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Contship Gem. Picture: Ian Shiffman, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Contship Gem. Picture: Ian Shiffman

The container ship CONTSHP GEM (12,895-dwt) arrived back in Cape Town harbour from Angola earlier this week. Built in 2003 the ship is owned by Greek interests and managed by Contships Managements Inc also of Athens, Greece. 146-metres long, 23 metres wide and a draught of 8.7 metres, the container ship has a maximum container capacity of 1100 TEU and is currently deployed on a Cape Town, Walvis Bay, Luanda, Cape Town rotation. The ship is owned by Thien & Heyenga of Germany and was built at the Mtzelfeldwerft Gmbh shipyard in Germany as hull number 242. This picture is by Ian Shiffman


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Mombasa Container Terminal berths, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Mombasa Container Terminal berths

More than 20 ships are waiting to dock at the Kenyan port of Mombasa in addition to at least 18 vessels already in port yesterday afternoon, following a build-up of shipping delayed by political jitters during the recent election in Kenya.

We reported recently of importers and exporters avoiding the Port of Mombasa while the elections were taking place SEE HERE and this has had a snowball type effect regarding shipping movements .

On Monday Kenya Ports Authority confirmed that cargo movement at the port of Mombasa had…[restrict] dropped off as a result of truck operators withdrawing their services because of fears of violence and disruption.

In addition, cargo owners and their agents are reported to have also taken the decision to leave cargo waiting in the port, even though this would lead to congestion and delays in eventually clearing the goods.

Approximately 95% of cargo arriving at the port is transported by road vehicles.

As it happened, there were no reports of violence affecting truck or cargo movements but that doesn’t alter the fact that cargo on the ground and waiting ships are now congested.

Among the waiting ships are three loaded with maize – others are carrying wheat, sugar, fertiliser and containers.

“Since the government waived maize import duty there has been an increase in the volume of maize. The other reason is election jitters,” explained KPA Public Affairs Manager Bernard Osero.

Apart from Kenya, the port of Mombasa handles cargo for the neighbouring states of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Eastern DRC, and South Sudan.[/restrict]


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aerial view of Takoradi, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
aerial view of Takoradi

Ghana’s Port of Takoradi, which is currently being expanded to increase the number of vessel calls, has been audited by officials from the United States Coast Guard as part of their routine auditing of port facilities.

Soon after commending the port of Tema for improved security, the United State Coast guard team also visited the port of Takoradi to assess the level of its security, reports the Ghanaian Ports & Harbours Authority (GBHA).

The audit is in line with the International Ships and Ports Security (ISPS) code, which…[restrict] came into being in July 2004 and is aimed at implementing and enforcing high security measures to prevent the act of terrorism and other security threats in ports and their facilities.

The team was received and briefed by the Director of Takoradi Port, Ebenzer Afedzi and the Harbour Master, Captain Richmond Quayeson.

They visited the various entry and exit points of the port of Takoradi to assess control mechanisms put in the place by Ghana’s Port Authority.

The team observed a high and full compliance on the part of Takoradi Port. source: GPHA

Tema Fishing Harbour

Fishing and other small vessels at Tema, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Fishing and other small vessels at Tema

In another report from GPHA, management of the Tema Fishing Harbour is reported to have held its quarterly engagement with stakeholders in the fishing industry.

These engagements offer a platform where companies and individuals involved in the fishing industry come together to deliberate and discuss issues of common concern that will help to advance the laws of the fishing harbour.

Stakeholders were educated on the maritime pollution bill and developments that will be taking place in the fishing harbour to advance the fishing business.

The Deputy Minister of Transport who is also the Member of Parliament for Tema East, Daniel Titus-Glover called on fishing vessel owners to ensure at all times that their vessels are sea worthy so as to avert accidents.

He cautioned those who use unorthodox methods of fishing to refrain from the practice.

Commending the management of the Fishing Harbour for the quarterly stakeholder engagements, Titus Glover said the Transport Ministry is prepared to implement recommendations from the stakeholder engagement.

The Director of Tema Port, Edward Osei said management of the port will continue to create a congenial environment for all stakeholders that operate in the fishing harbour.

He also charged the stakeholders to contribute effectively towards ensuring that work becomes smooth in the Fishing Harbour.

