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Ports & Ships Maritime News

22 July 2014
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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SEND NEWS REPORTS AND PRESS RELEASES TO info@ports.co.za

News continues below...
FIRST VIEW – CMA CGM ROSSINI

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The French line CMA CGM’s container ship CMA CGM ROSSINI (73,235-dwt, built 2004) departing Cape Town this week with her cargo of containers. When she entered service ten years ago, Rossini would have been regarded as one of the bigger container ships anywhere. Consider this - she has 20,000 tons on top of the Big Whites of the SAECS service, that for so many years we thought of as really big ships (which indeed they were in their time). Her container carrying capacity also would have been considered ‘big’ because she could carry nearly 6,000 TEU (5,782 TEU to be exact). Today that is regarded as being on the low side for a moderately-sized ship. All of which goes to show what strides have been made in the sheer carrying capacity of container ships over the last 10 or 15 years, a trend that as yet shows no signs of letting up. Picture: Ian Shiffman

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SOUTH AFRICA KICKSTARTS MARITIME LEG OF DEVELOPMENT PLAN

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President Jacob Zuma

South African President Jacob Zuma said on Saturday (19 July) that the government would help ramp up investment in the country’s maritime industries.

Speaking in Durban he said this formed part of an ambitious plan to boost economic growth and cut unemployment. “The vast ocean space is relatively unexplored in terms of its economic potential,” he said while launching the first stage of the project.

Zuma said government, industry and civil society experts have been tasked with drawing up detailed plans to develop the country’s shipping and shipbuilding, offshore oil and gas exploration, and fish farming industries.

Economic activity around South Africa’s 3,900-kilometre (2,440-mile) coastline has the potential to contribute US$16.6 billion (R175.96bn) to the country’s GDP and to create up to one million jobs — tripling current production and employment figures.

The proposals are part of the National Development Plan (NDP), which the government hopes will provide a framework for massive infrastructure upgrades to help improve the economy.

The plan was adopted in 2012 but attempts to implement any of the measures within it have met fierce opposition from the African National Congress’ (ANC) ruling partners.

The ANC-allied Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the country’s largest trade union federation, also opposes the plan, which it says will hit workers’ rights.

“We feel the NDP is seriously flawed and self-contradictory,” COSATU spokesman Patrick Craven told AFP on Saturday.

“We still want to see it completely redrafted.”

But the ANC has touted its overwhelming victory in elections in May — when the party won 62 per cent of the vote — as a sign of support for the plan.

Over a quarter of the population is currently unemployed in Africa’s most developed economy, which has battled to shake off sluggish growth. – yahoonews

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BOLLORÉ TARGETS MOMBASA’S SECOND CONTAINER TERMINAL

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Port of Mombasa

French logistics firm Bolloré Africa Logistics has again indicated its interest in operating the second container terminal at Mombasa once that terminal has been completed.

Mombasa's second container terminal is currently being constructed by the Kenya Ports Authority, which is on record as saying that an outside operator will be sought to run the terminal. The second terminal will increase Mombasa's container capacity by 1.2 million TEUs and increasing the port of Mombasa's capacity to 2.1m TEU

Bolloré hasn't been shy in making its intentions clear. “We have been in Kenya for 45 years and have been interested to run Mombasa on a concession for a long time. I had thought about it as far back as 15 years,” said Dominique Lafont President and CEO of Bolloré Logistics Africa.

Lafont said that Mombasa’s position as a regional shipment hub could be entrenched by being operated by a private operator. He added that the rapport that Bolloré Logistics Africa has with vessel owners could also increase traffic to Mombasa.

He saw Mombasa as the major gateway not only for Kenya's East African neighbours of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), but also its northern neighbours of South Sudan and Ethiopia. "Mombasa should become the driving port in East Africa as a natural regional transhipment centre." Mombasa has been adversely affected in the past by inefficiencies resulting in congestion, which saw some cargo owners switching to the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam, but stern action has been taken recently to ensure that containers are moved speedily out of the port, which has resulted in a marked improvement. Last month (June), 25 agencies consisting of the government and its agencies along with private sector businesses, signed a ‘Community Charter’ as a binding pact with the aim of improving efficiency at the Port of Mombasa and eliminating cargo delays completely by 2016.

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COSTA CONCORDIA’S FINAL VOYAGE STARTS TODAY

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picture: ItalyMagazine

Italy's COSTA CONCORDIA cruise ship is being readied for its final voyage to the scrapyard on Tuesday (today), two and a half years after it crashed into an idyllic Mediterranean island in a disaster that claimed 32 lives, reports The Local, Italy’s English language newspaper.

