Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 27 February 2021

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Front Page: DA XIN


The Saturday masthead features the port of Cape Town, Elliott Basin




Front Page: DA XIN


Da Xin, with the Bluff peninsular in the background, approaches the channel leading to the High Seas Picture by Keith Betts as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Da Xin, with the Bluff peninsular in the background, approaches the channel leading to the High Seas Picture by Keith Betts

Da Xin Pictures by: Keith Betts and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

One of the deck cargoes being seen more frequently as the lessons of climate change take effect, are sections of wind farm turbine components, including jackets and turbine blades, the blades as seen here having some resemblance to giant surfboards. The ship carrying this cargo, the Chinese general cargo vessel DA XIN (IMO 9608427), called at Durban for bunkers and is shown here on her departure, bound for Magallanes in the Philippines where she is due on 3 March 2021. The 29,565-dwt Da Xin is 180-metre long, 28m wide and was built in 2014. Magallanes is named after Ferdinand Magellan, whom we recently featured in another story. These pictures are by Keith Betts

Added 21 February 2021



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Dryad Global has confirmed that the report dated Thursday 25 February concerning an attack by pirates on a Nigerian offshore crew transfer vessel, acting in the capacity of a security escort vessel (SEV) with navy personnel on board, had been attacked by pirates, was a hoax.

The report said two of those on board the SEV had been killed in the attack.

The Nigerian Navy responded to the reports saying the report was false and alarmist. The Nigerian navy accused the media of being guilty of “a deliberate ongoing effort to discourage maritime traffic as well as heighten freight and insurance cost in the Region.”

The NN then went on to address Nigerian media sources: “Thus, all Nigerian organisations/agencies are please[d] advised to be very wary of any calculated attempt at tarnishing the image of a nation in furtherance of an untoward maritime agenda.”

On 26 February Dryad Global issued a statement retracting the “misreporting” of the boarding of the vessel in question.

Dryad Global said it was amongst a number of organisations to have reported the event that was believed to be correct by international monitoring organisations at the time. “A clarification was issued 26 Feb 11h30 UTC stating that no incident had occurred and that it may have resulted from inaccurate reporting by an operator of SEV services (unverified).”


The allegations made by the NN that the purpose of piracy reports in the Gulf of Guinea are to “discourage maritime traffic as well as heighten freight and insurance cost in the Region” would be considered ludicrous were it not so serious. Neither the Nigerian Navy nor the Federal Government is known for its prompt attention given to issuing reports and confirmations of serious crimes being committed off the coast of the West African country. That piracy occurs in the waters of the Gulf and serious crimes are further committed with subsequent demands for the ransoming of crew forceably removed from the ships, cannot be wished away. The shipping operators involved are equably reticent in acknowledging that one of their ships has been boarded, with subsequent delays to their schedules. The majority of the maritime sector and the general public therefore is left reliant on media sources to bring the information of a pirated ship to general attention. If this is considered undesirable then the regional navies ought to do their job of safeguarding the seas around each nation, or to stand aside and allow foreign navies to achieve the same success as that achieved off the Somali coast.


Added 27 February 2021


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PIRACY: Security Escort Vessel (SEV) attacked, two crew dead

Nigerian pirates on attack (simulation), featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Nigerian pirates on attack (simulation)

Dryad Global reports that a Nigerian offshore crew transfer vessel, acting in the capacity of a security escort vessel (SEV) with navy personnel on board, has been attacked by pirates. Two of those on board the SEV are reported to have been killed in the attack.

This is yet another brazen and intensified attack by pirates who are demonstrating they do not fear security and escort vessels or personnel in their determination to carry out attacks on commercial and other shipping.

This latest attack took place 17 nautical miles west of Okwori Terminal, in position 03° 49N 006° 30E – the attack occurred yesterday, 24 February 2021 at 21h30 UTC.

The Security Escort / Offshore Crew Supply Vessel named ODIANOSEN  is 40 metres in length and 8m wide.

It appears the SEV had a crew of eight, a liaison officer and seven Nigerian Navy personnel on board, of whom two have been reported as killed in the attack.

The SEV was inbound when coming under attack and was not at that point providing escorting duties.

This is the second recent attack by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea resulting in the death of personnel attacked. The other involved the death of a seafarer on board the Cape Town-bound Turkish container ship, MOZART, when 15 other crew were carried away by their attackers and later ransomed by the pirates.

According to Dryad Global, since January 2019 there have been 15 incidents within the Gulf of Guinea, involving attacks where security forces have been involved, either whilst providing escort services or embarked.

Dryad advises that the current risk profile for this region is CRITICAL with incidents assessed as highly likely expected daily. All vessels to ensure adequate hardening and mitigation and report all suspicious activity to the relevant maritime authorities.

Added 25 February 2021


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CONTAINER RATES ALERT: rates rise go into overdrive

In the long-term fundamental change is possible, but for the short-term shippers should be prepared for the probability of further demanding negotiations and continuing high rates. The latest market intelligence will help them understand just how challenging the way ahead promises to be.” – Patrik Berglund, Xeneta

2021 is shaping up to be a golden age for container ship operators, with January’s substantial rise in long-term contracted rates being “blown out the water” by developments in February.

According to the latest XSI® Public Indices report from market intelligence from Xeneta, rates soared by 9.6% month-on-month (following January’s jump of 5.9%). All key shipping corridors registered steep climbs, driven by continuing surging demand, lack of equipment supply, and spot rates that refuse to budge from their lofty peaks.

Oslo-based Xeneta’s XSI® captures the very latest rates from leading shippers, utilising over 220 million data points, with more than 160,000 port-to-port pairings and delivering an in-depth understanding of global long-term rates movements, which, this year, have been nothing short of dramatic.

The index is now at its highest ever level, up 13.9% year-on-year, with a 16% climb over the first two months of 2021.

Difficult decisions

Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund

Shippers praying for a ‘time-out’ in this frenzied arena may have to steel themselves for more of the same, warns Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund.

“It’s no overstatement to say this really is an extraordinary time for the industry,” he comments. “The demand for available containers is well-reported, as is congestion at ports (particularly in the US) and the disruption caused by coronavirus. This continues to fan the flames of red hot rates, giving the carriers a huge advantage over shippers when it comes to negotiations.”

Berglund explains that the operators have succeeded in maintaining all-time high spot rates which gives them ammunition for negotiating favourable long-term contracts.

“That creates an unpalatable choice for shippers. Namely, run the risk of playing the spot market and hope for lower rates, or lock into contracts and secure your supply chain, but at a high price. And of course, if you’re a smaller shipper there’s a real danger of being sidelined for larger or more profitable customers.

“It’s a very difficult, fluid situation, where the latest market data is absolutely key to making the best business decisions.”

Unparalleled performance

The strength of the market is demonstrated by the unusual fact that every key trade corridor in February, in terms of both import and export, recorded significant climbs. Some were the highest ever seen on the XSI®.

XEBATA banner in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

In Europe, imports rose by 9.6% (following last month’s huge 19.3% gain) with the index now up 21.1% year-on-year. The exports benchmark, meanwhile, saw its largest ever monthly hike of 11.1%, driving a 7.7% increase against February 2020 rates. Far East imports rewrote the record books for the XSI® with a 38.9% jump, the biggest single monthly increase seen on the indices.

This leaves the index 25.7% higher year-on-year. The exports figure could not keep pace, but still showed marked growth with a climb of 8.1%, pushing the benchmark up 27.4% against this time last year.

Developments in the US were equally dramatic. Here the imports figure rose by 7.1% (7.9% year-on-year), while exports saw their greatest ever increase in the report, up by a massive 17.6% month-on-month. However, coming on the back of a prolonged period of weak development, this benchmark remains down 2% seen against February 2020.

Evolution ahead?

Berglund says the dynamic nature of the market makes second-guessing future developments problematic, although he does see inevitable “adjustments” ahead in an evolving segment.

“The congestion in the US is a good example,” he notes. “Recent reports suggest that there were 21 vessels anchored at Los Angeles/Long Beach, with an average waiting time of eight days. This comes on the back of National Retail Federation (NRF) intelligence indicating imports into major US gateways reached all-time highs in the second half of 2020. So, there’s an impetus for carriers to look at west coast alternatives, such as Oakland and Seattle, and launch new services for greater efficiency. That could impact upon rates.

“In Europe we’re already seeing developments with a new service launched by China United Lines (CUL) serving the Far East. Interestingly, purchasing network XSTAFF has joined forces with CUL to offer its clients – shippers of a smaller scale – enhanced reliability and cost security.

“A second route is scheduled to commence operations soon. This model is an intriguing alternative, as is cargo owners looking to manage their own fleets. Could this be a way for shippers to regain control?”

Accessing intelligence

“In the long-term fundamental change is possible,” Berglund says, “but for the short-term shippers should be prepared for the probability of further demanding negotiations and continuing high rates. The latest market intelligence will help them understand just how challenging the way ahead promises to be.”

Companies participating in Oslo-based Xeneta’s crowd-sourced ocean and air freight rate benchmarking and market analytics platform include names such as ABB, Electrolux, Continental, Unilever, Lenovo, Nestle, L’Oréal, Thyssenkrupp, Volvo Group and John Deere, amongst others.

For the full XSI® Public Indices report, please CLICK HERE

Added 25 February 2021


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Unions call for global seafarer vaccination programme

Nautilus Federation director Mark Dickinson, featured in report carried in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Nautilus Federation director Mark Dickinson








The Nautilus Federation, a group of 22 leading trade unions representing seafarers and inland waterways workers, has issued a statement calling on governments and global organisations to coordinate a worldwide vaccination programme for seafarers and inland waterways transport crew.

The Federation unions believe that the crew change crisis could be mitigated by an international endeavour to vaccinate maritime and shipping professionals. An international effort would also help to ensure that seafarers do not miss out on vaccinations while travelling for work.

The joint statement notes that vaccination policies and authorisations by government agencies differ in many jurisdictions, with some vaccines not considered suitable by particular countries. It therefore calls for seafarers who receive a vaccine outside of their country of domicile to only be given one authorised by the regulatory body of their home country.

