Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 6 March 2021

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Front Page:   BAHRI JEDDAH


The Saturday masthead is of the Port of Tema (Ghana) 




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Bahri Jeddah Picture by: Trevor Jones, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Bahri Jeddah        Picture by: Trevor Jones

The Saudi RoRo vessel with a slightly different design to other RoRo’s, BAHRI JEDDAH (IMO 9626522) entered port at Durban recently. She is at least the second RoRo of this type and fleet to have called at Durban, the other being BAHRI TABUK in November last year. The 50,714-gt ship is managed by Dubai-based Mideast Ship Management in Dubai and has a length of 225 metres, a beam of 32m and was built in 2014. In our comments on Bahri Tabuk in November we suggested there were five of these ships, the other four being Bahri Abha, Bahri Yanbu, Bahri Jazan, and Bahri Hofuf, but with Bahri Jeddah calling in person, it is clear there at least six. Any updates on this are invited. This picture is by Trevor Jones

Added 28 February 2021



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Grindrod rail, active in moving cargo to and from ports in various parts of Africa, reported in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Grindrod rail, active in moving cargo to and from ports in various parts of Africa.  Picture: Grindrod

Grindrod Limited earlier today (Thursday) announced financial results for the year ended 31 December 2020.

Core Revenue: R4.7 billion
Core Trading Profit: R1.4 billion
Core Earnings: R329 million
Net Asset Value: R10.75 per share
Cash generated from operations: R871 million
Net Debt to Equity (excluding Bank and IFRS 16): 26%

Grindrod reported solid results in its core operations, with the Port, Terminals, and Logistics businesses recovering well in the second half of the financial year.

The Groups’ agility and execution of connecting supply chains and unlocking trade corridors resulted in robust performance and a trading profit of R1.4 billion from core businesses. The group generated positive cash from operations of R871.1 million (2019: 1,019.2 million). Net debt excluding Grindrod Bank and IFRS 16 lease liabilities is 26% as of 31 December 2020.


Maputo and Matola

Overall, Ports & Terminals matched its 2019 earnings. Maputo Port achieved earnings growth of 18% on 2019 on volumes of 18.4 million tonnes. Cargo transported to the Port by rail versus road has improved through the increased allocation of Transnet train sets.

Matola Terminal delivered improved tariffs and cost management, which mitigated the decline in volume. The terminal handled 5.5 million tonnes with 10% higher volumes in the second half of the financial year. Magnetite and chrome markets have improved with strong pricing.

Grindrod port terminal in Mozambique, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Coastal Shipping & Containers

The coastal shipping and landside container business benefited from increased shipping activities, a buoyant citrus season, and strong mineral volumes. The business reported earnings growth of 15% on 2019.

The container business has increased its footprint and diversified into bulk cargo. For example, by partnering with key customers and establishing an efficient and reliable service, Grindrod facilitates the export of minerals through the Maydon Wharf Terminal in Durban.

Clearing & Forwarding & Ships Agency

The clearing and forwarding business delivered healthy earnings growth of 83% due to extensive work on both existing and new contracts. Ships Agency achieved positive earnings for the period from a loss position in 2019.

Northern Mozambique

Overall, the northern Mozambique operations reported 13% earnings growth for the period. Grindrod’s Intermodal facility in Nacala is a good example of developing a fit-for-purpose infrastructure for customers. Initially, the facility, together with a fleet of trucks, provided a logistics solution for transporting graphite from a mine in Balama to global markets. While the mine is in care and maintenance until graphite markets improve, the Nacala facility has provided the perfect base to operate on the Malawi corridor, where volumes have increased.

Grindrod Intermodal in MOzambique, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Cabo Delgado

Grindrod’s strategic presence in Northern Mozambique has provided the ideal springboard to be one of the early logistics providers for the LNG project in the Cabo Delgado region. The service offering includes the road haulage, operation of seven barges for the transportation of equipment and supplies, shore-side equipment, and stevedoring.

The LNG project presents an enormous growth opportunity for Grindrod. The project includes the construction of two natural gas liquefaction trains, with a total LNG nameplate capacity of 15.2 million tonnes annually from the Mozambique LNG (Block 1) complex.

