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Ports & Ships Maritime News

2 July 2013
Author: Terry Hutson

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




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Between the months of May and October is citrus export season in South Africa, when the ports see a succession of reefer ships calling to load the golden fruits of Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KZN provinces. Exports range as far as Russia and Northern Europe, the Middle East, China and Japan and citrus is loaded at the ports of Maputo, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. Here are a couple of scenes at Durban’s Maydon Wharf 7, one of two citrus fruit terminals in the port. The ship being loaded is the reefer IVAR LAURITZEN, seen using its own gear to load palletised cartons of the best of South African fruit. In the background is the wood chip carrier HOKUETSU DELIGHT, loading another product of the land, wood chips which are delivered to Durban in log form and chipped on site before the arrival of a ship from Japan. Pictures by Terry Hutson

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Port of Takoradi, Ghana

The expansion of the Ghana Port of Takoradi is going ahead according to schedule, says the acting port director, Captain James Owusu-Koranteng.

He said the three year project, when complete, would position Takoradi to receive bigger ships, improve turnaround times and eliminate double handling of the cargo.

Phase 1 of the expansion programme involves extending the length of the main breakwater, dredging the main channels, providing facilities to handle bulk commodities, construction of an oil services terminal, and the reclamation of 53,000 hectares of land.

Capt Owusu-Koranteng said the channel were being dredged to around 16 metres and the breakwater will extend out for 1.75km when complete.

A new dedicated jetty will handle manganese, bauxite and other dry bulk commodities, freeing up the existing manganese facility for an increase in oil services at the port. These will include a storage area for oil gas pipelines as well as the plant and machinery necessary for the rapidly expanding oil and gas sector.

He also revealed that negotiations were taking place with the Ghana Railway Company to convert the Sekondi Railway Station into a container terminal. Meanwhile, the sawn timber shed at the port is to be demolished to make space for other port operations.

A contract has been signed with a consortium consisting of two firms, Sell Horn Engineering and Hamburg Port Consulting, to undertake the port master plan and to supervise these developments.

A loan arranged by a Belgian bank of €197 million has resulted in a contract being awarded to a Belgian contractor, Van de Nulron, to undertake design and construction works.

Meanwhile, a Chinese loan of US$176 million will go into the construction of roads and other utility services for phase one, which is being undertaken by China Harbour Engineering Company, utilising a number of Ghanaian companies and consultancy firms.

Port Traffic for 2012

The Port of Takoradi handled 5,310,696 million tonnes of cargo during 2012, up 32% on the 4,948,553 tonnes handled in 2011.

Of this imports consisted of 2,314,856 million tonnes in 2012 compared to 2,088,533 million tonnes in 2011.

Transit traffic remained very small and decreased in 2012 to 5,958 tonnes in 2012 compared with 31,883 tonnes the year before.

Transhipment traffic on the other hand increased 77% to 32,253 tonnes in 2012, up from 18,226 tonnes in 2011.


In 2012 the Port of Takoradi handled a total of 1,664 ships, down on the 1,798 handled in 2011.


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Sao Tome and Principe in the Gulf of Guinea

Construction of the much delayed deep water port in Sao Tome and Principe is attracting interest from Angolan investors after Brazilian company AGN also showed interest.

According to the Africa Monitor newsletter, Sao Tome and Principe’s Prime Minister, Gabriel Costa, stated the “interest and openness,” of his government to a potential Angolan involvement in the port’s construction, following a recent visit to Luanda.

In a recent study on the Sao Tome economy’s outlook cited by the same source, the “port complex” so-called because it will be part of a larger logistics platform, is one of the “pillars” of the archipelago’s sustainable development.

Other important factors, the study said, are creation of an international financial market and development of tourism.

The deep water port has a natural market of 16 countries in the region, none of which have the geological conditions for this kind of facility.

The central location of the archipelago within the region, which includes countries such as Nigeria, Cameroon and the Ivory Coast, is also considered to be an important asset in making the project profitable.

On a visit to Luanda in June by Prime Minister Gabriel Costa, Angola and Sao Tome and Principe agreed to set up a two-way cooperation commission this year to assess the status of the cooperation and the commitments made.

