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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Ca[e Topwn harbour tug USIBA in Table Bay, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
USIBA. Picture: Ian Shiffman
Cape Town’s latest harbour tug USIBA (IMO 9755268) is seen moving across the waters of the bay. The 479-gt tug was built in Durban at the Southern African Shipyards in 2017 – number 7 in a planned series of nine identical 70-ton bollard pull, Voith Schneider-propelled tugs for Transnet National Ports Authority. Usiba was intended for the port of Richards Bay until snaffled for Table Bay Harbour to deal with the larger shipping being experienced in Cape Town. Incidentally, number 9 in the series which is intended for Saldanha and the last of the present contract, remains unfinished at the shipyard with no information available as to when she will be completed. This picture is by Ian Shiffman


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Dutch Navy ship John de Witt escorting merchant ship delivering WFP aid in Somali waters, from a report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Dutch Navy ship John de Witt escorting merchant ship delivering WFP aid in Somali waters

Enhancing Western Indian Ocean’s capacity to combat piracy and transnational organised crimes

The need for improvements in regional and international cooperation in order to secure the maritime domain and collectively enhance the Western Indian Ocean region’s capacity to combat piracy and all other transnational organised crimes has been highlighted at an assembly in Balaclava.

The Mauritian Attorney General, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Institutional Reforms, Mr Maneesh Gobin, yesterday spoke on behalf of the chairman of the Indian Ocean Commission during the opening ceremony of the 21st Plenary Session of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS).

Mauritius is chairing this important platform geared towards coordinating actions in the fight against piracy in the Western Indian Ocean region.

Minister Gobin pointed out that the crisis stemming from piracy off the Somali coast has shed light on our region’s dependency on external providers of security solutions such as the European Union, NATO, and other willing coalitions.

Royal Navy ship searching skiffs off Somalia. Picture: UK Ministry of Defence, appearing in report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Royal Navy ship searching skiffs off Somalia. Picture: UK Ministry of Defence

This assistance has led to a significant drop in the number of acts of piracy in the Indian Ocean, he said.

He said it remained important to continue to address the lack of safety at sea, which is an impediment to the emergence of regional stability and sustained growth and is in the interest of all and not just for the region.

“We in the region have to address security in all its dimensions and give the necessary attention to each of them. Though still focused on piracy, this is in line with the CGPCS which aims at achieving a lasting legacy from the region to the region,” Mr Gobin said.

It is within this context that the region has decided to establish a regional mechanism for surveillance and control and contribute to the improvement of maritime security. Two Agreements were signed on 29 April 2018 to that effect, he said.

Gobin also spoke of the way forward which comprises broadening CGPCS’s range of action to join forces and fight more efficiently the various types of crimes and illegal activities that trouble the maritime zones.

According to Gobin this warrants an increased mobilisation of resources for a coordinated action directly involving Indian Ocean States and regional organisations. “Only then will the Western Indian Ocean be a truly secure maritime area, for our countries and international trade,” he added.


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Doraleh Container Terminal at Djibouti, from a report appearing with Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Doraleh Container Terminal at Djibouti

Djibouti, which is involved in a dispute with the UAE’s DP World over control of the Doraleh Container Terminal at Djibouti, has agreed to Ethiopia now taking a direct share in its port operation.

According to reports coming from Djibouti state media sources, it took a visit by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to secure the deal.

Part of Djibouti’s ‘displeasure’ with DP World was that it allowed Ethiopia a…[restrict] 19% stake in the neighbouring Port of Berbera, which the semi-autonomous state of Somaliland has concessioned to the Dubai-based port terminal operator. This appeared to cause Djibouti to feel threatened because Ethiopia currently relies almost exclusively on Djibouti for its outlet to the sea.

While the argument over the Berbera port boils over, with Somalia claiming that Somaliland has no authority to sign concessions allowing outside operators to secure control of its ports, the move by Djibouti and Ethiopia for the latter to take a stake in the Djibouti port may help to defuse the matter in Djibouti somewhat.

According to Ethiopian Minister of Transportation, Ahmed Shide, the question of what percentage Ethiopia will acquire has still to be agreed. He said this might take two months once an assessment of the port’s value had been completed and agreed.

Ethiopia is apparently willing to trade shares in some of its major companies, including the highly successful Ethiopian Airlines and possibly its agricultural activities, to sweeten the deal.