In addition to the base in Nacala, Grindrod established operations in Pemba and commenced construction on a Palma site adjacent to the project. The facility will support containerised and break-bulk cargo destined for the region.

  • The picture that was here has been taken down at the request of the supplier, for reported ‘Security Reasons’

Rails along the TAZARA

Train sets have been deployed on the Dar Es Salaam corridor – four locomotives and 54 container wagons that have been deployed with private operator Calabash.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, products moved East and West and not through South Africa as the borders closed.

This, together with force majeure calls on Mozambican and South African locomotive hire contracts during the period resulting from the temporary restrictions on mine operations and non-essential cargo transportation, caused an overall decline in profits for the Rail business. Demand for rail has increased post the lockdown. The Rail business was merged to bring critical mass and commercial experience to a joint Railco.


Transnet has made significant strides in creating efficiency in its networks. We welcome this, not only for Grindrod but for the economies across southern Africa. These efficiencies have impacted Richards Bay, the North/South corridor, and the Maputo corridor particularly.

Grindrod Bank

Grindrod Bank maintained a conservative approach in managing its book. The team will continue enhancing and building the platform banking services, growing in the retail space, and broadening their footprint in the SME markets.

Senwes & Marine Fuels

Grindrod completed the sale of Senwes, an agriculture trading business, as it is not core to the Grindrod service offering. The Marine Fuels business performed well however the business remains for sale as it does not form part of the long-term strategy.

Expansion Strategy

Grindrod’s growth strategy includes expansion in East Africa and Northern Mozambique, unlocking the Zambian and Dar es Salaam corridor, and facilitating logistics solutions in Lake Victoria.

Andrew Waller, CEO Grindrod Limited said Grindrod’s business is about operating supply chains, leveraging its strategically located Terminals, Port operations, Rail, and Logistics assets. “Our divisions work together and collaborate with customers to ensure we provide bespoke solutions and deliver on our purpose – unleash trapped value across Africa for the benefit of all its people.”

Grindrod banner, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Added 4 March 2021


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IN CONVERSATION: Africa looks likely to continue relying on power from fossil fuels for some time

Galina Alova, University of Oxford and Philipp Trotter, University of Oxford

The narratives of “leapfrogging” to new technologies are pervasive when it comes to development in Africa. One example is skipping cord phones and landlines to advance directly from limited phone coverage to wide mobile phone usage. Another that’s frequently discussed is Africa’s potential for a quick transition to renewable energy.

This is important both from a climate change and an economic development perspective. Providing affordable clean energy is big on the UN Sustainable Development Agenda (Goal 7).

Several drivers could prepare the way to Africa’s energy transition. Renewables are becoming increasingly competitive, with their costs rapidly declining both globally and in Africa.

The prices of batteries to balance intermittent supply from renewables are also declining steeply. The average market price of lithium-ion battery packs has fallen to US$137 per kWh installed in 2020. This is a 89% decline since 2010.

This downward trend in technology costs is coupled with Africa’s renewable energy abundance. The continent has 40% of the world’s solar resources. And renewables are flexible in scale. For example, solar can power both industrial demand at a gigawatt scale as well as a small mini-grid in a remote village.

But our recently published study shows that, within this decade, there is currently limited evidence for a quick transition to renewables in Africa. Though the study predicts overall generation to more than double, solar and wind are likely to account for less than 10% of the electricity mix in 2030. According to our estimates, the share of generation based on fossil fuels, especially natural gas, will decline only slightly.

These results were predicted by a machine-learning model we built using a state-of-the-art algorithm for predictive analytics. First, we trained the model to examine drivers behind the successful commissioning of past projects. Then, we applied the model to a pipeline of 2,500 planned power plants across 54 African countries to estimate whether these planned plants would be successfully realised.

What drives successful power plant commissioning

Our analysis examined the importance of different project characteristics and country-level development indicators for the successful realisation of power plants. We found that the factors relating to project design are especially pertinent. For instance, smaller project sizes, government or well-designed independent power producer (IPP) ownership structure, and the participation of development finance institutions all have a positive effect on a project.