A luxury liner the length of three football fields, the Costa Concordia was dragged upright in September after keeling over on its side, and is being refloated using air tanks attached to its sides like giant armbands.

The four-day journey to the port of Genoa for the 290-metre vessel -- roughly twice the size of the Titanic -- will be the last step in the biggest salvage operation of a passenger ship ever carried out.

“This is the finish line that all our citizens, Italians and the world, have been waiting for. Let's keep our fingers crossed,” said Sergio Ortelli, the mayor of Giglio Island, a fishing community of just 1,500 residents that has been overrun by hundreds of salvage workers since 2012.

The ship will be dragged at a speed of just two knots (3.7 kilometres) per hour by two tug boats -- a Dutch vessel and a Vanuatu-flagged one -- and 12 other vessels will make up the convoy accompanying the giant ship.

The towing will begin after the arrival of a ferry from the mainland at 0630 GMT and engineers said it would take up to six hours to drag the 114,500-tonne ship into position.

Greenpeace has said it will follow the operation closely because of concern that the ship could spill toxic waste into the sea, although officials have pointed out that the environmental impact has been relatively minimal so far.

Salvage master Nick Sloane
A 12-person team of salvage workers will be on the Costa Concordia itself during the journey and an evacuation plan is in place for them in case of an accident.

South African salvage master Nick Sloane said this was the "biggest challenge" of a career that has taken him to accidents at sea in six continents and two warzones.

The ship has been raised by six metres so far since the refloating operation began on 14 July and salvage engineers said they were aiming to float it by a further four to tow it through the Corsica Channel and on to northwest Italy.

The Costa Concordia struck a group of rocks just off the Tuscan island on the night of 13 January with 4,229 people from 70 countries on board, just as passengers were settling down for supper on the first day of their cruise.

The impact tore a massive gash in its hull and the ship veered sharply as the water poured in, eventually keeling over and sparking a panicky evacuation that was delayed by more than an hour in as-yet unexplained circumstances.

Its captain Francesco Schettino is on trial for manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the ship before all the passengers had been evacuated -- even though he has claimed that he fell into a lifeboat.

Four other crew members and an executive from the ship's owner Costa Crociere, the biggest cruise operator in Europe and part of the US giant Carnival, have already plea-bargained and been convicted on lesser charges.

The cost of the entire salvage operation including the scrapping is estimated at €1.5 billion ($2.0 billion).

The salvage work has been a source of year-round revenue for Giglio, but many islanders complain the eyesore has hit visitor numbers over three summer seasons.

“This is something that the people of Giglio want to forget but cannot. They will always have to carry the memory of this event,” Ortelli said, adding: “I don't think we should remember the ship, we should remember the victims.”

Source Costa Concordia’s final voyage

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SOUTH AFRICA TO BENEFIT FROM ECONOMIC PACT WITH EU

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Rob Davies, Trade & Industry minister

Pretoria - South Africa stands to benefit from the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries have negotiated with the European Union (EU), says Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies.

“What we have obtained in this agreement is that there are more opportunities for us to [market] sugar, wine, ethanol and some fruit products than we had before, and that could create jobs in those particular industries.

“It is some improvement and an improvement worth having from the point of view of the development of our sectors and job creation in this country,” the minister said on Monday.

After ten years of preparations and negotiations, SADC and the EU initialled the EPA last Tuesday. The initialling of the agreement signals that the negotiations are concluded.

Significant timing
Speaking to media, Minister Davies said the timing is significant because it pre-empts the 1 October 2014 deadline imposed by the EU, after which Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland would have lost preferential access to the EU market for their exports of beef, fish and sugar, on which their economies heavily rely.

The talks -- known as the Makgobakgoba dialogue -- have been difficult, with South Africa objecting to the EU’s demands for a prohibition on export taxes, for most favourable nation status, and what it saw as a lack of give and take, especially over more access for its agricultural and agro-processed goods as well as the final wording on export taxes and geographic indicators.

Minister Davis said they objected because they sought an outcome that would preserve coherence in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) in terms of maintaining the common external tariff that is at the core of the union.

He said they sought to improve access to the EU market over and above what they currently obtain under the bilateral Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA), specifically access for South Africa’s agricultural products.

Minister Davies said being stubborn has paid up, as the outcome was more favourable for South Africa than the EU’s original offer.

“In trade negotiations, you have to learn to say no and this is what we did because we did not approve with other elements of the agreement. This then opened up negotiations and we tend to benefit from the outcome.”

The outcome, he added, is an improvement on South Africa’s bilateral TDCA, which came into full force in 2012.

He said the EPA was more favourable for South Africa than the EU’s original offer, as they have gained more access for agricultural goods, while the EU had won recognition for geographic indicators.