Djibouti’s strategic position at the base of the Red Sea and within the troubled Gulf of Aden region is further highlighted by the interest shown by French shipping giant CMA CGM which wants to develop a container terminal at the port, as well as Singapore-based shipping company Pacific International Lines (PIL) which intends increasing the volume of containers that it handles at Djibouti by one third.[/restrict]


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The Bull Nose at Apapa Port, beyond this orderly scene lies heavily congested roads, as featured in a report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Bull Nose at Apapa Port, beyond this orderly scene lies heavily congested roads

There is mixed reaction to the initiative of the Nigerian Navy in issuing a ‘Call-up Card System‘ whereby trucks arriving at the port of Apapa are issued with a call-up card that controls when each vehicle that has legitimate business within the port may enter the port precinct.

Vehicles lacking a card are turned away.

Secretary of the Amalgamation of Truck Owners in the Maritime Industry, Oluwaseyi Taiwo, told journalists that the system has restored sanity and order while bringing relief to residents and motorists.

He said the system prevented others from taking advantage of the congested roads. “Although the…[restrict] intervention may not be a permanent one, it is a big relief to the road infrastructure in the state. It is also a relief to everyone, but it is not over yet as there is still room for improvement,” he said.

He said a transit parking area near the port was required which could discourage illegal parking on the roads, which causes the congestion. An automated loading system to serve as a call-up that will inform truckers when they can enter the port to load is also required.

He pointed out that the union has already purchased land for this purpose and should be seen as doing its part.

He called on government to repair the roads leading to the port as their condition adds to the frustration felt by truck drivers.

Not a permanent solution

However, the chairman of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Chief Remi Ogungbemi, said that having a dedicated call-up card system that only allows trucks to do business within the port, did not provide a permanent solution and would simply transfer the problem of too many trucks to other parts of Lagos.

“We see the exercise as transferring the problem from Apapa to Kingsway road, Ojuelegba and Ojota areas because most of those areas, you still see trucks that are queuing several days,” he said.

Ogungbemi said that the navy was only trying to manage the flow of trucks into Apapa by the use of cards issued to drivers. An electronic call-up system was the right way to go, he maintained, as where there is human interference, there will be favouritism. “If the authority can key into the electronic system, it will be better off.” source:[/restrict]


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Port of Tema, which features in a story in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Tema

Hapag-Lloyd focuses on growing market in Africa

German shipping line Hapag-Lloyd has opened its new office in Tema, Ghana’s most important port city.

Commencing immediately, Hapag-Lloyd will manage most of its operational activities in West Africa from this location.

“I’m very pleased that our enhanced presence in West Africa is showing initial signs of success,” said Anthony Firmin, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Hapag-Lloyd.

“Our West Africa Express (WAX) service from…[restrict] and to West Africa has been operating with extraordinary success for several years and is very well received by customers. With our new East Africa Service (EAS), connecting all major trades globally via our hub in Saudi Arabia with Kenya and Tanzania, we have entered another new trade. As a result, we are tying Africa even more closely to our global network while benefiting at the same time from positive economic developments in large parts of Africa.”

The GDP of West Africa has grown significantly in the last two years, rising by an average of 6 percent. Ghana numbers among the fastest-growing economies in the region. This growth is primarily driven by the trade in gold, but also in oil and gas products. Among Ghana’s most important export goods are cocoa, timber products and cashew nuts.

Hapag-Lloyd has massively expanded its presence in Africa over the last two years and established a fast connection from West Africa to Europe via what are now two services: the West Africa Express (WAX: Hamburg – Casablanca – Tangier – Dakar – Tema – Abidjan – Tangier – Antwerp – Hamburg) and the Mediterranean West Africa Express (MWX: Tangier – Algeciras – Cotonou – Lagos (Apapa & Pipan) – Tema – Tangier).

Both services will call at the port city of Tema, which is not far from Ghana’s capital, Accra.

Plans call for the port’s annual handling capacity to be tripled by mid-2019, from 1 million to 3 million TEU. Hapag-Lloyd says it is expecting additional growth opportunities from this capacity expansion.[/restrict]


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Port of Maputo.   Picture by Terry Hutson, in a report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Maputo. Picture by Terry Hutson

If the port of Maputo is to reach its ambitious target of handling 20 million tonnes of cargo a year by 2020, rising to 30 million tonnes by 2033, then it is essential that more of the bulk goods heading for the port travel by rail rather than road.

