50/50 partnership between Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.

 

UK can halve maritime CO2 emissions

A new study into how Britain might aim for a carbon-neutral transport sector by 2050 estimates CO2 emissions in the shipping industry could be halved by employing a range of available measures for maximum impact.

The document could have certain parallels for South Africa.

The study, 'Towards a Zero Carbon Vision for UK Transport' by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), estimates that carbon greenhouse gases (CHG) emissions from UK shipping would increase 217 percent over the next four decades under a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario. This compares to a 60 percent business-as-usual increase for aviation, 34 per cent for rail and a 5.2 percent reduction for motor vehicle emissions.

The report uses published studies on a range of measures for reducing emissions in exploring its maximum impact (MI) scenario. It concludes that it is not expected shipping or aviation could become zero-carbon by that time, but rail and road could. Overall, the net impact could see a 76 percent reduction in carbon output across the entire UK transport sector.

For maritime, the maximum impact scenario considers cleaner fuels, including fuel-switching to LNG; technological and design innovation; slow steaming & voyage optimisation; other operational measures; supplementary wind and solar energy; and shore-side energy efficiency & alternative energy measures in its assessment of the options. Use of biofuels was not considered due to current IMO policy rejecting them on the basis of cost and sustainability.

It finds the reductions in CO2 emissions that can be expected in those areas considered are:

  • 30 per cent from new technology and design
     
  • 23 per cent from speed and voyage optimisation
     
  • 4 per cent from cleaner fuels
     
  • 2 per cent from shore side measures

     

Combining all measures could lead to a 49 per cent reduction in BAU emissions from shipping in 2050, or in volume terms a 29.5 MtCO2e annual reduction by that year.
(MtCO2e = millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent)

The study opts for freight tonne kilometres as the basis for measuring UK shipping emissions after exploring the problems of calculating emissions and allocating emissions between countries in a sector largely operating across borders and in international waters.

But allocating emissions to the UK on the basis of bunker fuel sales, freight tonne kilometres, ports used or territorial waters travelled all have methodological challenges, it says. source carbonpositive.net

You can read the full report in .pdf format ‘Towards a Zero Carbon Vision for UK Transport’ HERE

 

News continues below…
 

Pics of the Day – SAS SPIOENKOP

 

The South African Navy frigate SAS SPIOENKOP called at the Durban Naval Station on Salisbury Island last week and was seen here taking her departure on Saturday, 21 August. Pictures by Trevor Jones

Image Hosted by UploadHouse.com

 

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