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Logger Le Ye at Durban
Le Ye. Picture: Keith Betts

The general cargo ship LE YE arrives in Durban with a cargo of logs and invariably the question arises – where did the logs come from? This is because of a rising sensitivity in various parts of Africa at the indiscriminate cutting down of forests to ship out the logs to foreign destinations, usually to either China or Vietnam. In Mozambique a moratorium has been declared on the cutting of timber while in neighbouring Zambia the government took the unusual step of banning the transportation of logs across its roads or railways. Some 600 to 700 road trucks were impounded and refused permission to carry on their transit through the country, leaving them and their crews stranded. See our report dated 26 April 2017 Zambia bans all “In Transit” timber: 600 trucks impounded

Meanwhile, the ships keep arriving in Durban to take bunkers before setting off on the long journey across the Indian Ocean to the Far East, where a ravenous industry is ready to devour all timber with no questions being asked. While such a statement might appear harsh, this is the reality and if measures are not taken then Africa’s forests will soon be grassland savannah. The timber comes not from forests that can be replanted to grow within a few short years. Mozambique’s suggestion that logs cut in that country must undergo local beneficiation before being exported is one possible solution. In other African countries however, the power of the dollar surpasses most inhibitions. Meanwhile, the ships keep calling. Le Ye is Chinese and is owned by COSCO Specialized Shipping. The ship has a dwt of 22,279 tons and was built in 1999. This picture is by Keith Betts (who is not responsible for the editorial comments).

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The Port of Durban is South Africa’s premier container port and is counted among the busiest ports in Africa. T-Systems has successfully secured the first phase of an innovative Smart Ports initiative. The signing of the deal was preceded by a Proof of Concept phase, which laid the basis for winning Transnet’s trust. [YouTube 10:03]

Drones and LTE: Port of Durban goes “smart”

T-Systems has successfully secured the first phase of an innovative Smart Ports initiative with the South African Transnet National Port Authority. The deal aims at increasing the port throughput and decreasing congestion at the Port of Durban using different types of drone, tracking and sensor technology.

The Port of Durban is South Africa’s premier multi-cargo port and is counted among the busiest ports in Africa. Handling over 80 million tons of cargo per annum, the port struggles with several challenges including growing container turnover, leading to port congestion and long waiting hours for vehicles entering the port area.

“We were looking for…[restrict] an automated overview on all operations in the port. T-Systems – together with its partners – was offering a solution that would bring all data into one single control centre,” says Ristha Joga, ICT manager Transnet.

The port solution entails the deployment of LTE networks and telematic solutions such as drone, tracking and sensor technology to improve the overall operations. These technologies are integrated with systems that allow for real time monitoring and availability of information through dashboards powered by SAP HANA, thus simplifying decision making.

T-Systems is the Prime Contractor and is delivering the SAP HANA and Business Intelligence (BI) components. The drones and telematics technology is delivered by LOTS Projects and the Wireless communication network infrastructure is provided by Huawei.

Use case convinces customer

The signing of the deal was preceded by a Proof of Concept (PoC) phase, which laid the basis for winning Transnet’s trust to improve port efficiencies. Ronald Salis, Deal Executive T-Systems: “The goal of the PoC was to develop an Operations Control Nerve Centre that allows the customer to streamline its operations and embed real-time data analytics into its business processes. It also enables the port to manage and allocate port resources through the real-time integration and alignment of port events and activities.”

The PoC was conducted in two phases. Phase one focused on testing the network connectivity and data integration of all in-scope interfaces and technologies into an on-premise SAP HANA Database. In phase two, the team developed the BI data analytics, customer interfaces or digital applications to ensure real time monitoring and intelligent reporting of the port’s operations.

During the three months period, 18 different use cases were tested on several types of drones, tracking and sensor technologies to guarantee that the LTE wireless network is performing well.

Innovative drone technology to facilitate communication

The deployment of drones will also enable the port to automate several functions such as monitoring the port area, locating and inspect the buoys’ position or walls of the port or the hull of ships in the harbour. Drones may also facilitate the communication between the port and the ships and even support the captains in bringing their ships safely into the harbour.

The upcoming seven months will now show whether the Smart Port project might serve as a blueprint for other ports around the world. A successful delivery of the first project phase will pave the way for subsequent roll-outs to other ports and will involve additional use cases.[/restrict]

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Transnet banner

Transnet was unsuccessful this week in trying to issue R200 million worth of bonds at its regular auction, receiving only two bids amounting to R40 million before finally agreeing to issue only R10 million worth.

