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Grand Pace at Durban, July 2017. Picture by Keith Betts, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Grand Pace. Picture: Keith Betts

One of the smaller car carriers to call locally is the 4000-CEU (car units) GRAND PACE (50,309-gt) seen arriving in port during early July. Built in 1999 and only 179 metres long by 32m wide, she was one of the early ‘modern’ design pure car carriers – rounded bow line to maximise capacity while reducing wind drag. These RoRo car carriers may be the ugly ducklings of the modern shipping world but what they might lack in aesthetic beauty is more than compensated by their economic performance, withmore recent larger ships able to load up to 8,500 cars at a time. Owned by Cido Shipping, one of the bigger such operators and originally of Japan, Grand Pace is owned by that company out of their Hong Kong office and is part of a fleet of more than 100 ships. Grand Pace was built at the Shin Kurushima Toyohashi Shipbuilding yard in Toyohashi, Japan and is managed from Cido’s South Korea company. This picture is by Keith Betts

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Three of the Chinese-supplied STS cranes mentioned in the article. Picture courtesy: Roy Reed, appearing in Africa PORT & SHIPS maritime news
Three of the Chinese-supplied STS cranes mentioned in the article. Picture courtesy: Roy Reed

As the #GuptaLeaks and other investigations publicly turn up more evidence, it has become clear that Transnet, with its annual revenue of more than R60-billion, was targeted as ground-zero for Gupta capture, says the Centre for Investigative Journalism, amaBhungane.

The #GuptaLeaks have revealed that two more companies that won Transnet tenders paid tens of millions to Gupta offshore fronts.

In response to the latest allegations and leaks Transnet spokesperson Viwe Tlaleane said: “The company is conducting its own internal enquiry and will investigate all allegations made. Where appropriate, it will enlist the services of independent experts, depending on the required expertise”.

amaBhungane reported this week that bank and accounting records show that two heavy equipment manufacturers – Swiss-based Liebherr-International AG and China’s Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Limited – funnelled nearly R100-million to the Guptas, as Transnet awarded them contracts to supply cranes to South African ports.

This brings to seven the number of…[restrict] large, mostly respected companies, known to have secretly paid Gupta fronts in connection with Transnet contracts.

A forgotten tipoff

Four years ago, an anonymous tipster told amaBhungane that Transnet crane suppliers were paying off the Guptas to get their contracts.

The tipster said: “The cranes that are being supplied to the ports from [Shanghai Zhenhua] are with Guptas. Ask Liebherr. While they were the preferred supplier, they were approached by Guptas to do a deal who then referred them to their local [black economic empowerment] partners, who in turn spoke to [then Public Enterprises Minister] Malusi Gigaba. By then Guptas had done a deal with [Shanghai Zhenhua].”

Days before the tipoff, Gigaba and then Transnet CEO Brian Molefe had stood side-by-side, grinning behind a giant red ribbon, which Gigaba cut in presentation of seven new Shanghai Zhenhua cranes for South Africa.

[Those are the seven red STS cranes now on duty at the Durban Container Terminal, North Quay]

On the day, Molefe told reporters the tender was “transparent”.

Molefe later moved to Eskom, which he recently left in disgrace after evidence emerged that he courted the Guptas while Eskom and Transnet closed allegedly dirty deals for the Guptas.

Liebherr executive Dieter Schmid said: “I can assure you that Liebherr has never had an ‘extensive and direct relationship with the Guptas for years’ as alleged in your e-mail.” But he said the company was “still putting the pieces together” and needed more time.

Shanghai Zhenhua did not respond to questions.

Paying to play

As was claimed by amaBhungane’s tipster, Liebherr’s Gupta payments were indeed preceded by roughly R55-million from the Chinese. In September 2011, Transnet announced that Shanghai Zhenhua would build, deliver and commission seven tandem-lift ship-to-shore cranes for the container terminal at Durban harbour.

According to Transnet documents obtained by amaBhungane, it would pay Shanghai Zhenhua $92-million (about R1.2-billion today) for the job.

Three months later, money started to flow to the Guptas.

Shanghai Zhenhua paid the first tranche of US$969 086 (R12.6-million) that December. According to the Guptas’ accounting records, it went to a United Arab Emirates-registered company called JJ Trading.

JJ Trading has also featured prominently in another Transnet kickback scheme. The #GuptaLeaks reveal China South Rail entered into a “consulting” agreement with JJ Trading, related to Transnet’s 2013 locomotive tender, and paid JJ Trading over US$107-million (R1.4-billion).

