Wednesday’s Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News

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

With public holidays in South Africa tomorrow (Thursday) and again on Monday, our next edition will be on Tuesday 2 May. Any important maritime news occurring in the interim will be added to this news bulletin


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RCCLs Enchantment of the Seas
Enchantment of the Seas. Picture: Tony de Freitas

Royal Caribbean International Lines’ Vision-class ENCHANTMENT OF THE SEAS (82,910-gt) makes her way towards Port Everglades in Florida, USA. The 2,446-passenger ship cruises in the Caribbean all year round sailing mainly out of Miami. She was launched in 1996 from the Kvaerner Masa Yards Helsinki New Shipyard in Helsinki, Finland as hull number 493 and entered service the following year. Enchantment of the Seas is registered in Nassau in the Bahamas. This picture is by Tony de Freitas

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logging trucks

Zambia has announced an indefinite ban on all “in transit” timber, meaning that the country’s roads and rail may no longer be used to move timber to the ports in Tanzania, Mozambique or Namibia.

The ban is thought to have come about because of international concerns raised that Zambia was being exploited by smugglers of African forest timber that is cut illegally and exported, mainly to Vietnam and China.

In Mozambique a similar situation exists and a moratorium on the cutting of all timber in the forests has been declared for a six month period in response to concerns that large swathes of Mozambique’s natural forests are being destroyed.

According to a report from tralac, Namibia’s Chief Agricultural Scientific Officer reported to… [restrict] the Namibian Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry that the country had been “experiencing serious problems with timber transported from the DRC and neighbouring countries via Zambia.”

Zambia’s ban on in transit timber comes amid cries from the owners and operators of more than 600 road trucks already impounded in the country for the past two months. The Tanzanian Truck Owners Association (TATOA) has called for an immediate solution to the matter, saying that by having their trucks impounded they are losing large amounts of money. TATOA has appealed to Tanzania’s Department of Foreign Affairs to intercede in the matter.

The 600 trucks arrived in Zambia from the DRC, en route to the port of Dar es Salaam. Other vehicles carry timber to Nacala, Beira and Walvis Bay.

Not only are the trucks stranded in Zambia but also their crew, numbering around 1200, forced to remain with their vehicles to help safeguard them. TATOA claims that the drivers all have papers proving that their cargoes were loaded in the DRC, but the Zambian’s are not budging.[/restrict]

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state visit to Mozambique
Presidents Ian Khama (left) and Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, who met thjis week

Botswana’s President Ian Khama said during talks with his Mozambique counterpart, President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, that it was critical for the two countries to redouble efforts in accelerating the implementation of strategic projects such as the development of a deep-sea port at Techobanine south of Maputo and a railway line linking Botswana with Mozambique.

President Khama has been on a three-day state visit to Mozambique during which trade and infrastructure issues featured high on the agenda.

Khama said the development of the…[restrict] vital rail transport corridor, linked to the planned deep water port, will go a long way in unlocking the economic potential of the two countries and also contribute towards greater regional integration.

“I note with satisfaction that the Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation between Botswana and Mozambique continues to meet regularly in order to advance the implementation of our agreed commitments. Whilst we continue to expand the scope of our bilateral cooperation by signing additional bilateral agreements, it is however, critical that we ensure their effective implementation. This will ensure that our people benefit from tangible programmes and projects, which will help improve their living standards,” he said.

Techobanine in southern Mozambique
Techobanine, south of Maputo

President Nyusi responded saying: “We believe that your participation in these and other projects could leverage socio economic development of our two countries and fast-track regional integration.

“In this context, the Government of Mozambique is expanding the capacity of the Port of Maputo in order to enable it to accommodate larger vessels and diversity of cargo. We believe this is yet another opportunity open for Botswana to utilise this potential for more exports and imports.

President Nyusi said that this project could be complemented by the construction of the Techobanine deep water port which is still under consideration and negotiation.

“Techobanine Port is poised as a strategic asset within the framework of effective growth and diversification of the economies of Mozambique, Botswana and Zimbabwe. The port can go a long way in realising the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap.”[/restrict]

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Portuguese-speaking countries to enjoy China's preferential ststaus
Luanda, Angola – preferential status

Three Portuguese-speaking African nations are to benefit from China’s new import rules by enjoying preferential treatment status, reports China Briefing.

The three African countries, Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique, as well as East Timor will all enjoy preferential treatment under the new rules.

China Briefing said that the…[restrict] least developed countries that want to take advantage of the preferential treatment must register with the authorities in China listing which product or products will be exported while providing proof that they are actually national products.

