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Ports & Ships Maritime News

24 January 2017
Author: Terry Hutson

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


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As the port helicopter prepares to take on board the marine pilot who navigated the reefer vessel safely through the harbour, TRITON REEFER (9683-dwt, built 1990) heads down the entrance channel towards the open sea and her next port of destination, San Antonio. January is an unusual month to see conventional reefers in Durban, which exports citrus fruit mainly between March/April through to October/November each year. The 144-metre long Liberian-flagged ship is Swedish owned and managed -- it turns out that she called at Durban merely for bunkers. This picture is by Keith Betts

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Contract follows long drawn-out legal battle between two Chinese companies

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The neglected state of Uganda's metre-gauge railway. Image Global Construction Review

After delays in agreeing to link up with a standard gauge railway now being built in Kenya from the port of Mombasa, Uganda has agreed to start construction on a simialr gauge electrified railway from its capital to the Uganda/Kenya border town of Malaba.

China Harbour Engineering (CHEC) has been awarded the US$2.3 billion contract for the 273-km railway which is to be completed in the middle of 2020.

The awarding of the contract to CHEC follows a drawn-out and sometimes acrimonious battle between CHEC and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC). The latter signed a memorandum of understanding regarding building the railway back in 2012 but Uganda subsequently cancelled it.

Legal action by CCECC is still possible challenging the new contract with CHEC.

The Kenya standard gauge railway is progressing according more or less to schedule and when complete will link the port with Kenya's capital Nirobi, and will continue westward to Malaba.

According to those involved with the Uganda side of the operation, 60% of the land necessary for the permanent way and stations has been procured. The developers hope to have the balance of property secured next month.

Similar to the Kenyan railway, the project in Uganda is being financed by China's Export-Import Bank (Exim). Together with the necessary rolling stock including locomotives, the total cost of the Uganda project is likely to be over $8 billion. However, because of the oil discoveries in the landlocked East African country, the railway is being seen as not only necessary but affordable and should cut the cost of transport significantly.

The advent of standard gauge railways in East Africa -- Tanzania is also planning to build from the coast to the Rwanda border -- will play a dramatic role in the logistical future of the region, which until now has relied on road transport and a metre-gauge railway that has deteriorated since independence from the colonial powers through lack of maintenance.

Tanzania also enjoys a Cape gauge railway known as the TAZARA, which links the port of Dar es Salaam with Zambia and the rest of the extensive Cape gauge railway network that stretches from South Africa as far as the DRC.

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76-km long navigational channel dredged

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De Laperouse in Durban harbour a week ago. Picture by Terry Hutson

Dredging of the 76-km long navigational channel leading to the Mozambique port of Maputo is now complete, several months ahead of schedule.

The contract was carried out by the firm of Jan De Nul. The main dredger in servcie was DE LAPEROUSE which is no stranger to these parts. Last week this dredger was seen in Durban and according to Jan de Nul the only work left was to complete the survey and de-mobilise.

In excess of 10 million cubic metres of soil was dredged from the channel floor. The contract had been awarded in April last year with the first of three drdgers coming on station the following month and dedging commencing on 21 May 2016.

The purpose of the dredging contract was to enable the port to handle bigger ships of up to 80,000 tons.

See our related article Dredging of Maputo Harbour 90 percent complete

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Threats to Piesang River estuary and bio-diversity

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Residents of the southern Cape town of Plettenberg Bay are up in arms over the resuscitation of a plan to develop a R4 billion small craft harbour and adjacent development in the Piesang River estuary close to the town's central beach.

The proposals first appeared several years ago and invoked a strong anti-development response from ratepayers and holidaymakers. The scoping report was subsequently rejected by the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs, according to the Knysna-Plett Herald

Now, on 14 December 2016, the department gave developers a new deadline by which they can re-submit their application. The project is said to include almost 500 residential units, office space, a 110-roon 5-Star hotel, luxury homes, retail space, plaza space, a yacht club and several thousand parking bays.

Objections from ratepayers and visitors to the town arew focused on the proposal being totally out of proportion with Plettenberg Bay and its possible effect on the environment.