The rest of this explosive report can be read HERE

The amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism is an independent non-profit company that develops investigative journalism in the public interest.[/restrict]

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UAL Houston. Picture: Shipspotting, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
UAL Houston. Picture: Shipspotting

United Africa Lines (UAL) general cargo vessel UAL HOUSTON (8703-dwt, built 2012) was approached and boarded by six pirates at approximately 07h45 on the mornin of Thursday, 13 July.

At the time the ship was in position 04 07N 007 00E close to Port Harcourt. As the pirates began to board the ship the crew locked the superstructure access doors and retreated to the ship’ citadel.

Details are sketchy ut it appears that the pirates failed to gain access to the accommodation or the bridge and as a consequence nothing was taken, if robbery was the motive for the attack. The crew are all accounted for and unharmed.

Having failed in their intent, whatever that was, the pirates left the scene the way they came. The crew was able to leave their citadel and assume full control of the ship once again.

UAL Houston is registered in the Netherlands and is managed by Nescos Shipping BV, also of the Netherlands.

UAL Houston has been in the fleet of UAL since her launching in 2012. Her design makes use of the Groot Cross Bow shape of her bows that reportedly has improved wave piercing abilities, ensuring that the ship will experience less slamming and maintain speed more easily than compared to the more conventional bow shapes with bow flare.

Her design aims at ultimately resulting in large energy savings as less fuel is burned and leading to a reduction in the CO2 output.

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JPS dry dulk terminal at Tin Can Island. Apperaing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
JPS dry dulk terminal at Tin Can Island

Josepdam Port Services (JPS) which operates Terminal A at Tin Can Island claims to have reduced vessel turnaround times from 68 hours down to 48 hours.

Nigerian newspaper Vanguard quoted JPS managing director Simon Travers as saying that the intention is to reduce vessel waiting time to 24 hours.

He said the next stage of the terminal development involves…[restrict] improving productivity to the point where vessel waiting time could be reduced from three, four or five days to just one or two days in order to be able to increase the number of ships that the terminal can handle.

The terminal operator was recently awarded ‘European Quality Award’ as the most improved terminal in terms of productivity and quality.

“Our vision is to ensure that JPS is the best bulk terminal in Nigeria and we are starting right here to make this place bigger. We have to put in place new standards, we need to go green, we need to be more effective and more productive and that is what we want to do and this was why we managed to get this award,” he said.

Travers said that as a result of management’s efforts of improving operational efficiency, the throughput at the terminal has increased above what it was in 2015 and 2016.

The terminal throughput for 2016 was 1.9 million tonnes but estimates are that 2017 would be about 2.2 million tonnes.

Management has put in place a five year development plan aimed at expanding the terminal’s storage capacity, silos and conveyor belts to handle additional tonnage.

JPS’ concession that it holds with the Nigerian Federal Government has been extended by a further five years.

The terminal has also increased the number of people it has working.

He claimed that JPS is the busiest dry bulk terminal in the country and said that the recent award was proving to be very important because of the world class recognition it involved. JPS has been able to invest in staff training and facilities which Travers said remains the vision of the company as to where it wants to be in five years time.

Josepdam Port Services is located on the South Eastern edge of Tincan Island and has three berths totaling 484 metres in length. It was first awarded the terminal concession in 2006 by the Nigerian Ports Authority.[/restrict]

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appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

It is beginning to look as though Kenya will go ahead with extending the new standard gauge railway from Naivasha to Kisumu on Lake Victoria.

This appears to be the likely result of the authorities submitting an environmental impact assessment report.

The proposal for the extension of the…[restrict] SGR involves a 255-km line costing approximately US$3.59 billion and funded by China’s Exim Bank.

Included in the overall project is the redevelopment of the port at Kisumu to handle increased traffic across the lake resulting from the arrival of the railway.

appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Ultimately, the railway aim is to reach the border town of Malaba, where it would connect with a similar standard gauge railway coming from Kampala in Uganda. Because of uncertainty as to when such a connection can be made, the port town of Kisumu is adopting a greater importance. Experts also believe that having the new railway extend to Kisumu will create more traffic, both human and cargo, for the port and boosting trade with Kenya’s regional neighbours including Port Bell in Uganda but also Rwanda (Kimondo Bay), Bukoba in Tanzania and Jinja in Uganda for South Sudan.