The head of the Sao Tome and Principe government was accompanied by a delegation including the ministers for Foreign Affairs, Defence, Finance and Public Works, Infrastructure and the Environment, as well as senior officials from the Prime Minister’s Office.

At the end of the previous government’s term of office, former prime minister, Patrice Trovoada reached a provisional agreement with Brazilian company AGN (Agro-industrial Projectos & Participações), owned by Roger Agnelli, the former chairman of mining company Vale, under the terms of which the Brazilian company would build the port, Africa Monitor reported.

The end of Trovoada’s government meant that the deal was not followed through, as had previously happened with a Russian project and a French project to launch the port complex.

In 2008, construction of the port was awarded to France’s SMA-SGN (Terminal Link group, an offshoot of CMA CGM), for US$470 million.

In the first few months after taking office, Gabriel Costa pledged that his government would make a quick decision on the court construction project, work on which was originally due to begin five years ago.

Initial projects pointed to the port being built in the Fernão Dias area, 17 kilometres to the north of the capital and costing US$500 million.

Angolan companies such as oil company Sociedade Nacional de Combustíveis de Angola (Sonangol) are already some of the most important business entities on the archipelago, particularly in the fuel distribution, transport and logistics sectors.

More recently, Unitel International Holdings, owned by Angolan businesswoman and daughter of the Angolan president, Isabel dos Santos, was granted the second license for a mobile phone network in Sao Tome and Principe. Source – macauhub

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Sao Tome, a tourist attraction


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President and Mrs Obama visited President and Mrs Jacob Zuma at the Presidency at the weekend. Picture courtesy of the Presidency

Pretoria - Business has welcomed the support given by the US to extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) beyond 2015, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said on Monday.

“Sacci welcomes the support given by the US President Barack Obama to extend AGOA beyond 2015. Sacci is heartened by the principled stand of President Obama that open trade can be mutually beneficial,” Sacci chief executive officer, Neren Rau, said.

Agoa allows South Africa and certain other African states to export products to America tariff-free.

Sacci said South Africa was highly dependent on the US export market to sustain economic growth and job creation.

“Despite the large gains made over the recent past, substantial portions of the South African economy remain underdeveloped that requires preferential access to foreign markets in order to remain competitive. The severe challenge of high unemployment indicates that Agoa can continue to play a significant role in building the South African economy and reducing poverty.”

South Africa exports a wide variety of products and services to the US.

The US market represents 8.7% of South African exports by value, and more than a quarter (27.5%) of the exports for high value added items such as motor vehicles.

Agoa supports this trade diversification into value added exports with the attendant high job creation potential.

Sacci hopes the support by President Obama will eventually translate to an extension of Agoa, as this extension requires the approval of the American Congress.

At the weekend, the US President and President Jacob Zuma held a bilateral meeting where they spoke in one voice on matters regarding trade and increased investment on the African continent, which is mutually beneficial.

Following the meeting, President Obama announced that Agoa, which was one of the issues the SA government brought to the table during the meeting, would be renewed, upgraded and improved.

“I want to renew Agoa so that we can generate more trade and more jobs,” Obama told a packed press conference on Saturday.

Trade negotiators, however, still needed to work out the details, Obama said.

Agoa - which expires in 2015 - offers incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets. It has been commended for enhancing African exports to the US.

Obama travelled later to Tanzania for the last leg of his African tour. The US president has thus far visited Senegal and South Africa. He arrived in South Africa on Friday and left on Monday. Source – SAnews


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President Truman, one of four sister ships that will be broken up at Alang in India, with just one of the C-10 class remaining in service with APL – a ship type that pioneered the growth of container ships beyond the Panamax size. Picture APL

One of the first over-Panamax container ships ever built, the 4,528-TEU PRESIDENT ADAMS, has arrived in Alang, India to be broken up.

The ship was owned and operated by Singapore’s APL, the container division of Neptune Orient Lines. When it started APL stood for American President Lines and President Adams was among the first of the over-Panamax ships to enter service. She was built in Germany in 1988. Three of her sisters, the PRESIDENT JACKSON, PRESIDENT POLK and PRESIDENT TRUMAN were also built in Germany and are likewise scheduled to go for scrapping once they end current voyages on APL’s Far East – US east coast via the Suez Canal.

Despite being in APL/Neptune Orient Line service, the four ships flew the US flag, allowing them to carry US government and US military cargo and were listed as part of the US Military Security Programme.

