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Ports & Ships Maritime News

29 June 2011
Author: Terry Hutson

Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002

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TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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FIRST VIEW – SAVE OUR SEAS

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The research vessel SAVE OUR SEAS which has been in local waters for some time, arrived in Durban earlier in June, no doubt in order to be in time for the annual sardine run along the KZN South Coast and Eastern Cape Wild Coast – the so-called Greatest Shoal on Earth to borrow National Geographic’s phrase for the phenomena.

As reported in Ports & Ships about a year ago (15 July 2010), Save Our Seas was built in Houma, Louisiana, USA, in 1980 as the supply ship CLIPPER CAP HAITIEN under the American flag. Thereafter she bore the names ENSCO TENDER, TENDER TIDE, PALADIN SHADOW, before changing her flag/registry to that of Marshall Islands and being renamed PEACEFUL FISH.

The research vessel acquired her present name in mid 2009 and would appear to have been considerably altered for her new role. She is officially classified as a yacht, but perhaps research vessel would be more appropriate. Picture by Trevor Jones

Incidentally, the sardine run has begun in earnest and on Monday sardines were being netted on the Durban beaches.

News continues below...

TRANSNET TARGETS DURBAN CONTAINER TERMINAL FOR CRITICISM

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Durban Container Terminal, Pier 2 – unfairly targeted

The trade union SATAWU says that while it welcomes Transnet’s annual financial results and that the group is on a sound footing going forward, it remains concerned about the volume growth planned for the next five years, which it says is lower than the predicted economic growth.

This implies that based on its current plan, Transnet is happy to continue to lose rail transport market share to road transport, says the union. “This does not bode well for South Africa’s climate change interventions.”

“In the section on human resources, the report makes absolutely no mention of one of the biggest HR challenges – the huge shortage of train drivers in Transnet Freight Rail. The shortage of 1300 drivers is a major operational challenge that does not appear to be getting the attention that it deserves. Train drivers continue to work excessive overtime hours, which in Satawu’s view is a major contributory factor to the on-going poor safety record of the group.” In 2010/11 there were 12 employee fatalities. Satawu says it remains opposed to the privatisation of the dry docks and other ship repair facilities and also the cold storage facility at Cape Town’s port. Similarly it is unhappy with plans to privatise the TFR branch lines which it says runs counter to the role of state owned enterprise in a developmental state. The dry docks should remain under state ownership as part of what Satawu calls the promotion and growth of a vibrant maritime sector.

“We are however pleased to learn that Transnet has every intention of operating Ngqura port as a container terminal, despite the numbers of private operators who are knocking on government’s door in an attempt to get their hands on the new port.”

Rail users may be puzzled by the decision, announced this week in the annual report, that Transnet Freight Rail is to revert from corridor management to commodity management. This has to be seen as an admission that its emphasis on a corridor policy has failed – it wasn’t that many years ago that Spoornet, as it was then known, placed management focus on commodities and when that didn’t work in halting the drain of traffic from rail to road, turned to the concept of corridor traffic management.

Similarly, in response to criticism by Transnet of the beleaguered Durban Container Terminal, which the Transnet CEO Brian Molefe is reported to have said “was giving the whole of Transnet a bad name,” port users might want to ask if this isn’t a way of finding a scapegoat for the group’s wider problems. According to Molefe, DCT is the biggest port in the southern hemisphere (actually, no it isn’t) but has the oldest infrastructure. Well, whose fault is that, Mr Molefe?

While public money was squandered in building a so-called state-of-the-art port at Ngqura, which few people in the industry outside the Port Elizabeth region wanted, DCT was constantly overlooked. When plans of converting the Cape Town Container Terminal to a RTG operation, with deepwater berths alongside were put into action, DCT was ignored. Meanwhile R4 billion was spent, wisely it may be said, on widening and deepening the Durban entrance channel so that larger container ships could enter port, but so far not one berth at DCT, or anywhere else in the port, has been deepened to enable the larger ships to use the port fully laden.

The port of Durban has already played host to a number of ships of over 7,000-TEU but when one sailed from the port impressively laden, few knew that almost all the boxes on board were empties.

Now Mr Molefe makes a statement that all the ports are working well (are they?), the only problem, he says, is Durban Container Terminal on Pier 2.

This is not to say that DCT doesn’t have its problems. It is under-performing, although a study of containers handled at certain berths shows quite impressive figures that other ports in this country might envy. The problem is consistency, it is labour related and it is where Transnet ought to be focusing its attention along with that of providing the terminal with the best possible equipment.

