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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The tanker Berg entering port at Richards Bay. Picture: TNPA, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Berg.       Picture: TNPA

Unicorn Tankers’ 16,870-dwt products tanker BERG (IMO 9374325) enters the Port of Richards Bay on a routine run from Durban. Flagged in the Isle of Man, UK, the tanker is 144 metres in length and 23m wide and was built in 2008 at the Sanfu Ship Engineering shipyard in Taizhou Jiangsu, China. This picture is courtesy TNPA Port of Richards Bay


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

The port with the highest turnover throughput in terms of tonnages handled was Richards Bay, followed by the general cargo port of Durban, then the iron ore port at Saldanha. The ports of Ngqura and Port Elizabeth each handled in excess of one million tonnes providing for a total of just over two million tonnes for Algoa Bay ports, which was again well above the figure for the port of Cape Town. Details are in the table below.

Throughputs for the port during August were…[restrict] Richards Bay (8.479mt), Durban (6.749mt), Saldanha (5.796mt), Cape Town (1.302mt), Port Elizabeth (1.075mt), Ngqura (1.014mt), East London (0.183mt) and Mossel Bay (0.167mt).

Container throughputs were slightly up on previous months reflecting Durban 264,344 (TEU), Ngqura (74,253 TEU), Cape Town (69,341 TEU), and Port Elizabeth (21,955 TEU). Total container throughout was 438,088 TEU, which was just above that of August (437,142 TEU). For all ports see below.

Total cargo handled for the month of September amounted to 24.765 million tonnes (25.075mt for August 2018).

For comparison with the port turnover of the equivalent month of last year, September 2017 please CLICK HERE

These statistic reports on Africa PORTS & SHIPS are arrived at using an adjustment on the overall tonnage compared to those kindly provided by TNPA and include containers recorded by weight; an adjustment necessary because TNPA measures containers by the number of TEUs and does not reflect the weight which unfortunately undervalues the ports.

To arrive at such a calculation,  Africa PORTS & SHIPS uses an average of 13.5 tonnes per TEU, which probably does involve some under-reporting. Africa PORTS & SHIPS will continue to emphasise this distinction, without which South African ports would be seriously under-reported internationally and locally.

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Port of Richards Bay Dry Bulk and Multi-purpose Terminals. Picture: TNPA Port of Richards Bay, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Richards Bay Dry Bulk and Multi-purpose Terminals.     Picture: TNPA Port of Richards Bay


Figures for the respective ports during September 2018 are:


Cargo handled by tonnes during September 2018, including containers by weight

PORT September 2018 million tonnes
Richards Bay 8.479
Durban 6.749
Saldanha Bay 5.796
Cape Town 1.302
Port Elizabeth 1.075
Ngqura 1.014
Mossel Bay 0.167
East London 0.183
Total all ports 24.765  million tonnes

CONTAINERS (measured by TEUs) during September 2018

(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA)

PORT September 2018 TEUs
Durban 264,344
Cape Town 69,341
Port Elizabeth 21,955
Ngqura 74,253
East London 7,600
Richards Bay 595
Total all ports 438,088 TEU

SHIP CALLS for September 2018

PORT September 2018 vessels gross tons
Durban 258 9,954,714
Cape Town 159 4,342,773
Richards Bay 145 5,743,483
Port Elizabeth 97 2,586,426
Saldanha Bay 48 2,884,628
Ngqura 49 3,025,925
East London 25 813,484
Mossel Bay 24 251,436
Total ship calls 805 29,602,869

— source TNPA, with adjustment[/restrict]


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Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande announced last week a one year moratorium on the implementation of a ban on high cube containers until January 2020, during which time he called for further investigation into the matter. The meeting was called at literally a day’s notice and could not be attended by a number of key stakeholders because of other commitments. The matter revolves around a height restriction of 4.3 metres whereas the carrying of high cube containers, now in the majority versus standard 12m boxes, are 4.6 metres high. Not all observers are convinced by the latest development however. The following is by Quintus van der Merwe, a partner, Shipping & Logistics with Shepstone & Wylie attorneys.

comparison between high cube and standard 40ft container, featured in article in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

You are now all familiar with the statement made by the Minister on 11 October 2018.

