Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 19 April 2020

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Come with us as we report through 2020



These news reports are updated on an ongoing basis. Check back regularly for the latest news as it develops – where necessary refresh your page at

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NYK Paula departing from Durban, March 2020. Picture by Keith Betts, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

NYK Paula departing from Durban, March 2020. Picture by Keith Betts, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
NYK Paula.    Pictures: Keith Betts

Sailing from Durban with a near complete cargo of containers is the self-geared NYK PAULA (IMO 9419632). The 2664-TEU ship was launched on 9 July 2009 at the STX Offshore & Shipbuilding yard in South Korea, as hull number S1276. The vessel has a deadweight of 34,532-dwt (27,051-gt) and a length of 210 metres with a width of 30m. Flagged in Panama, NYK Paula is managed by Tagashira Kaiun Co Ltd (ISM) and NYK Line (commercial manager), both of Japan. The ship is departing from Durban, with the top picture showing the port pilot helicopter hovering overhead.   Pictures are by Keith Betts



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Container ship Tommi Ritscher, featuring in an ongoing piracy attack off the port of Cotonou, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Container ship Tommi Ritscher, featuring in an ongoing piracy attack off the port of Cotonou.  Picture by Brian Wayne Scott / Shipspotting

Dryad Global is reporting a boarding of the container ship TOMMI RITSCHER (IMO 9656137) at anchor 3-4km outside the port of Cotonou earlier today (Sunday 19 April).

The 255-metre long, 37m wide Portuguese-flagged ship is in position 6°16.8’N 002°31.8’E at Zone 3 of the Cotonou anchorage.

Dryad Global reports that the 58,252-dwt ship was approached by a speedboat with an unknown number of people on board. A number of these presumed to be pirated boarded the vessel while on board 11 crew members took refuge in the ship’s citadel.

A further eight crew did not enter the citadel and it is not known whether the eight are being held captive by the pirates on board.

A Portuguese naval ship responded to the speedboat approaching the ship, with the result that the pirate boat fled the scene, apparently leaving a number of the pirates on board.

It is also not clear whether the Portuguese naval ship intends boarding the container ship. There will be a further update once later news is received.

Tommi Ritscher is German-owned and managed by Transeste Schiffahrt GMBH of Jork Niederelbe, Germany.      source: Dryad Global


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Container and other port terminals to reopen, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Container and other port terminals to reopen

In an announcement on Thursday evening, the government has relaxed some lockdown conditions across a range of working activities, among them port terminals and mines.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said that while the national lockdown was being extended for another 21 days, certain working activities would be relaxed.

Referring to the ports she said that it was necessary to allow the handling of import and exports in order to ‘decongest’ the terminals.

The country’s export terminals, which were shutdown, now have the green light to start exporting goods. [We assume she also meant to include import goods as well. See next statement]

“Before that, we were saying that all goods that come from high-risk countries must be sanitised… We have now learnt that actually, if goods have been at sea for many days, the virus wouldn’t survive,” the minister said.

The relaxation at these terminals is a way of “decongesting” the ports, as the country prepares to ease the lockdown, said Dlamini-Zuma.

“When we do stop the lockdown, we can’t do it abruptly. We have to phase it in so that there’s an orderly move towards what would be normality,” said Dlamini-Zuma.

She, however, stressed that precautionary measures will remain beyond the lockdown to safeguard the health of the nation. “It doesn’t mean that after the lockdown, everything will go back to normal.”


Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe said key among the sectors that will gradually return to operation is the mining sector.

“In the amendment we are identifying a risk particularly in deep mines. If they are left alone for a long time, the stability of the ground is tampered with, and secondly, gases accumulate or there will be prevalence of seismicity and rock falls.

“That’s why we are saying we must allow a situation of phasing in the recall of workers to work in those mines and deal with the ramping-up of productivity in those mines,” said Mantashe.

He said this will minimise the risk of accidents and disasters in mines, as production will be incremental and is estimated to continue well into the month of May.

He said collieries that supply power utility Eskom, are operational.

“Mining operations, excluding collieries that supply Eskom, shall be conducted at a reduced capacity of 50% during the period of the lockdown, and thereafter at increasing capacity as determined by the Cabinet member responsible for mineral resources and energy. We must maintain a risk-based approach,” said Mantashe.

The phased-in approach will take place under strict conditions.

These include screening and testing of returning miners. The industry is also expected to set up quarantine sites for miners and supply transport for returning miners.

Additions to essential services

Other sectors that will return to work include artisanal trade for emergency repair work, store and hardware vehicle repairs for people involved in essential services.

The call centres of retailers providing short-term insurance cover, information and communications technology (ICT) services rendered to entities and institutions will also return to work.

Additionally, call centres necessary to provide health, safety, social support, government and financial services, debt restructuring for consumers of retailers, and access to short-term insurance policies as a result of reduced income or loss of income have been introduced as essential services.

Trades necessary for the rendering of emergency repair work, including plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, glaziers, roof repair work and emergency automobile repairs for persons rendering essential services and for public transport vehicles will be permitted to operate in terms of these regulations. source:


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Port statistics for the month of March 2020, covering the eight commercial ports under the administration of Transnet National Ports Authority, are now available.

Details of the port throughputs, ships berthed and containers numbers handled can be seen in the Tables below.

Statistics involving motor vehicles are also included, per port and measured in vehicle units. These include imports and exports and earth-moving and other ro-ro or wheeled vehicles.

The effects of the countrywide lockdown as it concerns the nation’s seaports has yet to be fully reflected in the port statistics for March and will begin to show more strongly with the statistics for the current month of April 2020. However, the number of containers handled during March reflects a sharp drop on the previous month whereas bulk exports remain strong. The full effects on both these items will begin the show with April statistics.

Total cargo handled for the month of March 2020 amounted to 23.064mt (24.816 million tonnes in February 2020).

For comparison with the equivalent month of last year, March 2019 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.

Port Statistics continue below…..

Port Elizabeth's car terminal at the PE harbour. Picture: TPT, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port Elizabeth’s car terminal at the PE harbour. Picture: TPT


Figures for the respective ports during March 2020 are:

Cargo handled by tonnes during March 2020, including containers by weight

PORT March 2020 million tonnes
Richards Bay 8.148
Durban 5.892
Saldanha Bay 5.427
Cape Town 1.392
Port Elizabeth 0.937
Ngqura 1.052
Mossel Bay 0.109
East London 0.107
Total all ports 23.064 million tonnes

CONTAINERS (measured by TEUs) during March 2020
(TEUs include Deepsea, Coastal, Transship and empty containers all subject to being invoiced by NPA

PORT March 2020 TEUs
Durban 195,222
Cape Town 73,097
Port Elizabeth 5,234
Ngqura 46,934
East London 5839
Richards Bay 293
Total all ports 326,619 TEU

MOTOR VEHICLES RO-RO TRAFFIC (measured by Units- CEUs) during March 2020

PORT March 2020 CEUs
Durban 32,797
Cape Town -2
Port Elizabeth 15,227
East London 12,326
Richards Bay 0
Total all ports 60,352 CEU

SHIP CALLS for March 2020

PORT March 2020 vessels gross tons
Durban 248 9,762,528
Cape Town 164 3,642,223
Richards Bay 126 5,122,527
Port Elizabeth 57 1,837,711
Saldanha Bay 51 3,274,313
Ngqura 59 2,541,198
East London 17 694,048
Mossel Bay 23 138,706
Total ship calls 745 27,013,254
— source TNPA, with adjustments regarding container weights by AP&S


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Picture: Lusa, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

S&P Platts Analytics says the recent decision by US oil company ExxonMobil to delay the final investment decision (FID) on the Rovuma LNG project in northern Mozambique is a new setback for the southeast African country’s fledgling LNG industry and may delay the first export of natural gas from 2025 to 2030.

