Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News

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


Click on headline to go direct to story : use the BACK key to return


News continues below


UACC Ibn Al Atheer arrivin Durban July 2017. Picture: Trevor Jones, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
UACC Ibn Al Atheer. Picture: Trevor Jones

The oil products tanker UACC IBN AL ATHEER (45,994-dwt) enters Durban harbour earlier in July headed for a berth at Island View, the port’s giant petro-chemical complex. Built in 2003 the tanker is owned by Dubai-based interests and managed by United Arab Chemical Carriers, also of the UAE. The vessel, which was previously named PACIFIC SUNSHINE until 2008, was built in Japan at the Shin Kurushima Onishi Shipyard in Imabari. The double-hulled vessel flies the flag of Panama. This picture is by Trevor Jones

News continues below


Africa's AGOA states map, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The AGOA states – question marks surface again

Was the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) always a poisoned chalice from the United States of America, asks an editorial in The East African. The Kenya newspaper suggests it appeared to be so after the US allowed a petition that could see Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda lose their unlimited opening to its market.

This follows the US Trade Representative assenting last week to an appeal by Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association, a used clothes lobby, for a review of the three countries’ duty-free, quota-free access to the country for their resolve to ban importation of used clothes, the The East African continues.

The US just happens to be the biggest source of used clothes sold in the world. Some of the clothes are recycled in countries like Canada and Thailand before being shipped to markets mostly in the developing world.

In East Africa, up to $125 million is spent on used clothes annually, a fifth of them imported directly from the US and the bulk from trans-shippers including Canada, India, the UAE, Pakistan, Honduras and Mexico.

The East Africa imports account for 22 percent of used clothes sold in Africa. Suspending the three countries from the 2000 trade affirmation would leave them short of $230 million in foreign exchange that they earn from exports to the US.

That would worsen the trade balance, which is already $80 million in favour of the US. In trade disputes, numbers do not tell the whole story. Agoa now appears to have been caught up in the nationalism sweeping across the developed world and Trumponomics.

US lobbies have been pushing for tough conditions to be imposed since it was enacted, including the third country rule of origin which would require that apparel exports be made from local fabric.

The rule, targeted at curbing China’s indirect benefits from Agoa through fabric sales, comes up for a legislative review in 2025, making it prudent for African countries to prepare for the worst. Whether that comes through a ban or phasing out of secondhand clothing (the wording that saved Kenya from being listed for a review) is immaterial.

What is imperative is that African countries have to be resolute in promoting domestic industries. In textiles and leather, for instance, that effort should include on-farm incentives for increasing cotton, hides and skins output, concessions for investments in value-adding plants like ginneries and tanneries and market outlets for local textile and shoe companies.

The world over, domestic markets provide the initial motivation for production before investors venture farther afield. Import bans come in handy when faced with such low costs of production in other countries that heavy taxation still leaves those products cheaper than those of competitors in the receiving countries.

The US has also been opposed to heavy taxation of used clothes, which buyers say are of better quality and more durable. For Kenya to be kept out of the review, it had to agree to reduce taxes on used apparel.

These factors have left Agoa beneficiaries in a no-win situation: Damned if you ban, damned if you do not. With their backs to the wall, beneficiaries like Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda have to think long term in choosing their industrial policies and calling the US bluff.

Beneficiaries must speak with one voice to effectively guard against trade conditions that over time hamper domestic industrial growth. Source: The East African

News continues below


Newly arrived locos and coaches for Kenya's SGR. The locos on front of the trains are construction locos, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Newly arrived locos and coaches for Kenya’s SGR. The locos on front of the trains are construction locos

With the long-awaited approval of President Yoweri Museveni to Uganda taking out a US$2.9 billion loan from China’s Exim Bank, the construction of a standard gauge railway from the Kenya border at Malaba to the Ugandan capital, Kampala, can now go ahead.

At the same time, the Ugandan decision to proceed with the 273-km SGR railway means that…[restrict] Kenya will almost certainly agree to complete a connecting railway on their side of the border, thus opening Ugandan trade to access with the port at Mombasa. In fact Musuveni’s nod in favour may be the result of Kenya also agreeing to do so.

The Kenyan SGR has been completed so far between Mombasa and Nairobi and plans are in place to advance it to Naivasha and from there on to the Lake Victoria port city of Kisumu and from there to the border at Malaba.

All these plans went onto the back burner awaiting a decision by Uganda. Further loans by Exim were dependent on the two countries agreeing to proceed, although it appears that the Kenyan railway would have been pushed through the Kisumu to connect with ferry services on the lake.

Doubts also arose when it appeared that Uganda was favouring a railway connection with the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam although it has been suggested this came about over Uganda being unable to obtain assurances from Kenya that the final stage of Kenya’s railway to Malaba would be completed.

