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Star Lutas at Durban's Island View. Picture: Ken Malcolm, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News
Star Lutas. Picture: Ken Malcolm

The ultramax bulk carrier STAR LUTAS 61,347-dwt), which is owned by the Greek bulk carrier specialist, Star Bulk, seen here on her berth at Island View 3 in Durban harbour last week. The self-geared 200-metre long vessel was built in 2016 at the NACKS shipyard in China (otherwise known as Nantong COSCO KHI Ship Engineering Co, Ltd) and is registered in the Marshall Islands. This picture is by Ken Malcolm

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Apapa container terminal, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
An aerial view of Apapa and the container terminal

The condition of roads leading to Apapa in Lagos and a severe logjam of trucks has resulted in thousands of containers being trapped in the port and a build-up of ships waiting to berth.

Vessel queues at Lagos had become a thing of the past, at least for the last 10 or 11 years, but the number of ships is now building rapidly as vessels already on berth are unable to load or discharge cargo because of the congestion.

Port operators – there are five terminals within Apapa, all privately operated, say that if…[restrict] things persist the shipping lines will reintroduce a surcharge on bring cargo to the country.

According to the Lagos newspaper Business Day hundreds of road trucks have taken over the major roads and bridges leading to the port, resulting in a logjam or standstill with nothing able to move in or out.

This has developed over recent weeks and has become steadily worse. Demurrage costs are escalating as containers remain at the terminals and it remains a matter of time before surcharges will be levied, operators warn.

Port of Lagos. Map courtesy: Wikipedia Commons
Port of Lagos. Map courtesy: Wikipedia Commons

There is the added risk of ships diverting to neighbouring ports in Ghana and Benin. Manufacturers reliant on raw materials being imported through Apapa are also worried that production lines may soon have to be halted.

Criticism of the government for failing to plan for increased volumes of traffic and for not improving existing road infrastructure is also mounting. A call is being made for trucks staging places to be created on the Lagos-Ibadan express way or alternate sites where road tankers, said to be the main culprits in blocking the road accesses, can be directed to wait a call to enter the port precinct.

Another suggestion being mooted is to barge containers and other cargo to other parts of Lagos such as Ikorodu – Apapa being largely surrounded by water makes this feasible, it is said.[/restrict]

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Container ship KOTA LAJU enters Durban in this April 2016 picture, but its not always such plain sailing. This picture is by Keith Betts and is unrelated to the following story, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Container ship KOTA LAJU enters Durban in this April 2016 picture by Keith Betts, which  is unrelated to the following story.

A few weeks ago we reported on the port of Durban being closed in order that staff could hold a number of meetings. That advice came from Transnet National Ports Authority itself but later TNPA issued a statement from the port manager denying that the port was closed although there was agreement that meetings of importance had been held.

These meetings included the marine pilots and tug crews taking time to hold their own meetings, during which our information is that the port was again closed to incoming or outgoing traffic. It seemed common knowledge that ship movements in and out of the port and other services had been curtailed for these meetings – but according to TNPA that wasn’t so – the port remained open.

See those reports Port closed for a meeting! and
Durban port: Closed or open?

Now comes a story of the tribulations involved in bringing a ship into Durban, even when there is no question of the port being closed. Over the years we’ve heard many similar stories from affected parties. Here’s one to share with the readers. Names, dates and the identity of the ship/s involved have been smudged but are known to Africa PORTS & SHIPS.

The first message was to advise all concerned that the subject ship in question, let’s call it Ship X, had arrived at Durban port limits about two hours early and would be awaiting a pilot to take her in – this was a night arrival and a two-hour pre-arranged time slot for berthing had been notified.

Towards the end of this time slot, in the middle of the night, a further message was sent to all concerned saying that port control was advising that the port was now extremely busy with ‘senior port movements’ and that the subject vessel could expect a pilot the next day, after the 06h00 pilots shift change.

Came the 06h00 pilot shift change and the story evolved a stage further. The message ‘to all concerned’ was that port control had advised (at 06h45) that they were backlogged with port movements and were still attending to ‘senior movements’.

On that basis everyone concerned was now advised to stand down and that a pilot can be expected between 10h00 and 12h00 that day, some four hours later. This was approximately 12 hours beyond the original pre-arranged time slot.