It also reflects on the importance of seafarers receiving information on their vaccination in English and their own language.

Nautilus Federation affiliates, in supporting this statement, recognise that maritime and shipping professionals require an international solution to ensure they can access vaccines while at sea.

The statement highlights the importance of seafarers being able to access the required number of doses within the timescales recommended by the WHO, and the need for access to medical services for those who experience side effects.

The statement also asks that:

• Any vaccinations authorised by the WHO be recognised as valid for seafarer travel and transit through any national jurisdiction
• Seafarers who have not yet been able to receive a vaccination to be permitted to travel to and from their country of domicile and their place of work without restriction for the duration of the global seafarer vaccination programme
• An education programme targeted towards seafarers to counter the effects of anti-vaccination propaganda

“There are specific characteristics of the industry which call for a position encouraging vaccination, as maritime and shipping professionals must travel to do their job,” said Nautilus Federation director Mark Dickinson.

He said this places them at additional risk, and vaccination is an obvious step to mitigate that risk and protect employment.

“Nautilus Federation affiliates, in supporting this statement, recognise that maritime and shipping professionals require an international solution to ensure they can access vaccines while at sea. Governments and global organisations must recognise this urgent and growing need.”

Added 25 February 2021


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North Sea Port extends rail corridor to the Baltic

The RoRo vessel Humbia Seways at North Sea Port, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The RoRo vessel Humbia Seaways at North Sea Port

The European Commission will extend the rail freight corridor between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea to the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal Zone. The Commission responded to the request from North Sea Port. It strengthens the role of North Sea Port as a European top port and its ambitions as a rail port. This was reported by North Sea Port on 24 February.

North Sea Port was already part of the ‘Rail Freight Corridor Rhine-Alpine’ (between the Rhine basin and the Alpine region) and ‘North Sea-Mediterranean’ (between the North Sea and the Mediterranean). ‘North Sea-Baltic’ is now added. This corridor runs from Belgium and the Netherlands via Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia to Estonia. In Poland the corridor connects to the Chinese Silk Road.

European support

The accession to this third corridor is good news for the port and the port companies. By developing these main axes, Europe wants to boost freight transport by rail as an alternative to road transport. Infrastructure projects in the corridor have a better chance of receiving European support. They may also move up the agenda of infrastructure managers such as ProRail in the Netherlands and Infrabel in Belgium.

Shippers and rail operators can now more easily obtain capacity or train paths to run trains on that route. They are playing at European level. This will open up new economic opportunities for them. Multiple terminals and companies within North Sea Port are directly connected to the railway network and make intensive use of it to transport goods. After all, the port area lies at the crossroads of the European railways (up to China).

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

Rail ambitions

As a port, North Sea Port is strongly committed to rail transport. Every year, 7 to 8 million tonnes of cargo enter or leave the port by rail. That is 10% of the goods transport between the port and the hinterland. There are more than 300 trains every week in the port area.

North Sea Port has the ambition to increase this share even further. This is in line with the strategy of sustainability and greening. Together with companies and many partners, the port is actively working on perfecting the line between Flushing and Antwerp and between Terneuzen and Zelzate, tackling a number of bottlenecks on the track in the port area and using railway line No 204 for passenger transport between Ghent-Dampoort and Zelzate.

Our illustrations are reproduced by courtesy of

Paul Ridgway, London correspondent of Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


Edited by Paul Ridgway


Added 25 February 2021


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AIRFREIGHT: Kenya Airways launches B787 Dreamliner freighter

Kenya Airways B787 Dreamliner. Picture: Flickr, featured in article in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Kenya Airways B787 Dreamliner. Picture: Flickr

Faced with increased demand, Kenya Airways has converted one of its nine B787 Dreamliner aircraft as a freighter in what is believed to be the first ever cabin cargo repurposing of this type of aircraft.

According to Allan Kilavuka, CEO and MD of Kenya Airways, converting the B787 from a passenger aircraft to that of a freighter will help Kenya to export more goods across the globe whilst stimulating local business opportunities.

“KQ’s purpose is to contribute to the sustainable development of Africa. The freighter will enable us to bridge businesses & enhance connectivity. Kenya will export more goods to our partners across the globe & stimulate business for local suppliers,” said Allan Kilavuka, CEO and MD of Kenya Airways.

The project to convert the aircraft was achieved with collaboration between Kenya Airways and Avianor.

The modified aircraft cabin can carry up to 16 tonnes of freight enabling the aircraft to utilise its maximum cargo payload of 46 tonnes.

This is not the first time Kenya Airways has used its Dreamliner aircraft for cargo operations. In 2020 two of its 787 aircraft operated as freighters but with the cabin seats remaining.

A second Dreamliner has been authorised for conversion into a full freighter by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority. The move means that the capacity at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport will be increased by 100 tonnes available to exporters, in particular Kenya’s horticulture sector.

Added 25 February 2021


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Ngqura's new automatic gates. Picture; Transnet, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Ngqura’s new automatic gates. Picture; Transnet

It’s hoped that port users will soon experience an improved traffic flow of trucks as the tech-savvy Ngqura Container Terminal (NCT) nears the completion of a R20 million upgrade of its automated gate system.

Introduced in 2009 when operations first began at the terminal, the automated gate system enables the independence of truck drivers who are able to fully and quickly interact with the system without any human interaction.

Other system features include pre-booking and pre-advice that improves truck process time, terminal productivity and the benefit of enhanced security with the elimination of human error.

“As the newest of the 16-terminal-network managed by Transnet Port Terminals countrywide, NCT has over the last 11 years served as a technological model. This investment forms part of offering our customers an efficient service that is world class,” claimed Wandisa Vazi, Managing Executive for the Cape Terminals.

NGQURA PORT GATES, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Due to ageing [11 years], the gates had started malfunctioning resulting in intermittent outages, which delayed productivity and resulted in long queues of trucks coming into the terminal. This heavily affected truck turnaround, a key operational measure for the terminal.

The upgrade includes both the in-gate and out-gate facilities and accompanying infrastructure and hardware.

According to Vazi, the automated gate system upgrade was a phased project with remaining works expected to conclude at the end of next month.

“The investment forms part of an overall TPT focus, replacing ageing equipment across its terminals and keeping up with the latest technology available in the market in order to deliver value” she said.

Added 24 February 2021


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Port is what we do – Hamburg port authority video

Hamburg port scene. Picture: Everpedia, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Hamburg port scene. Picture: Everpedia

One of the largest projects of the German port of Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) involves the adjustment to the port fairway, consisting of various sub -projects.

We’ve featured a couple of other videos, courtesy of the HPA, over the past year or so and this latest one, dubbed into English, lasts a little over five minutes and is of interest to anyone keen on observing ports in other parts of the world.

In this edition, the leading light line is one sub-project: The foundation work had already begun in 2019, the new front light and the new rear light were erected in July 2020 and put into operation in October.

The compensatory measures for hemlock also took a big step forward in 2020. In February, the first basin was finished with islands and tideways and then later the first seedlings were planted. Work has begun on the second basin.

The “encounter box” sub-project also moved forward: in March 2020, the contract for the dredging work was awarded and by the end of the year had already been completed.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, most of the project management had to be done from the home offices. Project meetings were held digitally, which perhaps to everyone’s surprise, worked out great and did not lead to any disruptions.

There is still some remaining work to be done for 2021. But see for yourself in this issue of PORT IS WHAT WE DO.

Port is what we do – Hamburg port video via YouTube [5:13]

Added 24 February 2021


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Kuehne+Nagel acquires Chinese logistics provider Apex

APEX airfreight, apperaing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

*  Apex is one of the leading Asian air freight forwarders
*  Largest acquisition in Kuehne+Nagel’s history
*  Large step toward fulfilling strategic Asia ambitions

Kuehne+Nagel has entered into a binding agreement to acquire Apex International Corporation, one of Asia’s leading freight forwarders, especially in the transpacific and intra-Asia. The company was founded in China in 2001 and has expanded throughout Asia and beyond over the years of its growth history.

With approximately 1,600 employees, Apex generates yearly turnover in excess of CHF 2.1 billion (US$ 2.313 billion). In 2020, the company handled total air freight volume of approximately 750,000 tons and sea freight volume of 190,000 TEU.

“The combination of Apex and Kuehne+Nagel provides us with an opportunity to offer our customers a compelling proposition in the competitive Asian logistics industry, especially in e-commerce fulfilment, hi-tech and e-mobility,” said Dr Detlef Trefzger, CEO of Kuehne+Nagel International AG.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the Apex colleagues to the Kuehne+Nagel family.”

Tony Song, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Apex, said that with Kuehne+Nagel, “we have found a strategic shareholder and logistics group with more than 130 years of heritage. We are sure that with this transaction, we will be able to add value for our customers’ supply chains and expand our global logistics network. We will complement Kuehne+Nagel’s existing global Air Logistics team while offering our management and key talents unique career opportunities.”

Dr Joerg Wolle, Chairman of the Board of Directors Kuehne Nagel International AG, said that in the past years, Kuehne+Nagel strategically and with great efforts expanded and developed its business in Asia Pacific.

“Today we are one of the leading players and are further accelerating our growth and impact in this region. Asia Pacific has consistently proven to be one of the most important drivers of global trade,” he said.

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including merger clearance by the competent competition authorities. The purchase price will be financed by available liquid sources and, if needed, by available credit lines.

Following closing of the transaction, a minor stake of Apex shares is to remain with the experienced and entrepreneurial management of Apex. The company will then continue to operate separately within the Kuehne+Nagel Group.

About Kuehne+Nagel

With over 78,000 employees at 1,400 locations in over 100 countries (including South Africa), the Kuehne+Nagel Group is one of the world’s leading logistics companies. Its strong market position lies in sea logistics, air logistics, road logistics and contract logistics, with a clear focus on integrated logistics solutions.