S&P Analyst Luke Cottell said the risk around investing in the project “is exaggerated by the fact there are no known capacity off-takers, with export capacity instead contracted to equity holders in line with their ownership stake.”

Earlier the US major said it would delay FID on Rovuma LNG while it worked with its partners to bring down costs. “A final investment decision for the Rovuma LNG project in Mozambique, expected later this year, has been delayed,” ExxonMobil said.

“Platts Analytics believes ExxonMobil will shelve this project until the economics are more favourable, with first production from the project not forecast until 2030,” said SP Platts’ Cottell.

Rovuma LNG is the biggest of three LNG projects under development in Mozambique and had been expected to begin operations in 2025, though that start date appears almost certain to be pushed back.

The two others are the Total-operated, 12.9 million mt/year capacity Mozambique LNG project — expected to start up in 2024 — and the Eni-operated, 3.4 million mt/year capacity floating Coral LNG project.

ExxonMobil is a partner at Coral and says that project development continued “as planned.” First LNG is expected in 2022.

Adding to the uncertainties are the threats rising from an increasing Islamist insurgency in the same region of the country.

In late March, as reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS on several occasions, militants have been active across the Cabo Delgado province and in late March attacked the town of Mocimboa da Praia, which is just 60 km from the site of the two high-profile LNG developments at Afungi.

Security and other analysts say the attacks pose significant problems and risks for the oil companies and the Mozambique security forces.

Mozambique contracted a group of Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group – which is said to be close to Russian President Putin – to provide security measures against the insurgents but it soon became obvious the mercenaries were out of their depth and have since been withdrawn, after a number were killed in ambushes.

Latest reports suggest that a South African security group is now involved along with several aircraft. This has not been confirmed but then neither was the presence of the Russians.

Other factors making decisions to proceed with the LNG projects or delay matters are further complicated following the devastation caused by two cyclones that destroyed large swathes of the country, and ongoing reports of corruption scandals.

The state-owned ENH holds small stakes in all three projects and the Mozambique government is obviously anxious to minimise any delays with any of the three. In February Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario appointed a new chairman to the company, Estevao Tomas Rafael Pale, who was tasked to guarantee that the timetables were adhered to.

Pale’s predecessor, Omar Mitha was replaced after he warned of potential delays to the project. sources: S&P Platts, Lusa, AP&S


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Port of Walvis Bay and the Namdock ship repair floating docks, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Walvis Bay and the Namdock ship repair floating docks

Walvis Bay ship repair company, Namdock, has taken the lead for the West coast in providing a ballast water treatment system installation service at the Namibian port.

Having this service available ensures that offshore support and other vessels docking for repairs by Namdock are also able to comply with the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) requirements for ballast water management and treatment.

“We have led the ship repair market on the West coast of Africa in the installation of ballast water treatment systems since last year, when we obtained certification to install Bio Sea ballast water treatment systems on board our clients’ vessels,” said Claus Zeilinger, Assistant Technical Superintendent of Carpentry and Electrical at Namdock.

Namdock has since successfully installed two of these systems on one of its long-term clients’ offshore support vessels.

Zeilinger and the ballast water treatment panel
Zeilinger and the ballast water treatment panel

“We have also recently completed the complex installation of an ESMA ballast water treatment system in a heavy fuel tanker which docked in Walvis Bay. This was a major and very interesting project, which saw an inter-disciplinary team of fifty people working around the clock to pull off the project. This was successfully completed in just three weeks,” he adds.

The installation of ballast water treatment systems is part of Namdock’s integrated ship repair offering.

“We perform the full spectrum of ship repairs, from metal work and fabrication – which involves physical plate installations – to piping and electrical installation. Our integrated vessel repair disciplines, capabilities and functions therefore go hand-in-hand with the installation of ballast water treatment systems,” Zeilinger explains.

At this stage, Namdock undertakes work on the piping, valves and electrical installation of the ballast water treatment system. Their certified installation team commissions the system, and then trains the client’s staff on board the vessel in the operation thereof.

Internationally-compliant certification

Zeilinger said that Namdock installs systems which have been certified by the IMO for ballast water treatment on vessels in port. “Our task is to determine the best possible position for the system on the vessel in question, and ensure that it operates as it is intended to.”

Zeilinger and two of his team members completed training in the installation and commissioning of the Bio Sea system in France last year.

“One of the main benefits of this system is that it treats the ballast water through ultra-violet (UV) radiation. It is therefore completely safe to use, contains no harmful chemicals and the installation is simple. These factors make it one of the best systems to use worldwide,” he says.

Namdock has presented its recently-completed ballast water treatment system installations to maritime class surveyors, who verified that they were satisfied with the way in which the systems were operating. The installations were done on vessels which had docked at Port of Walvis Bay for their two or five year classification surveys.

‘Buoying up’ ballast water treatment

Vessels which take in seawater have until 2024 to comply with the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (Ballast Water Management Convention) which aims to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic organisms from one region to another by establishing standards and procedures for the management and control of ships’ ballast water and sediments, and stop damage to the sea and marine environment from ballast water discharge.

According to the rules of the Convention, all vessels in international waters are required to manage their ballast water and sediments to a certain standard, according to a vessel-specific ballast water management plan.

“We are likely to see a growing number of vessels calling at the port and docking with Namdock for the installation of ballast water treatment systems as we move closer to the 2024 deadline,” says Zeilinger.[/restrict]


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TAZARA goods train operating between Dar es Salaam and Zambia, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
TAZARA goods train operating between Dar es Salaam and Zambia

The Tanzanian government has allocated 10 billion Shillings (US$4,322,255) to the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) for the upkeep of the railway and its operation.

This was announced by the Minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Eng Isack Kamwelwe, who had just completed an inspection of two of the TAZARA locomotives in which new traction motors had been installed.

Kamwelwe said the money would…[restrict] help boost efficiency and increase the transportation by rail of cargo to and from the port at Dar es Salaam.

“The money is intended to help the authority to carry out its activities commercially and help it reach the target of five million tonnes in cargo handling per annum,” the minister said.

The route taken by TAZARA trains, map displayed in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The route taken by TAZARA trains

The allocation of the money has already been instrumental in procuring 42 new traction motors and some other equipment.

Two diesel-electric locomotives have completed rehabilitation and by the end of next March a third will also have been completed.

Engineer Ezekiel Mong’ateko, Mbeya Regional Workshop Manager for TAZARA said that a single locomotive has the capacity of hauling 250,000 tonnes of cargo annually.

On completion of the rehabilitation programme Tazara will have increased its locomotive fleet from 13 diesel-electric locos to 20.

The TAZARA railway operates in two countries, Tanzania and Zambia and connects the port of Dar es Salaam with the same Cape-gauge railway network extending from South Africa in the south, the DRC in the north and the Lobito Railway between the DRC and the Angolan port of Lobito in the west.[/restrict]


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Durban Bay becomes pilot port

Port of Durban to pilot project aimed at preventing plastics from entering the port, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Durban to pilot project aimed at preventing plastics from entering the port

WILDOCEANS, the marine conservation programme of the WILDTRUST, recently received a funding grant from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Marine Plastics and Coastal Communities (MARPLASTICCS) initiative to launch a project that aims to explore alternative ways to stop plastic from making its way into the marine environment while creating youth employment opportunities.

Although marine plastic pollution is a global problem, it demands regional and local solutions that are tailored to the different sources and pathways of plastic flows into the ocean. With its Marine Plastics and Coastal Communities initiative – a project funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), IUCN has extended this programmatic approach to the Eastern and Southern Africa and Asia Pacific regions.

The Port of Durban in South Africa is a modern, well-equipped and highly industrialized port and one of the busiest in Africa. However, the port also acts as a trap for plastic waste, carried along the rivers and storm water canals that flow into the port.

