Wednesday’s Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News

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


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MSC Alice. Picture: Ken Malcolm

October 2015, and Mediterranean Shipping Company’s container ship MSC ALICE is seen in Durban harbour, sleek and long. Fast date to the present and this once proud ship has ended up being marooned on a beach at Alang in India, undergoing the breaker’s cutting torch as she is reduced to pieces of scrap. Such is the destiny of most ships, unless they meet with disaster in some unfortunate accident. MSC Alice was built in 1976 in France at Constructions Navales et Industrielles de la Mediterranee, as their hull number 1409. She was 252 metres long and 30.6m wide and had a maximum draught of 10.9 metres. Her full capacity of containers was all of 2428 TEU. At the time of her launching – which were the days when South Africa was itself just entering the container world in a considered and deliberate manner, a ship of 2428 TEU was considered to be a big ship, which is exactly what she was. This picture was taken by Ken Malcolm

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Port of East London. The Mercedes Benz plant on the right

Port statistics for the month of March 2017, covering the eight commercial ports under the administration of Transnet National Ports Authority, are now available.

Total cargo handled at all eight ports during the past month amounted to 23.168 million tons, compared with the previous month (February 2017) when [restrict] 26.265 million tons of cargo was handled, reflecting a significant decrease in cargo volumes month on month. The port of Richards Bay recorded a cargo volume of 8.071 million tons for the month, while Durban handled 6.047 million tons and Saldanha 5.584mt, all down on their previous month’s achievements.

Remember that these are simply reflections of the country’s current imports and exports and therefore a good indication of the ongoing state of the economy.

For detailed comparison with the previous March (2016) figures please go HERE; use your BACKSPACE button to return to this page.

These statistical reports on africa PORTS & SHIPS are arrived at using an adjustment on the overall tonnage compared to those kindly provided by Transnet. This is to include containers by weight; an adjustment necessary because Transnet NPA measures containers by the number of TEUs and does not reflect the weight which unfortunately undervalues the ports.

To arrive at such a calculation, PORTS & SHIPS uses an average of 13.5 tonnes per TEU, which probably does involve some under-reporting. PORTS & SHIPS will continue to emphasise this distinction, without which South African ports would be seriously under-reported internationally and locally.

Port Statistics continue below

Figures for the respective ports during March 2017 are:


Cargo handled by tonnes during March 2017, including containers by weight

PORT March 2017 million tonnes
Richards Bay 8.071
Durban 6.047
Saldanha Bay 5.584
Cape Town 1.652
Port Elizabeth 0.830
Ngqura 0.643
Mossel Bay 0.142
East London 0.199
Total all ports 23.168 million tonnes

CONTAINERS (measured by TEUs) during March 2017
(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA

PORT March 2017 TEUs
Durban 221,436
Cape Town 77,559
Port Elizabeth 12,411
Ngqura 47,294
East London 6,778
Richards Bay 1,175
Total all ports 366,653 TEU

SHIP CALLS for March 2017

PORT March 2017 vessels gross tons
Durban 261 9,647,911
Cape Town 139 3,787,631
Richards Bay 166 6,251,465
Port Elizabeth 76 2,390,702
Saldanha Bay 47 3,122,430
Ngqura 44 2,477,958
East London 26 788,151
Mossel Bay 38 216,083
Total ship calls 797 28,682,331

— source TNPA, with adjustments made by africa Ports & Ships to include container tonnages [/restrict]

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‘K’ Line car carrier

South Africa’s Competition Commission has added a further ten cases to its prosecution of Japanese car shipping company ‘K’ Line.

In an announcement issued yesterday the Commission said it has referred ten more charges against ‘K’ Line (Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd) to the Tribunal for adjudication. “Further, the Commission is seeking administrative penalties of 10% of the company’s annual turnover for each of the additional ten charges.”

In March this year the Commission referred its first case against ‘K’ Line to …[restrict]the Tribunal. The matter relates to price fixing, market division and collusive tendering practices involving the transportation of cars produced by Toyota South Africa Motors, by sea.