Added 24 February 2021


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ICAO and WCO issue joint calls Vaccine supply chain priorities
New customs and security guidelines

COVID-19 vaccine, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

It was announced from Montréal on 22 February that ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) have published a joint statement calling on governments to demonstrate maximum flexibility with respect to border clearance and air transport supply chain operations essential to the effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and related medical supplies.

In a separate but related development, the two agencies have also developed new guidelines to help countries achieve better alignment of their customs and security procedures.

Signed by ICAO Secretary General Dr Fang Liu and WCO Secretary General Dr Kunio Mikuriya, the joint statement on vaccines urges the rapid establishment of the infrastructure needed to support end-to-end vaccine storage and logistics for public supplies.

Improved open collaboration between the aviation and customs communities and partnering organizations is also strongly emphasized.

ICAO and the WCO are furthermore encouraging countries to designate required aviation staff as key workers providing an essential service, in alignment with the WHO’s Roadmap for Prioritizing Uses of COVID-19 Vaccines.

Dr. Liu emphasised: “ICAO continues to work very closely with regional and international organisations, and industry partners such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airports Council International (ACI), to provide up-to-date guidance to government aviation authorities, airlines, and airports.

“To better expedite air cargo operations, and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines, governments are being urged to bring these matters to the immediate attention of their national health and transport authorities, customs authorities, local governments, and any other concerned parties.”

The new Joint WCO-ICAO Guiding Principles for Pre-Loading Advance Cargo Information will meanwhile build on earlier progress achieved by ICAO and WCO on another important risk management approach, one focused on the pre-loading of advance cargo information and designed exclusively to prevent explosives from being placed in air cargo shipments.

Dr Liu noted: “Since the 2010 incident where air cargo was attempted to be used as a delivery mechanism for explosive devices, the WCO and ICAO have been partnering to secure and protect the air cargo and mail supply chain, in addition to other objectives relating to the unfettered movement of people, goods, and conveyances across international borders.”

ICAO logo displayed in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

About ICAO

A specialised agency of the United Nations, ICAO was created by governments in 1944 to support their diplomacy on international air transport matters.

Since that time, countries have adopted over 12,000 standards and practices through ICAO which help to align their national regulations relevant to aviation safety, security, efficiency, capacity and environmental protection, enabling a truly global network to be realised.

ICAO fora also provide opportunities for advice and advocacy to be shared with government decision-makers by industry groups, civil society NGOs, and other officially-recognized air transport stakeholders.

Paul Ridgway, London correspondent of Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


Edited by Paul Ridgway


Added 24 February 2021


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WHARF TALK: Durban Shipping Movements today

The container ship named BEAR MOUNTAIN BRIDGE (IMO 9463293), currently working cargo at DCT on Pier 2, carries the name of a bridge in Putnam County, New York State in the USA and continues a tradition of the Japanese shipping company of naming their containers vessels after distinctive bridges in many parts of the world. (There's even an Orange River Bridge, IMO 9321902 named for the famous bridge over South Africa's biggest river.) The 52,100-dwt ship was built in 2011 and is registered to GOD Shipping Co - you can't get bigger than that! This picture by Jackie Pritchard / MarineTraffic, as reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritme news
The container ship named BEAR MOUNTAIN BRIDGE (IMO 9463293), currently working cargo at DCT on Pier 2, carries the name of a bridge in Putnam County, New York State in the USA and continues a tradition of the Japanese shipping company of naming their container vessels after distinctive bridges in various parts of the world where K Line does business. (There’s even an Orange River Bridge, IMO 9321902 named for the famous bridge over South Africa’s biggest river.) The 52,100-dwt ship was built in 2011 and is registered to GOD Shipping Co – you can’t get bigger than that! This picture by Jackie Pritchard / MarineTraffic

Here are the ships in port or at the outer anchorage for the port of Durban, as at 12h00 on Wednesday 24 February 2021.

To see daily reports of this nature for the South African ports please CLICK HERE


(A), (B), Hadar (C), Hansa Asia (D), (E), (F), Glovis Caravel (G), (M), (N), (O), RT Spirit (O/P), Isiqalo (P), Hoegh Osaka (R)


Glovis Caravel (G), (M), Hoegh Osaka (R)


Sibanye, Bongani, Fumana, Siyakhula, (100), (101) Ogs Explora (102), AS Patricia (103), Vishva Anand (104)


(105), (106), Maersk Luz (107)


Bear Mountain Bridge (108), (200), MSC Marina (202), Wide Juliet (203), Maersk Athabasca (204), (205)


fv Zumaya Dous (1), Theometor (2), Melati Dua (3), (4), Anita N (5), Elar Trader (6), (7), (8), (8/9), (9), (10), African Loon (11), Endurance (12), Sagar Shakti (13), (14), Barrier (15)


Isandlwana (Dry Dock), Rig Andromeda (Dordock), Montet Tide, Bulk Titan (Dormac), Hai Soon28, Alexia, Ocean Crest (Ship Repair Wharf), LSS Success (Sandock Quay)


(1), TRF Moss (2), Spring Rainbow (3), (4), (5), (6), Maersk Altus (7), Southern Venture (8), Forever Harmony (9)


Fairy Tale (1), Constantinos GO (2), (3), Jag Aditi (4)

Workboats & fishing vessels excluded.


Bulkers & general cargo: Genco Warrior, Golden Karoo, IVS Pebble Beach, ASL Jupiter.
Tankers: Tiger Glory (Approaching), Siyanda (at SBM), Muscat Silver, Silver Dubai, Hafnia Taurus, Delta Med, Delta Aigaion, Bow Summer, Pacific Jade, NCC Rabigh.
Containers: TRS Athos (sailing), MSC Maureen, MOL Endowment,

Added 24 February 2021


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WHARF TALK: Cape Town container ship movements

Maersk Vilnius entering Durban in 2016 - the ship is a regular caller along the southern and western African coast. Picture: Terry Hutson, as featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Maersk Vilnius entering Durban in 2016 – the ship is a regular caller along the southern and western African coast. Picture: Terry Hutson

An update on the container and other ship movements for the port of Cape Town reveals that of the seven vessels at anchor on Sunday, only the MAERSK VILNIUS, the MSC KOREA and the COSCO AQABA, remain at anchorage, the others have all entered port, BAY BRIDGE, SANTA URSULA, MSC ELMA and the MONTPELLIER.

On Sunday evening (21 February) the SANTA BARBARA sailed for Rotterdam having arrived off and bypassing Cape Town on 1 February 2021 and sailing direct to Ngqura. She finally returned to anchorage in Table Bay on the 8th of February.

At 19h00 last evening (Tuesday 23 February) this was the sitation at Cape Town:

Sea Point Anchorage

COSCO AQABA, ex Durban 21 February 2021
NORDIC VEGA (tanker) ex Singapore 23 February

Milnerton Anchorage

MSC KOREA ex Durban 19 February
MAERSK VILNIUS ex Durban 21 February
CSCL AFRICA ex Luanda 21 February
SANTA ROSA ex Durban 22 February

report by John Hawkins
Cape Town

Added 24 February 2021


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Russian fleet, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news, image ModernDiplomacy / Dryad Global
Russian fleet

Russia plans to build a naval base on Sudan’s Red Sea coast to resupply its fleet, according to a draft agreement with Khartoum signed by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

The planned deal, published on the Russian government’s website, outlines a “logistical support centre” to be set up in Sudan where “repairs and resupply operations and rest for crew members” can take place.

Diplomatic immunity will be enjoyed by all Russian workers whose numbers could also be raised. Under the proposed deal, Sudan will supply Russia with land for a term of 25 years, renewable for a period of 10 years, without any monetary compensation.

Russia will be given the freedom to import the weapons and military supplies required to run its base from Sudanese airports and ports without inspection of the cargo by the local authorities.

The state-controlled TASS news agency stated that the new facility would make it easier for the Russian navy to work in the Indian Ocean. Russia is also expected to reinforce its latest African facility with sophisticated surface-to-air missile systems, helping it to establish a no-fly zone.

Russia has a similar facility in the Syrian port of Tartus, where it already maintains an airbase.

For 20 years, Russia has been the largest supplier of arms and military equipment to the Sudanese armed forces. It is estimated that during this period it has provided Sudan with weapons worth about US$1 billion, which is a significant amount for sub-Saharan Africa.

Russian military instructors and advisers have also been operating there for 20 years, and the Sudanese forces’ officer classes are being trained in the Russian Federation.

Since at least 2018, the private military company Wagner, owned by businessman Yevgeni Prigozhin, who is close to Putin, has had a presence in Sudan. The company protects the gold deposits exploited by Prigozhin’s companies (M Invest and its subsidiary Meroe Gold Co Ltd, which were put under US sanctions in July 2020).

In 2019 both countries signed an agreement on military cooperation and an agreement to establish a permanent representation of the Russian armed forces in Sudan.

Before the occupation of Crimea, Kremlin’s interest in Africa was not significant. But the economic sanctions imposed, prompted Moscow to go further internationally for alliances and economic opportunities.

For example, Moscow has a more active presence in Syria as part of this strategy.

Russia is keen to expand its presence in Africa, a region of 54 member states of the United Nations, abundant natural resources, and potential market for Russian-made military equipment. Moscow’s Sudan initiative should, thus, be understood as part of a larger Russian government agenda to reassert its authority in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) as a counterweight to NATO and the United States.

Russian naval efforts are further crowding a congested maritime arena — neighbouring Djibouti, the US, Japan, China, France, and Italy all already have a military presence in these waters.

The Russia-Africa Summit (23-24 October 2019) held in Sochi, Russia, indicates how, in recent years, Russia has pivoted towards Africa, offering energy and infrastructure, as well as arms deals. The result of this strategic pivot is, advantageous for Moscow.      source: ModernDiplomacy

Added 23 February 2021


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WHARF TALK: SAECS scheduled delays, southbound Cape Town calls omitted

Santa Clara departing Durban on a previous voyage. Picture: Keith Betts, reported by Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Santa Clara departing Durban on a previous voyage. Picture: Keith Betts

Advisories issued by Ocean Network Express (ONE) inform that the following ships will omit their southbound calls at Cape Town and sail directly to Ngqura instead.