Of strong concern are the loss of estuarine habitats through dredging and the reclamation of parts of the estuary to accommodate the harbour. The question of water quality becomes another issue along with air and noise pollution. source: Knysna-Plett Herald and the Citizen

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Cruise industry just keeps growing

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Koningsdam. Picture by Fincantieri

Everyone's into buying news cruise ships. Well, perhaps not quite everyone and in fact some of the cruise companies are not feeling too healthy right now. But if the container and some other sectors of global shipping are struggling, that doesn't appear to be the case with the cruise industry, which keeps on growing as if there is no limit.

Carnival Group, the biggest of the cruise companies by a long stretch, continues to lead the field and this month has announced two new ships for its branded lines. Orders were placed with Italy's Fincantieri shipyard for a third 95,000-gross ton Pinnacle class 2,650-passenger ship for Holland America Line, plus a sixth 145,000-gt Royal Princess class vessel (3,600-passenger) to go to Princess Cruises.

The Pinnacle class has evolved from Carnival's Vista class ship which operates with four Carnival brands - P&O, Cunard, Carnival Cruises and Costa Crociere. The first ship of this new class is KONINGSDAM which was introduced in 2016.

The Royal Princess class ships consist of Royal Princess, Regal Princess, Majestic Princess, and another two ships still on order.

Not to be outdone, MSC Cruises has finalised contracts with STX France for two new Meraviglia class ships each of 177,000 gross tons. This is 10,000 tons larger than the original Meraviglia and will be known as Meraviglia-Plus.

Each of these new ships will have a capacity of 6,300 passengers in 2,450 cabins. The first Meraviglia class ship will enter service in June this year.

According to MSC Cruises, the two ships just inked in are part of the company's 9 billion Euro investment plan that will see 11 new next-generation cruise ships entering service by 2026.

At the other end of the scale, Norwegian specialist builder Vard Holdings says it has signed a letter of intent for the design and construction of an expedition cruise ship for an undisclosed international cruise company.

The new expedition ship will be 145 metres long and 20 metres wide and will have accommodation for 220 passengers.

The hull of the new ship will be built at Vard's yard in Tulcea, Romania and completion will be carried out in one of Vard's Norwegian shipyards in 2019

A firm contract is expected for signing within the current first quarter of 2017 but is subject to several conditions including satisfactory financing.

Vard has five shipyards in Norway, two in Romania, one in Brazil and one in Vietnam. A majority shareholder in the company is the Fincantieri Group which owns a 55.63% stake in Vard.

In its 200 years of maritime history, Fincantieri has built over 7,000 ships.

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Road, at 86%, carries the majority share of freight.....

Economic growth in South Africa, expected to remain sluggish in 2017, could be stimulated if the South African Government were to fast track its expenditure on strategic infrastructure projects, especially those in the transport sector. This is the view of David Kruyer, MD and founder of Cape Town based Concargo, a supply chain and road freight logistics company.

"In February 2015 Government announced plans to spend R813 billion on infrastructure over a period of three years. However spend to date has been lower than anticipated," says Kruyer, "But if Government is serious about keeping to its expenditure plan -- and stimulating economic growth -- it needs to fast track infrastructural spend and focus on projects in the transportation industry."

According to Kruyer, South Africa's transport infrastructure has a direct impact on the growth of the economy, contributing 48% to GPD, and determines the efficiency with which our country does business. "Upgrading our transport infrastructure will go a long way to improving South Africa's growth prospects."

Kruyer, who has spent the past three decades in the highly cyclical supply chain and road freight logistics industry, believes better days lie ahead provided South Africa, as a country, makes the necessary infrastructural investments as soon as possible.

"No matter what business people are in they need to get things from A to B in order to set up a business or trade goods, and that requires an efficient and reliable transport sector. Road, at 86%, carries the majority share of freight compared to other modes, followed by shipping and then rail.

"Road is currently regarded as being the most reliable, predictable and cost effective mode of inland transportation and the development of transport corridors -- such as the Trans-Kalahari Corridor -- have gone a long way to growing trade with neighbouring countries.

"2016 was a tough year for business and consumers alike, exacerbated by the increase in fuel costs, the weakening of the Rand, political instability and a slow growing economy. It not only impacted South Africa but other African countries too with a number of projects being put on hold and mining production lower than expected. However, we are starting to see positive cross border movement, we are transporting sugar into Mozambique and are negotiating the logistics of getting steel to Tanzania.

Kruyer expects demand for effective, economically viable transport services to increase in the years ahead. "Increasingly, truck and rail services will be required at short notice to transport large volumes of cargo from seaports to their destinations, both in South Africa and into the hinterland. Getting goods or equipment to customers in an efficient and economically viable way is paramount to business success.

