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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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Kariyushi Leader, as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS mritime news. Picture: Keith Betts
Kariyushi Leader. Picture: Keith Betts

NYK Line’s Ro-Ro car carrier, KARIYUSHI LEADER (IMO 9403217), formerly-named Glorious Express, seen in Durban harbour in late April this year. The 51,917-gt ship is owned by Japanese interests and managed by Tohmei Shipping Co Ltd of Meguro-ku, Tokyo, Japan. She was built in 2008 in the Philippines at the Tsuneishi Heavy Industries shipyard in Balamban. We featured this ship also in October last year, during another visit to Durban. This picture is by Keith Betts


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Berbera Port is set to be significantly developed and turned into a regional maritime hub. Credit: Tristam Sparks

Port of Berbera in Somaliland, as featured in this article from African Arguments featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Despite Somalia’s protestations, DP World and Somaliland are set to expand Berbera port. Some in the neighbourhood are excited. Others are worried.

Despite officially being banned from operating in Somalia this March, DP World is set to begin a project later this year that could have far-reaching implications for the region, both economically and politically.

In 2016, the United Arab Emirates state-owned ports operator closed a landmark deal worth US$442 million to develop and manage the strategically-located Berbera Port. The company entered into this agreement with Somaliland, an autonomous but unrecognised breakaway region in the north of Somalia.

The federal government in Mogadishu pushed back against the deal, seeing it as an infringement of its authority. In March, its national parliament voted to unanimously ban DP World. However, without the ability to actually enforce the ruling, the project is still set to go ahead.
When it does, the development of this small port in in the Gulf of Aden could significantly shift dynamics not just in Somaliland or Somalia, but Ethiopia, Djibouti and the Horn of Africa region more broadly.

What the deal means for Somaliland

The importance of the Berbera Port deal for Somaliland is clear. Given the republic’s lack of international recognition, it is cut off from international aid and relies heavily on remittances. The region has developed a relatively democratic and stable political system, but continues to suffer from several economic challenges such as high unemployment.

With relatively few alternatives therefore, the Somaliland government hopes that the plan to modernise Berbera Port and create an economic free zone will bring many much-needed jobs. The port is already a crucial source of revenue and employment, but capacity would be hugely expanded with a new 400m quay and 250,000 m2 yard extension. This could turn the port into a key regional maritime trading hub and substantially boost government income through customs duties and its 30% stake in the project. It could be economically transformative.

The political ramifications, however, are perhaps just as significant. This ground-breaking deal is going ahead despite desperate efforts from Somalia, which has invalidated the deal and lodged official complaints with the Arab League and African Union. Somalia’s foreign minister again urged DP World to “reconsider” last week. The fact that these attempts to sabotage the project have had little effect highlights Somalia’s lack of authority over its breakaway northern region.

Somaliland’s President Muse Bihi Abdi has been trying to capitalise on this weakness by further strengthening relations with the UAE. He recently visited Abu Dhabi where it was announced that the Gulf nation would train Somaliland forces as part of a separate deal to establish a military base in Berbera. In April, the UAE Ministry of Interior even added a category to its visa form to allow citizens to apply from “The Republic of Somaliland” rather than just Somalia.

Not everyone in region is happy though. There are allegations that ruling officials accepted bribes to authorise the project. The opposition has complained of a lack of transparency around the deal. Meanwhile, others warn that rivalry over land ownership in the Berbera area could lead to disputes and grievances.

Yet in concrete as well as symbolic ways, the Berbera port deal has firmly moved Somaliland one step closer to international recognition, a goal that has remained out of reach for the past 27 years.

What the deal means for Ethiopia

As well as altering relations between Somaliland and Somalia, the DP World deal could also have important repercussions for Ethiopia. On 1 March, it was announced that the regional hegemon had acquired a 19% stake in the project. As part of this deal, Ethiopia is required to construct the “Berbera Corridor”, a $300 million road linking the port to the capital Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia’s close inclusion in the deal adds another country with which Somaliland is dealing with directly. With a population of over 100 million people, it also guarantees Berbera port a large and key commercial market. However, Ethiopia stands to benefit hugely from the port expansion too, economically and strategically, and has in fact been lobbying the rich UAE and other Gulf nations to invest in Berbera for years.

This reason for this is that, at the moment, 95% of the land-locked country’s imports and exports flow through Djibouti. A modernised port in Somaliland would provide an alternative for Addis Ababa and loosen its heavy dependency on its small north-eastern neighbour. The Berbera corridor would also help Ethiopia open up its relatively underdeveloped eastern regions, particularly to the trade of livestock and agricultural goods. As a piece in The Conversation argues, the project also has potential geostrategic value to Addis in keeping Eritrea isolated and consolidating its own control over the region.