The first involves the vessel AKADIMOS on voyage 210S. Due to schedule delays the ship will omit the southbound Cape Town call while sailing direct to Ngqura and Durban.

Cape Town cargo will be discharged on Akadimos’ northbound call ETA Cape Town Thursday 11 March 2021.

A second advisory from ONE informs that the vessel SANTA CLARA, presently on voyage 210S from Northern Europe, will omit the Cape Town southbound call and sail directly to Ngqura. Cape Town cargo will be discharged on the vessel’s northbound call ETA Cape Town on Thursday 18 March 2021.

CMA CGM adds port congestion surcharge in Mombasa

The shipping line CMA CGM advises that as port congestion at Mombasa, Kenya is increasing, a Port Congestion Surcharge has been applied as from Monday 22 February 2021 loading date, (subject to filing / 18 March 2021 for Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, US & territories).

From all origins (except China)
To Mombasa, Kenya
Cargo: all
Amount : USD 150 per 20′ | USD 300 per 40′
Payment : as per freight

From Mombasa, Kenya
To all destinations (except China)
Amount : USD 50 per 20′ | USD 100 per 40′
Cargo: all
Payment : as per freight

Added 23 February 2021


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MSC’s new direct service between India and West Africa

MSC logo on display in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) recently introduced a new direct service from India to West Africa, the India Africa Service (IAS), that commenced operations in late January.

Advising that the introduction of the service is to enhance the shipping of goods between India and Africa, MSC said the IAS will provide a direct and fast service to its clients, connecting Northwest and South India to West Africa, with a call at Colombo in Sri Lanka.

On the way back from West African ports, this new service will also connect South Africa directly with the Middle East, Pakistan and India.

MSC IAS service rotation, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


The rotation of the India Africa Service is as follows, with the first sailing from Mundra, Gujarat, having commenced on 24 January 2021:

Mundra – Nhava Sheva – Colombo – Port Louis – Tema – Lome – Cotonou – Cape Town – Durban – Jebel Ali – Abu Dhabi – Port Qasim – Mundra.

Added 23 February 2021


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Rehabilitation of Beira-Zimbabwe railway back underway


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

Mozambique’s publicly owned Ports and Railway Company (CFM) last week started to replace tracks and perform other rehibilitation of the railway line connecting the Mozambican port city of Beira to Machipanda, on the border with landlocked Zimbabwe.

The work is part of a 200 million US dollar investment, according to the Maputo daily Noticias.

Chairman of the CFM Board, Miguel Matabel, said in Dondo that the railway rehab work, which began late last year, will be completed in 2022.

He called on the public to regard the project as of common benefit to all Mozambicans and to “avoid the theft of railway equipment, because such a stance jeopardises its development.”

Matabel explained that the 40kg a metre railway tracks were being replaced with 45kg tracks, which he said would lead to improved performance and productivity.

The work currently underway consists of welding seven x 18 metre tracks together to form a single track of 126 metres long. This will result in a more robust line, conforming to international standards and allowing the line to carry heavier cargo trains.

“We were using 60 tonne wagons, but from now on will use 80 tonne wagons,” said Matabel, describing the work as crucial to improving the capacity of the line.

He explained that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the project, with delays in the delivery of the equipment from Europe and Asia, which should have arrived by March last year.

Watch a brief [2:58] YouTube video clip of the rehab work – the beautiful-sounding Portuguese language being used.

Added 23 February 2021


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Bolloré Transport & Logistics receives AEO regional recertification in East Africa

AEO certification for Bollore Transport & Logistics in East Africa, reported by Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


The recertification of Bolloré Transport & Logistics as a Regional Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) covers Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania, and provides recognition of Bolloré Transport & Logistics as a ‘secure and reliable trade partner’.

Benefits of the certification include expedited clearance procedures through pre-arrival clearance, reduced physical inspection and priority service channels among other benefits.

Jason Reynard – Bolloré Transport & Logistics Regional CEO for East Africa explained that as a global logistics player operating in East Africa, the AEO certification allows Bolloré to extend the
privilege of fast-tracked cargo handling to the numerous importers and exporters in its client base.

“It is a boost to efficiency in the regional supply chain,” he said.

The AEO program is a global initiative of the World Customs Organization (WCO) which aims to
enhance safety and security in international trade by empowering traders to strive for the exclusive ‘AEO Status’ by ensuring high levels of compliance to customs regulations.

Bolloré Transport & Logistics in Kenya first received certification in 2018.


ISO 9001 certification for Bolloré Transport & Logistics in Mozambique

Bollore recieves ISO 9001 certification in Mozambique, reorted by Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Further south Bolloré Transport & Logistics in Mozambique received the ISO 9001 certification, following an audit on the Quality Management System set up by Bolloré. The audit was carried out by Bureau Veritas.

The certification audit took place from 7 to 14 October, 2020, covering the International freight, customs services, value-added warehousing, road transportation, air freight, sea freight, shipping and port operations activities.

The certification process was launched by the company’s local management over a year ago.

“This certification will enable us to better position ourselves on the logistics market in Mozambique, particularly in a context where the Oil & Gas sector is in great demand,” said Olivier Restoueix, QHSE manager for Africa.

According to Bolloré, a new stage will be reached later this year with the integration of the ISO 45001 (health and safety management) and ISO 14001 (environmental management) standards into this certification.

Added 23 February 2021


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Arrivederci, South Africa – MSC Orchestra sails for Europe

MSC Orchestra in Table Bay with Table Mountain in the background
MSC Orchestra in Table Bay with Table Mountain in the background


After an unplanned stay of 16 months, the 92,400-gt cruise ship MSC ORCHESTRA sailed at 17h42 on Monday, 22 February from the Durban anchorage, bound for Algeciras, Spain, which is presumably her bunker refueling stop.

On Saturday 20th, as the popular ship left the port of Durban she sounded two separate blasts of her horn as in farewell, an unfamiliar sound in the port since the ban on cruising took effect 11 months earlier.

At about that time, with no immediate future for cruising in South African waters, MSC Cruises South Africa applied to the authorities for MSC Orchestra to remain at the Durban outer anchorage, which was granted.

MSC Cruises always entertained hopes that cruising would resume later in the year and since then the ship has re-entered the port on a number of occasions to take water, supplies and general maintenance – including hull cleaning earlier this year. On returning to her anchorage outside her horn remained silent (so far as we are aware), hence when she sailed from port on Saturday this appeared as an indication of her impending farewell.

MSC Cruises had also advised of the cancellation of the balance of the 2020/2021 season and that the ship would be returning to Europe “within the next two weeks”.*

Later this year, in November, two MSC cruise ships will start arriving in South Africa for the planned 2021/2022 cruise season, MSC MUSICA and MSC LIRICA, sailing from Durban and Cape Town.

* See that report MSC cancels South Africa’s 2020/21 cruise season by CLICKING HERE

Added 23 February 2021


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WHARF TALK:  Durban & Santos                        –  a tale of two ports

Durban Container Terminal looking east, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Durban Container Terminal looking east


In the year just past, the port of Durban finished the year 2020 with a container throughput of 2.595 million TEUs, below that of the previous year (2.844m TEU), brought about, it is suggested, by the onset and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Various factors led to this drastic decrease, as the South African economy went into free fall once the first national lockdown came into effect in March 2020.

But there is an even more disturbing factor to consider here, the really concerning statistic that reveals the port as having handled 2.553 million TEUs back in 2010. That’s practically the same volume of containers being handled in Durban a decade later!

In case anyone suggests this may have been a result of some of Durban’s containerised cargo having been diverted to another port or ports, let’s also note that the port continues to handle a little over 60 per cent of all containers in South Africa, a percentage (63%) that hasn’t moved by much. Clearly Durban hasn’t been losing cargo to one or more of the other ports!

Looking back to 2010, the port of Durban was in the midst of a surge in growth amidst great optimism with plans being rolled out for a new dig-out port south of Durban. None of this has transpired and the dig-out port is now practically a dirty word.

As we recall these matters, here are some other troublesome facts to consider. Across on the other side of the South Atlantic is another port looking east, just as with Durban. It too is the principal general cargo port of the country it serves – the name is SANTOS, a port in Brazil with a cargo diversity not altogether unlike that of Durban.

Brazil's port of Santos. Picture courtesy Port of Santos, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Brazil’s port of Santos. Picture courtesy Port of Santos

To remind you, in 2020 Durban handled 2.595 million TEUs, whereas Santos in Brazil last year handled a near record cargo for that port of 4.3 million TEUs.

But Brazil’s a much bigger and economically more powerful country than South Africa, you might say, but then consider this next fact.

In 2009 Durban handled 2.473 million TEU and was ranked as the 42nd largest container port in the world, while Santos handled 2.256 million TEUs and was ranked four spaces lower in 46th position.

These figures can become confusing, so let’s spell it out. Santos handled 4.3 million TEUs last year representing a healthy growth over 11 years. In that time Durban has basically stood still and only twice went appreciably past the 2.5 million TEU mark, before sliding back.

Santos Port Authority statistics show that the Brazilian port handled 1.6 per cent less containers last year than in 2019. Durban’s decrease over the same period is around 8.7 per cent.

It hurts to acknowledge this, but it gets worse. To look beyond the containers and compare all cargo handled, in 2020 Santos handled a total cargo, all types, totalling 146.6 million tonnes, up 9.4 per cent on 2019.

For Durban total cargo handled was 73.904 million tonnes, half that of Santos, compared with 81.211 million tonnes in 2019. That’s a decrease of 7.307 mt or around 9 per cent.

The strength of Santos’ growth in these trying times is partly ascribed to its agribusiness handled by the port as well as its resilience in maintaining the flow of goods, according to Santos Port Authority operations chief Marcelo Ribiero, who adds that this reflects positively on the participation of the Santos complex in the country’s commercial chain.

Can the same be said for Durban?