President Museveni’s agreement apparently remains subject to certain conditions regarding project costs and technical specifications. He is known to be concerned with Uganda’s mounting debt. During the 2017/18 financial year, Uganda will spend $4.7 billion in loan and interest payments, which is more than half of the country’s $8 billion budget.

Construction of the line is expected to take 40 months once the project commences.

On the matter of costs, comparative reports of building East Africa’s standard gauge railways make interesting reading. The recently completed electrified railway between Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and the port at Djibouti cost $5 million per kilometre. The so-far completed section of Kenya’s SGR between Mombasa and Nairobi cost $7.7 million per kilometre, while the Uganda lie will cost $8.2 million per kilometre.

Meanwhile, passenger services are operating on the completed section from Mombasa to Nairobi and trains are running with high traffic volumes. Cargo goods will only be introduced later in the year but either already the signs are there that the metre-gauge Rift Valley Railways will lose much of the little traffic it was carrying and its future must appear doubtful.[/restrict]

News continues below


sugar mill scene in Mozambique, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Cane cutting plant at Xinavane. Picture: Tongaat Hulett

South Africa’s Tongaat Hulett Group, a JSE company, has begun construction of a sugar refinery on the premises of the Xinavane sugar mill to the north of Maputo in Mozambique, which will enable Mozambique to avoid having to import sugar in future.

Tongaat Hulett said in a statement that it is investing R500 million (US$39 million) in the…[restrict] development which will be in production by September 2018.

The company will be looking to further expand its Mozambique operations in the local retail market and with its distribution network as well as for export. The mill at Xinavane has a production capacity of 250,000 tonnes of soft brown sugar while a second mill at Mafambisse can produce about 92,000 tonnes of brown sugar a year.

Mozambique currently imports about 90 percent of its white sugar for local consumption.

Tongaat Hulett has sugar cane estates each with its own mill, at Xinavane on the banks of the Incomati River about 136-km north-west of Maputo, and at Mafambisse which is on the banks for the Pungwe River in the Dondo District some 50-kms from Beira.

Tongaat Hulett’s sugar refining capacity in South Africa and Zimbabwe is estimated at 680,000 tonnes a year.[/restrict]

News continues below


Port St Johns, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port St Johns from the air

It’s been many years since Port St Johns last saw an ocean-going ship in the river that made the ‘port’ a possibility in the first place.

Since then Port St Johns has enjoyed mixed fortunes, first as a part of the Western Cape and later incorporated into what was then known as Transkei, and since 1994 as an integral part of the Eastern Cape.

The harbour catered for trade with Pondoland and with East Griqualand, and this continued until 1901 when the railway reached Port Shepstone in southern Natal (now KZN) which saw much of this trade drawn away.

Recently the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) embarked on a project of bringing about an awareness of the value and potential of the ocean to rural people and young folk living in small towns and villages who are…[restrict] otherwise prevented through circumstance and through a lack of local resources to reach out and embrace the opportunities of the ‘Blue Economy’.

Port St Johns is almost midway between the port cities of Durban and East London, and people of the small town have been beyond themselves with excitement over a series of programmes initiated by SAMSA that are intended to equip local youth with maritime related skills and possible creation of badly needed jobs.

The multi-stream maritime related skills development programme, also involving a degree of corporate social investment, is driven by SAMSA along with partners including the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, and the Eastern Cape provincial and local municipalities.

The coaster Frontier at the old jetty upstream from the river mouth at Port St Johns, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The coaster Frontier at the old jetty upstream from the river mouth at Port St Johns

The basic maritime skills development initiatives relate to coastal marine tourism in two streams; cruise tourism under a Maritime Youth Development Programme, and a Coastal and Marine Tourism and Youth Leadership path involving youth training in sea diving, life guarding, and related skills.

Training under the programmes began in early July involving an initial group of 50 youth in the cruise tourism stream, and about 35 youths in the Coastal and Marine and Youth Leadership stream.

The cruise tourism youth skills development stream, formally launched by SAMSA together with the Eastern Cape Government and Harambee in East London on 14 July, anticipates the placement of the youth on cruise vessels around the world by as early as September 2017, after which second and third batches of youth will also undergo training.

The other stream involving the 35 youths is also already underway with training, with completion also earmarked for August 2017.

Alongside these youth skills development initiatives is an assessment process of tourism facilities in the area, inclusive of accommodation and hiking trails for possible assistance in marketing tourism.

The initiatives come also against the backdrop of Port St Johns, located in an area of some 1300 km² that falls under the O.R Tambo district municipalities, having been earmarked as the host for this year’s country celebrations of the World Maritime Day in the last week of September.

When once formally confirmed as host, it will be the first time that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) driven annual event is held at a coastal town outside of South Africa’s major commercial port cities.

