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Ports & Ships Maritime News

26 August 2014
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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ITALENI grab fitted 23 

August 2014 2 470 Transnet National Ports Authority’s new hopper dredger ITALENI (1792-gt, built 2014) appeared last week for the first time with her grab crane fitted to the vessel. The recently acquired Liebherr crane had been previously fitted on the older grab dredger that Italeni is replacing, the CRANE (839-gt, built 1972). Thus now complete, Italeni, which was built by IHC Merwede at an associate’s Varna shipyard in Bulgaria, was able to take the short journey from the TNPA shops at Bayhead to the N-Shed passenger berth where a media and stakeholder ‘launch’ of the new vessel was due to take place. Picture: Trevor Jones

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by David Binks, President for FedEx Express, EMEA David Binks, President for Europe, Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Africa, who visited the southern Africa region, where FedEx recently acquired Supaswift businesses. His purpose was to gain more insight into the local market. These are his views.

When you think about small businesses based in southern Africa, in the first instance you probably picture dusty streets, spaza shops and street vendors. Think again. Southern Africa has an innovative entrepreneurial culture, combined with the ability to develop products that consumers worldwide would love to purchase with ease.

The world has truly become a global village. Today, products like cashew nuts from Mozambique can be ordered online and delivered fresh to a homesick Mozambican living in the UK, in just a matter of days. Take the innovative Wonderbag slow cooker, invented by a South African eco-entrepreneur: thanks to e-commerce, the company aims to sell one million units online.

Recently I spoke to several African entrepreneurs - many of whom have been customers of Supaswift - whose businesses we successfully acquired in seven countries in southern Africa. One of the main concerns I heard was regarding physical infrastructure and strengthening cross-border trade. As it stands, however, southern Africa’s future looks bright.

Physical infrastructure is improving and increased connectivity is helping domestic businesses flourish. South Africa is a hub for the pharmaceutical, information technology, publishing and manufacturing industries, and provides a springboard into the rest of the southern African region. There are many local businesses ready to partner with European companies and reach new customers. And with a projection that by 2016, the planet will see $1 trillion in global e-commerce transactions, the growth potential in this region is enormous.

Small businesses, big growth potential

While a great deal of what FedEx does supports the delivery services offered by retailing and online giants, some of the greatest growth potential lies in empowering small businesses and giving them access to opportunities across the globe. SMEs are the economic catalysts in both southern Africa and Europe – and their challenge is the same: to do more trade beyond their own borders.

A few years ago, for small companies in southern Africa to do business, for example, with Europe would have been a daunting prospect. The internet has opened up those markets, but there needs to be tangible mechanisms in place to get their goods shipped, cleared through customs, duties paid and delivered to the final destination (while being tracked at all times). The management of customs processes often seems highly complex at first for small businesses. And that is where we can help. We have been doing it for over three decades – it is in our DNA.

Local businesses …
… that sell traditional wood carvings or mango chutney at one of a multitude of markets can now easily set up a website, market their products and sell them – not just all over southern Africa, but, with the right logistics partner, to anywhere in the world, creating real opportunities for them to expand globally.

It is because of this huge potential for growth in southern Africa that we have increased our presence in the region through the acquisition of the Supaswift businesses. This has given us access to 40 facilities and more than 1,000 new team members across seven countries, including Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Swaziland and South Africa – countries that together represent a fifth of Africa’s total GDP.

Trade between Europe and Africa is growing healthily. Over the next five years, European businesses are expected to steadily increase their trading activity with Africa. Ernst & Young predicts that by 2020, it is likely that Europe will have become the most important market for sub-Saharan African exports, accounting for around a quarter of all its trade. African Economic Outlook shows that countries like Mozambique and Zambia are likely to generate growth well ahead of the global average in 2015 and beyond.

Small businesses, catalysed by the internet, are set to be a crucial growth engine for southern Africa. Not only will this benefit the region’s economy, it will give the people of southern Africa – and their products – the best possible platform for showcasing what they have to offer. They will be making Europe, and the world, think again about southern Africa and its potential. – Leadership

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Réunion’s port system

French President Francios Holland and CMA CGM vice chairman Rodolphe Saade recently visited the Indian Ocean island of Réunion to lay the cornerstone for the future hub port on the island.

Réunion, which is close to Mauritius, is administered as an overseas department of France, giving it politically the same status as those departments on the European mainland.