There are other ways of looking at this but let’s remember that Brazil has been hit equally hard by the pandemic. Then there’s the steady ongoing growth of the Santos port prior to COVId-19, much the same as was once forecast for Durban but not realised. What went wrong? – trh

Added 22 February 2021


Transnet prioritising capacity improvements to Richards Bay coal line

Transnet prioritises capacity improvements to Richards Bay coal line, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Coal train heading towards the port of Richards Bay across the White uMfolozi river


Transnet says that, as a matter of priority, it is putting in place measures to improve locomotive availability and stabilise capacity on the coal line. This is being done in order to support coal exporters and the economy.

The company is also implementing catch-up plans to build the resilience necessary to deliver 1.6 million tons per week for which it is committed, compared to the current 1.3 million tons.

Some of the measures being implemented include:

* Fast-tracking maintenance of locomotives where feasible; this as a result of the age of the locomotives and the availability of spares
* Reallocation of suitable locomotives throughout the business to match capacity with current demand whilst not jeopardising the performance of the other corridors
* Implementation of robust integrated security management plans – vandalisation of the locomotives remains a challenge.

As a result of these initiatives, locomotive availability is expected to improve over the coming weeks to 18 locomotive sets.

Low demand experienced at the beginning of the 2020/21 financial year due to COVID-19, coupled with direct and indirect consequences of the pandemic, crippling theft incidents, and the under-supply of locomotives, dropped the coal average monthly throughput to 5,614,852 tons.

In January 2021 coal volume deliveries were also affected by a planned supply chain-wide maintenance shutdown, which was immediately followed by disruptions related to the damages caused by excessive rains following Cyclone Eloise.

Legacy issues have also exacerbated the situation. The CSR and CNR contracts, part of the 1,064 locomotives contract, were suspended due to allegations of fraud and corruption.

Although it is common practice to conclude maintenance and spares agreements with OEMs at the time of acquisition, this was not done with the 1,064 contract.

Warranty obligations in respect of locomotives acquired to date are being enforced and any constraints to receiving spares is mainly due to OEMs’ responsiveness. This means that Transnet Engineering, a division responsible for maintenance, has to find alternative solutions.

All these factors have resulted in disruptions to the timeous delivery of export coal.

On the upside, the infrastructure condition improvements completed during the January 2021 shutdown removed at least 13 temporary speed restrictions on the network, which released capacity for approximately 14 additional train slots per week. This has significantly increased the flexibility by reducing the impediments to the delivery of the weekly committed volumes.

Transnet says it is in continuous engagement with customers, providing ongoing updates of the situation. source: Transnet SOC

Added 22 February 2021


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UK’s Freeport East Hydrogen Hub will boost decarbonisation agenda

On the UK’s East Coast the planned Freeport East Hydrogen Hub will be one of the world’s most exciting and innovative nuclear, hydrogen, maritime and transport decarbonisation schemes. This was reported by Hutchison Ports Europe on 17 February.

Felixstowe Freeport Hub featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

As a pillar of the Freeport East bid for Freeport status currently being evaluated it could begin to create significant numbers of new jobs within the next 12 months and will demonstrate the UK’s Net Zero capabilities in the build-up to COP26.

At its peak, the project, which will be delivered in partnership with Ryse-Hydrogen and Sizewell C developers, EDF, will produce 1GW of hydrogen – 20% of the 5GW target in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.

Commenting on the plan, George Kieffer, Chairman of the Freeport East Project Board, said: “Green energy is at the heart of the Freeport East proposition. The development of the Hydrogen Hub, and the involvement of serious partners in Ryse-Hydrogen and EDF, shows that ours is a proposal backed by real substance. By creating a hotbed for green energy innovation Freeport East will create high-value jobs helping drive regeneration both locally and nationally.”

Jo Bamford, Executive Chairman of Ryse-Hydrogen, said it would rival the world’s biggest green projects. He explained: “Incredible things happen when like-minded industries join forces.

“The Freeport East Hydrogen Hub will be seen as a global ‘heavy-weight’ decarbonisation project, with delivery achievable within 18 months due to the significant private organisations involved, and the pace at which they are able to begin investment.

“The Government wants to kick-start a green recovery and it is projects like this one which can deliver. In addition to hydrogen production and zero-emission transport at the ports, it contributes to the nuclear power programme, will use power from wind farms off the East Anglian coast, will drive innovation and promote green maritime – that’s six boxes ticked of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.”

Julia Pyke, Director at Sizewell C, commented: “Using reliable nuclear power from Sizewell B and C alongside renewables, Freeport East has the potential to host one of the most exciting ‘green’ hydrogen schemes in the UK. Suffolk has great opportunities to benefit from the combination of its nuclear and renewables industry, its ports, and the construction of Sizewell C using hydrogen vehicles wherever possible, to build a hydrogen economy and be at the forefront of this exciting development.”

Clemence Cheng, Managing Director, Hutchison Ports Europe, said: “The development of the Hydrogen Hub will allow the Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International to lead in the development of alternative fuel port equipment. Establishing a test-bed to showcase hydrogen’s potential in a port environment will establish the UK as a clear leader in developments that will help address climate change and the net-zero agenda.

“With the largest road, rail and maritime freight hub in the country as part of our bid, we have the scale necessary to secure the early take-up of hydrogen power across the freight and maritime sectors.”

Freeport East facing the Southern North Sea is centred upon the Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International Port, both operated by Hutchison Ports, part of the CK Hutchison group. Other partners are South East and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), Suffolk and Essex county councils, Mid Suffolk Council, East Suffolk Council, Tendring District Council, Harwich Haven Authority and the Haven Gateway Partnership. It is backed by a wide range of businesses, business organisations and education providers.

It has been claimed that Freeport East will generate 13,500 new jobs, investment of over £500m and provide a £5.5bn economic boost over a ten-year period.

Paul Ridgway, London correspondent of Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


Edited by Paul Ridgway


Added 22 February 2021


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Global Shippers Council fed up with chaotic shipping market

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


Shippers worldwide are furious at the chaotic shipping market and the lack of mechanisms to resolve it.

That’s the word from the Global Shippers’ Alliance (GSA) and its individual members, who say the impairments brought were immense, and global economies and the public suffered tremendously as a result.

Denis Choumet, chairman European Shippers Council ESC-featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Denis Choumet, chairman European Shippers Council ESC

“Production, marketing activities, and distributions are all disrupted,” said Denis Choumert, Chairman of GSA and the European Shippers’ Council (ESC), “and economic costs are beyond measure”.

Godfried Smit, Secretary General of ESC, said “many major European ports are jammed, while container ships are waiting for a berth, inbound containers are sitting in the terminals to be cleared and shipping lines are refusing outbound bookings because they want to expedite return of the containers to the Far East”.

According to Smit, outbound freight rates have risen 5-6 times and exporters may still not get a booking.

The same is said to happen in the Far East. Toto Dirgantoro, Chairman of the Asian Shippers’ Alliance and the Indonesian National Shippers’ Council described freight rates from the Far East to Europe as having increased 10 to 15 times on some occasions and 3 to 4 times to North America, “even for contract rates, and spot rates would be much higher.

“Shipping lines are accepting bookings based on profitability or long-term strategic importance, and, hence, small to medium sized shippers are sacrificed,” he claimed.

Choumert said the industry is suffering from rapid deterioration of reliability and visibility. “Ships are skipping ports and even cancellation of the entire string is common. We call this practice blank sailings and their number in some trade increased as much as 30% lately”.

He claimed that as little as 50% of ships arrive on-time, affecting the whole supply chain.

Mariannen Rowden, CEO & President of the American Association of Exporters & Importers, fatured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Mariannen Rowden, CEO & President of the American Association of Exporters & Importers

Marianne Rowden, immediate past President and CEO of American Association of Exporters and Importers, expressed her view that “the number of ships queuing at major American ports are rising. While COVID-19 lingers on and city lock-down continues, pressure on the transportation system and the whole supply chain is heavy”.

Rowden said the Federal Maritime Commission has been asked to look into the supply and demand situation. “We look forward to an increase of capacity shortly,” she said.

Asian shippers echoed their European and American counterparts, complaining that shipping lines have taken advantage of the situation and levy a large number of what they call ridiculous new charges – Booking Confirmation Fee, No Show Fee, Late Cancellation Fee, Container Retention Fee, Expedite Booking Fee, etc.

These fees they describe as unheard of and levied at ridiculously high levels.

The GSA says that resolution of the current situation might be well beyond competition authorities’ jurisdiction. The ESC met with the European Union DG Competition in January 2021.

Toto Dirgantoro, chairman of the Asian Shippers' Council featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Toto Dirgantoro, chairman of the Asian Shippers’ Council

“Shipping lines need to release more core information about capacity planning, capacity changes, service changes, demand forecast, etc to clear themselves out of collusion claims. Shippers have little access to this sort of information and should rely on relevant authorities to safeguard their interests. Shippers are never on the same playing field with liners,” Smit stated.

GSA says it would like to highlight the specific responsibility that carriers have to endorse in exchange of the protection they have from standard competition laws. This protection has been granted to carriers globally: the alliances of carriers are now the ‘gatekeepers for international trade’ as they play a crucial role in the competitiveness of many businesses. They should not abuse of these privileges as it seems to be the case today.

“For us shippers, it is worrisome that the European Commission recently allowed the renewal of the block exemption for liner shipping consortia without adding any tool or adjustment to check liners and better consider shippers’ interests, which could have been instrumental in preventing or mitigating some of the damage shippers are currently suffering,” the organisation said.

GSA says it is aiming to establish a dialogue between all the market participants in view of finding a common approach to the current market problems and setting up an action plan regarding the overall ecosystem. GSA considers that the shipping crisis reflects insufficiency in the current regulatory mechanisms in protecting the wellbeing of the whole global supply chain and, particularly, the wellbeing of the shipping industry – a lifeblood of global trade. “These mechanisms need to be reviewed immediately.”