"Whether we are required to supply 1 to 100 trucks, or more, at short notice when a ship docks and cargo needs to be discharged, planning the move of massive pieces of equipment across the country to implement strategic infrastructure projects, or out-of-gauge cargo on a long haul, the focus is meticulous planning and delivering on time and within budget."

He says that during the 30 years in business, Concargo has dealt with many unusual projects which have required intricate pre-planning and creative thinking to meet client transport requirements.

These include managing the transport and logistics for big budget movies (such as Blood Diamond and Home Alone), co-ordinating and managing the transport and logistics for international events (such as BMW's global media launch of its 650 cabriolet series in Cape Town) and high security transportation and escorting of Grade 12 examination papers from SA printers to the education ministries in various Southern African countries.

Concargo has also successfully transported abnormal cargoes such as large wind tower tubes for renewable energy projects and 9m wide mining bucket wheel reclaimers, moved from Saldanha to Sishen South Mine over the steep Piekeniersberg Pass.

Even though South Africa currently permits some of the largest vehicle combinations in the world for general freight haulage, at a maximum general vehicle mass of 56 tonnes, moving heavy-lift cargo remains a challenge as each province requires different permits and a police escort. "Because time is money, a more efficient and streamlined national permit system would certainly help to speed up delivery and boost efficiency," says Kruyer.

Moving goods over borders into neighbouring countries is even more complex but is 40% of Concargo's business which is why it has developed strategic business partnerships with companies in the SADC region. These local companies keep in close communication with statutory officials and other authorities to ensure a seamless and coordinated customs process.

One of the positive developments taking place in the freight industry is the use of sophisticated IT systems and tracking in order to monitor the status of the shipment anywhere in Southern Africa. "An innovative tracking and tracing system ensures transparency in the entire supply chain and our Proof of Delivery Image System (PODIS) allows customers to track shipments 24/7, 365 days a year."

In a country greatly in need of job creation and skills development, Kruyer believes it will also become increasingly important to showcase transport logistics as a career. "Transport logistics in Africa is a vibrant and exciting industry to be part of. It's a growing industry and in celebration of our 30th anniversary we are taking on four graduates as interns this year.

"Looking ahead, our focus for the next 30 years will be on increasing our collaboration with all players in the global supply chain community. The fact that we operate throughout SA and the SADC region opens up many opportunities to support the growth of the South African and African economy and we look forward to continuing to be the go-to company for transport and supply chain logistics in this region."

About Concargo
Concargo celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, its head office is in Cape Town but it has associate offices in all major centres around South Africa and operates within Sub-Saharan Africa and the SADC region. The Company offers an ever expanding portfolio of supply chain solutions and transport planning -- with three distinct transport divisions encompassing all aspects and types of logistic solutions, namely: Road Transport Short-haul and Long-haul and Express Distribution throughout South Africa; Road Transport Cross/Over Border via all Ports in SA, SADC and neighbouring countries in Sub-Saharan Africa; and Project Cargo Management, Abnormal Out-of-Gauge, Heavy Haulage and Mobile Crane and Rigging Services, Relocation/Mobilisation Services.

For more info go to www.concargo.com

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Further to our earlier posting when we opened at the start of the year (THE 100TH U-DESIGN ALFA LAVAL PURESOX SCRUBBER FOR THE GRIMALDI GROUP) it has since been reported that Alfa Laval received US Coast Guard (USCG) type approval for the third generation of its ballast water treatment system, PureBallast. It is understood that this approval allows shipowners who discharge ballast in United States waters to make a confident choice of treatment technology.

The USCG based its type approval of PureBallast on CMFDA/FDA* testing conducted at DHI** in Denmark. This testing was performed using the same hardware, power consumption and flow as the already market-leading IMO-certified version of the PureBallast 3 family. Outside the United States, where PureBallast has been type approved using the Most Probable Number Dilution-Culture (MPN) method, the USCG-certified system will operate in IMO mode and be able to treat water with UV transmittance as low as 42%.

PureBallast has a flexible construction based on four different UV reactor sizes. This allows for optimised sizing and competitive operation over a wide flow range. The current type approval covers flows of 150-3000 m3/h based on the 300 and 1000 m3/h reactor sizes, while type approval for systems based on 170 and 600 m3/h reactors is imminent.