This initiative which officially began in November 2019, will be piloted within the Durban Port and will build on the already established Blue Port and Adopt-a-River projects and allow WILDOCEANS to trial plastic stoppage techniques in the port through core interventions. These interventions include innovative waste trapping at five sites, where additional low-cost technology interventions will collect as much surface plastic waste as possible.

Speaking about the project, Siraj Paruk, Transnet National Ports Authority, responsible for the safe, effective and efficient economic functioning of the national port system said, “The project provides a great opportunity to mitigate the impact of anthropogenic activities within the catchment of the port and further contribute towards enhancing the resilience and ecological functioning of the estuarine system.

“This will take the Blue Port project to another level, unlocking new techniques to identify and stop plastic leakage, as well as encouraging youth employment and ultimately working towards restoring the Durban Port to a healthy functioning ecosystem. We have a lot to learn from the MARPLASTICCS initiative and hope that this is a partnership that leads to bigger projects in South Africa and the West Indian Ocean.”

Acknowledging the strategic partnership with WILDOCEANS, Peter Manyara, the MARPLASTICCs Project Coordinator for the Eastern and Southern Africa region added, “we very much look forward to the results of project which aims to strengthen local capacities and action to control plastic pollution. This project, implemented in parallel with similar actions in Kenya, Mozambique, Thailand and Vietnam will enable us derive important lessons on what works in reducing or avoiding plastic leakage at the local level, and also help us understand factors that help or hinder success or failure in implementing circular actions at a small scale. The lessons learnt will help inform other related leakage reduction initiatives in the Western Indian Ocean and elsewhere.”

Stormwater pollution enters the port through a number of drains leading from the city streets. These bring plastics, cardboards, and chemicals in increasing volume into the once pristine waters of the bay. Picture: Terry Hutson , featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Stormwater pollution enters the port through a number of drains leading from the city streets. These bring plastics, cardboards, and chemicals in increasing volume into the once pristine waters of the bay.  This picture by Terry Hutson

In partnership with Nedbank, DOW, Youth Employment Services (YES) and Grindrod Bank, the Blue Port project has expanded on the successes of the Blue Crew, increasing intensity through larger teams of 51 YES Blue Port placements working year-round within the Durban port.

“Through strong collaboration with TNPA, the low-cost technology and ease of scalability, this project makes for a good case-study that can be replicated in other ports, not only in South Africa but in other developing countries across the South West Indian Ocean region and globally, many of which exhibit the same degradation as a result of similar stresses placed on their sensitive ecosystems,” commented Kramer.

A cell phone application will also be developed to allow for engagement amongst stakeholders in the port.

This project already feeds into the existing Durban Bay Estuarine Management Plan (EMP) prepared by the National Department of Environmental Affairs in collaboration with Transnet National Ports Authority, KZN Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, eThekwini Municipality, Environmental Resources Management (ERM) and Marine & Estuarine Research (MER) as well as the Draft KZN Coastal Management Programme.

The objective of the EMP is to provide a new approach to management of the negative factors impacting the Durban port, including waste leakage, and provides a vehicle for cooperation, change and motivation for new appropriate solutions to these existing problems. For more details contact


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Banner of the Nigerian Shippers Council, flying in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), which may appear to be an industry-formed body but is actually an agency falling under Nigeria’s Ministry of Transportation, says it is concerned with the reduction in revenue accruing to the federal government because of restrictions with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Added to which, says the NSC, Nigeria’s cargo clearing processes are ‘primitive’ compared with other parts of the world where clearing of cargo is automated.

These sentiments were made by the NCS Executive Secretary, Hassan Bello, while speaking to a television programme connected with the THISDAY newspaper group.

Bello pointed out that with…[restrict] factories in China and many other parts of the world having stopped production during the COVID-19 shutdowns, this resulted in some cargo for Nigeria not being available.

“Disruption of the logistics is universal. So, some contracts cannot be optimised. Therefore, we have problems even for the revenue to the government. This is the usual thing that happens with these kinds of disruptions. However, we hope that things will pick up,” Bello said.

He called for efforts to ensure that factories in Nigeria remain working, generating employment.

The federal government has placed layers of insulation to slow or prevent the spread of the coronavirus, he added, saying that it was a delicate balance and calling for the ports to be open to fuel the economy.

“We must maintain the supply of cargo, especially essential cargo like medicine, food and raw material for our factories to maintain employment and of course the general economy of the country. However, we have said that this must be within the limits already prescribed and we have gone around the terminals many times and we have observed that the terminals are up to their responsibilities. They have kept all the pledges to abide by instructions from the government.”

Apapa Container Terminal, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Apapa Container Terminal

Bello pointed out that modern ports are able to operate remotely, without the need for large work forces.

“There must be electronic platforms. We cannot do the primitive cargo clearance that we are using now. Cargo can actually be cleared from the port without anybody going there. This is what is giving us problems at this moment.

“We need to clear cargo, automate the ports, enhance electronic handling of clearance of cargo and have a national single window which is very important in the speed of clearance.

“We also need a cargo tracking code which means any cargo coming in is well known even before they arrive. That is why we need the synergy. We must set up the necessary machinery to make sure we are divorced from the primitive clearing of cargo,” Bello said.

The ports and sea transportation could be major revenue earners for the government, he said. The ports must fuel the economy.

He described the times as challenging, but said with proper and tactful handling, the problems posed by the virus would be surmounted.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has brought in palliatives and that’s impressive. It should look at the transport sector because apart from oil which is not a good friend of any economy, the transport sector is the second largest earner of revenue. Transport drives the economy. They should focus on areas of intervention.”

He said they were in challenging times from which lessons had to be learned. Traffic management is important to port operations. So is the efficiency of the terminals and professionalism of freight forwarders. He said the ports consisted of layers of interests and to have some levels of perfection, there must be unison and uniformity. source: ThisDay[/restrict]


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Port of Dar es Salaam, Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Dar es Salaam

A decline on transit cargo arriving at the port of Dar es Salaam and destined for the landlocked countries neighbouring Tanzania is anticipated by the Tanzania Truck Owners Association (TATOA).

That’s according to TATOA board member Rahim Dossa, who said that…[restrict] much of the cargo now being transported was ordered from different parts of the world before the global lockdowns began in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He pointed out the the lockdowns in the respective overseas countries meant that little cargo could now be expected. “Lockdowns in China and then other parts of the world have put shipments at a standstill,” he said.

Dossa anticipated that consignments of cargo will fall rapidly between mid-April to mid-May this year.

Imports still coming in consisted mostly of rice, sugar, edible oils, medicines and medical equipment.

He advised that certain countries – he highlighted Rwanda in this respect – have created priority areas for stockpiling of food and medical supplies. This made deliveries by truck drivers easier and with little personal hardships.

He said that drivers were equipped with masks and sanitisers for their entire journeys in order to prevent the risk of contracting the virus. TATOA has also provided 500 water bins to be placed at various stopping points and at borders to enable drivers to wash their hands regularly. source: Tanzanian Daily News[/restrict]


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Port of Beira, looking east. Picture: Anup Rampiar, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Beira, looking east.   Picture: Anup Rampiar

According to a report by Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, the port of Beira has experienced an increase in containerised cargo being handled at the port.

This is despite, or perhaps because of, the international crisis arising from the ongoing global outbreak of the coronavirus.

Radio Mozambique reported Jan de Vries, the Chief Executive of Cornelder Moçambique, which operates the Beira port, as saying the port will handle…[restrict] 2.5 million tons of cargo in 2020.

The reason for the increase in cargo traffic comes as a result of other countries in the region, specifically South Africa, having closed their land borders, thus causing cargo to be diverted to other regional ports.

Beira is linked directly with Zimbabwe, and therefore Zambia and Malawi, by road and rail. Botswana and the southern and eastern DRC can also make use of the port.