That’s the world of Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC) Managing Director, Osorio Lucas, who was speaking at the 6th Maputo Port Conference held in Maputo recently.

“The next stage involves rebalancing the way in which cargo reaches the port,” he said.

“Although this is mostly a port for…[restrict] bulk cargo, about 80 per cent of the traffic for Maputo port is still moved by truck, which is not the most efficient or ecologically sound way of moving cargo,” he said.

This was imperative, if the port’s targets are to be reached, Lucas stressed, since there is simply not enough capacity on the roads to and from the port to move 33 million tonnes a year.

Transport Minister Carlos Mesquita took an optimistic view, telling the conference that the ratio between road and rail traffic was gradually shifting in favour of the rail network.

“Two years ago, 82 per cent of the cargo handled by the port of Maputo used the roads, and 18 percent was carried by rail,” he said. “In 2017, this indicator improved significantly to 26 per cent of cargo using the railways, and 74 per cent using the roads. This trend should be consolidated and improved in the following financial years.”

Increased use of Maputo port, the Minister added, must not be at the cost of great damage to the country’s roads, and the increased risk of traffic accidents caused by large numbers of trucks heading to and from the port.

It was the government’s vision, Mesquita continued, that bulk cargo should travel by rail “thus maximising the natural advantages that rail transport offers to this sort of cargo.”

Mesquita told the conference that last year MPDC paid taxes of 11.6 billion meticais (about 191 million US dollars). In addition, MPDC paid 19.7 million dollars in rent for its lease of the port. Taken together, these figures amount to six per cent of the country’s total tax revenue. source: AIM[/restrict]


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Map of Tanzania and adjecent countries, appearing with Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Tanzania’s standard gauge railway (SGR) which will extend from the port at Dar es Salaam to Mwanza on Lake Victoria, and possibly Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika, as well as 572-kilometre extension from Isaka to Rusumo- Kigali in Rwanda, will also be utilised to carry up to 3.6 million tonnes of nickel ore from the Kabanga mine near the town of Ngara and Biharamulo in the Kagera Region.

The mine is situated to the west the southern end of Lake Victoria, close to the main road to Kigali in Rwanda and is an obvious choice to add greater cargo volume for the SGR.

It’s expected that the SGR will attract traffic from Rwanda, Burundi and…[restrict] the Eastern DRC. Construction of the line is currently in two phases from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro and from Morogoro to Makutupora in Dodoma.

A further phase will see the line extended from Isaka to Rusumo and eventually Kigali in Rwanda.

The possibility of extending the SGR to Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika was debated in the National Assembly last week when the MP for Nzega, Mr Hussein Bashe proposed in the House that the extension should be made to Kigoma to attract freight from the eastern DRC.

It was pointed out that the initial plans were for the new railway line to go from Tabora to Mwanza, which would then rely on exports and imports shipped across the lake to and from Uganda.

However, the Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Prof Makame Mbarawa, pointed out that the government of Tanzania would only fund the Isaka-Rusumo section while the government of Rwanda will carry the cost for the remaining section to Kigali.

The Minister explained that the Tabora-Kigoma section of the railway line will transport consignments to and from the eastern parts of DRC through Lake Tanganyika to Kalemie port in that country.

He added that the SGR section to Rusumo-Kigali in Rwanda stands to benefit from consignments not only from Rwanda and Burundi but also from Bukavu, Goma and other parts of northern DRC, and thus making the project much more beneficial to Tanzania.

The minister said the government is conducting a feasibility study for the costs of undertaking the project from Tabora to Kigoma. “In the next financial year, we have allocated 100bn/- for compensation along the proposed route of the SGR from Isaka to Rusumo,” he said. source: Tanzania Daily News[/restrict]

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What the first stage of the new Lamu port is to look like, from a story appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
What the first stage of the new Lamu port is to look like

Construction of the new Lamu port is progressing fast with the first berth expected to be ready by June this year.

However, not everyone is pleased with its progress. According to a report carrier by Business Daily, some 10,000 fishermen and mangrove loggers have been displaced by the ongoing dredging activity.

The affected people say the government has let them down by delaying the release of plans for resettlement.

The Lamu port forms part of the ambitious and massive Sh2.5 trillion Lamu Port – South Sudan – Ethiopia (Lapsset) project.

