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Ports & Ships Maritime News

27 August 2013
Author: Terry Hutson

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

TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

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News continues below...

FIRST VIEW – CABO NEGRO II

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The Japanese owned and managed, Panama-flagged chemical and oil products tanker makes an impressive sight at Lyttelton, New Zealand, with snow-topped mountains forming a backdrop. The picture was taken in June this year. Picture by Alan Calvert

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STATS AND FACTS ABOUT THE PORT OF NACALA

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OACL container ship BORDER in Nacala harbour

On 15 March this year the northern Mozambique port of Nacala came under the management of the Mozambican private company, Portos do Norte, SA. This followed the conclusion of negotiations involving the previous concession holder, Corredor de Desenvolvimento do Norte (CDN).

During the seven months to the end of July, the Port of Nacala has experienced a 40 percent increase in total cargo handled, just surpassing the one million tonne mark and which is in anticipation of Nacala achieving its best ever annual results. In 2012 cargo moved at the port totalled 700,000 tons.

Included in this cargo was the importation of 145,000 tons of cement both bagged and in bulk, imported for the numerous capital projects taking place in northern Mozambique.

In the period ending 30 June Nacala has handled 45,000 container TEUs, up 22 percent on the previous year. This reflects both imports and exports – the latter includes bananas in reefer containers.

In terms of the service being provided, the new port authority reports that in the first few days of Portos do Norte’s operation in March the average truck turnaround time (rotation through the container terminal) was 2.4 hours. This has since been improved to a current average of 45 minutes gate/gate out.

In March only 13 percent of the shifts involved with the movement of containers were operating at expected productivity levels. By July this had been improved with 35 percent of the shifts recording good productivity levels as per the targets set for the port.

A spokesperson for the port, Elsa Silindane, said there was still a lot of work ahead, but with the introduction of new management processes the company was already making a positive contribution towards improving port logistics in Mozambique.

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The Nacala harbour tug SOLKSY

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Reach Stacker at work in the Nacala container terminal

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TRANSFER OF OIL FROM MV SMART BEGINS

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A Mil Mi-8MTV heavylift helicopter which is assisting with the salvage work on board the Smart. Picture courtesy Gerard Griessel

The transfer of 1700 tons of heavy fuel oil and 130 tons of diesel from the shipwrecked bulker SMART (151,279-dwt, built 1996) got underway yesterday following the arrival of the necessary equipment including heavyweight pumps and a barge that was towed up from Durban.

With everything in place and expectations of relatively calm weather, the salvage team from Subtech Salvage were hoping to achieve a pump rate of between 30 and 40 tons an hour, which could mean four days to clear the ship of all fuels if pumping operations take place only in daylight.

The bulker went aground and broke her back last Monday as she was leaving the port of Richards Bay, laden with a full cargo of 148,000 tons of coal intended for China. It appears that her engines failed at the critical moment as the ship left the safety provided by the Richards Bay south breakwater and entered into 10 metre swells.

With no propulsion power available and a strong wind blowing off the sea, the giant ship was washed onto a sandbank adjacent to the harbour entrance and opposite the town’s main swimming beach. Once on the bank the ship’s back broke almost immediately, with the hull twisting to a 90° angle leaving the stern, with the engine compartment and accommodation block, suspended in the air.

Coal from at least one hold has spilled into the sea and efforts are being made to prevent pollution washing up on the Zululand coast and into its river mouths. This includes the entrance to the Richards Bay harbour. A boom has been laid surrounding the stricken ship.

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The Durban-based Subtech tug TERAS HYDRA (486-gt, built 2009) which is in attendance at the casualty site. Picture by Gary Grenfell

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NIGERIAN CONTAINER TRAFFIC BACK ON RAIL

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Nigerian Railways diesel electric locomotives obtained in 2010 from GE Brazil

Ten years after rail operations out of the port of Lagos were suspended due to poor infrastructure, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has operated its first container train from the ports of Apapa to Kaduna, Kano and other destinations along the Lagos – Kano route.

The first train departed the port at the weekend with a cargo of 20 x 40ft containers, bound for the Inland Container Nigeria Limited depot.

The development has been greeted with the belief that rail can now begin to win back cargo traffic from the overcrowded roads of Nigeria, while helping to decongest the port. The chairman of the Nigerian Railway Board, Alhaji Kawu Abubakar Baraje, said that the NRC would shortly be obtaining 30 tank wagons to supplement 20 light tank wagons recently delivered. A total of 200 new wagons can be expected by December.

NRC was also investing in two passenger train sets comprising diesel multiple units (DMU) and 68-seat passenger coaches. The DMU’s will be deployed on passenger services operating in the cities where congestion remains a major challenge.

NRC managing director and CEO, Engr Sei Sijuwade called the re-launching of the rail services a historic moment.

“It also becomes a milestone in our record of achievements regarding the addition of four locomotives to be known as 23-class locomotives into our fleet of locomotives. These would be deployed into our passenger and goods train services. We are also now better equipped to deal with emergencies, with the two new 100 ton railway [breakdown] cranes,” he said.

