Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News

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


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Ardmore Defender at Durban. Picture: Trevor Jones, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Ardmore Defender. Picture: Trevor Jones

Ardmore Shipping Corporation’s oil tanker ARDMORE DEFENDER (37,764-dwt) seen sailing from Durban in July this year. The tanker was then not long out of her dry docking which was performed at the Chengxi Shipyard in Jiangyin, China and was looking impressive in her red, black and white livery. Ardmore Defender was built in 2015 at the Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in South Korea and is registered in the Marshall Islands. The tanker is 184 metres in length and 27.4m wide and a ballast of 10.38 metres. This picture is by Trevor Jones


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Cape Town container terminal, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Cape Town container terminal scene

South Africa’s monthly trade surplus has exceeded market expectations, according to the latest available statistics.

During the month of August the country’s trade surplus amounted to R5.94 billion, a sharp decrease on the upwardly revised surplus of R9.33 billion in July but nevertheless exceeding market expectations of a R3.2 billion surplus, reports tralac.

Exports increased 11 percent while imports…[restrict] advanced at a faster 16.3 percent. Considering the January to August period, exports increased 5.8 percent and imports decreased 2.1 percent, shifting the country’s trade balance into a R43.5 billion surplus from a R13.7 billion gap in the same period of 2016.

Compared with the previous month, exports increased to R103.4 billion from R93.1 billion, led by higher shipments of mineral products (21 percent); precious metals and stones (20 percent); base metals (12 percent); machinery and electronics (12 percent) while those of vehicles and transport equipment fell 17 percent.

Major destinations for sales were China (9.9 percent); the US (8.1 percent); Germany (6.8 percent); Japan (4.7 percent) and Botswana (4.6 percent).

Imports advanced to R 97.4 billion from R83.8 billion, due to higher purchases of mineral products (65 percent); prepared foodstuffs (36 percent); textiles (27 percent); original equipment components (29 percent) and machinery and electronics (11 percent). Imports came mostly from China (21.3 percent of total imports); Germany (14.1 percent); the US (7.8 percent); India (5.6 percent) and Saudi Arabia (5.2 percent).

Excluding trade with neighbouring Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the country posted a trade deficit of R1.9 billion in August compared to a R2.6 billion surplus in July.

The trade surplus figures of R5.94 billion released by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) on 29 September include trade data with Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland (BLNS). The year-to-date (01 January to 31 August 2017) trade balance surplus of R43.45 billion is an improvement on the deficit for the comparable period in 2016 of R13.67 billion. Exports for the year-to-date grew by 5.8% whilst imports for the same period declined by 2.1%. source: tralac[/restrict]


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BEIT BRIDGE BORDER CROSSING IN LINE FOR MAJOR OVERHAULBeit Bridge road border crossing between SA and Zimbabwe, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

South Africa and Zimbabwe have established a joint committee to work on improving operations at the Beitbridge border post.

Beitbridge is the busiest road border on the continent, with much of the goods and services between Zimbabwe and further north and South Africa passing through this strategic point. During the peak of the festive season in 2016, over 31,000 travellers passed through the border daily.

On Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma announced that a joint technical committee will be established with officials from SA and Zimbabwe to set up the Beitbridge One Stop Border Post (OSBP). The team will develop the necessary legal framework for this project.

South Africa and Zimbabwe held the second session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Tshwane.

Zuma said it was necessary to bolster the efficiency of Beitbridge.

“I wish to underscore the strategic significance of a One Stop Border Post at the Beitbridge border. This border post is the busiest border post on the continent.” A One Stop Border Post aims to improve the legal movement of people and commodities across borders. Currently, travellers are processed at two facilities of the two respective countries. A One Stop Border Post would result in seamless movement at the border, as travellers would be processed at one facility.

The establishment of the Beitbridge One Stop Border Post forms part of government’s implementation of the Single Border Management Agency. Last year, South Africa and Mozambique integrated the Lebombo/Ressano Garcia border post, also known as Komatipoort.

President Jacob Zuma said Beitbridge is key to boosting the two countries’ economies and as such, unnecessary delays at the border must be avoided. Zimbabwe is one of South Africa’s top five trading partners on the continent, with trade statistics showing annual growth. In 2016, South Africa’s exports to Zimbabwe amounted to approximately R29.3 billion.

“It is important and urgent that we start in earnest the process of establishing a One Stop Border Post. Our two countries took a decision to do so as far back as 2009,” he said.

President Zuma and President Mugabe urged the relevant ministers and officials to work speedily on the project. They want a progress report at the next BNC. –


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drying cocoa beans before export, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
drying cocoa beans before export

Ghana and Ivory Coast, the world’s two largest cocoa producers, have agreed to collaborate over future sales and marketing of cocoa and to avoid being exploited by a global cocoa industry.

Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced this week that he and President Alassane Outtara of the Ivory Coast are working together to provide the necessary leadership for technical and political co-operation that addresses effectively the international cocoa price decline in the short-to-medium term.

No longer can Ghana and the Ivory Coast be victims or pawns of a global cocoa industry that is dependent on the work of their farmers, he said.

“We are…[restrict] fashioning far-reaching policies towards achieving a shared vision of an industrialised and prosperous domestic cocoa economy. This, I am sure, will reduce our vulnerability to the volatility of the markets, and help deliver prosperity to our farmers and people,” the President added.

President Akufo-Addo said this on Monday at this year’s World Cocoa Day celebration, held at the Jubilee Park in Kumasi, an event which coincided with the 70th anniversary celebration of the establishment of the Ghana Cocoa Board.

With price volatilities on the international cocoa market representing perhaps the biggest threat to cocoa producers, President Akufo-Addo bemoaned the fact that the fortunes of Ghanaian farmers have unfortunately become tied to the volatile cocoa bean market.

Nonetheless, and in spite of the over 40% drop in world cocoa prices, President Akufo-Addo stated that his government will ensure that the price review for the coming season will not leave farmers short-changed.

“Indeed, government will make sure that producer prices paid to Ghanaian cocoa farmers remain unchanged, and will be in sync with those of Ivorian farmers,” he said.

The president said the government was also working on the cocoa pension scheme for cocoa farmers…. “the first of its kind in our history. This will not only benefit cocoa farmers, but all involved in the cocoa value chain.”

Ghana and Ivory Coast account for more than 60% of the world’s cocoa output which earns them a combined US$5.75 billion from the sale of cocoa beans. This, the president said, represents a mere 5.75% of the global value of their activity, which was just over $100 billion in 2015.

“This cannot and should not continue. It is manifest injustice. We have to devise ways of ensuring that our farmers reap much greater value from their toil,” he said.

To this end, President Akufo-Addo revealed that he has, amongst other measures, directed the Minister for Food and Agriculture to direct COCOBOD to work towards increasing domestic processing of cocoa up from the current levels to a minimum of 50% of annual production by 2020.

This, he stressed, will significantly increase export revenues and foreign exchange earnings from cocoa.

“Processing of cocoa must also go beyond just grinding of the beans, to tertiary manufacturing for table consumption. Chocolate and cocoa products from Ghana should be accessible anywhere on the globe,” he said. source:[/restrict]


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Subsea, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Subsea 7 this week announced the award of an integrated contract by Ophir Energy for the Fortuna LNG project offshore Equatorial Guinea, located in average water depths of 1,790 metres. The substantial contract* was awarded to Subsea Integration Alliance, which is a partnership between Subsea 7 and OneSubsea, a Schlumberger company.

The Upstream EPCIC (engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning) contract will be…[restrict] delivered as part of an integrated solution combining subsea umbilicals, risers and flowlines (SURF) and subsea production systems (SPS).

Subsea banner, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Four deepwater wells will be tied-back to a subsea manifold and connected to a FLNG vessel by steel lazy-wave risers, a cost effective riser solution. EPCIC operations will commence after the final investment decision and offshore operations are scheduled for 2020.

Along with the EPCIC contract, Ophir Energy has awarded the contract for future inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM) services to Subsea Integration Alliance.

“This award demonstrates the cost effective and collaborative solutions that Subsea Integration Alliance can bring to our clients,” said Gilles Lafaye, VP Africa for Subsea 7. “We look forward to working with OneSubsea and Ophir Energy to successfully deliver and maintain this FLNG project offshore Equatorial Guinea.”

* A substantial contract is defined by Subsea 7 as being between US$ 150 million and US$ 300 million.[/restrict]


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New Mein Schiff 6 as she is planned to look when complete, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Mein Schiff 6 

TUI Cruises latest cruise ship, the new MEIN SCHIFF 1, has been floated out from its dry dock at Meyer Turku’s Finland shipyard.

The New Mein Schiff 1 is a next-generation cruise ship built for German cruise line TUI Cruises and now, following the completion of its assembly from giant blocks and the float-out, the ship will undergo…[restrict] further interior outfitting before delivery.

New Mein Schiff 1 is an evolution of the Mein Schiff 6, which was delivered to the company in May this year.

At 315 metres in length, the newbuilding will be 20 metres longer than its predecessor. The delivery is scheduled for spring 2018.

New Mein Schiff 1 will be named in Hamburg on 11 May 2018, and begin operating shortly afterwards, according to the company.

“With the new Mein Schiff 1, TUI cruises creates a whole new ship generation in its fleet. It is based on our existing newbuilds, which we have again developed and supplemented with new attractions,” Wybcke Meier, CEO of TUI Cruises, said.

