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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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Amsterdam at Cape Town, April 2018. Picture: Ian Shiffman, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Amsterdam.   Picture:    Ian Shiffman

The Holland America line cruise ship AMSTERDAM (IMO 9188037) arrived in Cape Town this week direct from Maputo on her 2018 Grand World Cruise. Built in 2000, and registered naturally in The Netherlands, Amsterdam. Her owner is the giant Carnival Corporation and Amsterdam is the fourth in the Rotterdam-class of ships, so named after the first vessel of the type. The 62,735-gt ship was built by the Italian shipyard of Fincantieri and is 237 metres long, 32m wide boasts 12 decks with a passenger capacity of 1380 passengers cared for by a crew of 645. One of the features on board, as with other Holland America ships, is the multi-million dollar art collection, helping bring that air of opulence – a special part of this ‘collection’ is a three-story, fully functional Astrolabe on exhibit in the main atrium which took over 15 years to design. This picture is by Ian Shiffman


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Assumption Island, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Assumption Island

There’s a degree of opposition to plans by Indian to build a military base on Assumption Island which lies on the fringes of the Mozambique Channel.

See our first report of 23 February 2018 India to establish military base in Seychelles

The plan to build an Indian military base has been around for several years but is only now looking as though it may go ahead, possibly as a result of recent Chinese military incursions into the Indian Ocean. China has up to three naval ships on permanent patrol in the Gulf of Aden region and other…[restrict] vessels operating in various parts of the wider Indian Ocean, a region that India tends to regard as its own backyard.

The proposed military base in the Seychelles is on a small scarcely populated island that has the potential to control the northern approaches to the Mozambique Channel. Assumption is 1,135 kilometres southwest of Mahe Island, the main island in the Seychelles archipelago.

The plan is for both the Seychelles and India to have access to the base which would accommodate mostly naval ships but it is likely that an extended airstrip would also be built – the island already has a small airstrip and a small post office. From this, say the Seychelles authorities, it would be convenient to patrol for illegal fishing, drug smuggling, human trafficking and piracy.

map showing location of Assumption island, Seychelles, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The Seychelles has 1.3 million square kilometres of ocean in its exclusive economic zone to patrol.

India says it plans to invest US$550 million on developing the base in order to keep an eye on its merchant ships that trade in this part of the Indian Ocean. It would maintain Indian soldiers on the island who would also assist in training Seychelles troops.

The agreement to build the base was first reached in 2015 but ratification has been slow until now. An amended version was signed on 27 January leading to opposition which is mounting in the Seychelles, with opponents staging small demonstrations in the capital of Victoria on Mahe Island.

The agreement stipulates that no nuclear use of Assumption Island or weapons storage will be allowed and that India would not be able to use the island in times of war.

Opponents say they fear an influx of Indians into the Seychelles. They also say that Seychelles should build its own military bases and man them without any foreigners being present – no foreign military presence, they argue.

They also point out the relative closeness to the Aldabra atoll, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to the world’s largest population of giant tortoises.

The agreement with India comes before the Seychelles parliament this month for final ratification and India’s ambassador in Victoria, Ausaf Sayeed says he is confident that politicians and people who see the positive side of the joint cooperation will be in favour. “I am convinced that it will pass,” he said.[/restrict]


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Bowman banner appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

“I think your readers might be interested to learn that there has been a noticeable uptick in scams in the ports training space with companies misrepresenting that they are organising legitimate ports training courses in South Africa,” says Norma Wheeler, Senior Associate at Bowmans Law.

“We are aware of at least two courses in South Africa that have falsely purported to be associated with Maritime and Transport Business Solutions (MTBS), a top international port development consultancy. Without the knowledge or consent of MTBS, the course organisers misrepresented that MTBS port advisors would conduct the training.

“The modus operandi is that these course organisers sell the course by falsely associating it with a reputable company, collect funds for courses which they never intend to hold and keep those who have subscribed for the course at bay by claiming that the course has been postponed to a future date.”

Wheeler says that some of the scams are quite sophisticated in that the brochure seems genuine as it closely copies brochures for legitimate courses and the course organiser might have a website with seemingly impressive credentials.