The latest charges against K-Line involve the following:

* Collusive activities around 2011 involving a tender issued by Toyota Motors Asia Pacific to transport Toyota vehicles from India to South Africa by sea;
* Collusive activities around 2002 in relation to tenders issued by Toyota Motor Corporation and Ford Motor Company to transport Toyota and Ford cars from Japan to West Africa and South Africa to West Africa by sea;
* Collusive activities around 2008 relating to a tender issued by BMW for the transportation of BMW cars from South Africa to North America by sea;
* Collusive activities around 2008 in respect of tenders issued by Daimler to transport Mercedes motor vehicles from South Africa to North America by sea;
* Collusive activities during or about 2010 in respect of tenders issued by Honda to transport Honda cars from Thailand to South Africa by sea;
* Prohibited practices around 2010 relating to a tender issued by Mitsubishi Motor Company to transport Mitsubishi cars from Japan and Thailand to South Africa;
* Prohibited practices in relation to a tender issued by Nissan to transport their cars from India to South Africa by sea;
* Prohibited practices around 2009 in respect of a global tender issued by Nissan Motor Corporation (through its purchasing company, Renault-Nissan Purchasing Organisation) for the shipment of Nissan cars from South Africa to Europe (including North Africa and the Mediterranean) by sea;
* During or about 2011-2013, prohibited practices in respect of a tender issued by Maruti Suzuki for the transportation of Suzuki motor vehicles from India to Africa (including South Africa) by sea; and
* Prohibited practices around 2006 involving a tender issued by Suzuki (through its trading arm Sojitz Logistics) for the transportation of Suzuki cars from Japan to South Africa by sea.

To date, three companies have paid a total of more than R215 million in administrative penalties in this matter. In 2015 and 2016 NYK, WWL and Eukor Car Carriers (Eukor) admitted to colluding on these tenders and settled with the Commission.

The Commissions said that MOL, another Japanese company, was not fined as it was first to approach the Commission and cooperated. “MOL, NYK, WWL and Eukor will cooperate with the Commission in prosecuting K-Line.”[/restrict]

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Port of Toamasina, scene of the dispute

The Government of Madagascar faces an International Labour Organization (ILO) complaint over its treatment of 43 dockworkers who were sacked for joining a union.

The complaint has been lodged by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) on behalf of the Toamasina Port workers and their union SYGMMA.

Steve Cotton, ITF general secretary, said the global union federation took this action after the Madagascan Government refused to obey a court order which found the workers should be allowed to join a union and organise for better working conditions.

“Many of these workers earn just USD40 (R552) a month and were… [restrict]engaged in legitimate union activity to try and improve their working conditions. They face very dangerous working conditions and stood up in the face of intimidation and retaliation from management.

“The local union took action through the Madagascan Courts and won – yet the Government refuses to obey the court direction. None of the 43 workers who were dismissed for union activity have been reinstated.

“We have not taken this step lightly but unless the Madagascan Government reinstates the sacked workers they will face international condemnation for failure to observe the basic human rights for their own citizens.

“Madagascar faces many challenges following a return to democratic government only in the last few years. The government needs to show the world that basic human rights and access to justice will be respected.

“Many international brands in the clothing industry operate factories in Madagascar and they will be watching this case very closely,” Mr Cotton said.

ITF president and chair of the ITF dockers’ section, Paddy Crumlin said that unions across the world are standing beside the Malagasy 43.

“The government needs to understand that unions across the globe are supporting these workers and won’t rest until they receive justice. The ITF will be coordinating escalating action to get the message to the government that they must act to reinstate these workers.” Mr Crumlin said.

The lodging of the complaint follows worldwide action last month at Madagascan embassies which highlighted the plight of Malagasy 43.

According to the ITF, the maximum a casual worker for SMMC (La Société de Manutention des Marchandises Conventionnelles) [The Company for the Handling of Conventional Goods] can earn per day is USD9.24 on piece rate – but this is dependent on whether there are any containers on that day. Even though they have a set roster, casual workers are only paid when there are containers to unload. They cannot take other work due to the roster – but they may not get any money for that shift. Many casuals only take home USD40/month, and do not earn enough to support their families. Some workers have been working for 20 years on a casual piece rate, and have never received a pay rise. Talata Gabriel, one of the sacked dock workers said: “I joined the union to fight for my rights, for everything that we deserve as dockers. I had never received a pay increase from the time I started working on the docks in 1995.”