On behalf of CMA CGM, Saade signed a Memorandum of Understanding which aims at turning Port Réunion into the company’s maritime hub in the Indian Ocean within the next 12 to 18 months.

By choosing Port Réunion for its new hub, CMA CGM gives the port a new dimension, not only as a strategic centre, where maritime lines from Europe, Africa and Asia intersect, but also as a key element in the CMA CGM Group’s development in Africa, where it already has a strong presence.

Cargo from all over the world will be unloaded on the island, before being loaded towards new destinations. This agreement will significantly increase the activity of the port. By committing to preset volume levels with incremental increases over time, the CMA CGM Group will create - directly and indirectly - new jobs, CMA CGM said in a statement.

“The Memorandum of Understanding signed today in the presence of the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, will play an active part in the economic growth of the Réunion Island, and will reinforce its commercial ties not only with the surrounding islands, but also with Europe, Africa and Asia. Reunion Island is located at the maritime crossroads. This will be truer than ever tomorrow with the CMA CGM project,” said Saade.

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Rice fields under cultivation near Pemba in northern Mozambique. Picture: Terry Hutson

The Mozambican government wants the country to reduce its dependency on rice imports by producing 80 percent of its total requirements.

Mozambique currently imports around 350,000 tonnes of rice a year, at a cost of US$140 million.

On Friday last week, Mahomed Vala, the national director of agricultural services, told journalists during a one-day meeting of the Coordination Committee of the Projects to Improve Rice Productivity which covers the Chokwe irrigation system in the southern province of Gaza - the largest irrigation system in the country. The committee also has oversight on the Maganja da Costa irrigation system in the central province of Zambezia.

These projects, now in their final phase, are being financed by Japan and Vietnam, reports AIM. The meeting was held to discuss the achievements, impact and sustainability of the projects since implementation began in 2011.

Vala admitted that rice production remained largely at household subsistence level. Low productivity was due to such factors as poor access to modern agricultural inputs, rudimentary techniques, inefficient water management, and obsolescent irrigation infrastructures.

He said that Mozambique has 900,000 hectares of land appropriate for rice cultivation, but currently only 230,000 ha was being exploited.

He was convinced that productivity can be improved by the use of appropriate technology, including improved seeds and other inputs, and by improving harvest and post-harvest operations.

He said that such improvements have allowed some small Mozambican producers to increase their yields fourfold or more – from 800 to 1,000 kilos per hectare to four tonnes per hectare. This, Vala added, was the result of the Intensive Technology Transfer Programme.

He was also optimistic about an increase in the capacity of the country’s rice processing industry. “Within the next two years, the country will be processing 180,000 to 200,000 tonnes of rice a year, just in Chokwe and in the Lower Limpopo irrigation scheme in Gaza,” he predicted.

These and other improvements would make it possible to cut back rice imports by 80 percent.

In Chokwe, gains are expected from the use of a newly designed manual rice seeder to plant the crop. The seeder has been developed under the bilateral cooperation with Japan.

In Maganja da Costa, under trilateral cooperation between Mozambique, Japan and Vietnam, a package of improved rice cultivation techniques has been disseminated among farmers, and a local association of irrigators has been trained to operate and maintain the irrigation installations. - AIM

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Captain Naresh Sewnath, TNPA

Transnet National Ports Authority has responded to threats posed by the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa, and more recently in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In a letter to stakeholders dated yesterday (25 August), and instigated by a recent cabinet update and decision taken by government on preventing the spread of the virus, the TNPA says there has been an increase of Ebola cases in the following West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. There have also been reports of cases from Nigeria and the DRC.

In a letter to stakeholders dated yesterday (25 August), and instigated by a recent cabinet update and decision taken by government on preventing the spread of the virus, the TNPA says there has been an increase of Ebola cases in the following West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. There have also been reports of cases from Nigeria and the DRC.

Recent incidents of stowaways have highlighted the importance of stricter controls from ship’s Masters. The TNPA says it has divided the affected countries into three categories.

  • High Risk – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone

  • Medium Risk – Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia

  • Low Risk – all countries excluding the above

  • As a consequence and with immediate effect, all vessels calling at South African ports from the above-mentioned high and medium risk areas will be stringently screened by Port Health officials at anchor prior to the vessel entering into port.