The General Manager of the Tema Fishing Harbour, Samuel Kumi Adjei-Sam said management is working assiduously to improve the sanitation situation at the fishing harbour. source: GPHA[/restrict]


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Map showing the SADC countries, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

While Southern Africa is making progress towards promoting regional integration, there is a greater need to push forward with industrialisation, beneficiation and increased value addition in the region.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) says these three components are the building blocks of raising the standard of living of the people of the region. Done right, they drive momentum towards stronger intra-SADC trade.

As it stands, intra-SADC trade remains very low at only below 17% of total SADC trade. While the region is endowed with abundant and diverse natural resources, productive sectors do not…[restrict] practice value addition.

“We have found that trade among ourselves sits at less than 20%. This means we have less jobs and less development, as we are exporting [raw products]. We should at least have minimum intra-trade of 50%, which will improve the living conditions and development of the region,” said SADC Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration, Thembinkosi Mhlongo, on Wednesday.

He was part of a panel, together with International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, which discussed the issues on the agenda for the 37th SADC summit underway in Tshwane.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said the region took a decision to focus on industrialisation so that countries don’t remain exporters of raw materials.

“We are a very unique region on the continent. We live in a very rich and mineral endowed region yet we have the poorest people. We want to turn that corner by focusing on beneficiation in each of our countries and by integrating our economies and skilling adequately our youthful population,” said the Minister.

The Minister said the entire value chain, as well as the integration of people and services must be looked at if value addition is to happen effectively.

SADC has prioritised improving value chains as a way of creating attractive and competitive investment around agro-processing, mineral beneficiation and service delivery.

“There are ongoing processes to ensure that Africa transits to value-adding, as this can unlock much more benefits, but there remain deep-seated structural fault lines in SADC, with low levels of exports,” Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said.

Mhlongo echoed her sentiments, saying the right skills and technologies will increase SADC’s competitive edge, and create employment and self-sufficiency, while producing quality goods and services to attract trade partners.

“To achieve industrialisation, SADC member states need to integrate in global value chains and upgrade in global value chains by moving to higher value adding activities,” Mhlongo said.

Regional infrastructure must evolve to keep up

The panel identified the lack of interconnectivity and poor transport within the region as the key stumbling blocks for SADC to fully move forward with industrialisation and beneficiation.

“We have been addressing this and we think that… we will be able to close the gap,” said Mhlongo.

He cited the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015 – 2063, which aims to accelerate the thrust towards strengthening the comparative and competitive advantages of the economies of the region.

The primary orientation of the strategy is the importance of technological and economic transformation of the SADC region through industrialisation, modernisation, skills development, science and technology, financial strengthening and deeper regional integration.

It is also anchored on three pillars, namely industrialisation as champion of economic and technological transformation; competitiveness as an active process to move from comparative advantage to competitive advantage, and regional integration and geography as the context for industrial development and economic prosperity.

Mhlongo went on to call for public-private partnerships (PPPs) to avail themselves and drive projects forward.

He also underscored the need for governments to engage the private sector, which could play a complementary role in expanding services and infrastructure development.

PPPs are regarded as a viable model for attracting investments for public projects by allowing governments to have more access to additional capital.

“We need a big role from the private sector, which can … mobilises finances for investment in value chains,” said Mhlongo, noting that the sector has been keen and coming on board. –[/restrict]


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Kenya Railways in its heyday. Picture: AE Durrant, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Kenya Railways in its heyday. Picture: AE Durrant

After a gap of 11 years the government of Uganda has taken first steps in restoring Uganda Railways Corporation to its former status as the state-owned railway operating entity.

URC disappeared in 2006 with the handing over of rail operations in the country to a private concession known as Rift Valley Railway. Despite high hopes of a revival in the fortunes of the former colonial metre-gauge railway, matters crawled along both literally and figuratively.

With the advent of the standard gauge railway now under construction in Kenya, and…[restrict] inching towards the border with Uganda, the latter country has recently taken the decision to proceed building its own standard gauge railway in order to benefit from a more efficient connection with the port at Mombasa.

Chairman of the Uganda Clearing Industry & Forwarding Associations (UCIFA), Kassim Omar, said he was excited about the imminent return of Uganda Railways Corp.

“I am very happy that Kenya-Uganda Railway is returning to the Ugandan government because that is what we have been advocating for. There was no need for the government to sign that concession (with Rift Valley Railway) because all that was needed at that time was to find a way to strengthen Uganda Railway Corporation than trying to look for concessions… RVR was a total failure,” he said.