The auction was for two long-term issues maturing in 2030 and 2040 respectively.

The results of the week’s auction have been described as “very poor” and are considered as …[restrict] evidence of the drying up of liquidity for South Africa’s parastatals.

According to Moneyweb the bonds of parastatals are priced in relation to the yield of government bonds for instruments of the same maturity.

In three auctions since the appointment of a new finance minister, in which Transnet has attempted to raise R600 million, it has managed just R55 million.

Analysts have pointed out that private companies are not struggling to raise money, particularly short-term. One analyst called it a reflection of investor preference in times of uncertainty, which may where the market sees South Africa’s long-term interest rates are heading.

Another analyst said the downgrade had hit confidence, and that there is a real concern about how the state-owned-enterprises are being run and how viable they are.

Moneyweb pointed out that Transnet is in a much better financial position than the likes of Eskom, but said that both have serious questions regarding corporate governance, which would dictate that investors be more circumspect in an environment where the public has declining trust in government.[/restrict]

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From a mainly goods-based economy driven by the sugar and garment sectors, Mauritius has progressively shifted towards a service-oriented economy with higher value addition.

The loss of preferential access for textiles and sugar in 2004, along with worsening external economic conditions and increasing oil prices, accelerated the diversification process, a vital move for the long-term sustainability of the Mauritian economy.

The country has had remarkable success in developing the ‘servicification’ of its economy, boosting economic growth and reducing its reliance on sugar and garments. Tourism, financial and insurance activities are now the major contributors to GDP, and the share of services in value addition has increased steadily, reaching 71% for the period 2010–2014.

This shift towards services translates to profound changes in the composition of employment in Mauritius, with the participation of the labour force in services increasing steadily over the past two decades from 46.7% in 1994 to 63.5% in 2014.

Mauritius beach scene
Mauritius – Indian Ocean tourist haven

In contrast, jobs in the industry and agriculture sectors have fallen over the same period, with shares in total employment falling from 38.9% to 29.8% and from 13.7% to 8% respectively over the same period.

One of the lessons learned from the decomposition of export growth is that there is an urgent need for Mauritius to diversify its export markets with a view to move from a model of preferential treatments to global competitiveness.

Mauritius’ role in global production networks is limited and has not evolved. After peaking in 2005, the share of imports of parts and components in Mauritius has dramatically declined and Mauritius’ share of parts and components in global or regional supply chains has stagnated at a low level of integration.

The analysis reveals that Mauritian exporters are having difficulties sustaining export relationships over a prolonged period. Mauritius’ performance is below expectations, with the probability of an export relationship surviving until the second year only 33% and maintaining a relationship for more than three years, 28%. Nevertheless, its performance has improved over time.

About Enterprise Mauritius
Enterprise Mauritius (EM) is the National Export Promotion Agency responsible for export promotion and export development. It is a collaborative partnership between industry and Government to help, within an integrated framework, businesses in Mauritius expand into regional and international markets and at the same time develop their internal capability to meet the challenges of international competition.

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railway routes in Malawi and to Nacala
Nacala Corridor map

Nacala Coal Terminal in full operation from Friday

The coal terminal at Nacala is due to go into full operation this Friday (12 May 2017).

Construction of the terminal (Nacala-a-Velha) and the railway line between the Vale mine at Moatize in Tete province, Mozambique and the port, has cost a reported US$4.5 billion, and included rehabilitating sections of an existing railway from the port at Nacala to Malawi. A new section of railway was built between Malawi and Moatize to enable coal to be exported from the deepwater Nacala port in addition to using the Sena Railway…[restrict] between Moatize and the port of Beira.

Nacala bay map
Nacala port and Nacala-a-Velha coal terminal

According to the Portuguese language Mozambique newspaper Noticias, at least 21 trains a day will operate on the railway both ways once the inauguration ceremony is completed this Friday. The trains will run at one to two hour intervals.

Trains have already been running on the railway and the port has so far handled about 6.5 million tonnes of coal, both metallurgical and thermal coal for the markets in Brazil, China and Japan. The current capacity of the line and port terminal is 18 million tonnes a year which is where the operators hope to ramp up to.