The ‘Administrative Measures of the PRC on Customs Rules of Origin of Goods Imported from the Least Developed Countries Entitled to Special Preferential Tariff Treatment,’ came into effect on 1 April this year in order to improve the administrative aspects related to the origin of imported goods.

According to China Briefing, China began granting preferential treatment to products from the least developed countries with which it had two-way diplomatic relations in 2002.

The main changes are the extension of the criteria for a product to be considered national, allowing more products to be considered as originating in a particular country and the ordering process, making the export of products more efficient than before.

The extension of the criteria is based on the fact that, due to current economic interdependence, it is sometimes difficult to determine the precise origin of a product, usually made from components with different origins.

Thus, the beneficiary countries of the new rules are allowed to use parts or components purchased in China or from nations in the same regional grouping.

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seismic research vessel
Osprey Explorer. Picture: Seabird Exploration

Seabird Exploration, the Cyprus-based global provider of marine 2D and 3D seismic data and associated products and services to the oil and gas industry, announced yesterday (15 April) that it has signed a letter of award for an upcoming 2D seismic survey in West Africa.

“The project is…[restrict] due to commence in the second quarter and will have a duration of approximately one month. SeaBird will be using the OSPREY EXPLORER for the project.

Osprey Explorer is an 81-metre long, 16m wide DNV-classified as a seismic research vessel, and was converted in 2006 to a 2D Long Offset/Source vessel. The conversion work was done in Poland.

The name of the client and West African country was not disclosed, nor was the value of the contract.[/restrict]

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Stena tanker
Stena Imagination. Picture: Patrick Deenik, Shipspotting

On 18 April the MR* tanker STENA IMAGINATION was named in the Port Rashid Terminal in the heart of Dubai by the vessel’s godmother Lourdes Torgersen who, as tradition dictates, wished the vessel, her captain and his crew fortune and prosperity on the seven seas.

Guests were given the opportunity, led by Captain Alexander Vasko, to inspect the vessel from her engine room to the bridge.

The vessel left on Sunday, 23 April for East Africa with a cargo of diesel oil.

In the words of Erik Hånell, President & CEO of Stena Bulk and CEO of Stena Weco: “Naming the Stena Imagination in Dubai is very much a strategic choice. Stena Bulk recently opened an office here together with Stena Weco and Golden Stena Weco. We already had a presence in the market in the region but wanted to get even closer to our customers. The naming ceremony gives us the opportunity to further reinforce our image and forge more contacts with customers, partners and suppliers in the region.”

Dubai is an important meeting-place for the oil industry in the Middle East. Stena’s tanker business already has a presence in the area with contacts in the neighbouring region. For Stena Bulk and Stena Weco which, with their IMOIIMAX fleet, are focusing increasingly on trade in chemicals, Dubai is an important hub. Here, the oil industry is building several refineries closer to the oil wells in the region.

Stena Imagination was built at the Chinese shipyard GSI (Guangzhou Shipbuilding International) as with all the thirteen IMOIIMAX tankers ordered by Stena Bulk – each delivered and under construction. The new vessel is jointly owned on a 50-50 basis by Stena Bulk and Indonesian Golden Agri Resources (GAR).

The IMOIIMAX concept
Stena Imagination, a chemical and product tanker, is of 183 metres loa, with a beam of 32 metres and is of 50,000 dwt.

About Stena Bulk AB
With offices in six countries, Stena Bulk is one of the world’s leading tanker shipping companies. The company controls a combined fleet of around 100 vessels. Stena Bulk is part of the Stena Sphere, which has more than 20,000 employees and sales of SEK 60 billion (£5.226 billion).

* Medium Range. The vessels are all equipped with 12 cargo tanks of max 4,500 m³ capacity and can carry crude oil, products and chemicals.

Paul Ridgway

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Peterside, NIMASA D-G

The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside (illustrated) has been elected as the new Chairman of the Association of African Maritime Administrators (AAMA).

This is one of the decisions reached at the third conference of the association with the theme Sustainable Use of Africa’s Oceans and Seas attended by 34 African countries and held from 19-21 April in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Bashir Jamoh, who addressed a media conference shortly after the event, said that the NIMASA – DG would pilot affairs of AAMA for a period of a one year tenure, as Egypt would…[restrict] host the next conference while South Africa retains the secretariat.

Meanwhile Namibia and Seychelles are competing for the 2019 hosting right, it is understood, as the chosen host could not be confirmed at the time this report was filed.

AAMA, a body of 34 African countries including Nigeria, unanimously elected Peterside at the conference jointly organised by NIMASA and the IMO which drew attendance from maritime countries within the African continent and across the globe.