Beira is therefore now an alternative port for the landlocked neighbours – mostly foodstuff and fertilisers.

“The ships and the trucks are coming, and we have created conditions for this”, de Vries said. “At the same time it’s important that our work does not stop.”

De Vries said that in order to combat the coronavirus, Cornelder has created more than 30 disinfectant posts within the port’s premises. source: AIM and Radio Mozambique[/restrict]


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King Abdulaziz Seaport, Dammam Saudi Arabia Picture: Twitter, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
King Abdulaziz Seaport, Dammam, Saudi Arabia      Picture: Twitter

‏On 13 April Saudi Ports Authority (MAWANI) and Saudi Global Ports (SGP) signed a new Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) agreement for container terminals in the King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam over a virtual signing ceremony.

Under the patronage of Prince Saud bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz, Governor of the Eastern Region, (MAWANI) signed remotely the largest 30-year BOT Agreement in the Kingdom with (SGP) with investments exceeding SR 7 billion ($1.87 billion) to develop and operate container terminals at King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam.

The remote Agreement signing with the participation of Eng Saleh Al-Jasser, Minister of Transport and Chairman of the Saudi Ports Authority; Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport of Singapore; Eng Saad bin Alkhalb, President of Saudi Ports Authority; and Eng Abdullah Al-Zamil, Chairman of Saudi Global Ports.

The BOT Agreement represents a major step toward achieving the strategic objectives and development plan of the Saudi Ports Authority by conceding some of its services in partnership with the Ministry of Transport and with the support of the National Center for Privatization.

The Agreement activates the MoUs signed in the presence of HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, during the inauguration of the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP).

To transform King Abdulaziz Port

Upon assuming the responsibility of managing both Container Terminals, SGP will embark on a development and modernisation program to transform King Abdulaziz Port into a mega container hub and increase the port’s capacity to an estimated annual handling capacity of 7.5 million TEU when the planned expansion works are fully completed. The total estimated investment of more than 7 billion Saudi Riyals, It will provide more than 4,000 job opportunities in the port and logistics sector, it is understood.

This proposed advance is a part of continuous developments carried out by MAWANI in the Saudi ports.

To double container handling capacity

It was reported that under this agreement there will be investment and development of key infrastructure such as berths and container handling equipment. This will more than double the existing container handling capacity of King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam. Investments will focus on environmentally friendly and technologically sophisticated systems, including the adoption of automation to develop a modern Saudi workforce.

“The continuous developments in Saudi ports come in line with the national efforts to achieve goals and pillars of our country’s ambitious vision to promote sustainable economic development and raise competitiveness,” commented Eng Saleh Al-Jasser.

To develop Saudi ports’ infrastructure

He also indicated the importance of this Agreement to raise the operational and logistical performance level and develop the infrastructure of Saudi ports, contributing to reaching regional leadership and international competition.

Al-Jasser explained the expected economic feasibility and impact of this new Agreement as it enhances logistics, raises the reliability of supply chains, supports local and international trade and contributes in raising the rank of the Kingdom at the logistics performance index to become among the 25 best countries around the world. This Agreement also attracts new investments to the national economy, support local content and national industries and increase the national exports and imports that contribute to creating promising investment opportunities.

Eng Saad Alkhalb, President of the Saudi Ports Authority (MAWANI), said the new BOT Agreement at King Abdulaziz Port is a continuation of the Agreements concluded by MAWANI last December to develop container terminals at Jeddah Islamic Port with investments exceeding SR 9 billion ($2.4 billion). He indicated that the total expected investments in Jeddah Islamic Port and King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam amount to approximately SR 17 billion ($4.5 billion).

Alkhalb said: “These new Agreements will contribute mainly to developing berths, increasing the capacity of container terminals in King Abdulaziz Port by more than 120%, and providing integrated solutions to operate container terminals. They achieve technological and information integration and automation of operating systems and set environmentally friendly operating practices, which contribute to strengthening their leading role in the global maritime traffic and supporting the import and export operations.”

‏ ‏King Abdulaziz Seaport, Dammam Saudi Arabia Picture: Flickr, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

King Abdulaziz Seaport, Dammam ,  Saudi Arabia     Picture: Flickr

To strengthen relations with Singapore

Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport, valued this partnership as it strengthens the relations and cooperation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Singapore. He also indicated that the Saudi ports are witnessing a qualitative shift in their systems and procedures by launching more advanced services in its ports along the western and eastern coasts.

Eng Abdullah Al-Zamil, Chairman of the Saudi Global Ports (SGP), reflected: “Today, we are proud to sign the largest single BOT Agreement in Kingdom to develop container terminals at King Abdulaziz Port. I appreciate this successful and ambitious partnership with the Saudi Ports Authority, which reflects our commitment to achieving aspirations of our wise leadership in the Ports and Maritime Transport Sector. Our company relies on innovation in its products by applying the best international standards in the field of port operation with the assistance of qualified national cadres.”

It is important to note that King Abdulaziz Port is the largest Saudi port on the Arabian Gulf coast. It is an integrated trade gateway linking the Kingdom with the world. It has 43 berths. It is 19 km². It has a capacity of 105 million tons. It is linked with Riyadh Dry Port by railway, which helps goods from all over the world enter the Eastern and Central Regions of the Kingdom.

The port provides comprehensive operational services. It has modern handling equipment that enables the port to handle various types of cargo. This capability includes: two advanced container terminals; one refrigerated cargo terminal; two general cargo terminals; two cement plants, one for exporting black cement and clinker and one for white cement; a bulk grain terminal; an iron ore handling terminal; a naval vessel construction area and a gas and oil platform.

The port contains a ship repair facility that includes two floating docks to accommodate ships up to 215 metres loa.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Tema's extended port, Terminal 3, operated by Meridian Port Services, featured by Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Tema’s extended port, Terminal 3, operated by Meridian Port Services

Ghana Maritime Authority says there has been no noticeable decrease in shipping arriving at Ghana’s ports since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is despite global fears of recession and shortages of food and other essential products and services.

According to Captain Emmanuel Ankamah, GMA’s Deputy Director: Ship Inspections & Marine Security, merchant cargo ships have continued calling at Ghana’s ports even though the country’s borders have been closed. Seaports however are,,,[restrict] exempt to cargo vessels although the GMA had taken steps of ensuring that no crew imported the coronavirus into the country.

Captain Ankamah was speaking during the visit at the port of Tema by the Director General of the Authority, Thomas Kofi Alonsi. He gave assurances that the limited staff on duty were all properly attired and observant of the safety protocols when carrying out their inspections and surveys.

The Director General and several of his deputies were at the port to assess the level of compliance with the COVID-19 directives.

Alonsi and his team also met with his counterpart at the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), Mr Michael Luguje.

Luguje said the GPHA had invested heavily in safety protocols and procedures.

As part of these measures the Port Health Authority was mandated to go to the anchorage and screen ships’ crews specifically for symptoms of the virus. Although there had been a few false alarms, none of the visiting crews tested positive for the virus.

He confirmed the level of vessel and cargo traffic has remained stable, despite the global crisis.[/restrict]


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Authorities set pragmatic approach to support global supply chain

IMO Port State Control, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The port state control (PSC) regimes which carry out inspections onboard ships to monitor and enforce compliance with international regulations have highlighted their commitment to…[restrict] ensuring shipping continues to trade safely, securely and efficiently during the coronavirus pandemic, while respecting the important role of seafarers as key workers and protecting the environment. This was reported in a media briefing by IMO on 1 April.

Representatives of the ten PSC regimes which cover the world’s oceans met on 8 April in an online video meeting called by the IMO.

PSC regimes reported that while the number of physical on-board ship inspections has reduced considerably, in order to protect Port State Control officers and seafarers, the regimes continue to work to target high-risk ships which may be substandard.