He said the new 23-class locos which would be used on the freight trains had cost in the region of N250 million (£1 million). The cost of the breakdown cranes was around N1 billion each. These would be of immense use with both the civil and mechanical engineering departments of the corporation in times of emergency recovery and evacuation of heavy equipment.

“The crane is known as Multi Tasker 1800hp manufactured by KIROW Ltd, Germany, with maximum lifting capacity of 100 tons at 7m radius and with maximum reach of 19m at 45tons. The crane has a maximum speed of 25km/h self-propelled and 40km/h when towed,” Sijuwade said.

According to Sijuwade the NRC will soon commence the movement of sugar and salt for the Dangote Group through the Greenview terminal. source – Daily Trust (Abuja)

News continues below…

SECURITY: AFRICAN LEADERS MUST NOT BECOME ‘SEA BLIND’

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Professor Francois Vreÿ, Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch University

Good order at sea, lessons derived from anti-piracy, the role of technology, cooperation on maritime security, threats to the rising oil and gas industry and developing coastal communities to counter the attraction of piracy.

These are some of the themes to be deliberated upon at the Maritime Security off Eastern Africa: Beyond piracy, a conference. This will be presented by the Faculty of Military Science of Stellenbosch University (SU) in collaboration with the Faculty of Strategy and Military Operations of the Royal Danish Defence College and the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The event is to be held at the White Sands Hotel and Conference Resort in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania from 18-20 September. This will be the third conference in an ongoing series of conferences, workshops and publications on strategic theory that stems from the partnership between the Faculty of Military Science and the Danish Faculty located at the RDDC in Copenhagen, both working in the field of strategy and security.

Prof Francois Vreÿ of the SU Faculty of Military Science and co-organiser of the conference says the anti-piracy debate in response to the threats of piracy and armed robberies tends to dominate views on maritime security off eastern Africa.

“Although piracy is a dangerous threat, claims about its ongoing demise as a result of the pressures by naval forces and progress on land – Somalia in particular – do not entail an automatic return to good order at sea. While the ‘piracy-anti-piracy’ debate answers a first order question, ‘What is the threat?’ the beyond piracy focus is an attempt to answer a second question, ‘What constitutes bad order at sea off eastern Africa and what to do about it?’ The September conference offers a platform for discussion by speakers and delegates from afar such as Southern Africa, East Africa, Europe, the USA, UK and India on the wider topic of good order at sea and to contemplate the ‘beyond piracy’ idea for the region as well.”

Papers read on day 1 cover some academic ground, while on day 2 speakers will focus on maritime matters relevant to the region. Three parallel morning workshops are held on day 3. The first workshop will focus on jurisdiction and policing in response to the experiences of the anti-piracy campaign; the second on ideas and experiences on the development of coastal communities to oppose the attractions of maritime crime; and the third workshop is on highlighting the importance of maritime leadership from countries along the east coast of the continent.

“Maritime security is rapidly becoming a recognised African security domain but is somewhat overshadowed with the fixation on piracy as a cover-all term for what is wrong at sea,” adds Vreÿ.

“The September conference offers the opportunity to also reflect on other matters such as resource security, policing, developmental perspectives and leadership. This is important to build upon the declared successes of the anti-piracy operations off Somalia in particular, but also to inform the rapidly rising debate on maritime security, piracy in particular, in the Gulf of Guinea off West Africa. The combination of African and non-African speakers hold the promise of interesting insights on a matter deemed very important, but largely neglected by African leaders for some period of time.”

Details of the Dar es Salaam conference can be found in our EVENTS DIARY (use your Back Space key to return to this page).

EAST LONDON LOADS FIRST COAL SHIPMENT

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Port of East London, with the grain elevator across on the west bank

East London is now a coal exporting port. This long-talked about achievement finally came to reality at the weekend when the first of 33,000 tons of anthracite coal from Elitheni Coal in the North-Eastern Cape began loading into the bulker MISHIMA.

The coal is for export to India and is the first of what is hoped to be regular exports of coal through the East London port. It also offers a welcome alternative cargo for the river port, which has come to be regarded as a dedicated motor vehicle port handling little else in recent years.

Elitheni Coal is 74 percent owned by Strategic Natural Resources and in a statement issued with the company’s interim results for the year ending 28 February 2013, CEO Gabriel Ruhan said the company was excited by the strategic mining potential at Elitheni. “[The company] is optimistic that the project start up and commissioning difficulties are largely behind us,” he said.

There was also talk of opening a coal-fired power station in the area to address the power shortages in the region.

The Mishima is expected to complete loading and is due to sail on 30 August, according to the port’s ETD schedule.

In another item that made the news yesterday, the livestock carrier BARKLY PEARL is now (Monday) in the port of East London loading some 2000 head of cattle for Mauritius. This followed a ruling in the Grahamstown High Court setting aside an objection by the NSPCA on claims of animal cruelty.

Meanwhile, Transnet has called for the partial dismantling of the grain elevator at the East London port. The tender documents specify the dismantling of the grain elevator incline, export loading gallery and the partial demolishing of the concrete junction tower.

