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Ports & Ships Maritime News

16 February 2011
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 – POS MELBOURNE

Image Hosted by UploadHouse.com POS Melbourne (35,878-gt, built 2010, IMO 9445887) transiting Hong Kong’s Ma Wan Channel en route for Australia. Picture by Matthew Flynn

Matthew Flynn, who has a consulting business in Hong Kong writes: The emerging Chinese shipping company Hainan P O Shipping Co Ltd inaugurated a weekly China Australia Express Service (CAX) in mid-2010. The ship and a 2,758-TEU sister are on charter from German owners for this route. The company was set up in January 2009 by Yangpu Economic Development Zone, which is wholly owned by Hainan Government.

Urged by President Hu Jintao on his visit to Yangpu in 2008, Yangpu Economic Development Zone is looking to play a bigger role in the development of China-ASEAN Free Trade Zone and the regional economy of Southern China. The company is headed by Capt Li Kelin, former vice president of COSCO Group and first president of China Shipping Group. Capt Li is known as the father of China’s container shipping for his role in first developing the modern COSCO container fleet, then establishing China Shipping Container Lines. The company now owns and operates 18 container vessels with the capacity of 327,220-TEU, ranking as the world’s 38th and China’s fourth largest.

POS Melbourne is shown on the southbound leg having loaded containers in western Shenzhen. The Kap Shui Mun Bridge 汲水門大橋 was completed in 1997 with air clearance of 47m.


Kap Shui Mun Bridge 汲水門大橋

The bridge was completed in 1997. The total length of the Kap Shui Mun Bridge includes a 70m approach span on the Lantau side. A column in each of the back spans of the cable stayed bridge makes four 80 m spans to add to the 430 m main span. This brings the total length to 820 m. The 503m Ma Wan Viaduct was constructed under the same contract as the KSMB. The viaduct connects the KSMB to the Tsing Ma Bridge, thus forming the Lantau Link that was built to provide access to the new airport. The navigation clearance of 47 m is part of the reason that the H-shaped towers are 150m tall.

The Kap Shui Mun Bridge is not symmetrical in that the 160m back span length (80m + 80m) is less than half of the main span length (half of 430m is 215m). To provide the balance that symmetry will normally provide, the bridge has composite cross sections. The central 387m of the main span uses steel composite with concrete to make the cross section lighter. The back spans and the remaining main span are concrete cross sections. Using the lighter steel cross section in the majority of the main span serves to equalize the horizontal forces on the towers and balance the bridge.

Because the lower deck carries both rail and traffic, the cross section is designed as a Vierendeel truss. This means that there are no diagonal members in the cross section and that vehicles and rail cars drive through the openings provided by the Vierendiel design. – source Wikipedia

News continues below...

Cyclone Bingiza enters Mozambique Channel

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After coming ashore, Cyclone Bingiza has swept across Madagascar and its influence was entering the Mozambique Channel early yesterday morning (Tuesday). Maximum sustained wind at that stage were 35 knots, gusting to 55kn. However, once over open water the storm was expected to intensify with winds increasing to 55kn, gusting to 70kn.

Yesterday the northern sector of Madagascar was placed on high alert as the tropical storm moved across Antongil Bay and the districts of Maroantsetra and Mananara-Avaratra. A total of 33 districts in the north of the island went on high alert, said the Disaster Management Authority’s Louis De Gonzague. He said the cyclone has destroyed power lines and homes and river levels were rising and threatening to cause floods in affected areas. He couldn’t say as yet whether there had been any casualties. It is forecast that the cyclone will continue tracking west into the eastern Mozambique Channel and will then track parallel with the western coast of Madagascar in a southerly direction, and will probably re-intensify as it does under the influence of low vertical wind shear and favourable sea surface temperatures. One forecast suggests that the storm will turn back over land over southern Madagascar and slowly dissipate in strength before reaching water once again in the region of Toalagnaro (Fort Dauphin). Another suggests the cyclone will remain at sea in the Mozambique Channel in which case its strength will remain unpredictable.

News continues below…

News of ships and shipping lines

Hamburg Süd to name ship in Durban

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Santa Clara. Picture courtesy Hamburg Süd

The German carrier Hamburg Süd has announced that it will be officially naming one of its latest container ships, the 7,100-TEU SANTA CLARA (85,676-gt, built 2010) in Durban on 28 February.