It appears that some of those who attended the meeting with the Minister see this as an extremely positive result. I am afraid I do not agree, for the reasons which will follow.

The media statement says:

  • The meeting discussed the implementation of regulation 224 (b) of the National Road Traffic Regulations, 2000 under the National Road Traffic Act, of 1996; [This regulation provides for a height restriction of 4.3 metres; High cube containers exceed this by around 30 centimetres, resulting in a load of 4.6 metres]
  • The meeting resolved to immediately establish an inclusive Technical Task Team constituted of Department of Transport officials and the industry to facilitate and ensure that the unintended consequences of the lapse are minimised before the expiry of the present moratorium;
  • The meeting agreed to place a moratorium on the application of punitive measures and that law enforcement agencies collect data for the purposes of a smooth transition when the period expires. This moratorium will be in effect from 1 January 2019 to 1 January 2020.


The reality is that high cube containers have been transported for the last 30 odd years with very little empirical evidence of any greater risk or danger than transportation of standard containers. The Minister insisted on pushing ahead with Friday’s meeting despite the non-availability of many of the industry role players. The statement purports to record an agreed outcome i.e. “The meeting resolved to …

There are serious implications and consequences that flow from the media release by the Minister.

The genesis for the so called moratorium that has been in existence since 2011 is that the Minister granted an exemption in terms of Section 75(1)(d) of the National Road Traffic Act, 1996 (“the Act”). That exemption was thus validly granted in terms of the Act.

What the Minister has now done, purportedly by agreement, is terminate that exemption from the end of December notwithstanding the overwhelming representations that have been made to the Department of Transport in recent months. The exemption will therefore terminate and instead of the exemption the Minister will simply not enforce the law for a period of one year.

The net result is that:

there is no exemption going forward;
prima facie the transportation of high cubes will be contrary to the law;
punitive measures will be suspended for a year.

This of course begs the question of whether the Minister can competently refuse to enforce the law and if this was in fact pointed out to him, whether industry could now raise estoppel against the authorities if the law was to be enforced. It is also unclear how far the non-enforcement of sanctions goes – does this mean that you can transport the high cubes without being fined or does it mean that you may be stopped, but you will not be fined?

However, it seems that industry’s ability to either call on the Minister to grant a further exemption, or even better, to argue for an amendment to the Regulations to provide for a permanent exception to the height limit for high cube containers has taken a knock. Surely this must have been industries main aim given the lack of any reason (that I am aware of) as to why high cubes cannot simply continue to be carried as they have for some 30 years. What harm does this decision seek to prevent?

There is a significant difference between a scenario where the Minister is called upon to grant an exemption as provided for in the Act, and the scenario that apparently now prevails where the Minister simply says he will not enforce punitive measures – assuming he is able to validly give such an undertaking.

In my view, industry has inadvertently taken a massive step backwards and is going to now be hard pressed to recover the lost ground. A sensible approach is required to seek long term solution over a problem that really should not be a problem at all.

Quintus van der Merwe
Partner, Shipping & Logistics
(including Customs @ Wylie)
Shepstone & Wylie attorneys


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Port of Cape Town, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

There was a fatal accident on a ship in the Port of Cape Town yesterday when a young man, believed to be in his twenties, was struck on the head by a falling metal object falling from above.

The accident…[restrict] occurred shortly after 13h00. Paramedics called to the scene described the accident as having taken place in the hold of a ship.

By the time they arrived it was too late and the man, thought to be a stevedore, was found with no signs of life and he was declared dead.