East London’s grain elevator has had a mixed history, having once been a hive of activity within the export grain industry. This had all but disappeared by the start of this century however largely following the decline in rail-borne traffic, with most grain imports and exports going through the port of Durban.

VIBRANT CONTAINER MARKET POINTS TO STEADY ECONOMY

MAERSK 

SERANGOON 17 December 2012 Trevor Jones

Maersk Serangoon in Durban harbour. Picture by Trevor Jones

The recent increase in South Africa’s shipping and container market points to a steady and healthier economy than recent official estimates suggest, says shipping company Maersk Line South Africa. Maersk Line SA is part of the AP Moller Maersk Group.

Activity on the country’s shipping routes with major trading partners in Europe increased 5% to 7% in the first half of 2013, says Maersk Line SA. The company’s trade performance for the period shows that activity remains pretty steady in the market for containers, which Maersk Line SA both imports and exports from South Africa.

This comes as indications are that SA’s economic activity is on the wane, with the Reserve Bank’s most recent projections signalling that Gross Domestic Product will grow by just 2% in 2013. Last year the economy grew 2, 5%. The International Monetary Fund also lowered SA’s economic growth prospects to the SA Reserve Bank’s level.

“Despite the tough news regarding the economic growth, we saw volumes holding up in the first half of the year, with imports and exports growing between 5-7% on an annualised basis,” says Maersk Line SA managing director, Jonathan Horn. Although imports and export figures do tend to be higher than the actual GDP growth rate, Horn says these figures are encouraging as the second half is traditionally busier than the first.

“Imports tend to be quite seasonal, with the second half of the year generally seeing more activity as retailers gear up for the Festive Season”, says Horn. The data also suggests there has been a diminishing trend in the growth of imports as the year has progressed in a weak rand environment, which experienced a sizeable depreciation in the first quarter of the year.

SA seemingly took advantage of the weaker rand, which means more revenue for exports to other currencies, as 75% of export volumes in containerised exports consist of agriculture and non-manufactured goods. “These have naturally been boosted by the weak rand. Export growth was significantly higher in the second quarter compared to the first quarter,” says Matthew Conroy, Trade Executive at Maersk.

Refrigerated cargo export volumes had a solid growth despite, even in the face of freight rate increases. The growth was further supported by a shortage of fruit in some countries, especially apples and pears, which accounted for much of the growth.

SA’s manufacturing export growth has disappointed which is something the government has been acutely aware of. “Efforts to strengthen SA’s export base through initiatives like the National Export Development Programme will only be felt in the medium term,” says Horn. It is expected that manufacturing will continue to comprise one third of exports in the near to medium term.

“The strongest growth in the resources sector came from chrome, manganese and scrap metal,” says Conroy. However, while there are concerns that China’s slow-down may hurt export volumes going forward, forward bookings of containers looked to be on par with the level of activity seen in the first half of the year, he says.

Bulk commodities like iron-ore and coal are not included in Maersk’s figures because they only report on and have access to containerised volumes. Commodities such as iron ore and coal move almost exclusively in bulk vessels. There are many other commodities which move in bulk only as well as several which move in both containers and bulk. The swing between the two is largely determined by shipping costs between these options (bulk vessel charter costs are a key driver for bulk) and to some extent parcel size and handling capacity of receivers.

Looking forward to the second half of the year, Maersk expects imports to grow at low single digits as the Rand weakness moderates demand. The weaker local currency will continue to boost exports, which are expected to grow in the mid-single digits. That is roughly at the same rate as that seen in the first half of 2013.

The good news is that infrastructure constraints have not affected growth on either side of the equation. “The congestion in ports was an issue last year, but this year it’s been a bit of a non-event,” says Conroy. This has resulted in fewer delays in arrivals and departures of cargo, which has aided the overall level of trade the company, and the country has enjoyed over the period.

Generally higher activity will continue at the lower, mass end of the market. “This is evident in that general retailers that service consumers in the lower Lifestyles Measure (LSM) segments are still forecasting solid growth in import containers going forward,” says Conroy. He says consumers in upper LSM segments seem to be trading down, boosting the bottom end of the LSM scale. “It’s clear the consumer is trading down for certain goods, most noticeably durable goods and clothing”, says Conroy.

EXPECTED SHIP ARRIVALS and SHIPS IN PORT

Ports & Ships publishes regularly updated SHIP MOVEMENT reports including ETAs for ports extending from West Africa to South Africa to East Africa and including Port Louis in Mauritius.

You can access this information, including the list of ports covered, by going HERE - remember to use your BACKSPACE to return to this page.

PICS OF THE DAY – MOL CALEDON

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Mitsui OSK Lines container ship MOL Caledon makes a spectacular sight in Table Bay, with Table Mountain as the familiar backdrop. This ship and her sister, MOL Cullinan are former P&O Nedlloyd vessels, having been acquired from that company when P&ON was acquired by Maersk Line. The two P&O Nedlloyd ships had been employed in the South Africa Europe Container Service (SAECS) and it was considered that if the two P&ON slots on the weekly service were retained by Maersk following the sale to the Danish company, Maersk would have held an unacceptably almost total monopoly on that important trade route. Pictures by Ian Shiffman

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