Meanwhile funding for the first phase of the extension of the SGR between Nairobi and Naivasha is reported to have been secured. Exim has made it a condition that before advancing more funding for this extension and ultimately reaching the border town of Malaba, there had to be an agreement that Uganda would likewise confirm its plans of building a railway from Kampala to the Kenyan border.

It is believed that Uganda is currently negotiating a loan from the Exim Bank for this purpose.[/restrict]


Port of Tema, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Tema

Ghana’s Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana (SOAAG) has reacted strongly to allegations that shipping lines have been benefiting at the expense of cargo owners by levying excessive demurrage charges.

Speaking to the Ghanaian online newspaper B&FT, SOAAG’s vice-president, Adam Imoro Ayarna said that demurrage is regarded as an opportunity cost against the shipping lines. “We do not want demurrage income because at the end of the day, the shipping line loses more if it does not get the containers to other markets where they are needed.”[restrict]

Demurrage on containers at Ghana’s ports is levied when containers are not returned within the mandatory seven day period.

Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) maintained that shippers had to pay demurrage of between US$22 and $48 per day per TEU. It claimed that shipping lines levied a total demurrage of US$40 million in 2010, US$85 million in 2013 and US$100 million in 2016 — figures that SOAAG disputes.

According to SOAAG’s Ayarna the arguments about demurrage has been overblown. The reality is, he said, that about 60 percent of imports enjoy extended demurrage-free days from 14 to as high as 60 days.

To get these containers back from the cargo owners, he said that shipping lines have to give waivers amounting to about 70 percent of the total owed. The issue of shippers having to pay up millions of dollars at the ports in demurrage charges is attributable to a number of factors and it was unfair for shipping lines to be called out and given bad press, he argued.

“It is very unfortunate when people talk about this because it is not healthy for the economy, especially when industry experts who understand these things mix it up and couch it in a way that makes shipping lines look bad.

“We are talking about congestion and bureaucratic processes in the ports and all of these add up to it, just as we cannot say the GPHA is charging rent because they want the containers to sit at the port,” he said.

Mr Ayarna said that the SOAAG members contributed substantially to the economy of the region, the port and the country in taxes and other contributions to regulatory bodies in the maritime sector. The shipping agencies had a workforce of 840 and were instrumental in the transfer of knowledge and technical expertise in the maritime industry. source: bftonline[/restrict]

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Disney Dream floating out 2011, appearing in Africa PORTS& SHIPS maritime news
The 128,000-gt Disney Dream being floated out at the Meyer Werft Papenberg shipyard on 31 October 2010. Delivered in 20111 she was followed the next year by the similar Disney Fantasy

Disney Cruise Lines has revealed that it plans to third new ship to its award-winning fleet, to be built at the German shipyard of Meyer-Werft along with another two already announced.

Disney announced the other two newbuilds last year, saying that the new ships would be introduced in 2021 and 2023. Oddly, the seventh ship just announced will be delivered from the same shipyard in between, in 2022.

“We decided two ships wouldn’t be enough to hold all of the exciting new experiences we have been dreaming up to take family cruise vacations to a whole new level with immersive Disney storytelling, world-class family entertainment, and imaginative innovations that are fantastically fun and uniquely Disney,” Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Bob Chapek said. “By the time all three new ships are sailing, we’ll have nearly doubled the size of our existing fleet.”

All ship names, design plans and itineraries are still in development, with each of the ships expected to have their own unique experiences. The three new ships will be powered by clean-burning liquefied natural gas (LNG) and be the same size – approximately 135,000 gross tons with about 1,250 guest staterooms planned – which is slightly larger than the newest Disney Cruise Line ships, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.

Disney Cruise Line was introduced in 1998 with two similar design ships, Disney Magic and Disney Wonder. They quickly became popular with the American cruising community – each ship is 85,000 tons and has 877 cabins – big at that time. With the arrival in the next few years of the three new ships from Meyer Werft, the fleet will have more than doubled in passenger capacity as well as the actual number of ships.

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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.

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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

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Port Macau in Durban, July 2017. Picture by Trevor JOnes, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Macau. Picture: Trevor Jones

The bulk carrier PORT MACAU (58, 730-dwt) seen on her berth in Durban harbour, which although not stated appears to be 104 at Pier 1. Built in 2008 the ship is owned by Portuguese interests and managed and operated by Portline Bulk International SA, a well-known Portuguese ship operator. The 190-metre long bulker was built primarily for the grain trade at the Tsuneishi Group (Zhoushan) Shipbuilding yard in China. The ship flies the flag of Panama. This picture is by Trevr Jones



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