Improved market access
South Africa has achieved improved market access for 32 agricultural products, with a significant improvement in access to the EU market for wine (110 million litres duty free), sugar (150 000 tons duty free) and ethanol (80 000 tons duty free). There also improved access for exports of flowers, some dairy, fruit and fruit products.

"The EPA allows for greater harmonisation with SACU, some improved access for South African wine, sugar and fruit products, and allows some policy space for export taxes compared to the TDCA, as well as some additional agricultural safeguards,” said Minister Davies.

In return, the EU wanted recognition for several of its wines, cheeses, speciality meats and beers, while South Africa was pushing for recognition of its honeybush and rooibos teas, Karoo lamb and some of its wines.

But outcomes with regards to geographic indicators, according to the minister, will not affect the product names currently being used by producers in South Africa, as they have established a mechanism to address non-tariff barriers that inhibit trade in wine.

In terms of the process and timeframe for entry into force, the agreement will first be subjected to a two-month legal vetting process.

“Thereafter, the agreement can be presented to Cabinet and, if approved, submitted to the Parliament for ratification,” said Minister Davies.

Once ratified, the agreement may be signed, and it will enter into force once all parties have concluded their own respective national approval processes.

According to Minister Davies, the timeframe for this process is likely to be around eight months.

He said negotiating the agreement was a major achievement for the region, adding that it paves the legal basis for the relationship between African countries participating in a future tripartite free trade agreement and Europe.

The negotiations were between the EU and the five members of the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) plus Mozambique and Angola. - SAnews.gov.za

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ALL CHANGE FOR TAZARA

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Tanzania and Zambia who jointly run the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) have decided to regionalize their operations.

This means each country will now be running its trains independently within their borders without consulting one another, reports East African Business Week. The railway was built by the Chinese in the 1970s.

"Under this new modality, each country will be running its business and trains without consulting another. Previously, we had a passenger train with one route from Dar es Salaam to Zambia but the new modality allows each country to run passenger trains within its borders," Tanzania Minister for Transport, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe (pictured) said recently after a joint meeting.

This comes after the two governments agreed to inject $80 million in new working capital during the next 12 months. Part of the agreed fund, about $9.2 million is to be used immediately to cater for two months of the outstanding employees' salary arrears and some working capital.

Dr Mwakyembe said a team of Chinese experts has already submitted recommendations on how best to run the railway.

He said the two partner states will change the modality of their ownership in the railways in order to increase profitability and self-reliance while stressing that they want it to operate commercially and profitably.

MILITARY TRUCKS TO TRABSPORT MAIZE FROM RUVUMA

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Ruvuma district of southern Tanzania which has just harvested a bumper crop of maize that is available for export

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete has authorised use of military trucks to transport maize from Ruvuma Region to the national food reserve headquarters in Dar es Salaam. Another bumper harvest has been recorded this season in theb Ruvuma region of southern Tanzania.

Addressing a public rally at Maji Maji grounds in Songea District on Friday, President Kikwete also assured farmers of a reliable market of their harvest, whereby a kilogramme of maize would fetch 500/-, above the previous price of 450/- a kilo.

“Since the store rooms of the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) in Songea are well packed with the previous harvest, transportation of grain to the main NFRA godown is necessary without delay.”

Army trucks will be used for the purpose, Mr Kikwete said. Proper delivery of the grain consignment was absolutely necessary to create storage space for the new harvest ahead of purchase season which starts early next month.

“The reason behind my visit (Ruvuma) is to inspect development projects and encourage farmers and other production units to work harder,” he said.

The president also expressed delight for the impressive work accomplished by farmers and NFRA for timely collection and storage of the harvest to guarantee the country of food security.

He informed the public about food shortages in neighbouring Kenya and South Sudan, where arrangements were underway to sell the maize to both countries.

President Kikwete declared the commitment by the government to support farmers' efforts for a well-timed purchase of their harvest as Ruvuma Region was among seven others which cater for the national basket fund with high agro-production levels. - Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

EXPECTED SHIP ARRIVALS and SHIPS IN PORT

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Gateway 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.

In the case of South Africa’s container ports of Durban, Ngqura, Ports Elizabeth and Cape Town links to container Stack Dates are also available.

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 – CRIMSON QUEEN

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The dry bulk vessel CRIMSON QUEEN (58,140-dwt, built 2014) arrived in Durban at the weekend on what may have been her maiden call at this port, the ship having been launched earlier this year but still looking as though this was her very first voyage rather than a maiden call. The ship is owned and managed by Singapore interests and is flagged in that island country as well. Pictures: Terry Hutson

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