Peterside, takes over from Sobantu Tilayi, the acting Chief Executive Officer of the South African Maritime and Safety Agency (SAMSA), who has been the acting Chair of the association since 2013.

His election comes barely 24 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the new NIMASA brand with a renewed interest by the government to advance the country’s economy through her maritime resources.

At a well-attended closing session, Tilayi, the outgoing Chairman described Peterside as a committed and dedicated technocrat who will, without doubt, take maritime administration to a higher level.

Many other participants expressed optimism in Peterside’s leadership ability to improve on the fortunes of the continent through concerted maritime collaboration which will, in turn, attract the interest of African states through their various Maritime Administrations (MARADs).

Within the last year, Peterside has been able to improve on inter-agency and inter-governmental cooperation in the fight against piracy resulting in a reduction in incidences of piracy and sea robberies.

NIMASA under Peterside’s term of office has broadened the scope of maritime administration in Nigeria with approval gained for regional headquarters to be sited in strategic maritime locations in the country including at Port Harcourt.[/restrict]

Paul Ridgway

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tonnage over capacity concerns
Much of the Hanjin fleet has re-entered service. Picture: Shipspotting

Despite growing confidence in a container market recovery over the past six months, a leading shipping analyst has predicted the return of freight rate volatility to the world’s major trades as the spectre of overcapacity comes back to haunt the industry.

Tan Hua-Joo, executive consultant at Alphaliner, told delegates at the TOC Asia Container Supply Chain event that launched in Singapore yesterday morning that despite 2016 being the “most balanced year in terms of supply and demand since 2009”, with a global fleet growth of just 1.6%, that “hopes on the part of carriers for greater stability are still some time away”.

This is largely because the growth rate last year was constrained due to a high number of new vessel delivery deferrals, in combination with an unprecedented number of vessels sent to scrapyards and an unnaturally large idle fleet propelled by the collapse of Hanjin.

“As we move into this year the rate of growth…[restrict] in the global fleet is going to increase as there is very little room for the industry to keep the growth of fleet down,” he said.

However, this view was contradicted by Robbert van Trooijen, head of Maersk Line for Asia-Pacific, who claimed that 2017 would be the year “in which all of us would find that balance”.

Alphaliner is forecasting total fleet delivery of 1.32m TEU, most of which will be new ultra-large container vessels (ULCVs), and although it is also forecasting another year of record scrapping levels – up to 700,000 TEU – there will still be a net increase in the global fleet of 620,000 TEU, which would represent a 3.1% increase.

Altogether, 1.6m TEU of the world’s fleet found itself idled last year, although some 500,000 TEU of this was Hanjin tonnage, and much has been brought back into operation.

“A lot of the Hanjin vessels have been brought back into operation and Panamax vessels have seen something of a spike in demand due to the new alliances’ demand for capacity, leading to charter rates going back up to around $10,000 per day.

“The idled Hanjin tonnage is now down to about 200,000 TEU, and we expect this be reintroduced to by May.

“So as long as the shipping lines take back this idle capacity there is no sign of a recovery in the market as carriers continue to bid for market share and significant freight rate stability will continue.

“In fact, we do not see a genuine recovery in the freight markets for another 18 months – it is not until 2019 that the supply-demand situation comes back into balance,” he said.

However, Mr van Trooijen argued that on the transpacific, Asia-US east coast and Asia-North Europe trades capacity was likely to be far more in line with demand than Mr Tan suggested.

“It depends when the comparison is made. On Asia-US east coast, there was 148,000 TEU deployed at the height of capacity last year, and although it has been growing since Hanjin’s bankruptcy it is now at 144,000 TEU per week.

“The transpacific trade is showing a similar pattern and if you compare the capacity on Asia-North Europe in January 2016 with the anticipated deployment in December this year – even with the newbuildings coming in – it is 240,000 TEU per week compared to 237,700 TEU.

“In view of all this, I think we should be confident that the capacity injected in the east-west trades is more balanced than it was,” Mr van Trooijen concluded.[/restrict]

TOC Asia 2017

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Port Louis – Indian Ocean gateway port

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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SA cruise season ending
MSC Sinfonia. Pictures: Ian Shiffman

MSC Cruises’s 2016/17 is about to draw to a close with MSC SINFONIA now on her final cruises out of Cape Town, before returning to the Mediterranean for the winter months. She sails back to South Africa in November when a new destination, to the MSC-owned resort of Pomene in central Mozambique will feature high in the cruise schedule from her South African homeport of Durban. These pictures by Ian Shiffman


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