Maritime News from Africa

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


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Endeavour Strait & bunker barge SMIT Bongani. Picture: Ken Malcolm

In our maritime news from the ships and ports of Africa we feature the Liberian-flagged bulk carrier ENDEAVOUR STRAIT (56,806-dwt, built 2010) which was seen on a berth in Durban harbour recently. The ship was taking bunkers from the bunker barge SMIT BONGANI. This is an everyday scene in the busy harbour. The bulker is owned by German interests and managed by Carsten Rehder Schiffsmakler of Hamburg, Germany. This picture is by Ken Malcolm

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SAS Protea. Picture: Clinton Wyness

SAS Protea, the navy’s 45-year old hydrographic survey vessel. Picture: Clinton Wyness

The news that Damen Shipyards in Cape Town has been identified as the preferred bidder to build all six new patrol vessels for the South African Navy, will come as a surprise to many pundits who had expected this particular contract to be split along the lines of the three offshore vessels to one contractor versus the three inshore patrol boats to another.

Damen Cape Town is the Dutch shipbuilder who took over the existing Farocean Shipyard in Cape Town in 2008, since when it has taken on a 30% black ownership and expanded operations. The shipyard now builds tugs and other vessels mainly for export.


[restrict userlevel=”editor”] Damen, with its head office in The Netherlands, has shipyards in various places around the world and specialises in ‘off-the-shelf’ type craft built to standard proven designs which are quick to build. These are often built before a buyer has been identified and are offered ‘ex stock’, not unlike a motor car in a showroom.

The Durban based Southern African Shipyards, which has a long history of building ships for the South African Navy and is 60% black-owned and 12% owned by employees, is the preferred builder of the Hotel-class hydrographic survey vessel.

This will replace SAS Protea, in Durban harbour this week for Armed Forces Day, and which has provided the navy with 45 years of ongoing service. This is a much more sophisticated design and build than the patrol boats.

It was likely that the Durban shipyard was hoping to be identified also as the preferred bidder for the three larger offshore patrol vessels in addition to the hydrographic survey ship.

Southern African Shipyards is reported to have partnered with 6Sigma, a Cape Town-based naval architecture and offshore engineering company with regards the survey ship project. It’s not known which design the new ship will follow and it is possible that specialist overseas expertise will be sought regarding some of the more sophisticated ship content.

In terms of meeting government’s Operation Phakisa requirements, at least 60% of the construction of all these vessels is required to be ‘local content’.

Armscor said the process is now “subject to the successful negotiation of detailed technical and commercial conditions with the aim of arriving at a contracting position for the execution of the respective projects… Detailed commercial and technical negotiations with the preferred bidders will now commence with the relevant parties.”

The preferred bidder status has taken more than two years to arrive at this position following the issuing of tenders by Armscor for these vessels.

The new hydrographic survey ship is expected to be of a unique ‘one-of-a-kinf’ design, unlike the predecessor SAS Protea which is one of five ships of the Hecla class – the other four all being built for the Royal Navy. Protea was commissioned into service with the SA Navy on 23 May 1972 and was the first ship acquired by the navy to be especially designed and built for hydrographic surveying and oceanographic data collecting. Her Royal Navy sister ships were decommissioned between 1986 and 2001 but the SA Navy vessel is still going strong having probably accrued more sea time than any other vessels currently in service with the navy.

The three offshore patrol ships will replace three former strike craft now downrated to patrol craft status and minus their potent strike capability of former years. Nevertheless, these ships, which were built here in Durban at the same shipyard as now occupied by Southern African Shipyards, have proven to be reliable vessels which have frequently undertaken long-range patrols in the Mozambique Channel on counter-piracy duty.[/restrict]

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Pier 1 Container Terminal, Durban

Ten years ago this month Transnet Port Terminals’ Durban Container Terminal (DCT) Pier 1, a combination multipurpose terminal previously known as ‘New Pier’, began operations. In February 2017, this important milestone of 10 years in business is being acknowledged by TPT with their current reputation being one of South Africa’s leading and busiest terminals. DCT’s Pier 1 and Pier 2 combined handle 65% of all South Africa’s container imports and exports.