Pragmatic approach

Furthermore, regimes reported taking a “pragmatic, practical and flexible” approach, recognising that exemptions, waivers and extensions to certificates have been granted by many flag states. The PSC regimes expressed a general desire for such practices to be standardised and harmonised.

The PSC regimes agreed on the need to work together to develop harmonized port state control practices and policies to ensure a consistent approach across the world and also welcomed the coordinating role of IMO.

Many IMO Member States, as flag States, have communicated information to IMO on their guidance in relation to certificate extensions and related matters. Some of the port State control regimes have already issued guidance and information on conducting ship inspections during the COVD-19 pandemic. These will also be shared on the IMO website.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim reiterated his message that the maritime industry continues to be a vital artery for the global economy and highlighted the need for all involved to work collaboratively to address practical issues caused by the unprecedented global situation. He welcomed the prevailing spirit of cooperation, collaboration and solidarity in these challenging times – when shipping is more important than ever in the global supply chain.

In a joint statement, the port State control regimes and IMO highlighted the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 crisis and recognised the need to maintain crucial sea trade supply chains, including the flow of vital medical supplies, critical agricultural products, and other goods and services.

“The respective roles of flag States and port States to solve this crisis, in terms of supporting maritime trade, are paramount, and can also be significantly assisted by the industry. At the same time, the safety of life at sea, the protection of the marine environment and the respect of seafarers as keyworkers must remain shared priorities,” the statement said.

Broad representation

On the invitation by the Secretary-General, the meeting on PSC inspections on during the COVID-19 pandemic was attended by representatives of the ten Port State Control (PSC) regimes, namely the United States Coast Guard, the Viña del Mar Agreement and the Abuja, Black Sea, Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Paris, Riyadh and Tokyo Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on port State control, as well as from the IMO Secretariat.

Coronavirus information for shipping and seafarers

Advice and information circulated by IMO, including information from Member States and recommendations issued by IMO, can be found on the page HERE

Port State Control regional regimes
Areas of responsibility of the nine regional regimes cover:

(i)the waters of the European coastal States and the North Atlantic basin from North America to parts of Europe and the north Atlantic (Paris MoU);

(ii)Asia and part of the Pacific Ocean (Tokyo MoU);

(iii)Latin America (Acuerdo de Viña del Mar);

(iv)Caribbean (Caribbean MoU);

(v)West and Central Africa (Abuja MoU);

(vi)Black Sea (Black Sea MoU);

(vii)the southern part of the Mediterranean Sea (Mediterranean MoU);

(viii)Indian Ocean (Indian Ocean MoU);

(ix)Persian Gulf (Riyadh MoU).

The United States Coast Guard maintains the tenth PSC regime.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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The bulker Top Grace, which is detained in Richards Bay after the master and crew are alleged to have thrown two stowaways overboard while off the Zululand coast. Picture: James Spyker/Marine Traffic, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The bulker Top Grace, which is detained in Richards Bay after the master and crew are alleged to have thrown two stowaways overboard while off the Zululand coast. Picture: James Spyker/Marine Traffic

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) says it will take all possible steps necessary to prevent people abuse on board ships sailing on South Africa’s oceans. This includes taking such harsh punitive measures as necessary, as provided for in law.

The warning comes in the wake of an ongoing investigation being conducted jointly with other authorities, including the South African Police Services (SAPS), into an alleged throwing overboard of two people by the crew of a foreign cargo vessel visiting South Africa recently, after they were reportedly found on board without permission.

You can see that report by CLICKING HERE

In a statement in Pretoria on Monday, SAMSA said the two men, both of Tanzania origin – described as stowaways – were reportedly forcibly removed and thrown overboard from a Panama flagged bulk carrier named MV TOP GRACE. The incident reportedly occurred after the MV Top Grace had sailed off the port of Durban on 28 March 2020.

Once authorities got wind of the incident, the vessel was detained in Richards Bay and charges laid against the ship’s captain and six of its crew members. They have since appeared in court while official investigations are continuing, said SAMSA.

In the statement SAMSA says: “The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is working with the South African Police Services (SAPS) in the investigation of an incident on the 28th of March off the KZN Coast involving the MV Top Grace. The MV Top Grace is Panamanian flagged bulk carrier.

“The investigation follows allegations by two Tanzanian nationals that they were thrown overboard after illegally boarding the vessel while it was berthed at Durban harbour.

“It is alleged that the two stowaways had boarded the vessel ‘Top Grace’ which was berthed at Maydon Wharf in Durban on Monday 23th March 2020 by climbing up the mooring ropes and hid in the chain locker.

“When they were discovered hiding on the ship, after it had set sail, they alleged that they were thrown overboard with a make-shift raft, life jackets and some bottles of water. The Tanzanians claimed they spent two days at sea before washing out at Zinkwazi beach on the North Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

SAMSA logo featured and displayed in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

“The vessel is currently berthed at the Richards Bay harbour and is detained. Seven crew including the Ships Master, Chief Officer, Third Officer, Chief Engineer, First Engineer, Second Engineer and Bosun (senior crewman of the deck) were taken into Police Custody and charged with attempted murder before being released on bail. The crew were allowed to return to the vessel until their next court appearance.

“SAMSA has also conducted its own investigation and has shared such with the SAPS to assist with their ongoing investigation. SAMSA would like to warn vessels sailing through its territorial waters that any vessels found to have transgressed South Africa’s national laws, will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

“The South African Maritime Safety Authority will continue to monitor all vessels calling at South African Ports or sailing through its territorial waters to ensure that its mandate of protecting the marine environment from pollution and saving lives and property at sea. SAMSA implores all vessels and ship managers to act responsibly during this period of uncertainty.

“SAMSA would like to thank the South African Police Services, National Prosecuting Authority and all other parties involved, whose selfless action and dedication to protect South Africa’s coastline during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown period has shown the true spirit of Ubuntu.” source: SAMSA


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The port town of Pemba, not far from where Jihadist terrorists are staging murderous attacks on small villages, and now island in the Quirimba archipelago. Picture: Terry Hutson

Jihadist terrorists struck again at Mozambican targets in the past week, attacking Quirimba Island which lies off the coast roughly opposite the town of Quissanga.

The attack was on Friday and five people on the small island lost their lives due to the Islamic radicals.

According to the report in the independent newssheet Carta de Moçambique, which often leads with such news, the terrorists dressed as…[restrict] ordinary civilians and crossed on small boats to the island offshore, a distance of about seven kilometres.

They apparently landed on Quirimba island, from which the archipelago takes its name, on Thursday night before making their attack on the unarmed islanders the following morning, Good Friday which was anything but good for the victims.

Three of the five who died drowned while trying to escape. The terrorists burnt another to death and a fifth person was shot dead. Another 60 islanders were held captive but were later released.

While on the island they attacked the local primary school, a health centre, the official residence of the head of the Quirimba administrative post, and destroyed an unspecified number of homes of the local population.

Terrified islanders fled when they could to the mainland while fear and panic spread to nearby Ibo island. People on the next island in the group, Matemo would also have been alarmed.,as they could be next. Matemo has one of the up-market lodges and an airstrip in addition to a small local population.

Once again the Mozambican police and security forces appeared impotent in preventing this latest attack, although several other incidents have taken place in the district indicating that at least one group of terrorists is active nearby.

The terrorists are edging closer to the chief town and port for the northern Mozambique provinces, Pemba (Porto Amelia in Portuguese times), and there must be concern among the local inhabitants, which include several 5-star lodges along the beachfront. Pemba boasts one of the deepest and largest natural harbours along the entire eastern coast of Africa.[/restrict]

Map of the Quissanga district of northern Mozambique, showing the islands of Ibo and Quirimba, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Map of the Quissanga district of northern Mozambique, showing the islands of Ibo and Quirimba


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Port of Dar es Salaam to remain open throughout COVID-19 crisis. Picture: TICTS, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Dar es Salaam to remain open throughout COVID-19 crisis. Picture: TICTS

Tanzania has decided to keep its borders open despite the COVID-19 crisis, after President John Magufuli said closing them would gravely hurt eight of Tanzania’s landlocked neighbours who depend on the Tanzanian ports, especially the Dar es Salaam port.

