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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MSC Branka departing from Cape Town. Picture: Ian Shiffman, appearing in a feature in Africa PORTS & SHIPS Maritime News
MSC Branka. Picture: Ian Shiffman

The container ship MSC BRANKA (IMO 9720495) outside the port of Cape Town on 12 May 2018, seen departing for her next scheduled port, Las Palmas. Flagged in Portugal (Madeira) the 110,527-dwt ship is 300-metres long and 48m wide and has a maximum container capacity of 9,400 TEU. MSC Branka was built in 2016 at the Shanghai Jiangnan Changxin Shipbuilding Co at Shanghai in China as hull number H3005. This picture is by Ian Shiffman


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Richards Bay Coal Terminal scene, as appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news. Picture by Chas Corbett Photography
Richards Bay Coal Terminal. Picture: Chas Corbett Photography

Port statistics for the month of April 2018, covering the eight commercial ports under the administration of Transnet National Ports Authority, are now available.

Results appear to have returned to their normal levels after the big start to the year but since then port throughput shoes no real growth over the previous year when lumping all eight ports together. Total throughput for April was 22.611 million tonnes compared with 22.039 in March.

In April 2017 the eight ports handled a total…


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Aerial view of the HFO site at the Port of East London, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Aerial view of the HFO site

Strong interest is being shown in the Port of East London’s plans to recommission an existing tank in the port for the handling of liquid bulk and to introduce a liquid bulk terminal through a 25-year port concession awarded to a private, empowered entity. More than 100 attendees representing 97 companies have shown keen interest in the prospect of being awarded the concession.

Representatives of the companies attended a compulsory briefing on 9 May 2018 held by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA). TNPA recently advertised a request for proposals (RFP) with the intention of appointing a terminal operator to finance, re-commission, operate and maintain the HFO tank, and to finance, design, develop, construct, operate, maintain and then transfer to the TNPA the liquid bulk terminal for the handling of liquid bulk cargo after a period of 25 years.

Speaking at the briefing East London Port Manager, Sharon Sijako, said this was the start of a process of opening up one of the most important sectors in the port, the petroleum industry. “This is not just the start of a process of welcoming new players into the market,” she said. “It is the start of a long-term relationship in which we will nurture and grow our new partners, making sure they have all the tools and support they need to not only operate in this sector, but to excel.”

The RFP is targeted at a new entrant or consortium which must have a minimum of Level 4 BBBEE status, is at least 51% South African Black Owned, at least 51% new port entrant owned and at most 49% owned by cargo interest. Interested parties had until Friday, 11 May at 15h00 to obtain the RFP documents and the RFP deadline is 10h00 (CAT) on Thursday, 1 November 2018.

The operator will be procured through a Section 56 market approach, which sees TNPA – as landlord and ports master planner mandated by Section 56 of the National Ports Act – entering into contracts with private terminal operators to design, construct, rehabilitate, develop, finance, maintain, operate and transfer port terminals or facilities back to the port authority. In terms of S56(5), an agreement may only be entered into by the port authority in accordance with ‘a procedure that is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective.

Four oil majors presently operate in the Port of East London with products including unleaded petrol (ULP), automotive diesel, kerosene (paraffin) and aviation fuel. Overall capacity is 3 million kilolitres.

The existing tank on the port’s West Bank proposed for HFO operations was commissioned in 1977 and has a working capacity of 7.6 million litres. It is envisaged that the liquid bulk terminal will be developed from its existing 8,000m2 footprint to 21,000 m2 and that the operator would use the port’s existing tanker berth.

The national demand forecast for petrol, diesel and jet fuel is expected to grow from 29.9 billion litres to 83 billion litres for the period 2015 to 2044. The demand includes South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and exports to markets in Southern Africa hence TNPA says it is creating capacity ahead of demand.