Technology type also plays an important role. For example, gas and oil power plants have historically had better success chances than most renewable energy projects, with the exception of more recent solar power plants. Countries’ favourable governance and socio-economic outcomes may also help but appear to be of relatively lower importance.

Our research highlighted large and critical regional as well as national variations.

  • First, there were significant geographical disparities in the chances of successful commissioning of planned projects. Some countries and regions are planning generation projects that combine more of the success factors mentioned above than others. We predict 91% of the planned capacity in North Africa will be successfully commissioned. This decreases to 78%, 76% and 71% for Southern, West and East Africa, respectively, and drops to only 52% for Central Africa.

Such differences can similarly be strong within a region. For instance, in East Africa, the pipelines in Madagascar and South Sudan are predicted to have a success chance of below 30%. Ethiopia’s pipeline on the other hand, which comprises a large share of East Africa’s planned capacity, has a predicted success rate of 85%.

  • Second, there are spatial differences in the share of non-hydro renewables in the generation mix. For example, while non-hydro renewables are predicted to account for 3% and 6% in all newly added generation in Central and West Africa, respectively, this number increases to 19% and 25% in Southern and East Africa.
A well-designed independent power producer ownership structure, and the participation of development finance institutions, have a positive effect on the project’s successful implementation.  shutterstock/ LieselK
  • Third, the predicted pace of the transition to renewables might also vary by country. South Africa is a notable example. Traditionally heavily reliant on fossil fuels, the country is predicted to account for roughly 40% of all new solar generation commissioned on the continent by 2030, aided by its Renewable Energy IPP Procurement Programme.

Economic risks and benefits

The results of our study suggest that as things currently stand, a significant number of African countries might not make a decisive leap to renewables this decade. This implies that countries might lock their economies into a future of relatively carbon-intensive power generation. Power stations usually operate for decades, locking in capital. This makes the switch from fossil-fuel plants, once built, more challenging and costly than to attract investments into new renewable energy projects.

In view of the cost reductions of clean technologies, continued investments in fossil-fuel plants face risks of asset stranding. This is when assets can no longer earn a return, given market and regulatory changes brought about by climate change agenda.

Therefore, it seems worth closely considering the economic rationale for relying on fossil-fuel-based generation, paying close attention to country-specific endowments and development needs. If clean energy is to power Africa’s growing energy demand, considerably more renewable energy projects will have to be planned and their success chances should be improved.The Conversation

Galina Alova, Environmental Economist | Energy, Sustainable Finance and Machine Learning, University of Oxford and Philipp Trotter, Research Associate, Renewable Energy, University of Oxford

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Added 4 March 2021


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Port is what we do: the plight of trapped seafarers

YouTube Video [3:44]

Continuing with another in the series issued by the Port of Hamburg covering the many activities and issues taking place in the German port, is this edition (short video) looking at what the port and the seamen’s missions are able to do to make the lives of seafarers unable to return to their homes across the world because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, just that little bit happier.

Added 4 March 2021


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Vesconite acquires super-large lathe for marine bearings

The 6 m lathe that will expand the Vesconite Bearings’ machining capability and increase the speed at which it is able to machine bearings, as shown in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The 6 m lathe that will expand the Vesconite Bearings’ machining capability and increase the speed at which it is able to machine bearings.  Picture supplied (Vesconite)

Large-diameter lathe will ensure happier marine and renewable clients

A large-diameter six-metre lathe is expected at Vesconite Bearings’ South African factory in the next few weeks.

The lathe will be able to machine extra-large-diameter bearings, which are in demand for marine mining, container ships, oil tankers, and equipment used to generate renewable power from tides, waves and currents.

The lathe has a ‘swing-over-bed’ of 1,630 mm and a bed of 6,000 mm, which means that it can machine a tube with a diameter of up to 1,630 mm and a length of six metres.

Other noteworthy specifications are that it has a ‘swing-in-gap’ of 1,890 mm, which means that it can machine short bearings and discs of that diameter.

At present, Vesconite Bearings has a vertical lathe that it uses to machine bearings with diameters up to 1.2 metres.

The new machine will expand the company’s machining capability and increase the speed at which it is able to machine bearings.