The president was speaking at a Good Friday church service…[restrict] in the Kilimani Catholic Parish in Chato, Geita Region.

Magufuli described the Dar es Salaam terminals as crucial for the country’s economy while shutting down the borders also meant shutting down the larger part of operations, in particular the significant amount of transit cargo destined for the neighbouring countries.

The country also had several mega infrastructure projects which are dependent on equipment and material that comes through the port.

Among these are materials for the standard gauge railway (SGR) under construction in Tanzania and the Mwalimu Nyerere Hydro Power project.

Earlier in April the Southern African Development Community (SADC) passed a resolution calling for the undisrupted flow of essential goods across the region throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.[/restrict]


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Stena Germanica at Kiel, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Stena Germanica at Kiel.    Picture: Wikipedia

It has now been five years since the first methanol-powered ship, the Stena Lines’ ferry, STENA GERMANICA, was introduced to service.

Being the first ship to run on methanol as a marine fuel signified a major milestone in the continued shift towards a more sustainable future for commercial shipping in line with the industry’s decarbonisation efforts and a proud moment for Stena, Wärtsilä, and Methanex Corporation for their involvement in the project.

Stena Germanica was converted to be capable…[restrict] of running on methanol fuel in early 2015 at Remontowa Shipyard in Poland. The 240-metre long ferry, with a capacity for 1500 passengers and 300 cars, was retrofitted with a first-of-its-kind fuel-flexible Wärtsilä 4-stroke engine that can run on methanol or traditional marine fuels.

The ferry began the world’s first methanol-powered sailings between Gothenburg, Sweden and Kiel, Germany in late-March 2015.

“Being the owner of the world’s first ship with methanol-fuel represented a great step on our journey to become the leader in sustainable shipping, and is an achievement we are very pleased to share as we mark the five-year anniversary of Stena Germanica’s successful operation on methanol,” says Carl-Johan Hagman, Head of Shipping & Ferries at Stena AB.

He said the project took shape thanks to excellent cooperation between Methanex and Wärtsilä, and many areas within Stena.

Toni Stojcevski, General Manager, Sales & Development, Wärtsilä Marine said that the use of methanol as a marine fuel is likely to increase in the future, and high quality, reliable, smart technologies are essential to success.

“Stena Germanica’s retrofit is yet another example of Wärtsilä’s leading position in bringing to the market innovative systems that increase efficiency and support environmental sustainability.”

Wärtsilä is continuing to invest in methanol for marine fuel applications, and further development work and testing procedures are planned. This is part of its programme aimed at the enablement of viable sustainable fuels.

Starting 1 January 2020, restrictions on sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions were launched by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) globally. As a marine fuel, methanol is compliant with the IMO’s 2020 regulations by reducing SOx by approximately 99 percent, and has the ability to meet Tier III Nitrogen oxides (NOx) regulations without exhaust after-treatment.

Methanol is already well positioned globally as a marine fuel, as it is available at more than 88 of the world’s top 100 ports.

“Our aim has always been to take a leadership position by being at the forefront of innovation in commercial shipping,” says Stuart McCall, Director, Business Development at Methanex. “Thanks to projects like this, methanol has been proven as a safe, reliable, and cost-effective marine fuel, and we continue to uncover innovative technological advances that optimise the performance and efficiency of the fuel as the market for methanol-powered vessels keeps growing.”

Stena Germanica’s conversion was a co-operation between Methanex Corporation, Stena Line, Wärtsilä, the Port of Gothenburg, and the Port of Kiel. The project was co-financed by the European Union and the classification of the conversion to methanol was conducted by Lloyd’s Register.

In the five years since launch, the market for methanol-powered vessels has seen continued growth. Methanex Corporation, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, Waterfront Shipping, operates the world’s largest methanol ocean tanker fleet with 11 vessels. Stena Bulk recently announced a joint-venture with Proman Shipping to build two methanol-powered vessels with delivery scheduled for the beginning of 2022.[/restrict]


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The message: Keep European ports going

The illustration here is reproduced from the EU’s TEN-T network and shows the Core Network Corridors, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The illustration here is reproduced from the EU’s TEN-T network and shows the Core Network Corridors

Since the start of the COVID 19 crisis, Europe’s ports have been doing everything possible to ensure the continuity of their operations and thus the security of supply. European ports have activated contingency plans to ensure that ports remain fully operational during this crisis. More than ever, European ports have been demonstrating their role as essential and critical infrastructures playing a crucial role in the supply of necessary goods.

Priority and a recovery strategy

The first and most important priority of European ports is to help overcome the health crisis by ensuring the continuity of their operations and providing citizens, health services and businesses with the goods and materials they need.

However, European ports believe that the EU needs to decide on a recovery strategy on how to overcome the economic crisis Europe is facing. This was reported in a statement by the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) on 10 April.

On their side, European port managing bodies are cooperating as best as they can with their stakeholders and customers to help them solve the challenges they will be facing in the forthcoming months.

North Sea Port indicated a decline in transhipment cargo in 2020 Q1 SEE HERE.

North Sea Port, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
North Sea Port

Engines of growth

As engines of growth, European ports will play an important role in the recovery process. To ensure that ports keep going and can help revamp Europe’s economy in the aftermath of the crisis, ESPO proposes the following:

1.] European ports, their stakeholders and their customers must, when and where needed, be able to benefit from immediate relief measures developed at both the EU and national levels. This will help the port ecosystem to bridge the temporary lockdown and impact of some limited or non-functioning port stakeholders. This temporary support will enable European ports and related industries to catch up as swiftly as possible once the confinement measures are lifted. During past crises, ports have proven to be a very resilient sector, able to rebound rapidly. An important condition for such a recovery is to ensure the short term financial viability of the maritime industry and the most affected businesses in the port. All European ports should be considered for such measures, regardless of their TEN-T* status.

2.] European ports ask EU policy makers to strengthen the existing support and financial instruments for infrastructure projects in ports, in particular CEF**, and to reinforce investments to allow European ports to play their role in the decarbonisation of Europe’s economy. The current crisis shows the key and critical role of port infrastructure and well-functioning port operations in ensuring the supply of essential goods and material. This is only possible if European ports continue to invest, remain state-of-the-art and further improve their hinterland connectivity. Advancing planned CEF calls could also be a way of boosting investments in ports. Such support should be provided notwithstanding the governance and economic model of ports and should include their respective critical hinterland infrastructures (inland waterways, railways, pipelines, roads).

3.] Ongoing port and transport infrastructure projects which are delayed due to national lockdown measures (in particular the temporary stop of construction works) require flexibility on deadlines and should not fall under the use-it-lose-it principle. Guidance should be further developed and discussed with the relevant project managers involved in ongoing projects, taking away the current uncertainty in their planning.

4.] Ports with important passenger traffic and/or tourism-related activities (notably ferry connections but also cruise) suffer an even more significant drop in activity and must be given special consideration. The recovery of touristic and travel activities risks to take longer in view of the severe travel restrictions within and outside the European Union. Initiatives aiming at restoring the trust in the sustainability, health and safety of maritime passenger traffic and cruise should be developed.

Isabelle Ryckbost, Secretary General of ESPO, commented: “In all European ports it is now really all hands on deck to remain operational and to fulfil their critical and essential role in the supply chain.