It should also be noted that whenever there is industrial strife involving strike action in the port transport sector, DCT is targeted ahead of any other terminal or facility. This makes DCT the most unionised terminal in South Africa and adds additional reason for Transnet to pay attention to its human content in seeking to right DCT’s problems. Only then will it rise to become the country’s best container terminal.

News continues below…

MOZAMBIQUE REQUIRES $25 MILLION FOR SHIP TO SERVICE LIGHTHOUSES AND BUOYS

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Mozambique has 58 Lighthouses and 99 Buoys to maintain – this is Pinda lighthouse. Picture by Erik Kristensen/wiki commons

Maputo, 28 June – The Mozambican Ministry for Transport and Communications is seeking funding from its programme support partners to acquire a ship for setting and maintaining buoys, Mozambican daily newspaper, Notícias reported.

The vessel, which is expected to cost just over US$25 million, is considered to be fundamental to improve the process of maintaining the 99 buoys and 58 lighthouses (another report says 71 lighthouses, but some are out of service) spread across the Mozambican coast, particularly at the main ports of Maputo, Beira, Nacala and Pemba.

Work to set and maintain the buoys is currently carried out by the only boat, Bazaruto, equipped and specialised for this purpose, but, according to Augusto Bata, the director general of the National Hydrography and Navigation Institute, it is difficult to carry out maintenance at the recommended interval of one year.

He noted that keeping buoys and lighthouses operational was fundamental to safety at sea, particularly at port entrances.

The Bazaruto, which has a crew of 18, consumes 300 litres of diesel per day even without leaving port, which adds a high cost just for its own maintenance, along with the cost of equipment, of which most is imported. (macauhub)

News continues below...

CAPE TOWN TERMINAL OFFERS PRE-BOOKING LANDSIDE SERVICE DURING NIGHT SHIFT

Cape Town, 28 June - The Cape Town container terminal will now offer a pre-booking service for landside operations required during night shifts (22h00 to 06h00) from July 2011 in an effort to provide a more cost efficient service.

This pre-booking requirement excludes reefers (refrigerated containers), which will be serviced directly through the West Coast Reefer section of the container terminal during night shifts.

This decision was taken after current statistics reflected low volumes of containers moved during night shifts, thus causing wastage of manpower and mechanical resources.

The pre-booking system will require a 12-hour advance notification given to the terminal operator, Transnet Port Terminals, and a minimum of 50 containers to be moved. Statistics indicate that currently an average of 36 containers are moved through the Cape Town container terminal during night shifts.

Velile Dube, Western Region Terminal Executive and Acting Chief Operations Officer Containers, said the decision to adopt a pre-booking landside service during night shifts will be reviewed in September in preparation for the peak season which is from November to May.

He said leaders of the relevant stakeholder forums - Harbour Carriers Association, Port Liaison Forum, South African Association of Freight Forwarders and Fresh Produce Exporters Forum – had been fully engaged and have welcomed the decision.

Despite low volumes during night shifts, Cape Town container terminal which is operated by Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has kicked off operations this financial year with first-rate productivity in the first two months far exceeding performance targets.

The terminal performed well in ship working hours (SWH) and gross crane moves per hour (GCH), two of the main criteria by which productivity is measured. SWH is the number of containers moved by the number of cranes working on the vessel in one hour, while GCH measures the speed and efficiency of container handling to reduce the overall cost of doing business.

In April and May 2011, Cape Town’s SWH was 52 and 55 respectively against a target of 46. During the same period, the GCH was 28 and 29 respectively against a revised target of 26 GCH.

The truck turnaround time (TTT) of 28 minutes in April and 33 in May against a new target of 35 minutes again pointed to improved efficiencies at the Cape Town container terminal.

Leaders of various stakeholder forums have welcomed the decision for Cape Town Container Terminal to offer a pre-booking system for landside operations during night shifts.

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From left to right are: David Davids, Planning Manager at Cape Town Container Terminal; John Berry, Chairman of the Cape Town Harbour Carriers Association; Sandra Baetsen, Project Manager for the Fresh Produce Exporters’ Forum; Mike Walwyn, Chairman of the Port Liaison Forum and Vice Chairman of the South African Association Freight Forwarders, and Anthony Benjamin, Operations Manager at Cape Town Container Terminal. Photograph by Ayanda Mantshongo

News continues below…

IMO ELECTS NEW SECRETARY GENERAL TO SUCCEED EFTHIMIOS MITROPOULOS

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Koji Sekimizu, IMO secretary-general elect

London, 28 June - Japan’s Koji Sekimizu, currently Director of IMO’s Maritime Safety Division, has been elected as the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), with effect from 1 January 2012, for an initial term of four years.