In other corridor news…….
NEPAD to focus on three transport corridors

NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) will be targeting three transport corridors this year for its regional trade facilitation programme. These are the North-South corridor (South Africa to Tanzania), the Central corridor (Tanzania to Burundi) and the Abidjan-Lagos corridor (Nigeria to Ivory Coast).

However, NEPAD harbours an ambition to have the Abidjan to Dakar (Ivory Coast to Senegal) corridor also come on board in the near future.

In concrete terms, the agency has been instrumental in assisting the North-South corridor in formulating a memorandum of understanding of participating countries to help deregulate the movement of goods across southern Africa. And in West Africa, it helped recruit consultants to see how to expand the coastal Abidjan-Lagos highway project as a way to spur trade potential in the region.[/restrict]

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deviations on N1 at Cape Town
Old Oak Bridge on the N1

The City of Cape Town says that it has received information from Provincial Government of the Western Cape (Department of Transport and Public Works) regarding the planned closure of the N1 freeway between the R300 interchange and Old Oak road this coming weekend (13-14 May).

Africa PORTS & SHIPS has been requested to advise all freight forwarders and transporters and other interested parties reading this that the preferred deviation route, especially for freight, is via the N2/R300 coming from either Cape Town or Paarl.

The City points out that this is a project of Provincial Government to whom any enquiries should be made.

General queries and public enquiries: Byron la Hoe
Department of Transport and Public Works
Tel: 021 483 9813 | Cell: 079 281 8570

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Lake Victoria from the air

An Indian firm says that it is well advanced with plans to develop an alternative and new transportation network using Lake Victoria for delivering petroleum products to where they are required.

Mahathi Infra Uganda Limited says the infrastructure necessary is already on site and that 30 acres of land in Uganda have been acquired. The company, which is involved in numerous projects throughout India and around the world, has commenced work on building barges, on which petroleum supplies will be loaded from Kisumu on the Kenyan side and moved to Kampala.

The method of…[restrict] using tanker barges to move petroleum products around the lake will circumvent the narrow, potholed Ugandan roads.

An oil jetty and fuel depot is to be built on 30 acres of land already acquired in the Bugiri district, while on the Kenyan side of the lake, that country has similar plans to build a series of oil jetties at ports such as Kisumu and other landing points.

Oil barging services
Proposed petroleum storage facility in Uganda

Together with the Ugandan operation a more efficient way of distributing petroleum products to mostly landlocked Uganda and also to neighbouring Rwanda will become possible.

A ground-breaking ceremony was planned for the Uganda operation this week while the Kenya Pipeline Company intends launching its oil jetty at Kisumu, costing US$10 million, next month.

Kalyan Swaroop, a director at Mahathi, said the combined Uganda and Kenya operation, using barges on the lake to avoid many of the region’s overcrowded and narrow, potholed roads, which are shared with people, goats and cattle, will have the effect of cutting the costs of transporting oil and petroleum products in the region by between 40 and 50%.

He said that the Kenya Pipeline Company will launch a pier at Kisumu and will be partnering with Mahathi.

“We are now concentrating on the jetties. Uganda and Rwanda are important markets for us,” said John Ngumi, chairman of Kenya Pipeline Company.

The demand for petroleum products in Uganda currently totals 1.6 million tonnes a year with petroleum consumption growing at 7% annually. In addition, another 600,000 tonnes of products transits through Uganda for South Sudan and the DRC each year.

Uganda and Lake Victoria

Mahathi says it holds a 10-year exclusive right over the transportation of petroleum supplies between Kampala and Mwanza, the port on the southern, Tanzanian side of the lake.

It would appear that Mahathi is relying to some extent on the possibility that some of the pipeline plans for the region will remain shelved or be dropped entirely. Uganda and Tanzania recently signed agreements whereby an oil pipeline from the Ugandan oil fields will run to the coast in Tanzania. It had been expected that the pipeline would run through Kenya to the planned new port at Lamu and the Ugandan/Tanzanian announcement caused some surprise at the time.

In light of this Swaroop said that a petroleum tanker service across the lake would not place any strain on Kenya over constructing an oil pipeline to the Uganda border from Eldoret and from there to Kampala in Uganda.

A Libyan company, Tamoil East Africa had been awarded the contract to build the Kenya-Uganda pipeline from Eldoret but the overthrow of the Muammar Gadhafi regime in Libya saw those plans shelved until both the Kenya and Uganda governments cancelled the contract.

The planned lake tanker service and oil jetties will arouse the interest of environmentalist organisations who will see this as an added environmental risk for an embattled lake, along which millions of people make their living.