“The contingency plans are working well. I can say that European ports remain fully operational. It is now important to prepare for what comes after the crisis. The port ecosystem is facing serious economic impacts, but ports have proven in the past to be resilient.

“In order to catch up quickly once the health crisis is under control, and to play their role as engines of growth in Europe’s economic recovery, it is important that ports and the affected businesses in the port are supported when and where needed.

“The support must help in bridging this period of none or reduced economic activity. It is also important that port and transport infrastructure projects and investments can be pursued as planned and if possible even reinforced.”

* The Trans-European Transport Network. See HERE

** Connecting Europe Facility. CLICK HERE

Collated by Paul Ridgway


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by Nick Porée
NP&A Consultants Durban


Durban Container Terminal, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPSDurban Container Terminal

The ongoing 10-year wrangle between the Transnet Port operations and the road freight fraternity has not contributed to improving the efficiency of the Port of Durban.

The lack of concrete data and the failure to take a holistic view of the situation leaves the port operations people grappling with the problems within their own fence, dependent on some interest from head office for funds or provision of professional expertise to resolve the problems.The creation of the ‘A Check’ parking area has brought some relief to the traffic impasse on Bayhead road but has had minimal effect on the efficiency of the road transporters who still stand for an average of 6 hours for every box collected*.

At US$ 20 – $ 22 (R300) per hour the delay costs to transporters amounts to a staggering R2.2 bn per year.

To this must be added the shipping delay of approximately 2.4 days per call**. At a very conservative $12,000 per day this amounts to a further $23 million (R322 million per year). If a mooted $100 per box delay surcharge is added by the shipping lines this will aggravate the present high cost of using the port of Durban compared to other regional ports.

The cost of the delay in delivery of the cargoes into the inventory of the consignees amounts to a further R720 million per year***, bringing the total cost of the port inefficiencies to R 3.25 Bn per annum.

As this is presumably recovered from industry, the effect on the South African economy is serious enough to warrant more positive action from Trade, Industry and Treasury officials. It should change the perspective of those in high places on the urgency and the lack of serious attention to address the problems.

The recommendations of the Road Freight Strategy, approved by Cabinet, have yet to result in action, and the current Covid-19 pandemic is not helping, but there is urgent need for professional analysis of the problem, and the design of integrated solutions to improve the efficiency of the back of port landside operations.

Mooted plans to stage vehicles at various points amounts to simply kicking the can down the road instead of focusing on modernising the port handling system.

The primary problem is space and speed of handling for import boxes and there are potential solutions in international examples for both issues, and unused State-owned land within easy reach of the port.

The issue of port access is a secondary and longer-term requirement to equip the port to handle future industrial expansion but will require revision of current structures and integrated planning amongst the various levels of government.

The persistent inertia in resolving the long-standing problems around the port of Durban may be contrasted with our neighbouring countries where massive plans for port improvements to support industrial growth and employment are taking shape.

Investments in port infrastructure in the region include Walvis Bay ($4.2 bn); Maputo ($ 2.0 bn); Beira ($290 m); Lobito ($1.8bn); and Nacala (port and rail ($ 4.6bn). Matadi has a R2.5 bn BOT project for port, road and rail to Kinshasa and further afield; Berbera has Dubai Port World in a BOT upgrading of the port for $441 million.

It is of particular note that most of these developments are being expedited by holistic commercial contracts with professional port development and management companies, with well-defined, performance and profit-based budget commitments.

* TNPA and Durban Harbour Carriers Association
** Data: Linernet
*** NP&A Consultants Durban (www.Transportresearchafrica)

About NP&A

Nick Porée and Associates is an industry based, multi-disciplinary, economic and freight logistics consultancy in Durban, South Africa. NP&A provided freight transport performance and policy consultancy to SA government in the National Transport Master Plan, review of National Freight Logistics, Harrismith Hub, eThekwini Freight Logistics Study and the Road Freight Strategy approved by Cabinet in 2017. NP&A has consulted for SADC, COMESA and Tripartite on harmonisation of regional cross-border road freight and has performed many port, corridor, OSBP and trade studies throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Association with Linernet provides accurate performance data for evaluation of the Port of Durban delays and potential solutions. Current focus is on restructuring the multimodal freight transport system to create a framework for competitive efficiency to support economic recovery in South Africa.



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New straddle carriers arrived unassembled for the Cape Town Container Terminal and will have to wait for travel restrictions to be lifted before the manufacturer's own engineers can travel to Cape Town, Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
New straddle carriers arrived unassembled for the Cape Town Container Terminal and will have to wait for travel restrictions to be lifted before the manufacturer’s own engineers can travel to Cape Town

It was good news for the Cape Town Container Terminal at the weekend after the arrival of four new latest generation straddle carriers, which will help mitigate the impact of windy weather on terminal operations.

“Complete stoppage of straddle carriers occurs when wind speeds reach 90km/h compared to 72km/h for RTGs,” explained TPT Acting General Manager: Engineering Maintenance Maisa Salman.

“Salman said Cape Town experiences…[restrict] seven months of windy weather between October and April, which also sees the peak of the reefer season. “This acquisition will improve equipment availability on days of windy weather.”

CTCT operates a rubber tyre gantry (RTG) crane operation and uses straddle carriers as part of their wind recovery strategy to mitigate against the impact of the strong winds.

The R71 million investment is part of a broader TPT equipment boost of R2 billion in this current year alone. Salman said this was in response to industry calls for equipment that will improve operational performance.

Targeted planned maintenance strategies have to underpin efforts, Salman added.

The straddle carriers arrived on board the vessel Santa Rosa and will be assembled on site with the assistance of engineers from Poland on behalf of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Kalmar. They boast improved drive technology, engine starting reliability, graphical user interface and a new stradmonitor tool for easy and quick troubleshooting and configuration.

“As South Africa observes lockdown rules, the commissioning and hand over of the machines to Operations will be delayed due to travel restrictions in place as the machines cannot be assembled and commissioned without the OEM engineers,” said Salman.

The straddles complement an existing terminal fleet of equipment largely servicing the agricultural industry, with containerised cargo moving across trade markets like Asia, Europe, America, Australia and East and West Africa.[/restrict]

An assembled and operational straddle carrier, this one at the Port of Durban, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
An assembled and operational straddle carrier, this one at the Port of Durban



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HMS AUDACIOUS Pictures: MoD Crown Copyright 2020 ©, Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Pictures: MoD Crown Copyright 2020 ©

On 7 April the HMS Audacious, the fourth of the Royal Navy’s Astute-class submarines, entered her new home port, HM Naval Base Clyde. The new submarine and her 98-strong crew had sailed from BAE Systems in Barrow-in-Furness, NW England.

Welcoming the vessel to her new home were members of the Submarine Flotilla – SUBFLOT – based at Clyde.

Commodore Jim Perks OBE, Head of the Submarine Service commented: “It is with great excitement that we welcome HMS Audacious to the Clyde, joining her three sister submarines.

“HMS Audacious represents an ever improving example of the world-leading Astute class submarine. She is right at the cutting-edge of technology, built here in the UK by our own people. She will provide the country with remarkable security at sea to protect our nation’s interests.”

Audacious will join sister-submarines HMSs Astute, Ambush and Artful which are already in service and operating from Faslane. A further three boats – named Anson, Agamemnon and Agincourt – are currently under construction at BAE in Barrow.

The Astute-class vessels are said to be among the most sophisticated submarines ever constructed for the Royal Navy.

Equipped with advanced sensors, the Astute-class carry both Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles (TLAM) and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes.

The 7,400-tonne boats can circumnavigate the globe submerged, producing their own oxygen and drinking water.

HMS AUDACIOUS Pictures: MoD Crown Copyright 2020 ©, Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS

Officially named in December 2016, Audacious was launched in April 2017 and conducted her first dive in January 2018.