The ICTSI-operated Port of Toamasina is the main gateway for $360 million worth of textile products exported to Europe, $100 million to South Africa, and $60 million to the USA. Major international brands source clothing in Madagascar – including Levi Strauss.

ICTSI’s 20-year concession to develop and operate the Port of Toamasina commenced in 2005. source: ITF[/restrict]

About the ITF
The ITF is an international union federation representing around 700 transport unions, and more than 4.5 million transport workers from 150 countries.

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Greenpeace patrol vessel Esperanza

A large quantity of illegal shark fins have been discovered on two Chinese fishing vessels during a joint surveillance conducted by Greenpeace and Guinean fishery authorities.

One of the vessels also had illegally altered fishing nets on board, while a third Chinese vessel was caught using illegal nets and fishing for species outside of its license. The two vessels with shark fins on board have been fined with € 250,000 each, while the third vessel has been fined with € 350,000. The catch of all vessels have been seized by Guinean authorities.

Apart from the shark fins, Greenpeace also found… [restrict] numerous carcasses of sharks including hammerhead sharks, an endangered species, and manta rays on board several vessels.

“What we’re seeing here is an utter lack of respect for West African fishing laws,” said Ahmed Diame, Greenpeace Africa Oceans campaigner. “It also shows that local laws need to be strengthened to meet international standards where endangered sharks are no longer a legal catch. That is why we are recommending that coastal states improve their monitoring capacity and local legislation to protect marine life and livelihoods of local fishing communities.”

Map showing Guinea

In total, Greenpeace and local officials inspected and boarded 12 vessels during their joint surveillance this past week. These included 9 Chinese vessels, 1 Korean vessel, and 2 Guinean-flagged vessels. In one of the Chinese vessels, a letter was found issued by China’s distant water fishing association on 10th March and reminding Chinese fishing vessels to fish legally and to be cooperative with authorities’ inspections.

“We thought the letter would have deterred Chinese fishing vessels from illegal activities during the period of the joint patrols, but apparently this was not the case. Several fishing vessels belonging to Chinese companies continued their illegal fishing practices, despite the warning. This shows the complete disregard of local laws by these companies, while they should behave as responsible guests in these waters,” said Pavel Klinckhamers, Campaign leader onboard the Greenpeace vessel, Esperanza.

Currently 41 demersal and pelagic vessels are licensed to operate in Guinean waters. 85% are Chinese owned.

Greenpeace says it is demanding that West African governments take responsibility and work together to manage both foreign and local fishing activities in their waters so resources can be distributed fairly and sustainably, and a prosperous future for local communities and people living along the shores of West Africa can be safeguarded.

The ships intercepted and found committing irregularities are:

Both ships are owned by Dalian Lian Run Pelagic Fishery Company Ltd, one of China’s largest distant water fishing companies. Guinean authorities confiscated both ships’ fishing licenses, the captain’s passport, along with other navigation documents.

This vessel was inspected and found with adjusted nets, which is illegal. Inspectors also uncovered 30 bags of shark carcasses including a huge hammerhead shark. On 3 April, Fu Yuan Yu 379 was spotted again fishing outside the area of its licence and having discarded the bags of sharks that was considered evidence. The vessel will likely face further sanctions. Fu Yuan Yu 379 is owned by Fujian Pingtan Hengli Fishery Company Ltd.

Greenpeace’s ESPERANZA
Esperanza is on an expedition in West Africa to document the threat from overfishing to the marine environment and food security for millions of Africans depending on fish. The crew on board with the support of fishing authorities from coastal countries in West Africa are targeting the reduction of vessels fishing illegally or committing different offenses.

There are currently 41 licensed demersal and pelagic fishing vessels operating in Guinean waters, of which 35 are Chinese, 2 Korean, and 4 Guinean with Russian interests. During the joint-surveillance, Greenpeace and local officials inspected and boarded 10 vessels in total, including 7 Chinese vessels, 1 Korean vessel, and 2 Guinean-flagged vessels.