The New Mein Schiff 1 in her dock last Friday, 29 September 2017, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The New Mein Schiff 1 in her dock last Friday, 29 September 2017

“So far we could only see the design developments of New Mein Schiff 1 in parts or in our computer renderings,” said Meyer Turku’s CEO, Jan Meyer. “But to see them in reality is always again fascinating. We are in parallel rebuilding and modernising the shipyard with new recruitments and our investments. A concrete sign are the preparations for the erection of our new gantry crane. This complicated heavy lifting procedure will start right away after New Mein Schiff 1 has left the dock.”

New Mein Schiff 1 is the fifth ship built by Meyer Turku shipyard for German TUI Cruises.

Watch a video of the floating out of the New Mein Schiff 1 at Meyer Turku. Click the link below:

CLICK HERE[/restrict]


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Damen Shipyard, Netherlands, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Damen Shipyard, Netherlands

Damen Shipyards Group has appointed Andrea Trevisan as its new Sales Director Cruise New Building. The announcement coincides with Damen’s ambitions to further expand its standing in the Expedition and small size Cruise Vessels market.

Mr Trevisan will oversee Damen’s global commercial and marketing activities with regard to new build cruise vessels. “I will be a sort of Damen brand ‘Ambassador’ for the cruise industry, working in close coordination with our well established regional sales organisation and with my colleagues Mr Henk Grunstra, Product Director Cruise and Ferries, and Mrs Hadewych Reintsema, Design and Proposal Manager Cruise,” Trevisan said.

“On a personal note, I am…[restrict] truly excited and honoured to take on this new position for Damen. It is like returning to my roots because I have had a passion for cruise ships ever since I was a child. This was the reason why I decided to study at the Nautical College in Venice, Italy – to fulfil my dream of sailing in one of them one day. I became a Master Mariner and served as a Navigation Officer on large cruise liners for 11 years, sailing all the oceans and visiting several destinations.

“In the course of my onshore carrier I initiated a commercial path. I joined Damen in 2012 as Regional Sales Manager and had the pleasure to contract a number of successful new build vessel projects.

“I am now truly looking forward to meeting the enthusiastic representatives of this fascinating market and discussing their views and their new build cruise ship ideas.”

Group synergies

The decision to create the position of Sales Director Cruise Vessels New Building is linked to Damen’s focus and growing ambitions in the cruise vessel construction market. This development, says Mr Trevisan, is backed up by the cooperation between companies within Damen Shipyards Group.

Damen-built SeaXplorer 65 expedition ship, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Damen-built SeaXplorer expedition ships

“I am confident Damen will be a reliable partner for future ventures, as we display a unique cooperation within the Group. These are true synergies. For example, we have luxury superyacht builder AMELS on our team. They have developed the SeaXplorer range of expedition yachts, which share numerous technical similarities to expedition cruise vessels. Two of these have already been sold.”

Damen Shiprepair & Conversion is well established in the cruise market, having already gained an interesting track record. A new dedicated Product Manager, Mr Rogier van der Laan has been recently appointed.

The collaboration continues with Danish naval architects Knud E Hansen. “They bring invaluable skills and experience of the cruise industry to the design table. And combined with the unparalleled operational experience from Expedition Voyage Consultants, we introduced a 100-passenger capacity Expedition Cruise Vessel concept design last year.

“This is only the start. We are also currently putting the finishing touches to a 200-passenger capacity concept design.”

The fact that Damen is still family-owned has played an important role in growing strong customer relationships, says Trevisan. “These family values mean that we still have the capacity to treat our customers with a personal touch.”

“Every one of the 6,000+ vessels that we have built over the years has received the highest levels of commitment and expertise from our teams. It is these skills that we now intend to use to break even further into the Cruise Vessel market – something that we know is a natural transition for Damen.”[/restrict]


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Durban port entrance, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Durban port entrance

The Port of Durban was closed to all marine traffic last night (Tuesday, 3 October) on account of high swells at the entrance channel.

Although the report did not mention it, strong gusting winds were also being experienced.

At 06h00 this morning there was no indication whether the restriction on shipping movements had been lifted. The winds had quietened but a strong breeze was blowing.

Interested parties should enquire of the Port Control (contact details in our Port section – see lefthand navigation sidebar for DURBAN).


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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.

Xeneta sees mixed fortunes for container segment’s peak season

Xeneta banner, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


Surging US demand is offset by European woes

Oslo, Norway, 3 October 2017 — Peak season is fast approaching for container carriers and Xeneta, a leading global benchmarking and market intelligence platform for containerised ocean freight, predicts it could well be a tale of two Christmases.