The vote took place during the 106th session of the 40-Member strong IMO Council, which is meeting from 27 June to 1 July 2011. Sekimizu was elected on the second ballot after having almost won on the first round with 19 votes. The decision of the Council will be submitted to the IMO Assembly, which meets for its 27th session from 21 to 30 November 2011, for approval.

Mr Sekimizu, 58, studied marine engineering and naval architecture and joined the Ministry of Transport of Japan in 1977, working initially as a ship inspector and moving on to senior positions in both maritime safety and environment related positions within the Ministry.

He began attending IMO meetings as part of the Japanese delegation in 1980 and joined the IMO Secretariat in 1989, initially as Technical Officer, Sub-Division for Technology, Maritime Safety Division, becoming Head, Technology Section in 1992, then moving to become Senior Deputy Director, Marine Environment Division in 1997 and Director of that Division in 2000, before moving to his current position in 2004.

Congratulating the winner, IMO Secretary-General Mr Efthimios E Mitropoulos said he looked forward to “working closely with Mr. Sekimizu between now and the end of the year to introduce him to the current state of organisational affairs so that the transition of administration from me to him will be as smooth, harmonious and successful as possible.

“For him to succeed in the hugely demanding and heavy task the Council entrusted him with today, he will need all the understanding, support and co operation of the entire membership and the Secretariat to enable him to provide direction and steer the Organisation prudently and wisely in the challenging times that lie ahead. While I have no doubt that the membership will provide all that I just suggested (as they did to me, over the last seven and a half years, for which I am ever so grateful), I can assure him that the Secretariat will stand by him to support him in any way possible and under all circumstances,” Mr Mitropoulos said.

The other candidates for the post were:

Mr Lee Sik Chai (Republic of Korea)
Mr Andreas Chrysostomou (Republic of Cyprus}
Mr Neil Frank Ferrer (Republic of the Philippines)
Mr Jeffrey Lantz (United States of America)
Mr Esteban Pacha Vicente (Kingdom of Spain)

News continues below…

US HOMELAND SECURITY CHIEF NOW DOUBTS THAT 100% SCANNING OF CONTAINERS IS FEASIBLE

US Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano says she now has doubts whether compulsory scanning of containers heading to the United States can be enforced, because of the present lack of technology.

Napolitano was speaking with journalists during a press briefing while visiting the Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest and the world’s fourth biggest port. Asked about a 2007 US Congress requirement that all containers entering the US should be scanned by their ports of exit by 2012, she responded, “We at this point are not going to insist on that. We believe the so-called 100 percent requirement is probably not the best way to go.”

The US government requires 100 percent scanning by 2014 of all containers heading for US ports to be scanned in their ports of loading. The original deadline for this was 2012 but was extended to give global ports time to re-equip. It now appears that Napolitano will be motivating for a different approach altogether.

Napolitano said the United States preferred a more layered approach including better co-operation between countries, better intelligence sharing and analysis as well as some container scanning to prevent attacks on the United States.

“I think what we have learnt over time is that there are many different ways to achieve a security objective. You have to have multiple layers that operate effectively,” she said.

South Africa has just a single scanner, in Durban, and is currently incapable of scanning all boxes heading for the US, especially given that they will all be concentrated at certain times and not spread across the month.

News continues below…

PICS OF THE DAY – HMS PROTECTOR and POLARBJORN

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HMS PROTECTOR, above, the UK’s latest polar research vessel which was featured in yesterday’s Ports & Ships Maritime News. The report inspired Jay Gates in Cape Town to add the following comments as well as unearthing the two pictures shown here, first as HMS Protector and then in her original guise as Polarbjorn.

Mr Gates writes: The main change to the profile of HMS Protector from Polarbjorn was the resiting of the helideck from the usual ‘Offshore Oil & Gas’ location of high and forward, to the more traditional ‘Navy’ low and aft.

“Interestingly,” he says, “she is the larger sistership to the current British Antarctic Survey ship ‘RRS Ernest Shackleton’, a regular visitor to Cape Town and which is also on long term charter from Rieber Shipping. The specifications for HMS Protector include being built in 2001 at 90m x 18m x 9m and 4,985-gt, as against RRS Ernest Shackleton being built in 1995 at 80m x 17m x 7m and 4,028-gt. Both ships were built by Kvaerner in Norway for Rieber, with the Ernest Shackleton being built as ‘Polar Queen’ and HMS Protector being built as ‘Polarbjorn’. The above picture from Wikipedia Commons

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The second picture shows the ship as the POLARBJORN Picture courtesy Rieber Shipping

Both pictures and story compiled by Jay Gates

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