This little town on the Eastern Cape’s 800km of coastline – the second longest of the country’s four provinces bordering the oceans – is known more for its picturesque landscape through which the Umzimvubu River meets the sea, and for pristine beaches and hiking trails that are a constant hit with domestic and foreign tourists alike.

The staging of World Maritime Day in Port St Johns in September may also be the catalyst needed to draw more attention to the area’s potential for a bigger contribution to the country’s maritime economic development currently pursued under the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative, says the town’s mayor Ms Lindelwa Rolobile.

However, Ms Rolobile believes that in addition to tourism – in a coastal area also known worldwide for some spectacular shipwrecks over the years, including the sea cruise ship Oceanos – Port St Johns can also be a hub for small to medium sea craft manufacturing.

She described the much needed focus in the area by SAMSA as exciting and a long needed intervention particularly with regards youth skilling and possible creation of much needed jobs in an area of the country where youth unemployment was extremely high. source: SAMSA with input from Africa PORTS & SHIPS[/restrict]

News continues below


Kribi port and container termina in Cameroon, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Artist’s view of Kribi port and container terminal in Cameroon

The concession to construct and operate the new container terminal at the Cameroon port of Kribi was signed yesterday (25 July).

Those signing the 25-year Public/Private concession were the Cameroon Minister for Transport, Mr Edgar Alain Mébé Ngo’o, and representatives of the consortium consisting of French groups CMA CGM and Bolloré Transport & Logistics and the Chinese construction group CHEC, who have provided the funding and will undertake…[restrict] the operation of the Kribi Container Terminal.

Kribi Container Terminal

Kribi Container Terminal has backing from a solid and complementary shareholder base. This consists of CMA CGM, which ships more than 35% of containers from the West African Coast and operates over 30 terminals worldwide, Bolloré Transport & Logistics, which has been operating in Africa and Cameroon for over 50 years, the Chinese CHEC construction company that is highly active in infrastructure development in Cameroon and elsewhere, and private reference Cameroonian operators who intend supporting the project.

Equipped with a 350 metre long quay and a depth alongside of 16 metres, the Kribi terminal can host ships of up to 8,000 TEU capacity.

In phase 2, Kribi Container Terminal will operate 11,000 TEU vessels and will then have a 715 metre quay, with 32 hectares of open ground and the capacity to process 1.3 million TEUs annually.

Kribi’s infrastructure and equipment complies with the best international standards. The latest dock and yard gantry cranes will be put into service in the coming weeks so that operations can get started.

Kribi’s strategic location enables it to reach all of Africa’s Atlantic coastal and inland landlocked countries. The port and terminal provides Cameroon with a second container port.

Connected to the city of Edéa, the Port of Kribi becomes a major asset for the country and will provide the region with new logistical gateways to places such as Chad or the Central African Republic. Kribi Container Terminal will complement the services offered by the Port of Douala and together, the ports will facilitate growth in regional trade.

Approximately 300 direct jobs will be created by the new terminal.[/restrict]

News continues below


HMS Albion fires a salute to welcome HRH The Princess Royal. Picture: MoD Crown Copyright 2017 © appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
HMS Albion fires a salute to welcome HRH The Princess Royal. Picture: MoD Crown Copyright 2017 ©

The Royal Navy’s Amphibious Assault Ship is rededicated by Royal Appointment

On 21 July Plymouth-based warship HMS ALBION welcomed her sponsor HRH The Princess Royal, as guest of honour for the ship’s re-dedication.

This was an auspicious day for the Royal Navy, for Albion and the City of Plymouth, marking the beginning of the next chapter in the ship’s life as she becomes the UK’s very high readiness amphibious assault ship.

Following tradition, the Captain, Officers, and ship’s company of 350 Royal Marines and sailors paraded before…[restrict] families, friends and affiliates as well as defence and industry VIPs.

appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The Venerable Ian Wheatley, Chaplain of the Fleet, provided a blessing and prayed for the safety of Albion and all who sailed in her on future operations. Her Royal Highness toured the warship and took the opportunity to meet the families as well as awarding long service and good conduct medals before joining the youngest member of the crew, 18-year-old Engineering Technician Kyle MacDonald, in the long-established tradition of cutting the rededication cake, specially prepared locally by the Royal Navy chefs in HMS Raleigh.

After the summer Albion will continue her preparations to become the UK’s very high readiness amphibious ship.[/restrict]

Edited by Paul Ridgway

News continues below


PIL container ship KOTA ARIF in Durban. Picture: Terry Hutson, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
PIL container ship KOTA ARIF in Durban. Picture: Terry Hutson

Is PIL the next shipping line to be merged or purchased outright for absorption into another group? Shipping analyst Alphaliner thinks so, saying that PIL’s niche status, particularly on the Africa trades, might make it an “attractive target for buyers” and possibly “the only unencumbered candidate.”