RVR may have been a failure, but so too was Uganda Railways Corp before that. Omar has either a short memory or he wears rose-tinted glasses. Both URC and the neighbouring Kenya Railways Corp were virtually run into the ground before the government took advice and went the concession route with both operations. It was always doomed to fail, with a legacy of over fifty years of neglect since independence was taken, during which virtually no maintenance, no improvement and no rebuilding for the future took place. RVR when concessioned was set up to fail, even before political pressure forced the first concessionaire to leave the country.

These facts cannot be in dispute – even some of Kenya’s leading politicians admitted to having a total neglect of their railway network of 2,350 kilometres when signing the first concession papers. One noteworthy statement at the time was the wry admittance, “we haven’t built a single mile of railway since independence,” which didn’t prevent those who opposed the concessioning of the railway from seeking and then hastening the departure of the first concessionaire.

Rift Valley Railway diesel-hauled passenger train. The gauge may have looked narrow but the loco and train were large - equal to Transnet Freight Rail trains. Appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Rift Valley Railway diesel-hauled passenger train. The gauge may have looked narrow but the loco and train were large – equal to Transnet Freight Rail trains.

With the opening of the first phase of the Kenya standard gauge railway between Mombasa and Nairobi to passenger traffic in June this year, and with freight traffic to commence at the end of the year, it was inevitable that the concession between Kenya Railways and Rift Valley Railway would end. Soon the metre gauge railway, of which novels were written and Hollywood films made, will be allowed to fall away, unwanted and forgotten. What will also be forgotten is that this was once a vibrant and successful railway, which helped develop and open Kenya to all the good things that it is today.

According to reports Uganda Railways Corporation will ‘return’ next month and the cancelling of the Uganda side of RVR metre gauge operations will last only until such time as the Uganda standard gauge railway is complete.

Charles Kateeba, URC’s managing director said as much when he told a Uganda newspaper that both Kenya Railways and URC will continue running RVR. “We are going back to the old arrangements,” he said.

Our bet is that this arrangement will remain in place only until the new SGR railways are fully operational, at which time the RVR or whatever the metre gauge railway is then called will be shut down and the rails torn up.[/restrict]


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The emerging new port of Porto Amboim, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The emerging new port of Porto Amboim

The original port of Porto Amboim, in a large natural bay, was closed due to deterioration and neglect in 1997 and its fate settled in 2006 when the authorities came to the conclusion it would be preferable to build a whole new port.

Construction of the first phase of a new port at Porto Amboim, roughly halfway between Luanda and Lobito in Angola, has commenced with the latest development being the opening of administration offices and facilities, including offices for the collection of revenues for the region.

another angle showing the new port, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
another angle showing the development of the new port

The inauguration of these offices was performed by the Angolan transport minister, Augusto da Silva Tomás. He said that having the revenue offices will contribute to the region’s economic development through the collection of taxes.

In addition, conditions are set for port services to commence and for companies to carry out their activities without constraints, the governor of Cuanza Sul Province, Eusébio de Brito Teixeira said.

The development of the port is being undertaken by a consortium made up of Sonangol Holding and Sogester, which will have a 70 percent stake and the remainder being private investment.

The port is being constructed in three phases between 2017 and 2024 on a land area of 80 hectares. In its initial phases an investment of US$500 million will be made, increasing to $1.8 billion once fully completed.

Porto Amboim also features a shipyard known as Paenal, a joint venture between Sonangol, SBM and DSME and Heerema Porto Amboim, the two major offshore fabrication yards.

The first phase of the port consists of a quay 500 metres long and a depth alongside of 14.5 metres, with a declared port draught of 12 metres. This quay will be able to berth two ships. The final phase will see berthing available for seven ships.

Porto Amboim, the port and town, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
One of Africa’s emerging new ports, Porto Amboim and the town of that name

Main exports from Porto Amboim are expected to be cotton and coffee but offshore activities will also feature. The port was originally connected with the coffee growing region of Gabela by a 123-km long, 610mm gauge narrow gauge railway. This closed in 1987 due to the civil war and the abandoning of most of the coffee plantations.

Porto Amboim was once known as Kissonde and dates back to at least 1587 when the Portuguese first set up a village with the name Benguela Velha (not to be confused with another Benguela established later some 350km south (near Lobito).

Porto Amboim, though still a small town, is one of the developing areas for the Angolan offshore industry.