A fifth C-10 class ship, APL KENNEDY is continuing in service with APL, at least for now.

“They were innovative and state-of-the-art technology when they were built and were wonderful ships that served APL well for many years,” a spokesman for APL said.

The C-10’s, of which American President Lines ordered just the five ships mentioned above, were big and innovative ships for their day, 261 metres in length and with a beam of 39 metres. The main engines were Korean-built Sulzer 12RTA84’s and the ship burned about 160 tons of heavy fuel oil a day. They were among if not the first to house the engine control room outside the engine room.

The ships were completed at several German shipyards in 1988 when they became the fore-runners of the true post-Panamax container ships that began appearing from 1996.

At the time ships beyond Panamax size were considered as something of a step into the unknown, with concerns over draught limitations at the ports and handling infrastructure incapable of handling ships wider than the 32.2m of the Panamax gauge.

Can the planners only see now where all this has led! Source Alphaliner, HKSG and Ports & Ships



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APMT: Mombasa to outperform rivals as cargo moves from road to rail

Kenya’s Port of Mombasa is already ahead of Tanzania's Dar es Salaam and Mozambique's Beira, and while it still trails South Africa's Durban, Oman's Salalah and Egypt's Port Said, an APM Terminals executive says he sees a day when Mombasa will catch up and surpass its rivals.

"Mombasa is on the move with very exciting projects meant to keep its leadership position. There is the Berth 19 project that is being built at the existing facility, and Terminal 2 - which will dramatically increase the port's capacity," said APM Terminals Regional Manager Jesper Boll in an interview with Nairobi's Business Daily.

"Mombasa consistently outperforms other ports in the region. We should recognise the tremendous strides that Kenya Ports Authority has made to remove bottlenecks and introduce efficiencies. These enabled the port to handle an increase of 17 per cent in container traffic last year to the total of 899,000 TEU," he said.

"The fact that ambitious projects such as Lamu and Bagamoyo are on the drawing board is a recognition of the importance of East Africa as a region," he said.

Among the most significant recent developments was the opening earlier this year of a new Container Freight Station by APM Terminals with its dedicated rail link.

“It is an amazing fact that currently only three per cent of all cargo in East Africa moves by rail. Mombasa is the busiest container terminal in East Africa that handled 899,000 TEU throughput last year. I expect that over the next few years it will break through the one million TEU mark,” said Mr Boll.

Pointing to heavy road congestion in and out of Mombasa, he said: “Huge traffic jams are experienced every day - sometimes all the way to Nairobi.

“We believe the railway is the transport of the future. Our new facility, for instance, has two 600-metre railway lines that can accommodate four trains simultaneously. Our location on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway helps to ease the traffic congestion and also reduces the time spent by importers picking up cargo from the port,” he said.

“Each train movement takes the place of 40 truck movements, thereby easing the overburdened road network,” he said. Source – Schednet/Business Daily



The Port of Mombasa’s berth 19 has been completed and is awaiting official commissioning.

The 240 metre long berth, on which construction began in July 2011, increases the port’s container handling capacity, with the three berths on the present container terminal having been lengthened from 600 metres to 840m.

According to Captain Twalib Khamis, Kenya Ports Authority’s general manager: operations, the new berth now awaits commissioning by President Uhuru Kenyatta. It will enable three ships averaging 250m to berth at the same time in Mombasa, a 50% increase on what had been possible until now. The container stacking area now totals 15 acres, with an annual stacking capacity of 250,000 containers.

“This will improve ship turnaround time, shore and yard handling,” Capt Khamis said.

A second container terminal is under construction at Mombasa.

In 2012 the Port of Mombasa handled a total of 21.9 million tonnes of cargo and handled 903,000 container TEUs.

Khamis clarified a recent government directive that all agencies involved in handling and clearance at Mombasa port be coordinated under the KPA managing director Gichiri Ndua, who will have direct control over all operations.

As a result agencies like the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs), Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate (Kephis), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Police Service and Kenya National Highways Authority have had to increase their staffing and revamp facilities at the port.



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The Greek dry bulk carrier SETY (55,753-dwt, built 2010), which called at Cape Town recently. Here she is seen sailing from the Mother City. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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