According to what the fishermen and loggers told the newspaper last week, they have requested the government to speed up the release of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP), which they say was formulated almost five years ago.

They say they are disappointed with the way the government is handling this issue, which has left them displaced and with no income.

The plan is also supposed to determine the amount of compensation, if any, and also prescribe a clear resettlement plan where necessary.

The affected people say they are ready for a legal battle if necessary.

Construction work for the first three berths of the new port has reached the 42 per cent stage and the first berth is expected to be ready by June this year. source: Business Daily


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MSC Meraviglia, commencing the European summer cruise season from Hamburg, From a report carried by Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC Meraviglia

On Sunday (29 April) MSC Cruises’ MSC MERAVIGLIA officially made her maiden call at the port of Hamburg, marking the start of her new as well as the brand’s summer cruise season in Northern Europe.

At the traditional exchange of crests attended by Senator Horch from the City of Hamburg as well as representatives from the port and other institutions, media and travel partners, MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based world’s largest privately owned cruise line, announced that MSC GRANDIOSA, which is under construction, will be christened in Hamburg on 2 November 2019.

“We are delighted to announce the christening of MSC Grandiosa here in Hamburg,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman. “Since our last christening in Germany of MSC Magnifica in 2010, as a company we have embarked on a journey of strong growth and the German cruise guest has embraced our brand and our offering in a strong way so it is only natural that we would look to christen in Germany our next flagship and the first of the Meraviglia-Plus ships to come into service, MSC Grandiosa.

“We hold a special relationship with Germany overall and we are looking forward to celebrating with our German partners next November as well as welcoming our international guests to this historic port, rich in maritime tradition and heritage.”

This summer, MSC Cruises is opening up Northern Europe to even more cruise guests and with the addition of MSC Meraviglia, is offering four ships, 36 different itineraries and six possible embarkation ports across Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Denmark.

The region is becoming the must-visit cruise destination as more and more people wish to explore unspoiled, breath-taking coastlines of the Norwegian Fjords, the natural beauty of the British Isles experience, the cool Scandinavian capitals and immerse themselves in the rich history of the Baltic States.

The destinations on MSC Cruises’ Northern European itineraries offer so much to see and do, but guests needn’t worry about running out of time. MSC says that its itineraries have been developed to offer guests more time ashore to explore everything that their destinations have to offer with extended stays and overnight stays in key ports.

Spending her first season in Northern Europe, MSC Meraviglia offers world-class entertainment with Cirque du Soleil at Sea, the widest choice of dining options, serving a range of international and Mediterranean cuisines, comfortable and innovative accommodation and a Mediterranean-style promenade featuring multiple bars, restaurants and shops.

Home-porting in Hamburg, this award-winning ship offers 10, 11 and 14-night itineraries that include the British Isles and Iceland – a voyage of rugged beauty and contrasting landscapes, or the breath-taking North Cape and the Norwegian archipelago, Spitzbergen.

In September, an 11-night itinerary takes in the Baltic Capitals of Oslo, Nynashamn/Stockholm, Tallinn, and Helsinki with an overnight in the magnificent city of St. Petersburg.

This season will also see the introduction of new itineraries for MSC Cruises. For those looking to explore bustling Northern European cities MSC MAGNIFICA offers a range of outstanding cruises embarking in Hamburg calling at Southampton with just a short transfer to London, Le Havre for access to stylish Paris and an overnight stay in picturesque Amsterdam with its famous cycle ways and tulip displays.

The elegant and modern MSC PREZIOSA will offer seven-night sailings from Kiel and Copenhagen. MSC ORCHESTRA will serve seven and 11-night itineraries from Warnemunde including the Norwegian Fjords and Copenhagen or itineraries that call in the Baltic States of Lithuania, Estonia as well as the Scandinavian countries of Finland, Sweden and Denmark.

For information on Northern Europe itineraries and the MSC Grandiosa visit


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Jadroplov's PERISTIL (52,113-dwt) at Durban's Maydon Wharf in November 2016. Picture by Terry Hutson, appearing with a report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Jadroplov’s PERISTIL (52,113-dwt) at Durban’s Maydon Wharf in November 2016.    Picture by Terry Hutson

Croatia’s Jadroplov shipping line has been thrown a lifeline by the European Commission.

In an announcement yesterday (2 May) the Commission said that it has found Croatian plans for restructuring the shipping company to be in line with EU State aid rules.