Delay between approvals is due to the evaluation of the mathematically modelled reactor scaling, which is a new process for the USCG. Additional time is needed to review the already completed verification from the independent DNV GL lab.

To quote Anders Lindmark, General Manager, Business Centre PureBallast: "With both USCG and IMO type approvals backing up the market's best biological disinfection performance, shipowners can be truly confident in their choice of PureBallast. Alfa Laval is proud to be at the forefront of ballast water treatment worldwide."

Prepared for revised IMO G8 guidelines and more
Besides meeting the demands of the USCG, the PureBallast 3 family is prepared for the revised IMO G8 guidelines determined by the recent IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC70) meeting.

Pending a few final tests of biological efficacy, a completed application for an updated G8 certificate is expected during the first half of 2017.

Likewise, Alfa Laval is prepared for the increased demand triggered by the ratification of the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention. Having sold over 1200 systems to date, including hundreds installed as retrofits, the company has the knowledge, project management and production resources to handle the coming retrofit wave, it is reported.

Added Lindmark: "Alfa Laval can provide not only technology with the relevant type approvals, but also a complete range of vessel-adapted solutions with high efficiency and a well-developed service offering. We are committed to supporting customers, whether in comparing ballast water treatment systems or in handling the many recommissioning and retrofit projects ahead."

To learn more about Alfa Laval PureBallast and Alfa Laval's approach to ballast water treatment readers are invited to visit: www.alfalaval.com/pureballast3

About Alfa Laval PureBallast
PureBallast, which was the first commercially available ballast water treatment system, is a chemical-free system sold and serviced by Alfa Laval. A vital component of the system is the Enhanced UV Reactor, which was developed jointly by Alfa Laval and Wallenius Water based on Wallenius Water Technology.

* CMFDA/FDA: the combination of two fluorescein-based stains to evaluate the status of organisms in ballast water samples.
** Danish Hydraulic Institute.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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Request a Rate Card frominfo@ports.co.za


Port Louis 470
Port Louis - Indian Ocean 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.

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

We publish news about the cruise industry here in the general news section, but this is also available in a dedicated Cruise News section. This section will include various stories and news not covered in the general news so if you have an interest in this sector don't forget to check regularly on our CRUISE NEWS page.

This you will find here in CRUISE NEWS & REVIEWS

Naval News
SA Navy 480

Similarly you can read our regular Naval News reports and stories which also have their own dedicated section, although some stories may be duplicated in the general news section.

Find the Naval Review section HERE

Remember to use your backspace key to return to this page.


AFRICAN NEPTUNE July 1978 bow 480

For many years in the 20th Century the American Farrell Lines' ships were a regular and familiar sight on the southern African coast, with the good-looking steamers calling all the way up to Beira in most cases.

AFRICAN NEPTUNE (built 1962) was one of these ship and is seen here arriving in choppy sea conditions at the then narrow Durban port entrance channel in July 1978. Built at the delightfully-named Pascagoula, Mississippi, by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation, African Neptune was powered by an 18,150hp General Electric steam turbinen engine and wsa able to sail at speeds over 20 knots. Not a large ship by modern standards, she nevertheless had seven cargo holds serviced by an impressive 22 derricks, including one of 60 ton lifting capacity. Farrell Lines, like so many of the famous and not so well-known names of shipping pre and post-world war 2, had to disappear from the scene as giant container companies began ruling the waves. In Farrell's case, the company was absorbed into P&O Nedlloyd Container Line in 2000, a move that proved short-lived as P&O Nedlloyd itself was absorbed into the even greater sized Maersk Group five years later. However, the name lives on, down there somewhere in some distant corner of that eenormous and ever evolving shipping giant.

African Neptune had a different ending. Along with her sisters, AFRICAN COMET, AFRICAN MERCURY, AFRICAN METEOR, and AFRICAN SUN, they all lost the prefix of 'African' before losing their identity completely and ebcoming, in Neptune's case, CAPE ARCHWAY (T-AK-5011). around 1980 the ships were all transferred to the US Department of Commerce and laid up with the US Reserve Fleet at Hampton Roads in case the Military Sealift Command required their services.

Whether African Neptune/Cape Archway is still in that reserve fleet is not known at PORTS & SHIPS - but perhaps a reader can enlighten us all.

This picture was taken by Trevor Jones <


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