Added 22 February 2021


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WW announces plans for first full-scale wind powered RoRo ship

Orcelle Wind, with Wilhelmsen Wallenius preparing to build and operate Image: WW, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS marfitime news
Orcelle Wind, with Wilhelmsen Wallenius preparing to build and operate Image: WW


Wallenius Wilhelmsen (WW) has announced what is describes as “our most ambitious sustainability initiative to date.” This is the ORCELLE WIND – a wind-powered Pure Car and Truck Carrier that will achieve up to 90% reduced emissions compared to today’s best vessels.

“Our goal is to have a design ready for contracting with a shipyard by mid-2022, and a finished vessel ready for the high seas by 2025,” says WW.

Despite the transoceanic shipping industry being the most carbon efficient mode of transport, it nevertheless accounts for nearly 3% of global man-made GHG emissions, a share that is growing. Today, the industry has no viable substitute for carbon-based fuels.

Craig Jasienski, WW CEO, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Craig Jasienski, WW CEO

“Since 2008, we have been able to reduce CO2 intensity by 33%, which is a significant step. But the journey towards zero emissions requires great strides forward. We believe the Orcelle Wind is one of them,” said Craig Jasienski, CEO Wallenius Wilhelmsen.

Building on the Oceanbird concept developed by maritime consultancy Wallenius Marine, WW intends taking the concept forward by applying its extensive knowledge from the RoRo business, and conducting a comprehensive viability evaluation.

According to WW there are many considerations that require attention before finalising the Orcelle Wind specification. The features listed below provide a good indication of what can be anticipated:

Overall car capacity of 7,000 vehicles
Ability to carry heavy machinery and breakbulk cargo, in addition to cars
Length of around 220m and beam (width) of approximately 40m
Speeds of 10-12kts under sail that can be increased with the supplemental power system

“Orcelle Wind will be our technical and operational test-bed for zero emission innovation, where we can assess and develop various zero-emission fuels and technology,” said Erik Noeklebye, EVP and COO Shipping Services at Wallenius Wilhelmsen.

“We have the advantage of size and we have world-class customers, partners and employees. It will take the dedicated collaboration of all to make such a bold initiative as the Orcelle Wind succeed. More than just evaluating the concept, we are committed to making this a success,” said Jasienski.

Added 22 February 2021


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The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has again been involved in emergency rescues of seafarers at sea in need of urgent medical attention.

Station 5, Durban

The NSRI Durban station 5 rescue craft Alick Rennie. Picture by Paula Leech / NSRI featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The NSRI Durban station 5 rescue craft Alick Rennie. Picture by Paula Leech / NSRI

On Friday evening, 19 February 2021 the NSRI Station 5 at Durban was requested to perform an evacuation of a seafarer on board a Japanese fishing trawler from deep sea in need of medical attention.

The trawler was heading towards the nearest port, which was Durban, and the NSRI was requested to arrange a rendezvous at sea the following morning to transfer the man, a 55-year old Indonesian, ashore for medical attention.

At 05h50 on the Saturday the NSRI launched their rescue craft, Alec Rennie, and in calm sea conditions, rendezvoused with the vessel five nautical miles offshore.

After being evaluated by a rescue paramedic the seafarer was transferred to the Alec Rennie which returned to base from where he was transported to hospital.

NSRI Table Bay station

A second such operation was performed on Saturday off the Cape Town coast involving a container ship out of Durban and a 52-year old Polish seafarer who required urgent medical treatment.

With the ship preparing to go to anchor in Table Bay, arrangements were made in case it was necessary to provide a helicopter to transfer the seafarer to a hospital. In the meantime, the NSRI Table Bay station was conducting routine training exercises aboard their sea rescue craft Spirit of Vodacom and was able to head out to a rendezvous with the ship, after having called at Granger Bay to take on board the NSRI duty doctor.

With the doctor and a NSRI swimmer transferred on board the container ship, the patient was evaluated as stable and it was decided the ship would receive a priority berthing in Cape Town port, from where the seafarer could be transferred by ambulance to hospital.

The container ship subsequently returned outside to go to anchor.

Stay clear of Bos 400 wreck

Site of the Bos 400 wreck, to where the NSRI was called out to rescue a young swimmer, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Site of the Bos 400 wreck, to where the NSRI was called out to rescue a young swimmer.  Picture: NSRI

Apart from rescues at sea, as described above, the NSRI is frequently involved in lifesaving work along the country’s beaches or coastal paths, especially on those beaches unattended by official lifesaving services.

Three rescue operations in the past month at Maori Bay on the Atlantic seaboard illustrate this, each involving the wreck of a fishing trawler BOS 400 where swimmers have been attracted to the isolated spot in order to swim to the wreck from which they jump or dive into the sea.

According to the NSRI, it appears that people are drawn there by publicity provided on social media sites and various tour guides.

Entering the sea around the wreck poses serious dangers because of jagged corroding metal that has collapsed into the sea surrounding the wreck, NSRI station 2 at Bakoven reports.

“The Bos 400 wreck at Maori Bay on the Atlantic Seaboard is a no go area. Boarding the wreck is prohibited. The wreck poses serious dangers to the public.”

NSRI says it is appealing to the public and tour guides to avoid the wreck and the surrounding rocks at all costs.

On Saturday afternoon, 20 February they received reports of a drowning in progress at the wreck. NSRI Hout Bay and NSRI Bakoven dispatched sea rescue craft while WC Government Health EMS and WSAR (Wilderness Search and Rescue) were placed on alert.

It turned out that a group of twelve young adults, students from Stellenbosch it was believed, had swum out to the wreck and one young man had suffered a non-fatal drowning accident and was suffering from hypothermia.

While swimming towards the wreck he was caught in currents that naturally swirl around the wreck.

The group admitted that they had come to the wreck to jump into the water from the crane and from the superstructure.

The patient was secured into an NSRI Croc and was taken off the rocks and swum, by NSRI rescue swimmers, to a NSRI sea rescue craft.

Accompanied by four friends and in the care of a NSRI paramedic he was then taken to the NSRI base in Hout Bay where following medical treatment he was released requiring no further assistance.

The remaining members of their party hiked up the mountain to their vehicles.

In the past few weeks in two separate incidents a young girl and a young man suffered serious injuries after jumping off the Bos 400 crane into the sea.

The Bos 400 wreck ran aground in June 1994. Salvors removed what could be salvaged despite increasing dangerous conditions in and around the wreck, after which SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority) posted signage prohibiting the boarding of the wreck citing the dangers the wreck poses from the corroding and collapsing metal infrastructure. Storm conditions have since washed metal debris in amongst the rocks surrounding Maori Bay.

The signage prohibiting boarding of the wreck has also corroded and is no longer visible.

The NSRI says it cannot stress enough that this wreck poses serious dangers to the public and the wreck should be avoided at all costs.

Added 22 February 2021


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WHARF TALK: State of the Port of Durban

General Manager at the Port of Durban, Moshe Motlohi says in his latest report on the state of the port, that over the previous two weeks there has been “commendable improvements” at the Durban MPT Terminal.

Port of Durban general manager, Moshe Motlohi, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The terminal at the Point has, for the first time in a long while, exceeded their fleet availability targets which Motlohi describes as translating to the overall good performance.

“We also have noted the positive recovery on equipment availability on demand at the Pier 2 Container Terminal. This also impacted positively on the truck turnaround time. Another notable improvement was on the reduction of wasted booked slots at Pier 1&2 Container Terminal.”

Maydon Wharf precinct

Motlohi said that areas of concern remain around the slow setting up of staging facilities by terminal operators in the Maydon Wharf Precinct. “The TNPA Senior Operations Manager for the precinct is working around the clock to get this initiative off the ground.”

He added there were a few challenges with the harbour tugs which hindered their availability, which he said was receiving urgent attention.

“Close collaboration with all affected parties has been of great assistance in ensuring minimum negative impact.”

Bayhead Precinct

The initiative to institutionalise volume smoothing in the depots and operators in the Bayhead Precinct has worked “really well as such we are noting the positives.”

In recent weeks Transnet held meetings with the leadership of involved parties in the trucking sector, as a follow-up to a memorandum handed to Transnet Port Terminals and TNPA during 2020. Their demands stipulated that the port should not allow non-SA drivers to drive SA-owned trucks.

In the past weeks we held engagements with the leadership of the ATDF. This session was a follow up on a memorandum they handed over to TPT and TNPA last year. Their demands are factored around stipulations that the port should not allow non-SA drivers to drive SA owned trucks.

“Furthermore,” says Motlohi, “they demanded that South Africans must not be allowed to drive non-SA owned trucks. We explained that this was beyond our authority and sphere of control.”

Motlohi said Transnet has held fruitful discussions with the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “Lastly, this week also saw us engage our key stakeholders on a proposed master plan for the Port of Durban through a webinar platform as well as a special Ports Consultative Committee seating.

A series of stakeholder consultations are in the pipeline to socialise affected parties around the Port of Durban Master Plan.

“It still remains imperative to look at how we work together in helping the country deliver on the four priority areas as stated by the President of South Africa during the SONA.”

Added 21 February 2021


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WHARF TALK: Port of Durban Volume & Vessel Call Performance

The Japanese woodchip carrier Hokuetsu uShaka on the occasion of her maiden voyage to Durban in 2008, during which the then new bulk carrier was officially named, one of a number of ships to undergo formal naming ceremonis in the port. The ship has called on numerous occasions since then. Picture: Terry Hutson , featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Japanese woodchip carrier Hokuetsu uShaka on the occasion of her maiden voyage to Durban in 2008, during which the then new bulk carrier was officially named, one of a number of ships to undergo formal naming ceremonies in the port. The ship has called on numerous occasions since then. Picture: Terry Hutson

Performances this week

Containers performed below budget this reporting week. The main contributor to the poor performance was imports which were below budget by 17%. This is as a result of less import cargo worked than budgeted due to low demand. Two hours of weather delays were also experienced at the Durban Container Terminals. Exports were above target by 3%.

After three consecutive weeks of unit throughput registering over 8,000, this week saw a dip in volume to just over 5,700 units.

Imports and exports shared almost 50% each of total volume in the period with the first registering 2,928 units, which is also lower than initial target, and exports coming in slightly lower at just 2,560 units.