The naming ceremony will take place at the Pier 1 Terminal of Durban Container Terminal. Sponsor of the Santa Clara (godmother) is Margot Blume-Gast, wife of Dr Ottmar Gast, chairman of the executive board of Hamburg Süd.

Santa Clara was the first of a series of ten 7,100-TEU container ships on order from a South Korean shipyard. The 300m long ship boasts the largest reefer capacity of 1,600 reefer plugs and is the largest container ship to sail in Hamburg Süd colours. On launching in September last year she was phased straight into the New Good Hope Express Service between Asia and South Africa/South America East Coast, which Hamburg Süd operates jointly with a partner.

Another nine ships will follow by the end of 2012. The second in the class, SANTA ISABEL called at Durban earlier in February. The ships are all fitted with technical innovations (e.g., common rail technology and pre-swirl stators) to further reduce fuel consumption and, with it, ship emissions.

With a cargo volume of 2.9 million TEU in 2010, Hamburg Süd ranks among the 20 largest container shipping companies in the world and is one of the leading providers on the North-South trade lanes and an expert in the carriage of such temperature- controlled cargoes as citrus fruits, fish, meat and other sensitive commodities. Hamburg Süd’s diverse transport solutions in the reefer segment are especially in demand on the trade lanes between South Africa and Asia.

Overall, the Hamburg Süd fleet consists of more than 110 container vessels as well as over 50 bulk carriers and product tankers. The shipping group’s global network includes some 35 liner services connecting the continents, approximately 4,900 employees and 300 offices at all key locations, including Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.


Safmarine expands its breakbulk services

Details have been released of the direction and focus that AP Moller-Maersk subsidiary Safmarine will be moving in the immediate future to open up an expanding market between Asia and Africa.

Safmarine recently took delivery of the SAFMARINE SAMBA, the first of the six new Multi Purpose Vessels that it ordered in August 2008. Another five are due for delivery by the end of 2011. The ships are specifically designed to carry odd-sized and heavy cargo which is unsuitable for containers, such as locomotives, construction equipment, and steel products and pipes.

Safmarine Samba was the first multipurpose ship to join the fleet since Safmarine became a part of the AP Moller-Maersk group in 1999. Altogether Safmarine operates with a fleet of 68 ships of which 15 are multipurpose vessels that can carry both breakbulk and containerized cargo.

“Countries such as Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia have regular shipments of breakbulk cargo including equipment and rolling stock to Africa,” said Hu Ke, Safmarine’s Asia Line Manager, Multipurpose Service. “The swift development of China in recent years has also led to increased project cargo being shipped from China to Africa and raw materials from Africa to China.” Safmarine and AP Moller-Maersk believe that multipurpose ships are a more suitable alternative to standard container carriers in new and developing markets where port facilities and material requirements can vary considerably. To demonstrate the seriousness with which the company is taking on the trade Safmarine have asked their Asian Regional Head, Grant Daly, to set up a newly structured dedicated department.

“Whilst focusing on our core strength and expertise in Africa, we believe that developing our multipurpose business in Asia is the right approach going forward,” said Daly. “The increasing global importance of the Asian economies, supported by the changing trade and sourcing patterns toward Asia make our commitment to this service ever more important.”

The structure and design of a multipurpose ship means it can load and offload in smaller ports by using its own on board cranes and utilise ‘tween deck panels to construct separate stowage areas for under and on deck loading meaning both general cargo and box traffic can be loaded simultaneously.

“Currently, we have a monthly service between Far East Asia and West Africa, with vessels calling at ports in China, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and West Africa,” said Ke. “The six new multipurpose ships will allow us to increase our frequency to a bi-weekly service, and cover more Asian ports, for example in Japan and Indonesia.


SAECS commences additional reefer service

The South Africa Europe Container Service (SAECS) which is operated jointly by Maersk, Safmarine, MOL, and DAL, was due to commence its additional reefer service to Europe from yesterday (15 February).

The extended service consists of an additional ‘purely reefer’ container service designed to provide added capacity for refrigerated exports during the peak reefer season months of February to August. The service, dubbed REX, calls on a rotation of Cape Town, Rotterdam (Uniport), Tilbury, Cape Town with transit times comparable to the SAECS core service. However, SAECS says it will ‘flex’ the REX service in terms of frequency and ports of call according to the seasonal demands of the perishable/ refrigerated products market and will supplement the capacity provided by the main weekly SAECS Core Service.