“A good way of vetting advertised courses is checking whether the advertised trainers have agreed to participate and whether the advertised venue is aware of the course,” she says.

“The good news is that a legitimate course on Ports and Terminal Concessions will be hosted by MTBS in association with Bowmans this month in Johannesburg. The details of the course are below.”

Date: 24 – 25 April 2018
Venue: Bowmans, 11 Alice Lane, Sandton


Bowmans, in association with Maritime and Transport Business Solutions, one of the top port development consultancies in the world, is pleased to invite you to register for the upcoming Port and Terminals Concession Course, which is organised by Ports Finance International.

Our head of Ports, Transport and Logistics, Andrew Pike and partner, Trudie Nichols, will present a segment on the South African ports regulatory framework, including public procurement. Full details of the course are available in the brochure CLICK HERE.

In South Africa, alone, there are 11 terminal projects in the pipeline (according to a recent announcement from Transnet National Ports Authority) while throughout Africa, the sector is booming. This is therefore an opportune time to upskill by learning from real case studies.

As a recipient of this message, you qualify for a 30% discount from the standard rate. Please quote “bowmans18” in the comments box when you register your attendance by CLICKING HERE.


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map of West Africa, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority (GBHA) has been urged to look beyond its immediate neighbours and seek more trade from Niger.

Ghana’s most immediate northern neighbour is Burkina Faso while Niger lies beyond that country to the northeast.

It is being suggested that the Ghanaian Corridor be positioned to attract more traffic from landlocked Niger.

The inland countries of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger traditionally trade along the Francophone corridors with ports such as Abidjan benefiting largely from their ocean-going trade, as well as…[restrict] the ports of Togo and Benin and which are being accused of implementing unfair trade practices.

However, GBHA is being advised that due to inefficiencies along the Francophone corridors, opportunities are being presented to the Ghanaian ports.

Transit traffic at the two Ghana ports of Tema and Takoradi has in fact increased quite significantly from 609,320 tonnes in 2014 to 1,249,336 tonnes in 2017. The Niger share of this transit trade is quite small and has decreased from 50,224 tonnes in 2014 to 18,195 tonnes in 2017.

GBHA recently staged a five-day Trade Mission to Niamey, the capital of Niger, led by GBHA’s Board Chairman, Peter Mac Manu and including the Director General of GPHA, Paul Asare Ansah, during which assurance were given that Ghana was prepared to offer every assistance to Niger’s importers and exporters.

One of the concerns raised by representatives of Niger traders concerned what they said was the licensing by the Government of Niger of a private terminal operator, Bolloré Transport and Logistics, to weigh and process all laden trucks using the Ghana-Burkina Faso route to Niger.

“The siting of the Bolloré Terminal coupled with their charges is making the Ghanaian corridor expensive. We appeal to Ghana’s ports to bridge the language barrier between the two countries by increasing information flow in the French language,” the GBHA delegation was told.[/restrict]


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The Saudi VLCC AbQaiq. Picture: Wikipedia Commons, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Saudi VLCC AbQaiq. Picture: Wikipedia Commons

A Saudi Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) tanker, The 302,986-dwt ABQAIQ (IMO 9247182) has been attacked by Houthi forces while sailing in international waters in the Red Sea about 48 n.miles west-southwest of the main Yemeni port of Hodeidah (al Hudaydah).

Serious damage to the tanker was averted through the intervention of a coalition warship, although the tanker took some slight damage, probably from a projectile, which did not however prevent the ship from continuing with its voyage northwards towards the Red Sea.

The tanker remains under…[restrict] escort at this stage, or until it has passed from the area of conflict off Yemen.

The attack by the Houthis, who are in command of northern Yemen and the capital of Sana’a, is thought to be in response to a Saudi-led coalition force attack on Monday this week on the Houthi-controlled port city of Hodeidah. The attack destroyed a house and killed 12 civilians including seven children, all from the same family.

The Saudi-led coalition air strike in turn was retaliation to a number of missile attacks on Saudi Arabia from the Houthis in Yemen. At least one death in the Saudi capital of Riyadh has been reported.