This sector also remains inconsistent in nature due to erratic consumption locally and internationally.

Dry Bulk

Dry bulk volumes were above budget this reporting week.

Manganese somewhat bounced back with just over 94,000 tons exported in the reporting week. The port also handled a parcel of woodchip exports amounting to 46,419 tons as well as marginal volumes of maize and wheat.

Break bulk volumes hit a low once again as only small consignments of project cargo and really marginal volumes of steel were handled within this space. This comes out of two consecutive weeks of healthy throughput volumes. It is quite apparent that this sector is erratic in nature.

Liquid Bulk

Liquid bulk volumes performed below budget this reporting week.

There were three SBM (single buoy mooring) vessels committed with cargo of 317,974 kl however only two SBM vessels handled and one vessel was still working cargo after cut off time. This vessel will be accounted for in the following week.

Petroleum and chemicals achieved 23% and 99% respectively, this was due to high volumes of imported petroleum (diesel, petrol and mogas) since one of the refineries (Engen) is out of commission. Chemical volumes exceeded budget, this is result of high parcel sizes of imported caustic soda.

Added 21 February 2021


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WHARF TALK: Cape Town Ship Movements

The products tanker TORM ESTRID, in port today (Sunday) at Cape Town. Picture: Vesselfinder, Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The products tanker TORM ESTRID, in port today (Sunday) at Cape Town. Picture: Vesselfinder

Container Ship Movements

As of Sunday early afternoon three container ships were at berth alongside the Cape Town container terminal – MAERSK SHEERNESS, NILEDUTCH LION, and SANTA BARBARA. In the Duncan Dock the container ship OEL JUMEIRAH has been in port since 22 January 2021.

Santa Barbara had been at anchor off the port since 8 February. Originally berthed port side to the quay, on Sunday morning (21 February) she has been swung about and re-berthed starboard side to the quay.

Among other vessels in port are the products tanker TORM ESTRID in the tanker basin, and the Grindrod Shipping coaster vessel, HORIZON and the general cargo vessel NEW AGE in Duncan Dock. Of added interest within Duncan Dock is the US Navy ship USS HERSCHEL ‘WOODY’ WILLIAMS on a courtesy call, following a lengthy flag-waving voyage from Senegal and Mombasa.

Container ships at anchor off the Milnerton coast as of Sunday 21 February were:

BAY BRIDGE from Port Elizabeth – arrived Sunday 11 February;
SANTA URSULA from Durban – arrived 16 February 2921;
MSC KOREA from Durban – arrived 19 Februay;
MONTPELLIER from Lagos – arrived 20 February;
MAERSK VILNIUS from Durban – arrived 21 February 2021

Ships at anchor off the Sea Point coast:

COSCO Aqaba from Durban – arrived 21 February 2021

Ship cruising off the Atlantic coast:

MSC Elma from Durban, arrived 20 February 2021.

Supertug SA Amandla

The South African standby tug SA AMANDLA arrived back in Cape Town at shortly before 11h00 on Sunday morning, after departing last week with the derrick barge MCDERMOTT 50 on tow for the Durban coast. The crane vessel is continuing with Jebel Ali as her destination.

Another new arrival at 11h55 on Sunday is the bulk carrier TINA IV out of Singapore anchorage and bound for Paranagua. The bulker is at the Milnerton anchorage.

Report by John Hawkins
Cape Town

Added 21 February 2021


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Merchant Shipping Bill 2020:  a work in progress


The VARD designed autonomous vessel Yara Birkeland in service. Picture Shipspotting/Tomas Ostberg, AS FEATURED IN aFRICA ports & ships maritime news
The autonomous cargo vessel Yara Birkeland in service. Picture Shipspotting/Tomas Ostberg

writes Malcolm Hartwell
Director and Head of Transport for Africa
Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc

The draft Merchant Shipping Bill was published in 2021 for comment and was designed to replace the 1951 Act which has grown into a very cumbersome piece of legislation as technology and shipping have developed. The Department of Transport is in the process of considering comments and input received and other submissions made during the course of the year. The Bill will then be scrutinised by state law advisers before being submitted to cabinet for approval and, ultimately promulgated by parliament as the new Merchant Shipping Act.

The Bill does require updates to 60 odd sets of regulations and requires new regulations dealing with South Africa’s recent accession to the Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention and various green legislation relating to the reduction of sulphur and other harmful emissions. Despite the pandemic, the director of the Department of Transport’s legislative programme, Mr Dumisani Ntuli, is confident that the draft Bill and regulations are on track to come into force in the second half of 2022. Mr Ntuli, with a wealth of legislative experience, was South Africa’s representative to the International Maritime Organization in London and is very mindful of the importance of the new regime to South Africa’s shipping industry.

Other than alignment with new technology, the purpose of the Bill and new regulations is to continue the government and South African Maritime Safety Authority’s (SAMSA) intention to align our shipping legislation with the rest of the maritime world and in particular, to that of our major trading partners. This is particularly the case with the Wreck Removal regime and the so-called green legislation. The fact that South Africa’s transition to low sulphur fuel and resultant low sulphur emissions proceeded without a hitch bodes well for the future of South Africa’s maritime legislative regime.

Malcolm Hartwell, Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa
Malcolm Hartwell

One issue that the Bill does to deal with is the question of autonomous ships and no doubt this will be the next project that SAMSA focuses on along with the rest of the maritime world. Autonomous and remote controlled ships are a reality with the mv Yara Birkeland already operating in Norway and a number of other projects at an advanced stage. With the advantage of increased carrying capacity, lower staff and crew costs and the claimed elimination of human error, there is no doubt that we will be seeing these vessels in our waters in the next few years.

The technological challenges are in the main being dealt with by shipping lines and no doubt the possibility of remote controlled ships will create new employment opportunities for millennials raised on smart phones and PlayStation consoles.

From a liability and government perspective, these ships will not eliminate human error. They will simply move liability from the ship’s master and crew to the remote control operators and the manufacturers of the automated systems and software that will run the vessels and hopefully avoid collisions and groundings.

The biggest challenge faced by shipping companies in countries is that most of the world’s legal systems do not currently cater for autonomous vessels. This includes South Africa. This is partly because most legal systems only attribute legal personality and the extension of liability to individuals in corporations. The law will need to explore the possibility of attributing personality to the AI systems that will ultimately run these ships. Although there are many examples of AI devices and robots that can function as well as humans in a limited capacity, or on a limited scope of tasks, the fully autonomous ship and its operating systems would have to make decisions relating to collision avoidance and navigation which may result in AI defects when viewed with hindsight. Legislators may want to refer to some Isaac Asimov’s books for an understanding of the practical and philosophical challenges that AI and robotics bring.

This will apply not only to operational legislation such as the collision regulations which currently place obligations on persons to maintain a proper lookout in all prevailing circumstances and to minimum manning regulations which require a certain number of people to be on board a ship. It will more importantly apply in the liability, and accordingly insurance, space where current pollution, collision and carriage of goods by sea regimes contemplate liabilities and defenses arising that depend on the conduct of the master and crew.

Those regimes have developed over centuries and seek to strike a balance between, in the main, shipowners, cargo interests and the environment. This is in recognition of the fact that global trade is necessary and in certain circumstances, the shipowner can avoid or limit its liability for pollution damage provided the master and crew act in the required manner.

Once the new Merchant Shipping Act is in place, SAMSA will have their hands full in dealing with the complex legislative challenges arising out of operation of autonomous and remote controlled ships. The continued development of the Merchant Shipping Act and all of its regulations is to be welcomed and we are sure will mark an improvement in South Africa’s status as a maritime nation.

Malcolm Hartwell
Director and Head of Transport for Africa

Added 21 February 2021


The RAF transports Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine to Ascension

Vaccine airlift to British Overseas Territories, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Image MoD Crown Copyright 2021 ©


Progress in the Overseas Territories*

Early in week commencing 14 February a 70 Squadron RAF A400M aircraft transported doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine to Ascension Island – a UK Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic.

Due to its remote location and small population of just over 800 contractors and military personnel, it will become the first island territory to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, it was reported by the Ministry of Defence.

Wing Commander Lee Roberts, Officer Commanding 70 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton (SW England), said: “The role of the RAF is multipurpose. From the moment that the vaccines arrive at the front gate of RAF Brize Norton, the Brize Norton machine kicks into gear. The RAF is well placed to deliver and manage this vaccine delivery, and we’re extremely proud to be a part of providing this support to our Overseas Territories.”

Upon departing RAF Brize Norton, the vaccine must only be out of refrigeration for a maximum of 72 hours, before entering refrigeration in Ascension Island again, and must be stored at between +2°C and +8°C. After a quick refuelling stop en route, the crew delivered the precious cargo into the safe hands of RAF movements staff on the ground, which later was given to the Ascension Island Government to begin distribution.

Flying Officer George Cox, Officer Commanding Cargo at RAF Brize Norton, added: “This delivery was extremely important because the RAF can get out to remote locations that commercial aircraft can not necessarily access. Places like Ascension Island are notoriously difficult to get to, the RAF bridge the gap and try and help where we can.”

Delivered on behalf of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, the delivery reaffirms the UK Government’s commitment to supporting its Overseas Territories.

St Helena

On 18 February St Helena Government reported that it had been given an extremely fortunate opportunity to be able to vaccinate its entire population while being one of the few places in the world with a COVID-19 free status.

The Island’s stringent and extensive testing and quarantine protocols for arrivals has reinforced this status. Island-wide vaccinations will only continue to strengthen this barrier against COVID-19 by providing individual protection for all members of the community.

A prioritisation process will be used based on how other countries are rolling out vaccinations but will be tailored to St Helena’s community needs. The order is planned to start with those being most at risk because of possible exposure to the virus (i.e. Frontline Workers), then onto the groups considered to be most at risk of contracting and/or suffering severely should there be a community outbreak of COVID-19, before finally vaccinating those identified as being least at risk.