Commodore Perks continued: “I am extremely grateful to all of the teams and companies that have contributed to the grand task of building this exceptional submarine. I am especially proud of our submariners who have worked tirelessly to inject their heart and soul into HMS Audacious to ensure she delivers the very best for our nation.”

It is understood that Audacious’ crew will now embark on shore training before eventually undertaking the next period of sea trials.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Greg Mortimer. Picture: Sunstone Ships, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Greg Mortimer. Picture: Sunstone Ships

Remember the visit to Cape Town of the Chinese-built cruise ship with the Ulstein patented X-Bow design, named GREG MORTIMER? The expedition cruise ship was on her delivery voyage to Ushuaia in South America to take up a series of cruises in Antarctic waters.

You may see that article CLICK HERE together with a link to a report of a month earlier reporting on the ship’s progress at the Chinese yard.

The latest news from Greg Mortimer is that…[restrict] passengers from Australia and New Zealand are having to be evacuated from the ship which has been held off the coast of Uruguay after 60 per cent of her passengers tested positive for the coronavirus.

Initially after authorities refused to allow passengers to disembark due to health risks.

The ship had departed on 14 March for a cruise to Antarctica and South Georgia but has been at anchor off the Uruguay coast since the start of April. Six of her passengers had to be transferred ashore at Montevideo due to their deteriorating health.

Greg Mortimer has 128 passengers and 89 crew on board.

On Friday 10 April Uruguay began evacuating Australian and New Zealand passengers and crew after the ship docked in Montevideo. They were being flown to Melbourne by charter aircraft arranged by the Uruguayan government and the Australian cruise operator. The flight left the Uruguayan capital on Saturday but two Australians remained behind in intensive care in a local hospital because of their poor condition.

Other passengers from Europe, the UK, Jamaica and America remain on board while negotiations continue with their respective countries.

Earlier, the ship’s doctor developed a fever from the virus and a back-up volunteer medic was hastily arranged.

Ships remaining at Sea

CMV's cruise ship VASCO DA GAMA, the former Holland America S-class vessel Statendam. Picture:, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
CMV’s cruise ship VASCO DA GAMA, the former Holland America S-class vessel Statendam. Picture:

It is being reported that a least a dozen cruise ships are stuck at sea with the coronavirus affecting passengers and crew.

Earlier in March the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), whose members make up more than 95 per cent of the global cruise fleet, suspended all cruise operations from US ports for a 30-day period. CLIA more recently said that about 14 per cent of its fleet consisting of about 30 ships remained at sea. Efforts were in place to bring them into port but in many cases the countries in which they are operating are denying them access.

Apart from health concerns, and some of the ships have reported positive cases of the virus, a major problem is being able to arrange onward flights back to their home countries for both passengers and non-essential crew. Much of the airline industry has shut down.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade revealed it was in direct contact with 10 cruise ships involving around 600 Australian passengers stranded aboard.

Unless passengers have onward flight arrangements and are able to travel directly to the airport along a so-called sanitary corridor, they are not allowed ashore. Very few flights remain available, further compounding their problems.

Celebrity Eclipse, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Celebrity Eclipse

Celebrity Eclipse

Even ships docked in the United States face challenges. Celebrity Eclipse is one such example. The ship is docked in San Diego and although 2,000 passengers were eventually allowed to disembark and take flights to their homes, after authorities declared all were healthy and free of the virus, at least one person has died within days of arriving home. Medical staff who tested him said he had the flu but an autopsy revealed he had the coronavirus. His wife has now also tested positive.


The Holland America cruise ship AMSTERDAM which called at Durban a week ago to refuel and take supplies, and to disembark five South African crew, is retracing her path across the Indian Ocean. The ship’s passengers left the ship in Australia to fly home and the ship was said to be returning to Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Instead Amsterdam is heading back across the Indian Ocean, bound for Indonesia where many of the crew live. At the weekend Amsterdam was immediately south of Madagascar.

After this the vessel will, according to the AIS, head for Fort Lauderdale once more.

Silver Whisper, Silver Spirit and Vasco da Gama

Two Silversea Cruise ships, SILVER WHISPER and SILVER SPIRIT have crossed the Indian Ocean from Australia and are either taking bunkers outside Port Elizabeth (Silver Whisper) in Algoa Bay or heading that way (Silver Spirit, due 16 April). Silver Wisper is listed to also call at Cape Town later today (Tuesday 14 April), due at 14h00.

A third cruise ship, VASCO DA GAMA has similarly crossed the ocean from Australia and at the weekend was nearing the Cape of Good Hope, destination Cape Town.  The ship has since arrived in the port.

Asuka II

Our report of last Friday that the Japanese cruise ship ASUKA II would be arriving in Cape Town is not correct. The NYK ship is already in her home waters and unlikely to stray out until the COVID-19 crisis is over. Our last week report was based on that provided by the port concerned.[/restrict]


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The US helping keep them and us safe

Ensign Alan Cook, from Silverdale, Washington, takes a bearing with an alidade on the bridge of the guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) in the Arabian Sea on 20 March., featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Ensign Alan Cook, from Silverdale, Washington, takes a bearing with an alidade on the bridge of the guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) in the Arabian Sea on 20 March.  US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tamara Vaughn/Released. USN © 

US Naval Forces Central Command is responsible for approximately 2.5 million square miles of area including the waters of the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Red Sea.

Here the US Naval Forces Central Command’s mission is to conduct maritime security operations, theatre security cooperation efforts, and strengthen partner nations’ maritime capabilities in order to promote security and stability in the US 5th Fleet area of operations.

Ensign Alan Cook, from Silverdale, Washington (above), takes a bearing with an alidade on the bridge of the guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) in the Arabian Sea on 20 March.

Lassen is part of the Harry S Truman Carrier Strike Group and is in the US 5th Fleet area of operations.

The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) transits the Arabian Gulf on 5 April. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tamara Vaughn/Released. USN ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) transits the Arabian Gulf on 5 April.  US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anna E Van Nuys/Released. USN ©

USS Bataan is the flagship for the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and, with embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), is deployed to the US 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.

On 3 April the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the embarked MEU, along with guided missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) and the dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12), conducted a routine transit through the Strait of Hormuz into the Arabian Gulf.

Two days before, the US Navy Expeditionary Landing Base ship USS Lewis B Puller (ESB 3), assigned to US Naval Forces Central Command (USNAVCENT), had been conducting joint naval and air integration operations with US Army AH-64E Apache attack helicopters assigned to US Army Central Command’s (USARCENT) Task Force Saber, throughout the month of March.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Boskalis cutter suction dredger, illustrating story in Africa PORTS & SHIPS
Boskalis cutter suction dredger

Boskalis has expanded its salvage presence in the US by acquiring Ardent Americas LLC, a leading player under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA90) for the provision of marine emergency response services in the United States.

Under the…[restrict] OPA90 program there is a statutory requirement from the United States Coast Guard that shipowners trading in US waters must have an agreement in place with approved emergency response companies for the provision of salvage and marine firefighting services.

Ardent Americas OPA90 program covers approximately 500 shipowners encompassing over 4,000 vessels.

Ardent Americas which was established in 2015 following the merger of Svitzer Salvage and Titan Salvage, operates from Houston and Fort Lauderdale in the US and was a subsidiary of Ardent Global Marine Services, headquartered in IJmuiden, the Netherlands.

Through this acquisition Boskalis has further strengthened its existing position in the US maritime salvage market.

Boskalis currently provides OPA90 services in the US with Donjon-Smit through its subsidiary SMIT Salvage and its joint venture partner Donjon Marine. With over 175 years of experience, SMIT Salvage is synonymous with total commitment to the challenging field of marine emergency response and wreck removal, especially when optimal care for the environment is a priority.

Boskalis flag, displayed in Africa PORTS & SHIPS



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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.

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