Authorities from TNPA and the police were notified and further investigations are underway.[/restrict]


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Aliko Dangote, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Aliko Dangote

Africa’s most successful businessman, Aliko Dangote says the key to Africa’s economic growth and strength lies in the development of the regional market.

The Nigerian magnate was speaking in London at the 5th Annual Financial Times African Summit during which he called for conscious efforts at deepening African regional market by African investors and governments to aid rapid growth and development of the Continent’s economy.

He described the key to Africa’s economic growth and strength as being in the development of the regional market. “Regional markets in Africa must work.”

Dangote said Africans must…[restrict] support and patronise African markets which is why the free trade agreements by African nations is the direction to go to strengthen African markets.

Citing an instance of his own experience, the president of Dangote group referred to the case of neighbouring Benin Republic where the country continues to import cement from China while his Nigerian factory is only 35 miles away from the border.

“We need to trade with ourselves,” Dangote stated as he spoke glowingly about the prospect of African economy, the free trade agreement and the availability of huge raw materials to attract investors.

In response to questions he said that the listing of Dangote Cement on the London Stock Exchange might happen in 2019.

He dismissed notions that some markets such as in Tanzania and Ethiopia were “difficult”, Dangote said “our aim is to always provide jobs and worth. As an African investor I don’t want any investor anywhere in Africa to have a bad experience.”

Dangote repeated his call for a reduction of raw material exports to other continents when beneficiation of those materials can lead to greater wealth and prosperity within African economies.

“We need to continue to transform the structure of African economies”. He pointed to his company’s entry into the Ghana sugar market, saying that he is further expanding his sugar business to Ghana for the main reason of helping to revitalise that country’s economy. “We are going to help Ghana grow its own sugar for the first time.” source: APO


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Students and tutor who visited the Port of Saldanha recently, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The Port of Saldanha (TNPA) recently played host to a group of Post Graduate Environmental Management students and tutors from the University of the Western Cape.

Annually, students from the university visit the port and are given full tours of the iron ore terminal and vessel traffic control tower as well as taken on a drive up the port breakwater to Marcus Island.

As the largest iron ore export facility in Africa, the port manages complex environmental processes which are of interest to students pursuing environmental studies.


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Chinese PLA(N) forces train together with EU NAVFOR personnel at Djibouti, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

EU NAVFOR relations with the Chinese PLA(N) (Peoples Liberation Army) Navy are going from strength to strength following the first combined exercise at their new military base in Djibouti.

EU NAVFOR personnel have already crossed decked with Chinese warships earlier this year, but this medical evacuation was the first exercise of its kind.

The crew of ITS FEDERICO MARTINENGO and members of the Chinese PLA(N) based in Djibouti showed…[restrict] that with will, cooperation and hard work, there is now a great opportunity to assist each other in emergencies.

The extended cooperation followed on from the visit of Major General Stickland, EU NAVFOR’s Operational Commander to the Chinese PLA(N) base in Djibouti on 8 August 2018 where he held discussions on how to continue and improve the ongoing counter-piracy efforts off the coast of Somalia.

In their initial planning phase, they established communication methods, agreed operating parameters and defined the command and control structure for the exercise.

Four days later, it was time to take to the skies as military medical personnel from the Chinese PLA(N) boarded the Italian helicopter to tend to several ‘casualties’ on board ITS Federico Martinengo. During the exercise, one crew member was evacuated by helicopter back to the land based medical facility within the Chinese PLA(N) compound.

Rear Admiral Alfonso Perez De Nanclares, EU NAVFOR’s Force Commander congratulated Commander Andrea Quondamatteo, Commanding Officer of ITS Federico Martinengo on such a successful exercise.

The Rear Admiral went onto say; “This excellent interaction leaves me and the Operation Commander in no doubt that with these results we will be able to prepare further exercises which will consolidate the excellent relationship that has been built up with our Chinese counterparts.”