What the deal means for Djibouti

As well as Mogadishu, the party with the most to lose from the DP World deal is Djibouti, which has come to rely on Ethiopia’s custom as much as Ethiopia relies on Djibouti’s access to the sea. Having profited hugely from this relationship over the years, Djibouti now stands to see hundreds of millions of dollars in customs revenue diverted once its near monopoly on routes in and out of Ethiopia comes to an end.

Djibouti is clearly frustrated that the ever-expanding DP World is seeking to develop ports both in Djibouti and Somaliland. It had in fact already been quarrelling recently with the company, which was awarded a 50-year concession to run its Doraleh Container Terminal in 2006. In 2014, the government lodged claims that the UAE state-owned company had made illegal payments to secure the contract. This February, a London court dismissed the charges, prompting Djibouti to terminate the deal unilaterally in what the UAE called an “arbitrary” and “illegal” move.

Scheduled to start construction this year, the Berbera port deal clearly has both its winners and losers. In an often unpredictable and adversarial region, this one development could see wide-ranging political and economic dynamics start to shift.

source: African Arguments and republished on a Creative Commons license.


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A few hours before Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s White House meeting on 30 April with President Trump, the Presidency in Abuja announced agreement to build a new rail network, led by the US-corporate giant General Electric and including SA’s Transnet.

Nigerian Railways - set for a rebuild on the Cape gauge, as reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Nigerian Railways – set for a rebuild on the Cape gauge

“The first of @AsoRock ‘s #PMBinDC Agreements has been signed, with an international consortium led by @generalelectric (comprising GE, SinoHydro, Transnet and APM Terminals), for the interim phase of the concession of Nigeria’s narrow-gauge rail network,” reads the first of six Tweets posted by the official @NGRPresidency account early Monday morning DC time. The project is expected to significantly boost passenger service and freight capacity, the Tweets said.

Below is the announcement, issued by GE and updated on 29 April, on behalf of consortium members from China, South Africa and the Netherlands.

International Consortium Signs Interim Phase Agreement with FGN for Rail Concession

Consortium to proceed with execution of Interim Phase of the Rail Concession process

Following its award of preferred bidder status by the…


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The ancient port of Suakin, with the ruins of a bank in the foreground and the port in the distance. From a news story appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The ancient port of Suakin, with the ruins of a bank in the foreground and the port in the distance

Sudan has taken delivery of a number of harbour tugs and port cranes, provided by the Qatari Ports Authority.

It is understood that the tugs and cranes are intended for the Sudanese port of Suakin (Swakin Sea Port) as part of Qatar Ports Authority’s concession to refurbish and operate the port.

Details of the tugs and how many have not been revealed and any information on these would be appreciated.

The transfer of tugs and cranes is a follow-up on phase one of the…


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Rolled steel for export from Port of Saldanha, from a news report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news.      Picture: Terry Hutson
Rolled steel for export from Port of Saldanha.      Picture: Terry Hutson

The South African government has expressed disappointment at not being granted exemption from the US Section 232 steel and aluminium tariff duties.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump signed Proclamations granting permanent country-exemptions to a select number of countries and extended by one month the Section 232 steel and aluminium tariff duty exemptions for some.

“South Africa is disappointed that it was not granted an exemption from the duties,” the Department of Trade and Industry said on Tuesday.

Monday’s proclamation follows on the 8 March proclamation signed by President Trump to impose a 10% ad valorem tariff on imports of aluminium articles and a 25% ad valorem tariff on imports of steel articles. These excluded…


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Mombasa port and city map, as appearing in report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Mombasa port and city map

A liquefied natural gas (LPG) terminal to be developed at the Port of Mombasa by Mombasa Gas Terminal Limited (MGT) is to receive financing from the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

MGT is owned by Dubai-based Milio International Limited, a firm that trades in refined fuels. The IFC is ready to loan MGT US$48 million (Sh4.8 billion) for the construction costs, part of…


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Davis Turner’s Dartford hub from where the PRC service will be commenced outbound, from a news report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Davis Turner’s Dartford hub from where the PRC service will be commenced outbound

Davies Turner, a leading UK independent freight forwarding company, is adding an export LCL (less than Container Load) cargo service by rail from the UK to China one year after launching an import LCL and FCL (Full Container Load) rail service in the other direction.

This was reported on 25 April.