At the end of that period, and with still no pilot available for the ship waiting outside, port control advised that due to a limited number of open license pilots they were unable to confirm when the subject vessel would receive a pilot to take her in. Immediate focus was being given towards ‘senior vessels’ and once they have been taken care of a further advice would be issued as to when the subject ship X can receive attention.

Much later came the good news…. or was it? The ship was told to start heaving anchor and to proceed to the pilot station. An hour later another instruction followed, also from port control. Drop anchor again.


Once more the message went out to all concerned “Awaiting berthing instruction.”

How often in a modern technologically advanced ‘smart’ port like Durban does this occur? The port does so much that is impressive, but as we wrote near the beginning of this report, we keep having such stories brought to our attention. The above incident which happened earlier this month is apparently no exception.

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Vale Mozambique, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The Brazilian mining giant Vale announced last week that production of coking coal from its open cast mine in Moatize, in the western Mozambican province of Tete, has been ramped up by over 153 per cent in the second quarter of 2017 compared with the same period last year.

It disclosed that production had jumped to 2.05 million tonnes between April and June, representing a 92 percent increase year on year, reported AIM.

In 2016, low coal prices forced Vale to…[restrict] lay off over two thousand of its workers at the Mozambique mine. As a result, the Moatize mine only extracted 5.5 million tonnes of coal. With the recent recovery in coal prices on the world market, Vale’s investment in Mozambique now looks like a profitable concern again and the company expects to export eleven million tonnes this year.

Nacala coal train locos, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Nacala Corridor locos

Key to Vale’s coal being competitive is the Nacala Logistics Corridor, which was formally opened in May. This includes a 912 kilometre long railway running from Moatize to the new mineral port at Nacala-a-Velha. The corridor’s investment of US$4.4 billion was funded by a consortium formed by Vale, the Japanese multinational Mitsui, and Mozambique’s publicly-owned port and rail company, CFM.

Although the corridor was formally inaugurated in May, it began operating in early 2016. However, the route is being increasingly used and within the next two years the railway and port are projected to reach peak capacity of 18 million tonnes of coal a year.

The competitiveness of Vale’s Mozambique operations was highlighted earlier this month when it was revealed that 70,000 metric tonnes of its metallurgical coal is to be shipped from Nacala to Port Kembla in eastern Australia.

The Platts news service noted that “the import of Mozambique coal is symbolic because Australia is the largest seaborne exporter of metallurgical coal in the world, the bulk of which is premium hard coking coal, prized for its high Coke Strength after Reaction”. Source: AIM[/restrict]

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Nacala Railway augments loco fleet, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Nacala augments loco fleet

The Northern Development Corridor Company SA (CDN), the current concessionaire of the Nacala port and the country’s North Railway System, recently increased its rolling stock fleet with the acquisition of three locomotives to support the freight transport on rail corridor, bringing earning capacity and general cargo traction.

The newcomers, locomotive numbers…[restrict] 201, 202, and 203 are modern, 3,000 HP GM manufactured model GT 26s.

These locomotives are part of the first batch of a total of nine locomotives which should all be delivered during the year, which will strengthen the locomotive fleet and improve the operational performance of the company.

The Executive Director of CDN, Amado Mabasso, said that this acquisition forms part of an ongoing commitment by CDN towards improving the transport capacity of the general freight fleet which is responsible for the movement of goods between the harbour at Nacala and the Mozambique hinterland and the neighbouring states of Malawi and Zambia.

CDN s currently in the final process of converting 67 rail wagons involving upgrading the braking system which will enable longer trains to be run.

CDN’s concern for the improvement and quality of its services remains an ongoing strategic focus of the company. This was manifest in 2013 when CDN invested about $20 million in the purchase of 10 locomotives and 12 new carriages, offering a new passenger service from Nampula to Cuamba and vice-versa with recognized quality and safety improvements.[/restrict]

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The Port of Cape Town team that painted and cleaned at Shiloh Education Centre, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Port of Cape Town team which painted and cleaned at Shiloh Education Centre

Port employees from Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) heeded the call to mark Nelson Mandela International Day by being of service to others.

This year the Authority encouraged employees who volunteer for causes in their personal time, to nominate organisations they wished to support through TNPA’s Mandela Day activities. TNPA’s activities impacted more than 15 organisations and thousands of disadvantaged individuals across schools, old age homes, palliative care organisations, informal settlements and many more.