From the mid 1950s and 1960s the ubiquitous container became the world’s main form of transportation, and in the mid-1970s the Durban Container Terminal (DCT) was developed to handle the country’s increasing appetite for container-based imports and exports. Pier 1 was initially a multipurpose terminal, with containers handled on Pier 2.

Ten years ago, with its redevelopment as a container terminal, Pier 1 became the first Rubber Tyred Gantry (RTG) operated terminal in Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) and on the African continent. The Container Terminal was launched as TPT’s flagship container terminal in terms of technology with NAVIS first being introduced and piloted at DCT Pier 1, before being rolled out as the preferred operating system nationally.

General Manager Operations: KZN Containers, Julani Dube, reflected on some memorable highlights the terminal had experienced over the past 10 years, which included Pier 1’s first vessel – CSCL KELANG v0104W – which took staff 24 hours to handle the 249 containers at a ship working hour (SWH) of 10,6T; and the first ever vessel over 2000 TEUs, the Evergreen EVER GROWTH, that DCT Pier 1 handled; as well as one of the bigger vessels to ever call into Pier 1 being the Hamburg Sud’s MONTE OLIVIA (5 500TEU).

Over the past 10 years, DCT Pier 1 has built up a reputation of being an industry leader with significant improvements seen in both gross crane moves per hour (GCH), grown from 20 to 28, SWH increased from 10 to 53 as well as the calibre of clients serviced, which in previous years has included China Shipping, CMA-CGM, Maruba Shipping, MSC, MOL, NYK, K-Line, Zim line and Safmarine.

“Transnet Port Terminals has played a key role in supporting the South African government’s export-led growth strategy. We understand that what we do at DCT Pier 1 and how we do it has a profound influence on the prosperity of the country,” said Dube. “We take great pride in our past accomplishments and acknowledge that at the core of Pier 1’s future is its people.”

He said that Pier 1 has a highly skilled workforce with some staff having worked at the terminal since inception. “This strength coupled with exciting infrastructure projects and investments being made as part of Transnet’s Market Demand Strategy (MDS), puts us in a prime position to fulfil our future growth strategy and stimulate the economic development of South Africa and the region.”

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Doraleh Container Terminal, Djibouti

Port operator DP World has come out of arbitration victorious after being accused by the Djibouti Government of having made illegal payments to secure the operating rights to the Doraleh Container Terminal at Djibouti.

The London Court of Arbitration found DP World to be innocent of the charges, and has ordered the Djibouti Government to pay the costs of arbitration and the legal costs incurred by DP World.

Djibouti lodged its case in 2014, saying that the Dubai-based port operator had in 2006 illegally paid Abdourahman Boreh, head of Djibouti’s country’s port and free zone authority, to ensure the rights to run the container port.

The charges against Boreh were dismissed in March last year by the English Commercial Court in London.

In 2000 DP World entered into a joint venture with the Djibouti Government for a 20-year concession to operate the Port of Djibouti. The port became Djibouti’s biggest employer, with more than 1,000 employed, mostly Djibouti citizens. Doraleh, which claims to be the most technologically advanced container terminal in Africa, is situated some 11kms south of the Autonomous Port of Djibouti.

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Kreuz Endeavour

Kreuz Subsea is reported to have linked up in a joint venture in Nigeria with Genesis Group.

Genesis Kreuz will provide services of engineering and project management, construction, shore based warehousing, and end-to-end logistics. The company will be headquartered in Lagos with yard facilities in Port Harcourt.

Kreuz Subsea, has relocated two dive systems to Nigeria, and said it is in talks to secure work for its newbuild KREUZ ENDEAVOUR.

In addition to construction services, Genesis Kreuz will focus on inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM), subsea umbilicals, risers and flowlines (SURF) and pipeline repairs, as the core business offerings in Nigeria.