For the Record

In yesterday’s News Bulletin we reported that Maersk Line had sold three container ships to rival company MSC, the Maersk Maine, Maersk Maryland and Maersk Vermont. In fact the ships were sold to the Greek non-operating owner Costamare from whom MSC has charted the vessels at a rate of $10,000 a day each for one year.

As also reported yesterday, Maersk sold the three remaining M class container ships to MSC – the price was a reported US$30m each. This transaction was in December 2010 - the 20-years old ships have a capacity of 4,800-TEUs.

News continues below...

West Africa: MEND threatens to break truce with new attacks

Nigeria’s MEND threatens more attacks

GAC says a maritime security alert has been issued for Nigeria after the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Nigeria's main militant group, threatened renewed attacks on the oil and gas sector over the appointment of Kingsley Kuku as the Presidential Adviser on the Niger Delta.

The group claims that Kuku has no understanding of the key political and security issues affecting the Niger Delta region and its population. Unrest and violence is expected to increase ahead of presidential elections in April and attacks by the group could be directed against offshore interests.

“Personnel are advised to closely monitor the situation and ensure that travel around the waters of the Niger Delta is well-planned and supported by adequate security,” says GAC.


Nigerian seafarers want NIMASA to scrap cabotage department

Nigerian seafarers are demanding that NIMASA (Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency) scraps the Cabotage Department of NIMASA on account of the abuse they say that local seafarers experience.

Nigerian seafarers complained that jobs are given to foreign seamen, rendering them redundant. The department is acting contrary to its mandate, they say.

A spokesman for the seafarers, Adeola Lawal said the department was destroying the lives of the local seafarers. “The Cabotage Department that is supposed to take care of job placements of the seamen is not doing this. All areas of our maritime lives are dominated by foreigners at the expense of Nigerian seamen, and this is actually killing the economy. Nigerian seamen roam the streets while other nationals occupy our position.”

He claimed that Nigerians can perform the work better. “But because of the money they collect from these foreigners, NIMASA prefer to engage them.”

Lawal said there was dissatisfaction with the way NIMASA handled medical claims and with the certification of seafarers. He said the seafarers were tired of writing letters to the authority which were not answered. “In fact this is not the first protest, but this time round we are very serious about it. We are demanding that all these departments that are not functioning should be scrapped. The Nigerian seamen should be happy because there are enough jobs for them. They should be able to provide for their families and this is possible, he said, but instead NIMASA was bringing in foreigners to take the jobs. He referred to manning agencies that are owned by some of the NIMASA officials. A spokesman for NIMASA, Gbenga Ogunsakin said the complaints were not new and that the heads of the respective departments were looking into the matter. Some of these officials were new to the authority, he said, including the director-general, Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi.

A meeting has been scheduled between NIMASA and the leadership of the maritime workers. “We are going to discuss all the issues and find lasting solutions,” he maintained.

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Temisan Omatseye. Picture Terry Hutson

In a matter that might be connected, the former director-general and CEO of NIMASA, Temisan Omatseye was arraigned before a federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday, 3 February. Omatseye is charged with 11 counts of money laundering, contract splitting, illegal transfer of funds and unlawful approvals. The case is proceeding.

News continues below…

SATAWU and RFA meet over wage dispute

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Picture by Terry Hutson

The SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) met yesterday with the Road Freight Association (RFA) in a bid to resolve the wage dispute which has resulted in truck drivers embarking on a nationwide strike.

The strike enters its third day today. The union is demanding a 20 percent increase over a period of two years and the RFA is offering 15 percent over the same period.

Satawu General Secretary Zenzo Mahlangu told BuaNews that even though they will be meeting with the RFA representatives, the strike will continue. “However, the outcomes of the meeting will determine if the strike continues or not,” he said.

Mahlangu denied incidences of violence by Satawu members, following reports of intimidation in Johannesburg. “We do not encourage violence,” he said.

Police have warned that they will not tolerate violence and that they will monitor the situation.

Satawu warned on Monday that the road freight industry would be brought to a standstill as about 65,000 union members were expected to join the strike.