Port of East London, the HFO tank site is on the opposite or West Bank, right top. From a story appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of East London, the HFO tank site is on the opposite side of the harbour, the West Bank, right top. Right upper centre is the port’s grain terminal with the port’s admin building in the forefront

Concession Successes

Transnet says that port concessions across the eight commercial ports are opening up participation in port activities to businesses owned by historically disadvantaged individuals, small to medium sized BBBEE companies, and creating sustainable jobs and skills development. Recent concessions awarded by TNPA include:


  • New passenger terminal – Port of Durban – concession granted to Kwa Zulu Cruise Terminal Pty Ltd (KCT) – a Joint Venture between MSC Cruises SA and Africa Armada Consortium
  • Liquid bulk terminal – Port of Ngqura – concession awarded to Oiltanking Grindrod Calulo, a majority South African owned level 1 BBBEE company
  • New open-access liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) plant – Port of Saldanha – awarded to Sunrise Energy
  • New independent fuel storage, distribution and loading facility – Port of Cape Town – awarded to Burgan Cape Terminals, owned by Netherlands firm VTTI and black economic empowerment companies Thebe Investment Corporation and Jicaro
  • Passenger terminal – Port of Cape Town – awarded to the V&A Waterfront (Pty)
  • Off-Shore supply Base in Saldanha for the Oil and Gas Industry awarded to Saldehco (Pty) Ltd, a Level 4 BBBEE Company



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Australian navy intercepting dhow at sea for inspection of cargo, as reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Her Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Warramunga has once again been successful in supporting the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) counter terrorism campaign plan by seizing 295kgs of heroin as part of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 Maritime Security Operations.

HMAS Warramunga located the drug smuggling vessel in the Arabian Sea while conducting routine surveillance operations on the morning of Thursday, 10 May 2018. With the Commanding Officer and crew well-rehearsed at such operations, and upon receiving Chain of Command approval, the ship’s Boarding Party was quickly inserted using their Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat.

The result of this latest interdiction was the…


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Oil rig off KZN coast, from a report carried by Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Oil rig off KZN

French oil company Total has confirmed reports that it will return to deepsea offshore exploration in South Africa’s Outeniqua Basin by the end of 2018.

Total owns the operating rights to Block 11B/12B in the Basin, which is about 175 km off the southern coast of South Africa where the water depths range from between 200 to 1800 metres.

Earlier this year Total agreed to sell 25% of its stake to Qatar Petroleum. Total will then hold a 45% share as the operator, Qatar Petroleum 25%, CNR International 20% and Main Street 10%.

Total previous operations in this sector were suspended in 2014 while it expanded its distribution network of petroleum products. Total South Africa’s Managing Director Pierre-Yves Sachet said that the company wants to increase its size of the retail network, at least in the short term and will continue to work on this downstream expansion while working on the upstream projects.

Total has also expressed interest in the supply of LNG and solar projects in South Africa.

Meanwhile, a group of Durban-based activists intend taking on South Africa oil company Sasol at a gathering in Durban on Thursday organised by the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA). Sasol and Italian oil major Eni have teamed together to explore for oil and gas reserves along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline and have agreed to the public meeting.

Although Eni holds only 40% of the partnership with Sasol it is the operator and is managing the exploration process. An exploration well may be drilled in 2019.


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Damen Stan patrol boat, as ordered by Somalia with order now in dispute, as reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Damen Stan patrol boat

Somalia news reports say that Somalia has defaulted on a €132m contract entered into in 2013 for the supply of six Damen 5009 long-range patrol boats.

According to Somalia’s Goobjoog News, the Federal Government of Somalia signed a contract with AMO Shipping Company (AMOSC), a subsidiary of Atlantic Marine & Offshore Group (AMO), to build and supply the six vessels which were to be built by Damen at the Dutch company’s Galati Romanian shipyard. AMO was also to establish…


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map of Namibia showing toen of Usakos where oil storage facility is planned, from a news report in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
map of Namibia showing Usakos

An oil storage facility is being planned for the town of Usakos in Namibia, on the road between the Port of Walvis Bay and Windhoek.

The project is being facilitated by MDL International and by foreign financiers together with…


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HMS Astute sails up the Clyde estuary into her home port of Faslane, Scotland for the first time following the journey from Barrow-in-Furness shipyard. Photo: MoD Crown Copyright 2018 © From a news report carried in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
HMS Astute sails up the Clyde estuary into her home port of Faslane, Scotland for the first time following the journey from Barrow-in-Furness shipyard. Photo: MoD Crown Copyright 2018 ©

On 14 May (UK) Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced the Ministry of Defence is investing a massive £2.5 billion in boosting Britain’s submarine building projects.

Speaking yesterday at BAE Systems’ shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, the home of British submarine construction, he announced £960 million worth of contracts have been signed to boost the next phase of building the UK’s four nuclear-armed Dreadnought submarines.