The war in Yemen has so far claimed more than 10,000 lives and left hundreds of thousands homeless and starving.[/restrict]


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Typical Mozambique inter-island and mainland-island transport, a converted landing craft (named Lualua) off Inhaca Island. Picture is by Terry Hutson , feauring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Typical Mozambique inter-island and mainland-island transport, a converted landing craft (named Lualua) off Inhaca Island. Picture is by Terry Hutson

Mozambique is making available new funding that will be allocated to maritime administrations throughout the country to improve search and rescue capacity, Minister of Transport and Communications Carlos Mesquita has announced.

The allocation of resources will proceed gradually and according to specific needs. This year, for example, the maritime administrations of Gaza, the Island of Mozambique, Nacala, Angoche, Inhambane, as well as the Cahora Bassa reservoir and Lake Niassa will be considered.

The move was announced during the National Marine Institute (INAMAR) national planning meeting in Maputo on Monday.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications said…[restrict] it hopes the allocation of resources to maritime administrations will reduce maritime accidents resulting from poor surveillance.

In 2017 maritime authorities recorded a total of 58 ship or boatwrecks, resulting in 155 deaths and 77 missing persons, against the 64 in 2016, which caused 208 deaths and 20 missing persons.

Minister Mesquita hopes the trend can be reversed through by more energetic INAMAR activity.

In his speech, Mesquita urged INAMAR managers to adapt the institution’s planning, training and organisation to the new challenges posed by the growth of maritime activity in general, and by the development of the mineral and oil resources industry in particular.

“The new context requires human and material resources for INAMAR to actively participate in the promotion of good practices so that maritime transport takes place in a safe and pollution-free environment,” the minister said, adding that efforts were being made to train institution personnel in safety, protection and the prevention of oil pollution.

He added that the government’s efforts to create an attractive environment for maritime transport in the country should be complemented by careful planning by INAMAR to provide specialised staff to adequately intervene on different fronts.

Mozambique has been adhering to and implementing international conventions to provide the maritime sector with tools to inspect, monitor, prevent and combat marine and coastal pollution, with a view to attracting more cargo and passenger ships.

In the context of the fight against terrorism in ports, the government has implemented the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS), which contains joint measures between the government and port managers to increase security and compliance with international standards. source: Notícias

Seven die as boat carrying 11 sinks in central Mozambique

Boat in Mozambique, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

In a related matter, seven people, including two policemen, were drowned after a boat sank to the bottom of Zambezi River due to bad weather in central province Tete in Mozambique on Monday night.

Speaking to the press on Tuesday, the Administrator of the Zumbo district of Tete, John Manhoso, said the boat carried a total of 11 people and the bad weather was the cause of the accident.

“We appeal to sailors and other navigators of this river, to be wary of the overcrowding of their vessels and the current temperature in the day to day,” he said, adding that efforts to find the bodies were ongoing.

He appealed for help from people living nearby and on islands in the river to report to authorities if any bodies are found.

Many of the river accidents that occur in Tete Province are caused by crocodiles and hippos. source: Xinhua[/source]


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Transaid team visiting Zambia, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Transaid team visiting Zambia

At the end of March, four long-term supporters of Transaid embarked on a self-funded trip to Zambia to visit the charity’s projects, meet partners and learn more about what the organisation is doing to transform lives through safe, available and sustainable transport.

Mike Daly, Transaid Ambassador and Clipper Non-Executive Director; Chris Dolby, Head of Talent development at XPO Logistics; Martin Port, Founder and CEO of BigChange; and Alan Thornton, Commercial Director of W H Malcolm, were joined by freelance journalist Ian Norwell and were welcomed to Zambia by Transaid’s Chief Executive, Caroline Barber, Corporate Partnerships Officer, Jade Ashby, and Project Manager Victor Simfukwe.

Martin Port explained the rationale of organising such a trip: “BigChange are a corporate partner of Transaid and as part of our close ties with the charity I decided I wanted to view all the great work the organisation does to save lives in Zambia.”

Together, the group made the 14 hour round trip from Lusaka to Serenje. This was where Transaid is working alongside a consortium of partners and the Zambian Ministry of Health to tackle severe malaria in children aged under six by improving access to a new World Health Organisation (WHO) approved drug, rectal artesunate (RAS).