Vaccine to Ascension Island, Image MoD Crown Copyright 2021 ©
Image MoD Crown Copyright 2021 ©


Gibraltar reported on 13 February its first day without any new COVID-19 cases in nearly three months. Healthcare staff carried out 1,142 tests the previous day but did not detect any new infections. The last time Gibraltar registered a day without cases was on 26 November last and it is also 100 days since Gibraltar reported its first death related to COVID-19. Local sources say the roll out has been magnificent and the logistical work necessary to get the vaccine to the Rock has been extraordinary.

Gibraltar’s Chief Minister has put on record the sincere gratitude of the people of Gibraltar to the Ministry of Defence and the Westminster government for the sterling work done by the RAF and RAF Gibraltar as well as the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, in the delivery of the vaccines to Gibraltar.

Falkland Islands

As at 10 February following the first two days of the Falkland Islands vaccination programme, 663 eligible people had received their first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

517 vaccines were administered in the Stanley Vaccination Centre (FIDF Hall), 44 were delivered across Camp and the Outer Islands, and 48 were provided by the Community Support Team.

We understand that plans have been proceeding well, with weather improving enabling the travelling vaccine part of the programme to proceed to plan.

* The British Overseas Territories, also known as United Kingdom Overseas Territories, are those each with a constitutional and historical link with the United Kingdom although they do not form part of the UK itself. Most of the permanently inhabited territories are internally self-governing, with the UK retaining responsibility for defence and foreign relations. Three are inhabited only by a transitory population of military or scientific personnel.

Britain’s Overseas Territories are:

British Antarctic Territory
British Indian Ocean Territory
British Virgin Islands
Cayman Islands
Falkland Islands
Pitcairn Islands
St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da
South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
Turks and Caicos Islands

Paul Ridgway, London correspondent of Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


Reported by Paul Ridgway


Added 21 February 2021


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Image courtesy of Pexels, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Image courtesy of Pexels

International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, last week said government has created a significant footprint in Asian markets as part of efforts to return the country to pre-COVID-19 economic growth.

Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, Pandor said: “We will identify new opportunities and expand those that have benefit for South Africa. In pursuit of this objective, South Africa has created a significant footprint in Asia, which is the continent showing the most promise of a speedy return to pre-COVID-19 levels of economic growth.

“Last year, South Africa acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation to take up significant trade and development opportunities available in this region. We will also benefit from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) of these countries. This partnership created the world’s biggest trading bloc, estimated to account for about US $26 trillion or 30% of global GDP, and 28% of global trade,” Pandor said.

The Minister said in response to the President’s call of intensifying efforts to stimulate growth, government is working tirelessly to raise South Africa’s global visibility by also promoting [South Africa] as the best place to be, to do business, to visit, to work, to study and to live.

“We are also responding to new opportunities and harnessing the collective capabilities of DIRCO’s resources both at home and abroad,” Pandor said.

South Africa, the Minister said, will leverage engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to enhance mutually beneficial trade, investment and tourism ties, and to support skills development and training for South Africans.

Dr Naledi Pandor, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Dr Naledi Pandor

Pandor said South Africa secured significant beef export opportunities to the Malaysian market as of November 2020.

“Market access was also obtained for fruits to Thailand. Product protocols are being negotiated in the region and are at an advanced stage. These include table grapes to Vietnam and South Korea, avocadoes to India and Japan, and pears to China and India.

“Total two-way trade with Asia and the Middle East (inclusive of Oceania) breached the important milestone of R1 trillion, for the first time, in 2019 and is set to grow further.”

Many companies from the Asian region have made significant investment pledges during the President’s investment Summits and State Visits.

Companies such as Toyota, Isuzu, Tata Motors, Mahindra and Motherson Sumi have expanded their investments in the country.

China has pledged to invest $14 billion, and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates $10 billion each.

“We aim to build on these successes by ensuring growing global trade, which is one of the best ways to fight poverty, inequality and unemployment in our country and our continent,” said Pandor.

Added 21 February 2021


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UK to lead the way in training for autonomous shipping

MASSPeaople banner on display in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The UK’s standing as a world-leader in the safe testing and development of autonomous vessels has been further enhanced by a new standards and safety regime to shape the future of training for autonomous shipping globally. This was reported by the UK’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency on 18 February.

A pioneering working group responsible for what are known as the MASSPeople, Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) International Training Standards will develop these standards for staff operating autonomous vessels.

Here the network has the UK as the first flag state to join and so is set to shape the future of training for autonomous shipping in its commitment to innovation in the industry. Working with the IMO the working group aims to ensure that development and roll out of autonomous vessels is safe and secure by design.

As a founding member of MASSPeople, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency will be looking to develop world-leading training standards for those who operate these types of vessel.

Selected flag states have been invited to take part in the International Training Standards working group to consider establishing high standards of training in MASS. It is understood that the group consists of representatives from European and international maritime authorities.

UK’s Maritime Minister Robert Courts said: “Autonomous vessels offer significant opportunities for the UK’s economy as well as helping meet our carbon reduction targets.

“We are sailing into new waters, and with the UK’s global expertise in shipping safety standards, the UK is best-placed to set the global benchmark in the development and rollout of safe, autonomous shipping.”

Katy Ware, MASSPeople director of Maritime Safety and Standards, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Katy Ware

Katy Ware, Director of Maritime Safety and Standards added: “Seafarers and their safety is something we take very seriously and that includes making sure they are trained in all aspects of the maritime industry that they work in.

“As new technology is introduced and new ways of working with it, we want to make sure the training standards keep pace with it so that our seafarers stay safe while they work.

“This working group will not only set the benchmark for qualifications required by operators now but also in the future.”

Standards currently in place in the International Convention of Standards on Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) do not currently adequately provide for standards for the operation of MASS. It is understood that they will include such aspects as specialisations, competencies, training structures and qualifications.

Working alongside the MCA will be global geo-data company Fugro and Seabot XR. The latter is an agency for next generation learning products and services.

About the UK MCA

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) is a frontline emergency response agency of the Department for Transport. As well as delivering maritime search and rescue through HM Coastguard (one of the four UK emergency services), the MCA is responsible for maritime regulation, safety and counter-pollution.

Paul Ridgway, London correspondent of Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news


Edited by Paul Ridgway


Added 21 February 2021


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300 desks and chairs were handed over to the Onawa Secondary School by NAMPORT's Social Investment Fund. Picture: Namport, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
300 desks and chairs were handed over to the Onawa Secondary School by NAMPORT’s Social Investment Fund. Picture: Namport

Believing that good quality education remains pivotal to the development of Namibia, Namport, the nation’s port authority, acting through its Namport Social Investment Fund (NSIF), last week donated 300 chairs and 300 desks valued at N$163,848 (R163,848) to the Onawa Secondary school.

This was after the need for additional furniture became evident after the school, due its outstanding performance, witnessed an influx of learners from surrounding towns and villages. The school has over 800 pupils enrolled for the 2021 academic year.

Governor of the Omusati region, Erginus Endjala commended Namport through its Fund for their generosity and urged the learners to “take good care of the furniture so that future generations can benefit from this kind donation”.

NSIF Trustee member, Amos Shiyuka, challenged other schools to follow the excellent example set by the Onawa Secondary School in terms of academic performance and dedication to a better future displayed by the learners at the school.

Namibia’s Minister of Education and Culture, Ester Anna Nghipondoka, applauded the learners for achieving outstanding Grade 10 results in the 2020 external examination. This was despite the challenges faced in the education sector due to the rampaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the 2018/2019 financial year, Namport invested 1,1 million Namibian dollars in the education system country wide.

Added 21 February 2021


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WHARF TALK: Djibouti set to provide floating bunker operations

Red Sea Bunkering logo displayed in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

It has been announced that Red Sea Bunkering at Djibouti will shortly introduce an 80,000-dwt tanker for floating storage bunkering services.

Djibouti is to the north of the Gulf of Aden and close to the entrance to the Red Sea. According to Red Sea Bunkering’s General Manager Abdi Ismail Kahin, the bunkering hub will provide new storage, trading and supply opportunities for Djibouti and the region.

Kahin was speaking at the recent Maritime Week Africa virtual conference. The tanker facility is scheduled to enter into service at Djibouti during March and will be the sole company in the region with such an asset.

Djibouti had once been an important bunkering centre for ships using the Suez Canal, he reminded the virtual delegates, saying that it is Red Sea Bunkering’s mission to return Djibouti back to an international bunkering hub once again.

He said the bunker service at Djibouti had closed during the closure of the Suez Canal between 1967 and 1975, when all ships were forced to use the route around the Cape.

Great Horn Investment Holdings, the parent company of Red Sea Bunkering, and China Marine Bunkering Co (CHIMBUSCO) have agreed plans to build a floating oil refinery at the Djibouti Damerjog Industrial Park, which will refine six million tonnes per annum of very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) which will meet IMO standard.

Kahin said this would not only provide another great opportunity to strengthen the position of Red Sea Bunkering in the market, but would meet the goal of making Djibouti the biggest bunkering hub at Bab el-Mandeb.

He told delegates that Red Sea Bunkering had supplied oil and gasoil to more than 5,000 vessels between 2015 and 2020.

“In a very short time, Red Sea Bunkering has brought back Djibouti as a leader on [the] bunker map in the region,” he said.  source: Bunkerspot

Red Sea Bunkering logo in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Added 21 February 2021


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FLASH NEWS: US Navy ship Herschel ‘Woody’ Williams arrives in Cape Town (Saturday)

The US Navy ship Herschel ‘Woody’ Williams arrived in Cape Town on Saturday 20 February. Readers will recall the report of this ship calling at the Kenya port of Mombasa recently – see HERE fo details of the ship.

USS Hershel Woody Williams which has visited the Kenya port of Mombasa, the first US Navy ship to call at Mombasa in over ten years. Picture: US Navy, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

USS Hershel Woody Williams which has visited the Kenya port of Mombasa, the first US Navy ship to call at Mombasa in over ten years. The ship is now in Cape Town from Saturday 20 February 2021.   Picture: US Navy

Added 19 February 2021, updated 21 February 2021



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