With Kreuz Endeavour and suite of construction capabilities, Kreuz Subsea said it believes Genesis Kreuz can make a huge contribution to Nigerian oil and gas by being locally available to clients and providing turnkey solutions. source: Subsea World News

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Project Syndicate, is a non-profit international media organisation that publishes and syndicates commentary and analysis on a variety of important global topics, written by political leaders, policymakers, scholars, business leaders, and civic activists from around the world. As of 2016, it has a network of 459 media outlets in 155 countries.

In the mid-2000s, after decades in the slow lane, African economies hit the accelerator. But what lies ahead for the continent is not an open highway. If Africa is to achieve its potential as the next emerging-market engine of global economic growth, it will have to industrialise.

Economists agree that, since the first Industrial Revolution, the rise of labour-intensive light manufacturing (textiles, garments, shoes, and associated tools and machinery) has played a major role in pushing up national incomes. But Africa has not managed to take part fully in industrialisation, a failure that has caused it to lag behind the rest of the developing world since the 1970s. In 2015, all of Sub-Saharan Africa exported only as much apparel as tiny El Salvador.

Africa desperately needs an industrial revolution if it is to create jobs for its fast-growing youth population and reduce migration pressure. Some of the building blocks are well known: effective and reliable governance institutions, modern infrastructure, and education. What is less clear is who should play what role in supplying them.

Start with government. For the last few decades, the prevailing view guiding economic policy was that market forces should be left to operate undisturbed. Any state intervention, it was assumed, would be either ineffective or dangerous.

That view has lately been changing. “Industrial policy 2.0” assumes that the state does have a legitimate role in spurring industrialisation, as long as it focuses on reinforcing comparative advantages. This approach is increasingly becoming a core component of national economic strategies.

And the scope of industrial policy extends even further. In a world of sprawling value chains, services and logistics are as important as milling steel and assembling circuit boards. Industrial policy must cover not only manufacturing, but also the economic activities that support it. Even the agricultural sector is now under pressure to increase its added value (a trend dubbed the “industrialisation of freshness”).

This implies a vital role for external actors. In an interconnected global economy, effective development demands effective partnerships – a reality that China, whose economic miracle had a lot to do with global value chains, understands better than most countries. Small wonder, then, that China has been the first G20 country to recognise the importance of supporting African industrialisation.

China has been involved in Africa in both an official capacity and as a major source of private investment. China’s government knows that Africa can help it to address the challenges it faces – from population aging at home to a rise in protectionist sentiment abroad – which will, among other things, put pressure on labour-intensive activities. And Chinese multinationals see a lot of potential in large developing markets like those in Africa.

Already, China is preparing to relocate 85 million light manufacturing jobs from higher-income East Asian economies, including its own, to Africa. This represents an important opportunity for Africa to create more and better employment opportunities for its citizens, thereby reducing poverty and supporting dynamic growth.

The process has already started, and early results are encouraging. In Ethiopia, in particular, Chinese investment is helping to realise the ambitious development goals laid out in the country’s Growth and Transformation Plan, and has contributed to Ethiopia’s emergence as one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies over the last decade.

But no single country – not even one as powerful as China – can offer enough support to ensure the success of an African industrial revolution. But there is at least one more country in a strong position to step up: Italy.

As Europe’s second-largest manufacturing powerhouse, Italy is home to numerous companies that lead global value chains, particularly in light manufacturing and agrifood. These firms have the power to boost international consumer confidence in products made in Africa and, eventually, in African brands.

Italy is a rarity in boasting hundreds of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) that are global leaders in their respective market niches. Many of these “pocket multinationals” have invested in China. And Chinese companies are increasingly investing in Italian SMEs to accumulate skills, acquire brands, and access new markets.

These linkages provide an ideal foundation for joint penetration of African markets and joint exploration of the continent’s potential as a global manufacturing hub. Together, Chinese and Italian firms can overcome the challenges posed by an unstable political environment and limited financial and human resources.