In Serenje, the group were able to meet a range of stakeholders: the District Health Management Team; local health facility staff; community health volunteers; emergency transport scheme (bicycle ambulance) riders; traditional leaders, and community members, including families whose children have survived severe malaria thanks to timely access to RAS and the injectable form of artesunate.

Transaid logo, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

“It was truly humbling, touching and extremely powerful to see the impact that the work is having on the people living in very remote and hard to reach communities,” commented Chris Dolby.

On returning to Lusaka, the group were introduced to Transaid’s road safety and professional driver training programme, delivered in partnership with the Industrial Training Centre (ITC). Here, they were invited to celebrate the formal handover of a training vehicle, donated by W H Malcolm, alongside all ITC staff, board members, students, trainers and the Zambian Ministry.

In the words of the donor: “W H Malcolm is delighted to be able to donate a truck to the ITC. Personally, I have been overwhelmed by the response from everyone at the ITC and feel privileged that this vehicle will have a positive impact on road safety in Zambia, reducing the number of incidents on the roads.”

Transaid’s corporate partners are crucial to its work. Without their support, whether financial, the donation of vehicles, the secondment of staff overseas or provision of guidance, Transaid would struggle to achieve everything it does. The charity has indicated its delighted that some of its supporters have been able to see work on the ground in Africa.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Madrid Maersk. Picture courtesy: Shipspotting, appearing in Afria PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Madrid Maersk. Picture courtesy: Shipspotting

Container shipping for the rest of 2018 and into 2019 will show a slow but steady growth as the demand stay ahead of capacity increases which will result in an improved supply/demand balance and slightly improved freight rates together with higher profits for carriers.

That’s the forecast from the latest…[restrict] quarterly edition of edition of shipping analyst Drewry’s Container Forecaster.

“The bad news for carriers is that they are unlikely to see the very strong demand growth rates of early 2017 for the foreseeable future,” said Simon Heaney, senior manager, container research at Drewry and editor of the Container Forecaster. “The good news is that while port handling growth may have peaked, they (the carriers) can still expect more than adequate volumes for at least the next two years.”

According to Drewry, subtle changes to the orderbook, mainly in the form of delivery deferrals, have softened this year’s new capacity burden.

Heaney said that the top-heavy delivery schedule for 2018 with the majority of ULCVs being delivered in the first quarter has depressed Drewry’s supply-demand index. “But the balance will improve as the year progresses. Unfortunately for carriers, this won’t come soon enough to erase the negative sentiment for annual contracts, hence why we only anticipate a small uplift in average freight rates for the year,” he said.

Renewed newbuild contracting activity was not yet at the level that risks worsening the supply-demand balance, Heaney advised. “For now, we are optimistic that new investment in containerships will be appropriate to the demand needs.”

The forecasts were finalised before the recent escalation in US/China trade hostility.

“A trade war is not yet inevitable, but given the lack of details, quantifying the risk to container shipping is very difficult,” Heaney said. source: Drewry Container Forecaster[/restrict]


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Carnival Horizon on her sea trials, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Carnival Horizon on her sea trials

In a ceremony held last week (28 March) at the Italian shipyard of Fincantieri, Carnival Cruise Line took delivery of their latest cruise ship, the 133,500-ton CARNIVAL HORIZON, the 26th ship in its fleet.

The 3,954-passenger ship has since repositioned to Barcelona, Spain, from where it departed on Monday (2 April) on an inaugural 13-day voyage – the first of four sailings from the European port.

The ship will then operate a trans-Atlantic crossing before arriving in New York on 23 May 2018 for a pierside overnight gala and naming ceremony featuring the ship’s godmother, Grammy award-winning musical artist and acclaimed actress Queen Latifah.

Following a (northern) summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean sailings from New York, Carnival Horizon will shift to Miami for a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning 22 September 2018.

Carnival Horizon offers several unique and exciting features, including a new Dr Seuss-themed WaterWorks aqua park, part of the line’s exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Bonsai Teppanyaki, the line’s first teppanyaki venue, and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse|Brewhouse serving up “real deal” barbecue favorites created by Food Network star Guy Fieri, as well as four new craft beers brewed on board.