    All vessels from the high or medium risk areas will also be required to carry out stowaway searches at anchorage prior to entry into any South African port and a written notification from the Master is to be provided to the relevant Harbour Master to indicate the findings. The same will apply to any Off Port Limits interaction with any South African vessel.

    Recent incidents of stowaways have highlighted the importance of stricter controls from ship’s Masters. The last group of three stowaways claim to have swum from ashore to the rudder where they hid inside the trunk of the rudder.

    TNPA says that stowaways are a challenge to all in the maritime industry and could play a role in the spreading of communicable diseases from other countries.

    “It is therefore important that ships’ Masters exercise extreme caution and conduct proper searches using qualified personnel to ensure there are no stowaways onboard their vessels. Additional measures should be implemented when in potentially affected areas as this will no doubt affect the safety of ships’ Masters and their crew too. The stowaway searches should be extended to include wild animals as well,” says Captain Naresh Sewnath, Senior Harbour Master.

    “It is also incumbent upon ships’ Masters to report the presence of sick crew or stowaways onboard his vessel to the Port Authority as well as other relevant South African authorities as soon as possible as this has safety and security implications to the ports. This will also avoid unnecessary delays to the vessel.

    “Furthermore,” he says, “against this background please note that if stowaways are discovered the Free Pratique issued by Port Health will no longer be recognised and the Port Authority reserves the right to take any appropriate action. Also note all costs relating to the above will be for the vessels account.”

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    Port of Dar es Salaam, four new berths promised

    Delays caused by inefficiencies at Dar es Salaam port will soon be eliminated as the Tanzanian government embarks on new initiatives to ease the clearance of transit goods at the port.

    That’s the promise made by Tanzanian Transport minister, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, who said plans are underway to modernise the port's berths and construct more four new berths to help in cargo handling and to ease clearance of goods.

    He was speaking at the recent Central Corridor Transit Transportation facilitation Agency (CCTTFA) meeting in Kigali.

    The minister said the port authority had also secured land near the port for the construction of a large dry port [depot] to handle transit cargo for Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and DR Congo.

    According to 2013 statistics, 50 percent of Rwanda's imports and exports go through the Dar es Salaam port via the Central Corridor.

    Mwakyembe said with the new initiatives, transportation time from the port to Rusumo border post will reduce from the current 3.5 days to 2.5 days.

    “We need to ensure that the corridor and the port operate efficiently,” he said.

    The Port of Dar es Salaam …
    … has recently been marred by alleged corruption, theft and overbearing bureaucracy that affects the flow of business.

    Trade barriers have gradually been reduced on the Northern Corridor [through Mombasa], but the Central Corridor still has more weighbridges, and police roadblocks that deter free movement of people and goods.

    In an interview with The New Times, Issa Mugarura a driver, said it would be important for the port's authority to also establish a warehouse for Rwandan cargo as has been done at Mombasa port.

    Mugarura, who also serves as the vice president of the Rwanda Long Distance Drivers Union (ACPLRWA), said that due to a lack of a warehouse, Rwandan transporters face many challenges such as theft and loss of cargo at the port.

    “The challenge we have …
    … is that we discuss and agree on a number of issues with the Tanzania government but implementation remains a problem.”

    In March, this year, a cargo container with 24 tonnes of Coltan destined for China was stolen at the port and up to now the owners, local company Mineral Supply Africa Ltd (MSA), continue to hold the Tanzanian police responsible for failing to come up with a report on the theft.

    In June, Fabrice Kayihura, the deputy Chief Executive Officer of MSA said they had exported coltan worth $1 million (Rwf670 million) but on arrival, the buyer found only sacks of cement. According to the Tanzanian transport minister, the Tanzanian government, as a way of reducing non-tariff barriers, is currently constructing three inspection stations at Vigwaza, Manyoni and Nyakanazi. – The New Times


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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.


    ENSCO 5001 aad noorland 4 (3) 



QUAY (3) 470

    The oil rig ENSCO 5001 has arrived in Cape Town for maintenance and repair, having been towed to the port behind the offshore tug UOS EXPLORER, which was featured in these pages yesterday. The rig which is owned by Ensco Plc and is operating under the entity of Pride Foramer SA, is under contract to PetroSA’s drilling operations offshore of Mossel Bay on the South African southern coast. Pictures: Aad Noorland

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