Xeneta, which crowd-sources real-time global shipping data from a community of over 700 leading businesses, covering more than 160,000 port-to-port pairings, has charted an eye-catching recovery for the container segment in 2017. US ports, it says, have never been busier, while in September Xeneta data revealed Chinese to Northern Europe main port long-term freight rates for 40-foot containers had jumped by a staggering 65% year-on-year.

However, the notoriously fickle sector is in flux yet again, with, as Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund remarks, decidedly mixed fortunes on the horizon.

“We are now entering THE most important period for both the carriers and the global retailers they service,” he says, noting that, traditionally, retailers earn between 25 and 40% of their annual sales in November and December. “High consumer confidence and strong job growth in the US bodes well for the industry, with shops intent on stocking up for the expected Thanksgiving-Christmas rush. The Washington DC-based National Retail Federation has forecast US container imports to grow by as much as 13% in October (year-on-year). Demand is impressively strong, but in Europe it’s a different story.

“Stubbornly high unemployment, sitting at 9.1% in the Eurozone (compared to just 4.3% in the US), combined with Brexit uncertainty and the sluggish growth of several large economies are factors combining to give the lowest scores in the EU economic confidence index since 2009 (August 2017). And not surprisingly, those who are unemployed, under-employed, or afraid they soon will be one of those two things, aren’t in the mood to spend too much on discretionary retail items. That weak confidence and demand naturally hits the carriers.”

Berglund says the impacts are already being seen. Maersk, he notes, recently decreased capacity on its Asia-Europe routes by 10%, while both the CKYH and G6 Alliances have each cut one of their Asia-European runs, reducing eleven weekly sailings to nine. In addition, industry reports point to the fact that carriers are reducing vessel speeds to save fuel costs, some by 10% – suggesting that margins are now so fine that every cent saved makes a difference.

These actions will, Berglund says, help maintain rates and create the appearance of a still healthy market. However, this is merely a short-term fix in the hope that broader economic factors will eventually correct the supply/demand balance. But, of course, there is no guarantee of when that will happen.

“It’s a worrying time for those servicing European ports, and the shippers who rely on predictability of service,” he states, “and the rate development paints a clear picture of that.”

With access to over 35 million contracted rates, Xeneta’s software platform can give unparalleled insight into the very latest market trends. Its data shows that, in the period mid July 2017 to end of September 2017, short-term rates for a 40-foot container on the Asia to main European ports declined from US$ 1880 to US$ 1633, a fall of some 10%. Contrast that with developments in the US. Here the short-term rates, across the same period, climbed from US$ 1430 to US$ 1611, an increase of 13%.

“The contrasting fortunes are so strong that Maersk CEO Soren Skou recently commented that ‘Christmas will come to America, but probably not to Europe’,” notes Berglund. “However, things in this most dynamic of sectors are never quite that clear cut.

“The container segment can change overnight and all stakeholders within the industry have to follow the very latest developments to ensure they achieve the best rates for their assets, services and cargoes. Xeneta is one way of doing this, giving users the ability to benchmark accurately against the market and negotiate to deliver optimal value for their businesses.

“In an uncertain world, you need to be certain you’re making the right decisions – especially in the very busiest trading times, with the very highest of stakes.”

About Xeneta

Xeneta is the leading ocean freight rate benchmarking and market intelligence platform transforming the shipping and logistics industry. Xeneta’s easy-to-use yet powerful reporting and analytics platform provides shippers and freight forwarders the software data they need to compare their shipping prices against the world’s largest database of contracted rates – reporting live on market average and low/high movements. Xeneta’s data comprises of over 35 million contracted rates and covers over 160,000 global trade routes optimizing companies’ container rates procurement. Xeneta is a privately held company and is headquartered in Oslo, Norway. To learn more, please visit


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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.



Yasa Pembe, departing Durban: Pictures: Keith Betts, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Yasa Pembe departing from Durban, 29 Sept 2017. Pictures: Keith Betts, appearing in Afric PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Yasa Pembe. Pictures: Keith Betts

Accompanied by the harbour pilot boat LUFAFA, the bulker YASA PEMBE departs from Durban on Friday last week, 29 September after having worked cargo at the Bluff for several days and also at Maydon Wharf. Ships frequently move about in this port, discharging here and loading there. On occasion part of a cargo may be discharged (or loaded) at one particular spot, before the ship moves to another berth elsewhere to continue discharging or loading. It all goes together to keep the port industry so interesting – everything and nothing is straightforward.

The 190-metre long, 32m wide superhandymax Marshall Island-flagged Yasa Pembe (55,912-dwt) was built in 2007 at the Japanese shipyard of Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding and, as her name suggests, is a Turkish-owned vessel, being operated and managed by Ya Sa Shipping Industry (Ya Sa Denizcilik Sanayi ve Ticaret AS) of Istanbul.       These pictures are by Keith Betts



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