It is understood that consignments destined for China are consolidated through the company’s nationwide hub and spoke trunking operations and then loaded at their regional distribution centre in Dartford, Kent (Thames Estuary) onto one of Davies Turner’s daily trailer services to Hamburg. In Hamburg, consignments are transferred onto the rail service, which then heads east, passing through Poland, Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan, before arriving in Wuhan, China. Shipments are transported under an Export Accompanied Document (EAD).

Ex-UK transit times to Wuhan range from 26 to 30 days, whilst…

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Brexit image of Europe and UK flags, appearing with article on Brexit and how it affects the distribution side of business, in a report carried by Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Different businesses have different freight-related needs. For some, the timeliness of deliveries is crucial; for others, it is the cost of moving freight. The arrangements for perishable goods will be different from raw materials for manufacturing or parts for assembly, for example.

Road haulage, maritime and aviation sectors may need to take different steps to prepare for the effects, and harness the opportunities, of Brexit. But there has been little published analysis of sector-specific freight needs.

In a new inquiry launching on 26 April the House of Commons Transport Committee is offering freight operators and their diverse customers, the opportunity to specify these needs. Though the terms of reference are wide, the Committee hopes the sector will be also be forthcoming about the issues involved.

Although UK and EU negotiators have now agreed a Brexit transitional period to run until December 2020, the pressure is on to determine just what is required – and what can be delivered in the time available – for the smooth operation of freight in the longer term.

Launching the inquiry, the Chair of the Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, commented: “We have heard a lot about customs arrangements, border controls, tariffs and trade deals. But we haven’t heard enough about transport infrastructure, policy and regulatory implications affecting freight operators and their customers. But from day one after Brexit, we will all expect our goods to turn up and for life to continue as normal.

“While the agreement of a transitional period to December 2020 is welcome, there remains a great deal of uncertainty for UK freight operators and their customers. The implications of Brexit will vary across freight modes and types of freight. We want the sector to tell us what’s worrying them. What is required to make this work?

“We want to cast our evidence-gathering net as wide as possible, then focus our attention on areas where government and industry actions will be most pressing, to prepare for both the challenges and opportunities of Brexit.”

Terms of reference

The House of Commons Transport Committee intends to examine the potential effects of Brexit on UK freight operations and assess the preparatory steps operators, their customers and the Government need to take.

The inquiry will not consider border and customs arrangements, trade deals or tariffs as these fall outside the Committee’s remit, but will look at the steps required to prepare for the challenges and opportunities of Brexit for UK freight, particularly through investment in transport infrastructure and changes to transport policy and regulation.

The Committee is particularly interested to receive written evidence addressing the following:

* The scale and nature of the challenges and opportunities Brexit will present to UK freight companies and their customers.

* The adequacy of steps being taken by freight companies, their representative bodies, their customers and the Government in preparation for the challenges and opportunities of Brexit.

* Mode and/or sector-specific requirements for additional Government funding, or other changes to Government funding plans, particularly in relation to transport infrastructure, to support the needs of freight; and

* Any new arrangements needed for the licencing, regulation and training of operators and workers in the freight sector after Brexit (including the adequacy of measures set out in the Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Bill).

The closing date for written submissions is 8 June 2018. Submissions should be sent by way of the inquiry page on the Committee’s website to be found by: CLICKING HERE

Committee Membership

Lilian Greenwood MP, Chair (Lab, Nottingham South);
Ronnie Cowan MP (SNP, Inverclyde);
Steve Double MP (Con, St Austell and Newquay);
Paul Girvan MP (DUP, South Antrim);
Huw Merriman MP (Con, Bexhill and Battle);
Grahame Morris MP (Labour, Easington);
Luke Pollard MP (Lab (Co-op), Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport);
Iain Stewart MP (Con, Milton Keynes South);
Graham Stringer MP (Lab, Blackley and Broughton);
Martin Vickers MP (Con, Cleethorpes);
Daniel Zeichner MP (Lab, Cambridge).

Guide for witnesses


Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Aerial view of FCS 5009 Ampelmann L-type sea trial North sea, as appearing in a business report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Aerial view of FCS 5009 Ampelmann L-type sea trial North sea

First transfers took place in Gulf of Guinea in late March

The partnership between Damen Shipyards Group and Ampelmann to extend the benefits of motion-compensated gangway systems to fast crew supply vessels has reached a major landmark. At the end of March, the first Damen fast crew supply (FCS) vessel to be fitted with an Ampelmann L-type system began operations in the Gulf of Guinea. This marks a significant step forward in the move towards bringing the latest advances in safe and flexible marine access to a wider array of oil and gas operations.