The other unions supporting the strike are the Motor Transport Workers’ Union and the Professional Transport Workers’ Union. (BuaNews)

Various incidents involving violence were reported from Johannesburg on Monday and Tuesday, with stone throwing and the breaking of truck windows by knob-kerrie wielding strikers protesting over drivers that were still at work. Drivers were pulled from their vehicles for breaking the strike, even if they were not union members. Several have had to be hospitalized. Police responded to some of the incidents by firing rubber bullets but were unable or unwilling to disperse the crowds. The SABC reported that a number of strikers had been injured by rubber bullets. Metro and SA Police Services officers continued to watch the protesters throughout Monday afternoon. In various other areas there were reports of trucks being set alight and stones thrown. It is also being reported that trucks were being recalled to depots which suggests that long-distance as well as short distance deliveries will be affected.

News continues below…

Mozambique: new Beira coal terminal will process between 18 and 24 million tonnes annually

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Google view of Port of Beira

Maputo, Mozambique, 15 Feb – The Mozambican government is planning to build a new coal terminal at the port of Beira with capacity to process between 18 and 24 million tons per year, a coal sector source has told Macauhub.

The source said that Australian group Riversdale Mining had already sent the government a letter manifesting interest in funding, developing and using the coal terminal to be built in Beira, the capital of Sofala province.

At the moment the only viable short and midterm option to transport the coal is the Sena railroad that links to the port of Beira, and the coal terminal and dock 8 at the port of Beira, which is currently undergoing refurbishment.

The work to refurbish dock 8 is being financed by Riversdale Mining and by Brazil’s Vale, which plan to export 6 million tons of coal per year via the dock.

Riversdale Mining has also said it plans to transport some of the coal on barges from Benga to Chinde on the Zambezi river, as a mid and long term option. The environmental impact study is in the final stages, and the final report is currently being produced.

A technical study was also carried out at the same time as the EIS and for this a self-propelling vessel was built for this purpose, as well as a further three acquired for carrying out studies on the river. Riversdale Mining sees transporting coal on barges as a way of complementing rail transport.

Due to the potential of the Moatize basin and believing that the capacity of the port of Beira will not be enough for the quantities of coal produced by all the players involved, Riversdale Mining has said that other transport methods will be needed, such as using the port of Nacala. – source macauhub

On 10 February we reported in these columns that Riversdale intended buying its own locomotives and wagons to rail coal to the port of Beira – see that report HERE.

In a related matter, the Mozambique mining resources minister, Esperança Bias said in Cape Town recently that one million tons of coal a year would be exported from the port of Beira as from 1 June this year, increasing to 10 million tons a year from 2016. Most of the coal, he said, would be exported from the ports of Beira and Nacala.

Bias said his government has already granted about one hundred coal mining licenses and that something in the order of US$900 million in investments would have been recorded during 2010. He said he expected investments to fall this year but to rise again once companies began building processing units for local consumption or for export. Bias didn’t explain how the coal would reach the port of Nacala, which is not connected by rail to the coalfields. Nor is there any apparent agreement in the various figures that are being given for coal production and export by the respective players.


Portugal and Mozambique team up to build locomotives and wagons

The Chinese news agency Macauhub says that Rádio Moçambique reported in Maputo that Portugal and Mozambique plan to set up a company to produce locomotives and rail trucks to be used to carry coal mined in Tete province.

Citing Transport and Communications Minister, Paulo Zucula, the radio station said that Mozambique needed at least 600 rail trucks over the next five years, to carry coal from Tete province to the port of Beira, in Sofala province.

The Mozambican minister met Friday in Maputo with the Portuguese Public Works, Transport and Communications Minister, António Mendonça, with the aim of setting up partnerships between the two states.

At the end of the meeting with the Portuguese minister, Zucula said that countries such as Botswana, Zimbabwe and Swaziland would need more rail trucks over the next few years and added, “This is a business opportunity that is opening up in the region because at the moment only South Africa has capacity to assemble this kind of equipment.”

News continues below…

Before the Mast

Here’s another of the fun questions for readers, sent in by Alan Preston of the Ocean Export Dept of Davies Turner & Co ltd, in Manchester, UK.

What was the origin of the expression ‘Before the Mast’? Remember Richard Henry Dana’s classic story ‘Two Years Before the Mast’? I think there were one or movies made as well.

If you fancy you know the answer (you can always look it up – we can all become brilliant by using Google and Wikipedia these days), send it in to info@ports.co.za

If you have any similar ‘fun’ questions involving some of the odd or unusual expressions in the maritime and freight world, or it could be a photographic ‘puzzlement’, send them to the same address.

Pics of the Day - STOLT GULF MISHREF

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The products tanker STOLT GULF MISHREF (46,089-dwt, built 2010) in Cape Town harbour earlier in February. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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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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