The second in the line’s highly successful Vista-class, Carnival Horizon also offers fun innovations like the bike-ride-in-the-sky aerial attraction SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre, the Havana section with tropics-inspired staterooms and its own pool, and Family Harbor featuring extra-roomy accommodations and the Family Harbor Lounge.

Carnival Horizon on her sea trials fatured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Carnival Horizon also includes food and beverage outlets offering amazing views with both indoor and al fresco seating options at venues such as Bonsai Sushi, Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse and Library Bar.

“Carnival Horizon is an absolutely stunning ship offering so many ways to ‘Choose Fun’ both inside and out,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “In addition to the many exciting innovations previously introduced on Carnival Vista, Carnival Horizon offers some new one-of-a-kind features and attractions that make this ship truly special allowing our guests to create a lifetime of wonderful vacation memories,” she added.


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screen print from Masterly video, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Wilhelmsen and KONGSBERG are joining forces to take the next step in autonomous shipping by offering a complete value chain for autonomous ships, from design and development, to control systems, logistics services and vessel operations.

“As a world-leading maritime nation, Norway has taken a position at the forefront in developing autonomous ships,” says Thomas Wilhelmsen, Wilhelmsen group CEO. “Through the creation of the new company named Massterly, we take the next step on this journey by establishing infrastructure and services to design and operate vessels, as well as advanced logistics solutions associated with maritime autonomous operations. Massterly will reduce costs at all levels and be applicable to all companies that have a transport need.”

Land-based control centres will be established to monitor and operate autonomous ships in Norway and internationally. With a combined 360 years of experience, Massterly will benefit from KONGSBERG`s unique technological expertise and solutions, and Wilhelmsen’s world-leading experience in logistics and ship management operations. Norway’s position as a leading maritime nation also creates opportunities in the development of next-generation maritime personnel.

“Autonomy and remote operations are an important development for the maritime industry and Norway’s lead has been made possible as a result of close cooperation between the Norwegian maritime cluster and the Norwegian authorities. In recent years there has been rapid development driven by a significant increase in demand from customers worldwide, from the traditional maritime industry and others. When autonomous ships soon are a reality, Massterly will be crucial for digitalising the infrastructure and operations,” says Geir Håøy, President and CEO of KONGSBERG.

A key milestone in Norway’s maritime autonomy story was the announcement of ‘Yara Birkeland’ in May 2017. It will be the world’s first fully-electric container vessel and will be completely autonomous by 2020, sailing between Yara’s Norwegian production facilities at Herøya and the ports of Brevik and Larvik. Massterly can deliver and operate autonomous vessels such as Yara Birkeland.

“Currently, we are at the very beginning of this development, but we see and believe that there will be a significant market for these types of services in the near future. At first, short sea shipping will use autonomous ships. This also implies increased competitiveness to move transport from road to sea. The gains are increased efficiency and reduction of emissions. For Norway as a maritime nation, this will be an important contribution to reach the UN sustainable development goals,” says Wilhelmsen.

The new joint venture company will be based at offices in Lysaker, Norway, and be fully operational from August 2018. For more information, 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

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Norwegian Sky Pictures: Tony de Freitas, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

picture by Tony de Freitas, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Norwegian Sun, picture by Tony de Freitas, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Three Norwegians in a row! Here in South Africa we have at most a six month window in which to see and admire the cruise ships that come calling, and then they’re gone….. until the following summer. For former Cape Town ship’s photographer Tony de Freitas, now living in Florida USA, it is an all-year round vista of cruise ships coming and going on each and every day of the year, and as if that is not enough, he has taken several recent cruises as if to widen the experience. The following three photographs are from his most recent cruise, in which we see (top) NORWEGIAN SKY coming up the channel at Miami to turn and head out to sea, then (middle) NORWEGIAN SKY still sailing up the channel while NORWEGIAN JADE heads out of the cruise terminal and ahead of her CARNIVAL VICTORY heads out to sea.

In the lower picture is yet another NCL ship, NORWEGIAN SUN seen on her berth at Freeport, Bahamas.

These pictures are by Tony de Freitas



“The fish trap exists because of the fish. Once you’ve gotten the fish you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit. Once you’ve gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning. Once you’ve gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him?”
– Chuang Tzu



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