Such an approach would complement government-level cooperation aimed at removing economy-wide constraints to sustainable economic growth. And, in fact, their experience cooperating around the world means that China and Italy have strong government ties, underpinned by mutual trust and respect. In Lebanon, for example, 418 Chinese troops operated under Italian leadership as recently as last July, as part of the United Nations Interim Force.

It seems only fitting that China and Italy should work together to seize the opportunity presented by African industrialisation, integrate the continent’s workers into global value chains, and ensure the fair distribution of the resulting gains. As Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella prepare for a bilateral summit later this month, they would do well to add Africa’s industrialisation to their agenda.

by Justin Yifu Lin and Andrea Goldstein
Project Syndicate

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On 21 February the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) published its latest Flag State Performance Table which can be downloaded free of charge via the ICS website. CLICK HERE.

This ICS Table provides an annual overview of the performance of the world’s flag states against a number of criteria such as port state control records, ratification of international maritime Conventions and attendance at IMO meetings. The Table is mainly intended to encourage shipowners and operators to maintain an open dialogue with their flag administrations with respect to any improvements that might be necessary.

ICS Director of Policy & External Relations, Simon Bennett, commented: “This year’s ICS Table continues to highlight the sound performance of all of the world’s major flag administrations, regardless of whether they are open registers or so called traditional maritime flags. But in response to feedback from IMO Member States, our member national shipowner associations have agreed to some further refinements in order to make the Table as objective and useful as possible.”

In particular, flag states which do not qualify for the United States Qualship 21 programme have not been given negative performance indicators in the latest ICS Table.

Expained Bennett: “The list of flag states qualifying for Qualship 21 now varies considerably from year to year. We therefore no longer currently view non-inclusion as being an indicator of negative performance.” However, flag states that continue to qualify for the US programme are still given a positive performance indicator.

An important development in the previous twelve months is that participation by maritime administrations in the IMO Member State Audit Scheme became mandatory in 2016. ICS therefore intends to add a new field to address this for inclusion in its next Annual Table in 2018.

The ICS Flag State Performance Table for 2016/2017 is now being distributed among ICS national shipowners’ associations and their member companies, which cover over 80% of the world merchant fleet.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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Carnival Vista, Livorno. Picture: Trevor Jones

Carnival Vista at Livorno, Italy. Picture: Trevor Jones

It has a ring of inevitability about it – Carnival and Fincantieri jointly announcing that they will build cruise ships in China. And with north European yards fully booked, it only hastened the deal.

Carnival Corp, the world’s biggest cruise ship company, and Fincantieri, the fast expanding Italian shipbuilder, have confirmed their happiness with plans to build ships in China by signing a binding memorandum of agreement to build two 133,500-gt cruise ships, with an option for four more, with China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC).

The ships will be built at CSSC’s yard at Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co.

It is understood that the new ships will be tailored for the Chinese market and will go into service with a new company comprising Carnival Corp, CSSC and CIC Capital.

These will become the first Chinese-built cruise ships and are likely to lead the way to a future of more Chinese-built cruise ships extending into the international market. It’s long been held that Far Eastern shipyards lacked the expertise of European yards when it came to building and in particular, fitting out cruise ships for a European or North American passenger expectation, but with Fincantieri on board in this joint venture such ‘experience’ and expertise is going to be readily available.

The dominance of European shipyards in the building of cruise and passenger ships may well be at an end.

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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.

Naval News

Similarly you can read our regular Naval News reports and stories here in the general news section.


Balmoral at St Marten. Picture: Andrew Smith

Fred. Olsen Line’s BALMORAL (43,537-gt, built 1988) seen here at Philipsburg, St Maarten in the Caribbean on 3 December 2016. “We were on a marvellous 32 day round trip from Southampton and this was the last port of call in the Caribbean before we sailed via the Azores for the UK,” says reader Andrew Smith, who took the picture.


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