PIL, which is well represented here in South Africa where it has large offices in Durban, comes free of government links, unlike other similar sized mid-sized carriers – Zim, HMM and Yang Ming.

PIL is privately owned and is…[restrict] listed as the 12th largest container carrier in the world, with 119 ships according to Like most if not all shipping lines, the past few years has proved a challenge. Managing Director, Teo Siong Seng was quoted earlier this year as saying: “The market has not seen such volatility in its history. But it’s at times like these that it is all the more important for us to remain focused, to not panic and try to find ways to survive.”

PIL is awaiting delivery of 16 newbuilds from a Chinese shipyard, all panamax vessels of 11,800-TEU capacity with delivery beginning at the end of this year and continuing through until 2019. The cost of this is estimated at US$1.4 billion – an added pressure on the company.

Alphaliner says that PIL made a significant net loss last year and faces having to repay another tranche of 7.25 percent ticket bonds of around $95 million in November 2018, at about the same time it will need to pay for the new ships.

PIL operates slot sharing agreements with Cosco in the West and East African trades and, suggests Alphaliner, the Chinese state-owned carrier is seen as its “most likely suitor”. reports that the PIL fleet has a total market value of $1.3 billion and $483 million as scrap. sources: Alphaliner, Loadstar, SeaNews Turkey,[/restrict]

News continues below


Send your Press Releases here and marked PRESS RELEASE. Provided they are considered appropriate to our readers we will either turn them into a story, or publish them here.

banner appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

SA’s potential to become international gas hub

The International Gas Cooperation Summit (IGCS) evolves from the ‘South Africa: Gas Options’ meetings held in Cape Town in 2015 & 2016

LONDON, United Kingdom – A conference taking place in Durban from 9-11 October is set to explore South Africa’s aspirations to build an energy hub for gas cooperation with international partners along the value chain. The International Gas Cooperation Summit (IGCS) evolves from the ‘South Africa: Gas Options’ meetings held in Cape Town in 2015 & 2016.

This meeting will bring together principal government and public sector, gas developers, institutional investors and technology providers to explore how natural gas can play a greater role in South Africa’s energy mix and support the industrial and economic development goals of the country.

EnergyNet’s Anna Gorzkowska commented, “When we launched IGCS at the South Africa: Gas Options meeting last year in Cape Town, we knew that the landscape was changing and the discussion going forward would be broader to incorporate the DTI’s gas utilisation programme. We’re therefore delighted to have got the timing of this meeting right – there is so much interest not only in the gas for power programme, but the massive infrastructure and energy projects happening as a result of those anchor discussions.

The conversation in October is also not squarely about South Africa, but its relationship with international partners and Southern Africa’s ability to develop gas based projects to electrify and empower the region. Similarities must be drawn with the UAE 20 years ago and how they leveraged gas as the foundation of their now unimaginably rich economies. We’re looking forward to taking this discussion to the next level with our partners.”

The next opportunity

IGCS will showcase gas procurement and utilisation projects and strategies, bringing together decision makers who can lay the cornerstone of the region’s success and enable South Africa to become an energy hub to support industrial development across the region. The agenda will focus on the global gas outlook for Southern Africa, case studies on modelling a gas economy, South Africa’s gas market in the context of the SADC region, how to accelerate gas infrastructure and the cost of diving into downstream.

A special conference for the Black Industrialists Programme with its major stakeholders will take place alongside the broader meeting, drawing on partners from the last two Gas Options meetings to continue to support the crucial objectives for both international and national investors.

Meeting dates: 9-11 October 2017
Venue: Southern Sun Elangeni Maharani


News continues below


in partnership with – APO

News continues below


Request a Rate Card from


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.

News continues below


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.


Union Taylor, in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Union Taylor. Pictures: Alan Calvert, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Union Taylor. Pictures: Alan Calvert

The bulk carrier UNION TAYLOR (37,693-dwt) seen arriving in Lyttelton harbour, South Island, New Zealand earlier this month. She had arrived from Adelaide with the third and final shipment of pipes for the Central Plains Water Scheme, which aims at irrigating the Central Canterbury Plains with water drawn from rivers in the Southern Alps. The bulker was built in 2014 and is owned by Greek interests and managed by Union Commercial Inc of Athens, Greece. The 180-metre long x 30m wide ship is flagged in the Marshall Islands. These pictures are by Alan Calvert



“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”
― Anne Lamott


For a Rate Card please contact us at

Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome. Email to

Colour photographs and slides for sale of a variety of ships.
Thousands of items listed featuring famous passenger liners of the past to cruise ships of today, freighters, container vessels, tankers, bulkers, naval and research vessels.



South Africa’s most comprehensive Directory of Maritime Services will shortly be listed on this site. Please advise if you’d like your company to be included. To sign up for a free listing contact or register online