Jadroplov, which is based in Split and suffered from reduced volumes and falling prices in worldwide trade of dry bulk cargo has started carrying out a comprehensive restructuring program aimed at reducing costs, focusing on core business and alleviating the financial pressure stemming from high-indebtedness.

Croatia is supporting the process with a subsidy and two State guarantees on bank loans for a total State support amount of HRK 105.6 million (around €14.2 million).

The Commission found that Jadroplov’s restructuring plan will enable the company to become viable in the long term without continued State support. Jadroplov will make a significant own contribution to the cost of restructuring of HRK 144.9 million (around €19.5 million), in particular by securing financing from the private market and through asset sales.

In addition, the assets sale contributes to reducing the potential distortions of competition brought about by the restructuring aid. The Commission therefore concluded that the restructuring plan was in line with EU State aid rules, in particular the 2014 Rescue and Restructuring Guidelines.

At one stage in the 1990s Jadroplov’s ships were regular callers in South African and other African ports and the Croatian company even maintained an office in Durban, while more recently the occasional visitor has been seen.


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Infographic appearing with news report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Unique approach for operators

A collaborative supply chain approach to global decommissioning was launched this week, offering an end-to-end solution from industry leaders, to reduce the decommissioning burden, risk and cost for operators.

The new global decommissioning consortium, which includes Lloyd’s Register (LR), WorleyParsons, and Ardent, brings together 350 years of collective experience to reduce the interfaces, costs and risks of decommissioning for the oil and gas industry.

This consortium includes leading experts to cover all aspects of decommissioning, from late life management to planning, readiness for removal, execution, waste management and monitoring post removal. The consortium has the unique capability to take well operatorship, duty-holdership and title of offshore structures, in addition to providing independent third-party assurance.

“This consortium offers a new, collaborative approach to decommissioning for operators,” says Steve Gilbert, Director of Asset Management and Decommissioning from LR. “It represents a fundamental step change for the industry, aligning assurance, project management, and safe, fit-for-purpose removal and disposal.

“Decommissioning can be daunting; the cost uncertainty, the colossal project scope and the unknown long-term liabilities. The consortium helps to reduce the overall cost, time and liability burden for operators and allows them to focus resources on more fruitful activity, knowing that their decommissioning project is in safe hands. As experts in asset and risk management, and a number one provider of verifications services, this approach will assure safety, efficiency and reputation.”

Set to deliver results Peter Pietka, Ardent CEO, says: “We bring to the consortium over 150 years of maritime retrieval experience, as a global leader in salvage and wreck removal. Through our expertise, we are in the unique position of being able to apply techniques and learnings from other sectors such as marine wreck removal, to improve how to tackle the increasingly important challenge of decommissioning offshore oil and gas infrastructure.”

The consortium is set to deliver smarter decommissioning activities with end to end project management and execution for operators in Europe, Asia and Americas that include best practices from other sectors such as float and tow, used widely in salvage.

Offering considerably more technical value for operators than rival partnerships, the members of the consortium have a proven track record across all areas of late life and decommissioning. It can ensure project efficiency, regulatory compliance and cost certainty in the execution of decommissioning activities, wherever in the world the assets may be.

John Cox, Global Decommissioning Lead, WorleyParsons, says: “The value for industry is that our combined expertise covers the full decommissioning lifecycle. We have the unique capability to become well duty holders and take title of offshore structures plus we offer independent assurance throughout the decommissioning process. This consortium provides a new benchmark in cost-effective decommissioning activities, with safety and peace of mind for the operator.”

Global spending on oil and gas decommissioning is expected to be US$13bn per year by 2040.


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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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Ton Hil II sailing from Durban, April 2018, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Ton Hil II sailing from Durban, April 2018, apparing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news. Pictures: Keith Betts
Ton Hil II. Pictures: Keith Betts

The bulk carrier TON HIL II (IMO 9643180), flagged in the Cayman islands, sails from Durban earlier in April. The 56,047-dwt, 190-metre long by 32m wide bulker was built in 2014 at the Mitsui Ichihara Engineering & Shipbuilding yard in Ichihara, Japan on behalf of her Greek owners. She is managed by Equinox Maritime Limited of Athens and is currently sailing near Cape Agulhas pending orders. These pictures are by Keith Betts



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– Heinrich Heine, “A New Spring,” 1826, Pictures of Travel, translated from German by Charles Godfrey Leland



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