Staff from TNPA’s Johannesburg head office – including some of the national executive committee – cleaned cooked and… [restrict]repaired at the premises of the United Cerebral Palsy Association of South Africa. Head Office staff also visited Alexandra Malebese Home to deliver grocery donations and spend time with the children in the care of the home.

The Port of Durban team partnered with SAI Feeding Scheme to provide meals for close to 3,000 vulnerable people in and around Durban, visiting Wilson’s Wharf and the Raffia Road and Welbedacht informal settlements in Chatsworth.

Port of Durban team 'out there in the community', appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Port of Durban team ‘out there in the community’

Holy Cross Hospice in eMoyeni was where Port of Richards Bay employees chose to volunteer their time.

The Port of Cape Town team painted and cleaned at Shiloh Education Centre and donated groceries to Douglas Murray Home Retreat and Thandokuhle Arthur Makubo Foundation. They also cleaned up and painted at Zanemfundo Primary School in partnership with Beautiful Gate South Africa.

Employees from the Port of Saldanha visited the biggest NGO on the West Coast, Siyabonga Care Village, alongside other companies and government organisations. The centre provides health, social welfare, disability and early childhood development (ECD) services to the West Coast community. TNPA donated non-perishables and spent the day with the residents. Fun recreational activities included a record-breaking attempt, music, games facilitated by the Western Cape Government’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) and a braai.

In Mossel Bay a 40-strong team of volunteers from the port observed the day at Aloe Crèche in the small farming community of Buisplaas. TNPA donated study material, ran a soup kitchen, redecorated the crèche, renovated the play area, installed a dry wall to section off a classroom for toilet training, fixed the ablution facilities and fixed the electrical lighting within the classrooms, among other repairs.

Port of Port Elizabeth volunteers stepped in at various local institutions including Sinako Learning, Intervention and Care Centre for Special Needs Children, Inn Safe Hands Children’s Home, Ekuphumleni Old Age Home, Khwezilomso Comprehensive School and Loyiso High School
. The Port of East London team chose to spend time feeding elderly residents and cleaning at Langham House and Entembeni Home for the Aged.

Further supplementing the activities on Mandela Day, various Transnet operating divisions in the Eastern Cape held the ‘Transnet 67 Minutes with 67 Employees for Mandela Day’ initiative on Friday, 21 July. This saw 76 employees from Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), Port Terminals (TPT), Freight Rail (TFR), Engineering (TE), Projects (TP) and the Transnet Foundation assist with administrative work, cooking, cleaning, recreational activities and exercises at the Ekuphumleni Old Age Home in Zwide and the Lukhanyiso Children’s Home in Uitenhage. Employees also handed over donations of groceries, toiletries, kitchenware and appliances, crockery, bedding, cleaning materials and other items.[/restrict]

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Type 26 infographic, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Sir Michael Fallon, the UK’s Defence Secretary (pictured below) revealed that Glasgow will be the name of the first of eight City class Type 26 frigates as he cut her first steel at Govan shipyard in Scotland on 20 July. HMS Glasgow will enter service with the Royal Navy in the mid-2020s.

In front of the assembled BAE Systems workforce, Sir Michael Fallon officially began the manufacture of HMS Glasgow the first in a new generation of cutting edge frigates, delivering on the commitment to start production this summer on a programme that will sustain 1700 jobs in Scotland for two decades, it is reported.

Cutting of the first steel

Together the three ships being built under the first contract will safeguard…[restrict] 4000 jobs in Scotland and across the wider UK supply chain until 2035. The Defence Secretary met some of the 260 apprentices who will be supported by the work on the frigate on the Clyde by the autumn.

The Type 26 is an advanced Anti-Submarine Warfare frigate that will provide essential protection to Britain’s nuclear deterrent and aircraft carriers, building on the pedigree of the Royal Navy’s current Type 23 frigates.

Cutting the first steel, as appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Cutting the first steel

Its flexible design will allow its weapon systems to be adapted throughout its lifespan to counter future threats. The Type 26 benefits from the latest advances in digital technologies, including 3D and virtual reality, which ensures that the ship’s design is refined earlier in the process.

Sir Michael said: “The Type 26 is a cutting-edge warship that will maintain our naval power with a truly global reach. Designed for a service life of at least 25 years, the Type 26 frigates will form a backbone of the future Royal Navy surface fleet well into the future.”

Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff, added: “The Clyde was the birthplace of some of the greatest fighting ships the world has ever known, and so cutting steel there today for the future HMS Glasgow is symbolic of a Royal Navy on the rise once again.

“As an island nation, we are utterly dependent on the sea for our security and prosperity, and the City-class names have been chosen for the Type 26 to provide an enduring link between the Royal Navy and our great centres of commerce and industry.

“The name Glasgow brings with it a string of battle honours, stretching from the Arctic Circle to the South Atlantic. As one of the world’s most capable anti-submarine frigates, the Type 26 will carry the Royal Navy’s tradition of victory far into the future.”

Type 26 Frigate. Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

As a world-class ship, the Type 26 has strong export opportunities. BAE Systems and the MOD are exploring these, with interest from international customers including Australia.

Earlier this month (July) the Defence Secretary announced the signing of a contract worth around £3.7 billion to start building the Royal Navy’s Type 26 frigates, securing the long term future of the Scottish shipbuilding industry. The contract is specifically structured to motivate both sides to deliver to a successful outcome where both parties share in the pain and gain in the delivery of the programme. It is understood this will deliver better value for money for the UK taxpayer.

Naming the ships after cities provides significant and readily identifiable linkages with large populations across the United Kingdom.

Glasgow is a name with a distinguished historical pedigree, and this first name in the class provides a tangible connection with the city where the ships will be constructed.

There have been eight Royal Navy ships of the name from the early 1700s, who between them have earned ten battle honours. In more recent history, two ships served in the World Wars, including the Arctic Convoys and the Normandy Landings, and the last ship to bear the name was awarded the ‘Falkland Islands 1982’ battle honour to add to the ‘Falkland Islands 1914’ honour won by her predecessor.[/restrict]

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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SNC-Lavalin awarded FEED conversion to EPC contract by Brahms Oil Refineries

map of Guinea showing Kamsar, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
map of Guinea showing Kamsar

SNC-Lavalin has been awarded a contract by Brahms Oil Refineries Limited to undertake a front-end engineering design (FEED) conversion to EPC contract for a 10,000 barrel per day crude oil refinery in Kamsar, Guinea. The FEED will provide a budget cost estimate to obtain a final investment decision (FID) for the project in the third quarter of 2017.

SNC-Lavalin’s scope for this phase of the work includes project management, coordination and management of the process licensor, management of the geotechnical and topographic survey contractors, preliminary engineering and procurement, as well as estimating services and EPC execution plan for the complete grassroots refinery, including the tank farm and marine works required for import of crude oil by ship. The contract signed to date is for the short form FEED, with a process to agree a phased development of the project ultimately into an EPC project following FID approval.

“We are delighted to be working with Brahms Oil Refineries on the first refinery to be built in Guinea to process West African crude oil,” commented Martin Adler, President, Oil & Gas. “This project allows us to demonstrate our expertise in modular design and supports our objective to grow our business in downstream oil and gas. We look forward to helping our client achieve FID and progressing to the EPC phase of the project.”

The plant will be designed to produce diesel, gasoline and jet A fuel to be sold to the local Guinean market.

Brahms Oil Refineries Limited is a private company focused on developing downstream projects aimed at contributing to the industrialisation of Sub-Saharan African countries. It was established to help increase refining capacity in Africa by building modular crude oil refineries in select Sub-Saharan countries.

About SNC-Lavalin

Founded in 1911, SNC-Lavalin is a global fully integrated professional services and project management company and a major player in the ownership of infrastructure. From offices around the world, SNC-Lavalin’s employees are proud to build what matters. Our teams provide comprehensive end-to-end project solutions – including capital investment, consulting, design, engineering, construction, sustaining capital and operations and maintenance – to clients in oil and gas, mining and metallurgy, infrastructure and power.

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in partnership with – APO

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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.

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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.


Baltic Prince. Picture: Keith Betts, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Baltic Prince. Picture: Keith Betts

We’ve had several of the Baltic Reefer refrigerated ships calling at Durban and other South African fruit loading ports this current citrus season. BALTIC PRINCE (10,713-dwt)is another and looking rather good in her bright, clean attractive colours. Like the others that called she is owned by Russian interests and operated by Baltic Reefers which company is registered in St Petersburg. The 142-metre long, 23m wide ship itself is flagged out of St Vincent & the Grenadines and was built in 1990. At least one of her previous names was IVORY ACE. This picture is by Keith Betts



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