Damen and Ampelmann have together been promoting their integrated solutions combining Damen’s FCS range and Ampelmann’s systems and now, thanks to the vision of Nigerian offshore services company LATC Marine and its client ExxonMobil Nigeria, the first has entered service.

An L-type Ampelmann motion-compensated gangway system has been fitted to a 50-metre Damen FCS 5009 that was already in operation with LATC Marine. The installation took place at Damen’s Nigerian service hub at Port Harcourt with Damen and Ampelmann working together to ensure a smooth integration.

Mr Gbolahan Shaba, COO at LATC Marine commented: “We are proud to have partnered with Damen and Ampelmann in delivering one of the most innovative solutions in the Nigerian upstream industry in recent years. We are especially pleased to see ExxonMobil as the first to embrace this in the Nigerian market after agreeing to trial the gangway on several of their platforms. Today, the Ampelmann system is fast becoming the company’s preferred mode of personnel transfer and we look forward to delivering additional units to them before the end of 2018.”

He continues, “LATC Marine has long been at the forefront of innovative marine service offerings, partnering with highly reputable organisations including Damen Shipyards and Clarksons Platou to deploy some of the most technologically advanced vessels to support several deep offshore drilling campaigns off Nigeria. With this first Ampelmann L-type system now in operation in Nigeria, the country’s upstream oil and gas industry is clearly trending in the right direction and we hope to continue to be a part of this. We remain committed to championing the campaign for safer offshore personnel transfer practices in Nigeria and look forward to deepening our partnership with Ampelmann and Damen in achieving this. Our desire is to see other upstream players in the country embrace this technology as well.”

David Inman, Business Development Manager Europe & Africa for Ampelmann, added: “Ampelmann is also proud to be part of the team delivering safe and efficient marine based access in Nigeria. This service-based delivery is a first for Nigeria and is part of our strategy to revolutionise the way we get our offshore workers where they make the difference. This couldn’t have been possible without having likeminded companies in LATC Marine and Damen who both share Ampelmann’s vision to make offshore access ‘as easy as crossing the street’.”

FCS 5009 Ampelmann L-type sea trial North sea and appearing in a news rport featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
FCS 5009 Ampelmann L-type sea trial North sea

“At Damen, we are delighted to see the integrated Damen / Ampelmann marine access solution commercially operational for the first time,” observed David Stibbe, Business Development Manager. “We are especially pleased that the launch customers are a top-tier oil major in the form of ExxonMobil and an experienced operator such as LATC Marine. It was the ability of all four stakeholders to work together effectively that has made this project a success. It represents a major step change away from the traditional swing roping transfer technique used in this area, and we hope marks the start of a wider move towards safer and more efficient transfers in the region.”

The first commercial deployment of a Damen FCS 5009 with a retro-fitted Ampelmann motion-compensated gangway will also be of interest to the other existing operators of FCS 5009s. Around 40 are currently in operation around the world and this development opens up the possibility of others choosing to upgrade in a similar fashion. The new FCS 5009s that Damen holds in stock ready for outfitting and rapid delivery can now also be offered with Ampelmann’s L-type gangway as a proven option.

Damen’s new 70-metre FCS 7011 is additionally likely to benefit from the proof-of-concept effect. The 7011 has been designed to operate with the Ampelmann S-type motion-compensated gangway, and this news can only increase confidence in its future success as a game-changer in cost-effective, long-distance marine access.


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Ports & Ships publishes regularly updated SHIP MOVEMENT reports including ETAs for ports extending from West Africa to South Africa to East Africa and including Port Louis in Mauritius.

In the case of South Africa’s container ports of Durban, Ngqura, Ports Elizabeth and Cape Town links to container Stack Dates are also available.

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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MSC Beijing arriving in the port of Durban, from a photographic featuure with Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News. Picture: Trevor Jones
MSC Beijing.       Picture: Trevor Jones

Mediterranean Shipping Company’s 8,089-TEU container ship MSC BEIJING (IMO 9289089) arrived in Durban harbour on 25 April. The 105,034-dwt ship, which was built in 2005 at the Hanjin Heavy Industries Shipyard in Pusan, South Korea, is 325-metres in length and 43m wide. MSC Beijing is owned by German interests and managed by Reederei Claus-Peter Offen GmbH & Co KG of Hamburg, Germany. This picture is by Trevor Jones



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And then again are gone,
They bloom and fade alternate,
And so it goes rolling on.
I know it, and it troubles
My life, my love, my rest,
My heart is wise and witty,
And it bleeds within my breast.
– Heinrich Heine, “A New Spring,” 1826, Pictures of Travel, translated from German by Charles Godfrey Leland



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