Support for marine transportation on Lake Victoria is already coming from the European Union with the rehabilitation of up to six ports in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Much of the estimated cost of €122.6 million is going on improving the cargo and passenger capacities of each port.

Another long-term challenge to a tanker service on the lake will come from the two standard gauge railways being built – one from Mombasa to the Ugandan border in the north, and the other from Dar es Salaam to the southern border with Uganda. With regards to both these railways, on which construction contracts have either been awarded (Tanzania) or on which work is well advanced (Kenya), Uganda has yet to award any contracts for the completion on its side of the respective borders.

The standard gauge railway between Mombasa and Nairobi is expected to open to traffic within weeks. source: Mahathi, the Observer (Kampala)[/restrict]

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Mozabique oil and gas installation

The projects that could transform Mozambique into one of the world’s largest producers of natural gas are about to begin, with some of the largest groups in the sector, such as the China National Petroleum Corporation, looking to Asia as the market for their products, reports Macauhub.

The Africa Monitor Intelligence (AMI) newsletter wrote that the final investment decision for the Coral FLNG (Area 4, Rovuma basin) project should be made in the short term, after the consortium members – ENI of Italy, China National Petroleum Corporation, Galp Energia from Portugal, Kogas from South Korea and Mozambican state-owned Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos – made individual announcements in 2016.

The individual decisions depended on…[restrict] obtaining financing conditions, now practically secured, which according to the newsletter published in Portugal depended in turn on obtaining marketing contracts for at least 80% of the natural gas production, which has already been achieved.

US group ExxonMobil last March became one of the consortium members after it agreed to purchase 25% of the block for US$2.8 billion from ENI East Africa, a subsidiary of the Italian group working as the operator, a deal that raised expectations regarding the development of the project due to the size of the new partner.

The Area 4 block should contain close to 140 billion cubic feet of natural gas, and its exploration will involve construction of a floating liquefaction unit.

The project, according to Africa Monitor Intelligence, involves the construction of a floating natural gas liquefaction unit, an intermediate project to speed up gas revenues.

The project also includes a 45-kilometre gas pipeline that will transport the gas from the extraction platform to the onshore processing plant, currently being planned by the ENI and Anadarko Petroleum groups and it is also estimated that ExxonMobil will acquire part of the consortium that will manage the process of transport/export of the processed gas onshore.

Africa Monitor Intelligence also reported that ExxonMobil is now a potential buyer of the assets of Anadarko Petroleum, the main shareholder of the other major development project in the Rovuma Basin – Area 1 – and in the medium term is expected to become the main gas player in Mozambique.

The Anadarko Petroleum group owns 26.5% of the consortium, which is also owned by ENH, with 15%, Mitsui E&P Mozambique Area 1 Ltd. (20%), ONGC Videsh Ltd. (16%), Bharat PetroResources Ltd. (10%), PTT Exploration & Production Plc (8.5%) and Oil India Ltd (4%).

The AMI newsletter reported that the US group has little vocation for selling production, focusing its activity on the prospecting and subsequent sale of assets, but it is expected that it will keep a minority position in the bloc.

The final investment decision for this project has been delayed far beyond the initial plans, with a construction period of four years until natural gas production and export begins.

The Asian market, where consumption of natural gas has been registering higher levels of growth, has been the target of the two major natural gas projects in the Rovuma basin. source: macauhub[/restrict]

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Now for something unexpected and different. The world’s first fully electric and autonomous containership with zero emissions is set to start operations in the latter half of 2018. Read on and watch the video below…

She is being developed through a partnership between technology developer Kongsberg and Yara.

Yara, a company that aims to improve farmers, distributors and industrial customers’ profitably, will use the vessel for its operations and has chosen to name it YARA BIRKELAND after Yara’s founder Kristian Birkeland.[restrict]

Yara’s new vessel will reduce NOx and CO2 emissions and improve road safety by removing up to 40,000 truck journeys in populated urban areas.

The automated ship will initially operate as a manned vessel, moving to remote operation in 2019 and expected to be capable of performing fully autonomous operations from 2020.

The new zero-emission vessel will be a game-changer for global maritime transport contributing to meet the UN sustainability goals.

“As a leading global fertiliser company with a mission to feed the world and protect the planet, investing in this zero emission vessel to transport our crop nutrition solutions fits our strategy well,” said Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of Yara.