Many species of sharks are exceptionally vulnerable to overfishing. The global catch and mortality of sharks from reported and unreported landings, discards, and shark finning is being estimated at about 1.4 million metric tons. Based on an analysis of average shark weights, this translates into a total annual mortality estimate of about 100 million sharks.[/restrict]

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Mozambique will sell 150,000 cubic metres of wood that has been seized so far during Operation Tronco [Trunk] and carried out in the north and centre of the country. The logs will be sold to the highest bidders, but with a condition attached.

The raids have been carried out in more than 120 timber yards, with 75 of these found to be involved in illegal logging operations.

These inspections began in March this year, following publicity given to the widespread illegal operations. A number of the yards found to have illegal operations are Chinese owned.

Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development, Celso Correia, said the wood will be sold …[restrict]at auction, and the condition for participation in the auction is that the buyers must be willing to use the wood to make school desks. It is hoped that the seized wood will produce 800,000 desks – this will meet the requirements of the national education system for at least the coming year.

Correia had already introduced a ban on all logging for a second three month period, which horrified legal timber merchants who will now face six months of this year without being able to undertake logging operations. Whether the purchasers of the auctioned wood will all be prepared to become involved in making school desks is another matter.

For the government however, it has faced increasing criticism because of the over-exploitation of logging in the country, which saw large swathes of natural forest being removed, often by foreign nationals and exported illegally from the country. Container loads of logs have been intercepted in yards and at the ports but what is clear is that much more has escaped detection and already left the country.

The government hopes that by banning all logging for what will now be at least six months will provide the time and opportunity to reorganize the timber industry and protect the country’s forests from the ravages of uncontrolled logging. For the timber merchants however, they face huge losses because of the ban.

Correia said he has listened to the complaints of the legitimate companies, but what is being done is in the interests of all Mozambicans. If action was not taken, he warned, then within a matter of years there would be no forests left in Mozambique.

“It’s a real problem”, he admitted, “because there are honest operators who are being prejudiced. We must separate the interest of individuals from the public interest. The moment demands maturity. We have found anarchy in the way forestry operators are working.

“If this mechanism is not applied, our country runs the risk of, in the coming years, becoming like Tanzania, where wood is no longer cut, and Madagascar, where one of the most sought-after commercial species has disappeared.”

The coordinator of the Forest Programme of the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Mozambique, Rito Mabunda, has congratulated the government on the ban, which he said would provide the time for reorganizing the timber industry towards a sustainable exploitation of forestry resources. sources: AIM & Mediafax[/restrict]

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The future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) underway on her own power for the first time. The first-of-class ship, the first new US aircraft carrier design in 40 years will spend several days conducting builder’s sea trials, a comprehensive test of many of the ships key systems and technologies. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan Litzenberger/Released. US Navy ©.

Naval Sea Systems Command Public Affairs reported from Washington on 8 April that the future USS GERALD R FORD (CVN 78) was underway for her first set of sea trials, known as Builder’s Sea Trials (BST). Builder’s sea trials provide an opportunity to test systems, components and compartments at sea for the first time.

Over the next several days, CVN 78 sailors, shipbuilders from Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding (HII-NNS), the Navy’s Supervisor of Shipbuilding and Naval Sea Systems Command personnel worked side-by-side…[restrict] testing many of the ship’s key systems and technologies.

Rear-Admiral Brian Antonio, Programme Executive Officer for aircraft carriers commented: “The Navy and our industry partners are excited to have the future USS Gerald R. Ford underway under her own power for the first time, executing a rigorous and comprehensive test programme for this first-of-class ship. This milestone is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication, and we look forward to learning a great deal during sea trials. We will continue to work together to deliver Ford’s critical capabilities to the fleet.”

About Huntington Ingalls Industries
Huntington Ingalls Industries is America’s largest military shipbuilding company and a provider of professional services to partners in government and industry. For more than a century, HII’s Newport News and Ingalls shipbuilding divisions in Virginia and Mississippi have built more ships in more ship classes than any other US naval shipbuilder.