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Picture: courtesy Hamburg Süd, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Picture: courtesy Hamburg Süd

In mid-July the World Shipping Council (WSC) released an update to its survey and estimate of containers lost at sea.

WSC undertook the first survey of its member companies in 2011, with updates in 2014 and 2017.

Based on the most recent survey results, WSC estimates that for the combined nine year period from 2008 to 2016, on average, there were 568 containers lost at sea each year, not counting…[restrict] catastrophic events, and 1,582 containers lost at sea each year including catastrophic events. On average, 64% of containers lost during this period were attributed to a catastrophic event.

In the words of John Butler, WSC President and CEO: “Although the number of containers lost at sea represents a very small fraction of the number of containers carried on ships each year, the industry continuously strives to reduces those losses.

“The latest report shows that the average number of containers estimated to be lost each year is down from the estimates reported in 2014. This is an encouraging sign. The report also identifies initiatives the industry is actively supporting to increase container safety and reduce losses further.”

According to WSC Containers in the global container fleet equate to more than 34 million TEU.

The goal of the World Shipping Council (WSC) is to provide a coordinated voice for the liner shipping industry. The WSC and its member companies partner with governments and other stakeholders to collaborate on actionable solutions for some of the world’s most challenging transportation problems.[/restrict]

Paul Ridgway


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Picture: MoD Crown Copyright 2017©, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Picture: MoD Crown Copyright 2017©

Britain’s future flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed into her home port of Portsmouth for the first time yesterday (16 August).

Greeted by thousands of people lining the Portsmouth seafront, the 65,000-tonne carrier was met with the warmest of welcomes as she arrived in her home port.

Sailors lined the flight deck of the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy as she passed Portsmouth’s Round Tower. HMS Queen Elizabeth was also greeted with a flypast from the Fleet Air Arm, including Wildcat and Merlin helicopters and Hawk jets.

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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Picture by Steve McCurrach, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Picture by Steve McCurrach

The Port of Durban is planning the 2017 Durban Port Festival for the weekend 9-10 September. The main event will be on the Yacht Mole as well as on the waters of the bay opposite. Further details are to follow.


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Appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

A group of nine seafarers from the Panama-flagged cargo ship SECCADI, who were left stranded on UK’s Mersey River for almost three weeks, have now returned home. The IMarEST’s Guild of Benevolence made funds available to support the crew of both this vessel and MV TOBA, also under detention.

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency detained the ship on 20 June at a berth in the country’s Ellesmere Port, Liverpool, due to conditions on board. While the ship was given a layby berth at Manisty, the crew, which included Turkish, Indian and Azerbaijani nationals, remained locked in dispute with the vessel’s owner Voda Shipping of Turkey over pay and conditions, according to data provided by Liverpool Seafarers Centre (LSC).

“The seafarers have been repatriated at the owner’s expense, avoiding deportation which was fast becoming a reality,” John Wilson, LSC chief executive, said.

Following the crew’s repatriation, the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) lodged protests with Seccadi’s owners and the Panama ship registry over the conditions discovered onboard the vessel.

About the IMarEST

The IMarEST is an international learned society and membership body that brings marine engineers, marine scientists and marine technologists together into one multi-disciplinary professional body. The largest marine organisation of its kind, it spans 128 countries and works to promote the scientific development of marine engineering, science and technology, providing opportunities for the exchange of ideas and practices and upholding the status, standards and expertise of marine professionals worldwide. Members are able to gain professional registration through the Institute (such as Technician, Incorporated, Registered or Chartered status).

The IMarEST is an NGO with consultative status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and observer status at the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, International Hydrographic Organization, the London Convention/London Protocol (LC/LP) and the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP).

It has special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC), which facilitates its access to other international intergovernmental meetings where its specialized marine expertise is of particular use, e.g., the United Nations meetings on Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the work of the International Seabed Authority on marine mining.


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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

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 Lord. Picture: Trevor Jones, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Baltic Lord. Picture: Trevor Jones

The refrigerated cargo ship (reefer) BALTIC LORD (12,912-dwt) heads down the Esplanade Channel in Durban Bay, bound for a berth at the Maydon Wharf Fruit Terminal, one of two in the port to handle citrus fruit. Owned by Russian interests and managed commercially by Baltic Reefers of St Petersburg, Russia, she carries the funnel markings of her ISM manager, Ost-West-Handel und Schiffahrt (OWH) of Bremen, Germany. This picture is by Trevor Jones



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