“We are proud to work with Kongsberg to realize the world’s first autonomous, all-electric vessel to enter commercial operation.

“Every day, more than 100 diesel truck journeys are needed to transport products from Yara’s Porsgrunn plant to ports in Brevik and Larvik where we ship products to customers around the world.

“With this new autonomous battery-driven container vessel we move transport from road to sea and thereby reduce noise and dust emissions, improve the safety of local roads, and reduce NOx and CO2 emissions.”

Kongsberg is responsible for development and delivery of all key enabling technologies on Yara Birkeland including the sensors and integration required for remote and autonomous operations, in addition to the electric drive, battery and propulsion control systems.

“By moving container transport from land to sea, Yara Birkeland is the start of a major contribution to fulfilling national and international environmental impact goals,” said Geir Håøy, President and CEO of Kongsberg.

“The new concept is also a giant step forward towards increased seaborne transportation in general.”

As a leading global maritime technology company, Kongsberg’s integrated control and monitoring systems are already capable of providing technology for remote and unmanned operations.

“Developing systems for autonomous operations is a major opening and natural step for Kongsberg, considering our decades of expertise in the development and integration of advanced sensors, control and communication systems for all areas of ship operations,” Håøy said.

“Yara Birkeland will set the benchmark for the application of innovative maritime technology for more efficient and environmentally friendly shipping.”

Simwave recently chose Kongsberg as its sole simulation supplier and partner for a new ‘state-of-the-art’ facility designed to deliver maritime simulation as a service.[/restrict]

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PortWatch at TOC Europe 2017: Hamburg Süd and Drewry outline discussion points

TOC banner

The port stands today fighting in a ferociously competitive market for cargo.

Ahead of the PortWatch conference session which focuses on Productivity, Connectivity & New Business Models, two speakers outline their key points for discussion. PortWatch is part of the TOC Europe Conference & Exhibition which takes place 27 – 29 June, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The Analyst viewpoint

Neil Davidson, Senior Analyst – Ports & Terminals at Drewry Maritime Research comments:

“The ‘perfect storm’ faced by the ports and terminals industry is well documented – the need to deal with bigger ships, bigger alliances, pressure on prices and weaker demand growth are things that ports and terminals have become used to, facing up to higher risks and lower returns. However, now that the big three liner alliances are bedding in, the ports and terminals industry is at a crossroads – where does it go next? There are several key areas to consider:

1. Customers – What do the new alliances really mean for ports and terminals? Are carriers really the kingmakers now or is cargo still king? What should be the relationship between carriers and ports/terminals going forwards (e.g. more terminal JVs or more shipping line run terminals)? Are the alliances fixed for the foreseeable future or will we see more change (e.g. will all of the lines around today still be around in a year’s time)? Will we see a decline in transhipment as a result of the increased direct port-pairs from the new alliances?

2. Investment – In the face of the ‘perfect storm’, ports and terminals have radically changed their investment strategies, largely shelving greenfield projects and focusing instead on optimising existing assets. What does this mean for the industry and for customers? And where does this leave new technology such as automation?

3. Strategy – We are seeing more and more examples of alliances between ports and between terminal operators, as well as more M&A activity. How far can and will this go? What are the implications for the industry and for customers?”

The Shipping Line viewpoint

Andreas Mrozek, Global Head , Marine & Terminal Operations (OPS), Hamburg Süd comments:

“In the recent years, global terminal productivity development was driven by Asia and the Southern Hemisphere. Europe has fallen behind.

New forms of collaboration between terminal operators and shipping lines offer excellent opportunities to map out and implement integrated processes, increase flexibility, reduce time lags, increase efficiency, and take cost out of the system.

What is the impact and what are the chances of digitalisation on this collaboration? It requires new integrated thinking for both terminal operators and shipping lines. How will the digitalised future in the collaboration of terminal operators, shipping lines and other supply chain partners look like?”

For the full conference agenda & details of all speakers:

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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

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Naval News

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


products tanker Atlantas II
Atlantas II. Picture: Trevor Jones

The Marshall islands-flagged chemical/oil products tanker ATLANTAS II (36,713-dwt) departs from Durban for the high seas. Built in 2006 the ship is owned by Greek interests and managed by Capital Ship Management Corp of Piraeus, Greece. The ship with a rather attractive funnel was built at the Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Company, Ltd in South Korea. She has a length overall of 184 metres and a beam of 27 metres. This picture is by Trevor Jones


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