HII’s Technical Solutions division provides a wide range of professional services through its Fleet Support, Integrated Missions Solutions, Nuclear and Environmental, and Oil and Gas groups. Headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, HII employs nearly 37,000 operating both domestically and internationally.[/restrict]

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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As of April 2017, Afrox will be offering tailor-made welding equipment rental packages to the South African market, affording customers the option to rent a selection of premium welding machines for short- to medium-term projects. This first-of-a-kind rental equipment offer from Afrox incorporates four models from the Miller range of premium quality welding machines for large industrial applications.

Afrox has been the exclusive distributor of Miller welding equipment in South Africa for over 50 years. Miller welding machines are widely regarded as the superior choice for welding and provide the perfect combination of strength and refinement to get the job done. Bespoke rental agreements will give Afrox customers the choice of short or longer term rentals, delivery and collection options, maintenance packages, on-site service, and complete customer support through Afrox’s national Service Engineering Offer.

Other benefits of the Miller equipment rental offer include reduction of cost of ownership, availability of additional equipment requirements and a maintenance-free rental agreement.

Dewald Bodenstein, Afrox Product Manager, Arc Equipment says that this new rental offering is ideal for short-term projects, giving customers the opportunity to lease additional welding machinery that they may not necessarily want or need in the long term. “This offer is aimed at the market segment where equipment needs are project based, affording our customers flexible and cost-effective alternatives to purchasing new machines,” says Bodenstein.

He adds that the rental packages will particularly benefit the fabrication, transport, petrochemical and mining industries and will be tailor-made and customer specific, offered on a nation-wide basis in urban hubs.

The range of Miller welding machines that Afrox is making available on rental agreement includes:
The Miller XMT 350, with multi-process power sources designed for welding with the MMA, DC TIG and MIG (FCAW, MCAW) methods. The XMT 350 is known for its flexibility and simplicity and features auto-line technology that allows input voltage selection from single- to three-phase power supplies and comes standard with wind tunnel technology, adaptive hot start and line voltage compensation. A process selector switch reduces the number of control set-up combinations and large duel digital meters are easy to view and pre-settable to ease setting welding output. Applications include petrochemical, construction, shipbuilding manufacturing fabrication and power generation plants.

The rugged Miller Dimension 812 with multi-process power sources is capable of producing welds with the MIG, FCAW, MCAW, scratch start TIG, MMA and air carbon arc gouging methods. Power sources come standard with hot start and an electrode compensation circuit to ensure consistent arc control performance regardless of the electrode size. Applications include fabrication and construction, heavy manufacturing, maintenance, repair, pressure vessel fabrication, pipe welding, shipbuilding and earth-moving equipment manufacturing.

The Miller XPS 450 is a robust constant voltage package that delivers phenomenal output characteristics from a three-phase 380 V power source. It comes standard with a four-drive-roll wire feeder that presents an adjustable run-in control enabling optimal arc starting. Additional features include trigger latch option, gas purging and burn back control and multiple inductance selection ports. Applications include medium to heavy engineering, fabrication and manufacturing of mining and construction equipment.

The Miller Big Blue 500DX Diesel is a rugged diesel engine driven power source capable of producing welds with the MMA, TIG, FCAW as well as the air carbon arc gouging process. The electronic engine display simultaneously displays fuel level, engine hours, coolant temperature, oil pressure, battery volts, and engine RPMs and tracks oil change intervals and displays engine diagnostics for quick and easy servicing.

Afrox is sub-Saharan Africa’s market leader in gases and welding products, striving to constantly meet the needs of its customers and develop solutions that add value to customer applications. The company offers the most comprehensive range of gases, arc welding consumables and equipment, gas welding and cutting equipment, and welding and cutting accessories available in southern Africa.

For more information about the Miller welding equipment rental offer from Afrox, contact Dewald Bodenstein on email or tel +27 071 448 5725.

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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.


Antares Leader. Picture: Keith Betts

NYK Line’s handsome-looking car carrier ANTARES LEADER (60,284-gt) in Durban harbour earlier this month. The ship is 200 metres in length with a width of 32m and a car capacity of 6,341 units. The Japanese-flagged ship, operated of course by NYK Lines, was built at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, Kobe Shipyard & Machinery Works, in Kobe, Japan as hull number 1291. She was completed in June 2011. This picture is by Keith Betts


Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here
– Max Ehrmann ‘Desiderata’


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