He also announced that the Ministry of Defence has signed a £1.5 billion contract to build a seventh Astute hunter-killer submarine for the Royal Navy, before revealing that the attack boat will be called Agincourt. It will be the…

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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More than 100 senior professionals from the shipping and related industries gathered on 10 May 2018 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) in Singapore.

The gathering saw a host of shipping and trade professionals from Singapore and all over the world listen to some lively discussion on current issues in the global shipping industry while at the same time celebrate two decades of the association.

Themed “UnlockingAsia – Opportunities and Threats”, the conference took place at the historic Hotel Fort Canning and focused on significant issues impacting ports and terminals, cyber security and Belt and Road Initiatives.

The guest of honour at the conference was Ms Tan Beng Tee, the Assistant Chief Executive (Development) of Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), who gave the keynote address.

In her address, Ms Tan said: “The theme of today’s conference is relevant, as the centre of economic gravity increasingly shifts towards Asia. The industry is also seeing unprecedented consolidation within the liner segment, greater emphasis on technology and new business models being formulated.”

She added: “As for preparing the maritime industry for the future, I hope we will see more women join the maritime sector. When I first entered the industry, it was really a male dominated industry, quite daunting and one has to really work hard to be heard. Today, the environment is different, we see more women joining the industry, heading international organisations and helming family businesses.”

Participants also heard from an impressive line-up of speakers including Lim Sim Keat, Managing Director (Transport Logistics) of IMC Industrial Group, Vivian Ang, Partner of Allen & Gledhill LLP and Karin Orsel, CEO of MF Shipping Group.

The conference concluded with an insightful and interactive panel with input from successful “role model” women in the maritime industry discussing how they got to be where they are, the challenges they face as well as the outlook for the industry and the role women must play in future.

The conference received very positive feedback from the participants.

Shirani Wanniarachchi, Finance Director of Sri Lanka Ports Authority, said: “I was happy to see the focus on diversity in the shipping industry. The contributions from women in this industry have increased in recent years. This conference was a great event for us to build our network as well as to share ideas to bring more breakthrough to our industry.”

Juni Dani, Senior Partner of Budijaja International Lawyers, commented: “This was my first WISTA conference and I was excited to see so many members around the world gathered together. I think the conference played an important role for many women in the shipping industry to build networks and form support groups. I hope we can bring this to Indonesia and set up a WISTA chapter there soon.”

Ms Magdalene Chew, President of WISTA Singapore, added: “We are honoured to have had the opportunity to host such a vibrant and energetic conference and we hope the speakers and delegates alike learned new things, made new connections and felt inspired to make a difference, and above all, we hope everyone had an enjoyable time.

“Gender diversity in shipping and international trade is undoubtably necessary for our industry to progress. WISTA is the platform for us to demonstrate such diversity. I am heartened to see the industry has progressively altered its mind-set towards gender diversity such that many women are now empowered to take up leadership roles. This must continue if the shipping industry is to remain dynamic and attractive to the brightest talent.

I also want to thank everyone who has made this event possible; from sponsors to supporting organisations and our media partners.”

QUESTION: There was a South African chapter of WISTA, going quite strong some ten and more years ago – what happened? It appears that South Africa no longer has a WISTA representation or presence.


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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.



Konkar Theodoros arriving at Durban, April 2018, from a feature in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Konkar Theodoros arriving at Durban, April 2018, with attendant tug Lotheni, from a feature in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Konkar Theodoros.     Pictures: Keith Betts

The bulk carrier KONKAR THEODOROS (IMO 9715804) called at Durban on 9 April this year and was escorted into the harbour by the tug LOTHENI. Note the ‘modern’ design of the bow, a revert back to similar shapes of about a hundred years ago with the theory that this presents the best shape for a ship to face the seas. Is this really so, or is it a matter similar to women’s and men’s fashions, changing with the times? You may choose your own view on this, and duck for cover when the experts hold forth. The Panamanian-registered, 60,897-dwt bulk carrier is 198 metres long and has a 32.2m beam. Built in 2015 and owned by Greek interests and managed and operated by the Konkar Shipping Agency, also of Athens, Greece, she is the second ship in the fleet to have carried this name, the first being a 225,000-dwt OBO carrier built at the Uljanik Shipyard at Pula, in what was then Yugoslavia. That was in 1977. As for the present ship with the interesting bow, this was not her first visit to South Africa, having called previously at Durban and at Richards Bay. No doubt we shall see her again. These pictures are by Keith Betts


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