Operation Atalanta is the European Union’s Operation to counter piracy and protect vulnerable shipping off the coast of Somalia. It has been operating for the last 10 years and has recently had the mandate extended to December 2020.[/restrict]


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Africa Oil Week banner appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Africa Oil Week ( )), the international oil and gas event set to take place in Cape Town, South Africa on the 5 – 9 November 2018, will build on 25 years of success by adding a host of sessions and initiatives to their conference programme tailored towards driving transactions, deal-making and new partnerships.

Brand new for 2018 is the AOW Prospect Forum, held in partnership with AAPG and open to ICE delegates, where National Oil Companies, Independents and Geo-service Companies will take to the stage to showcase open acreage, broker farm-out opportunities and present data viewings.

Alongside the Prospect Forum, AOW’s Seminar Theatre will also feature varied content across the week. Ministers and CEOs of state owned enterprises from countries including: Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Madagascar and Uganda will be hosting exclusive roadshows and bidding rounds highlighting licensing and investment opportunities to global operators and investors.

The African Local Content Forum, held in partnership with the Nigeria Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and sponsored by Shell, will host case studies and dedicated panel discussions on three key aspects of Local Content: Workforce Development, Policy and Private Sector on Wednesday 7 November.

This year’s event will showcase the AOWomen Initiative, which is designed to mainstream women in energy, develop blueprints for capacity building and gender equality to ensure women have a presence and a voice in shaping energy policy across Africa. The AOWomen Initiative will kick off with an exclusive breakfast briefing sponsored by Noble Energy on Thursday 8 November. Speakers will include Pam Darwin, Vice President – Africa of ExxonMobil and Mahawa Kaba-Wheeler, Director for Women, Gender & Development at the Africa Union.

AOW will also see the launch of the Student Programme and Future Leaders Initiative. New for 2018, the Future Leaders Initiative offers a half-price ticket to those getting started in the industry, providing a key opportunity for the leaders of tomorrow to network with peers and keep up to date with latest industry trends.

The Student programme will draw over 100 final-year students from leading pan-continental institutions including the University of Cape Town and the University of Namibia, with the aim to inspire a new wave of talent. The programme grants students access to two days of content at AOW, including two dedicated sessions on capacity development led by Lindiwe Mekwe, CEO of Petroleum Agency South Africa, and Heads of Talent from leading industry organisations.

As Africa Oil Week shifts its focus towards becoming a deal brokering, finance and FID centred platform, it becomes a must attend business development event like no other in the industry. The Summit will also host a live panel broadcast on CNBC Africa on the morning of Thursday 8 November surrounding future funding models in the African energy sector.

This session will cover topics such as global funding, M&A in the African upstream and funding strategies, presented by expert panellists including: Solomon Asamoah, CEO, Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund, Paul McDade, CEO, Tullow Oil and Somit Varma, Managing Director, Warburg Pincus LLC. Directly following the CNBC panel will be three dedicated breakout sessions focusing on the role of global finance in the African upstream and how to drive transactions. These sessions will be moderated by leading industry figures from Latham & Watkins and Deloitte.

With an expected audience of 1,300 attendees from over 70 countries, the 2018 Africa Oil Week has truly evolved into the only true go-to event for the African hydrocarbon sector.   (PRESS RELEASE)


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in partnership with – APO


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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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Green Music. Picture: Keith Betts, featured inAfrica PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Green Music.        Picture: Keith Betts

Yesterday we featured the all-white refrigerated cargo (reefer) ship named Green Guatemala (IMO 8912144) – today we have the green liveried GREEN MUSIC (IMO 8822595) also shown arriving in port at Durban to load citrus fruit at the Fresh Produce terminal. Built in 1990 the 6116-dwt Green Music is registered to Green Shipping and managed by Green Management SP z, both of Gydnia, Poland. Measuring 136 metres in length and 17m wide, Green Music was built at the Van Diepen Shipyard in Waterhuizen, Netherlands. After her call at Durban the ship sailed bound for Cristobal where she s due early next week. This picture is by Keith Betts



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