“We will be able to supply customers quicker,” says CEO Dr Jean-Patrick Leger. “This is essential for marine clients, since keeping a ship in dry dock for repairs can be costly.”

Added 4 March 2021


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Astral Aviation increases airfreight capacity to Johannesburg to 160 tonnes per week

Astral Aviation's first B767-200F cargo aircraft, now deployed between Nairobi and Johannesburg, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Astral Aviation’s first B767-200F cargo aircraft, now deployed between Nairobi and Johannesburg. Astral Aviation

Kenya-UAE perishable capacity increases to 80 tonnes per week

Following the recent acquisition of its 42-tonne payload B767F freighter aircraft, Kenya’s Astral Aviation is now able to offer 160 tonnes of airfreight per week capacity on its services between Nairobi and Johannesburg.

This route was previously operated by a single 727-200F which has a single payload of 24 tonnes.

Astral has also deployed the B767-200F on a twice weekly Middle Eastern service, carrying carrying flowers, vegetables and meat and using Sharjah as its UAE hub. Sharjah, which is situated right next door to Dubai, has an airport devoted largely to airfreight although it also handles passenger traffic.

The B767-200F was launched by Astral Aviation in January this year and its deployment on the Johannesburg and Sharjah routes commenced in early February 2021.

The aircraft is also available for the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine to and within Africa in addition to humanitarian cargo.

The freight airline operates an existing European hub at Liege International Airport in Belgium and its African hub at JKIA in Nairobi, Kenya.


Astral Aviation founder and CEO, Sanjeev Gadhia, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Astral Aviation founder and CEO, Sanjeev Gadhia

In respect of being able to distribute Covid-19 vaccine across Africa, Astral Aviation through its subsidiary Astral Aerial Solutions, says it is working with vaccine and drone manufacturers mas well as the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority to deploy drones for distributing the vaccine to remote places in East Africa.

A pilot exercise commenced in Kenya involving the use of drones for last mile deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines. The results of these have not yet been made available. Astral is understood to be in collaboration with Drone Delivery Canada via its sales agent, Air Canada.


In 2021 Astral Aviation carried 110,000 tonnes of airfreight and operated over 4000 flights. The airline flies to 15 intra-Africa destinations, including Johannesburg, as well as its more recently introduced Middle East destination, with Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) as the main hub.

JKIA Nairobi

According to a statement by acting MD of Kenya Airports Authority, Alex Gitari, Nairobi is the leading air cargo hub, with a capacity of 1.2 million tonnes including 9,000 square metres of cold room facilities.       source: Logistics Update Africa

Added 4 March 2021


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Engine failure and fire: mv Finlandia Seaways

Fire damage to upper engine room (looking for’ard). Photo MAIB Crown Copyright 2021 ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Fire damage to upper engine room (looking for’ard). Photo MAIB Crown Copyright 2021 ©

UK MAIB report

At 20h03 on 16 April 2018, the Lithuanian registered ro-ro cargo vessel Finlandia Seaways suffered a catastrophic main engine failure that caused serious structural damage to the engine and a fire in the engine room.

The vessel’s third engineer, who was on duty in the engine room at the time, suffered serious smoke-related lung, kidney and eye injuries during his escape. This event was encapsulated in a (UK) Marine Accident Investigation Branch report issued at the end of February 2021. This Lithuanian flag-vessel of 163m loa, 11,530 grt, with a crew of 19 was carrying a mixture of heavy goods vehicles, containers, cars, campervans and caravans.

Finlandia Seaways was 11 n.miles east of Lowestoft on a regular voyage from Zeebrugge to Rosyth when one of the main engine’s connecting rods broke. Several of the engine’s major internal rotating components were thrown through the side of the crankcase into the engine room, and a short but intense fire occurred. Within 20 minutes the crew had conducted a muster, sealed the engine room, activated its carbon dioxide fixed fire-fighting system and extinguished the fire.

The third engineer was recovered by Coastguard helicopter to Norfolk and Norwich hospital for medical care, and made a successful recovery.

Broad range of support received

The MAIB’s technical investigation was carried out with support of the Lithuanian Transport Accident and Incident Investigation Division and the engine manufacturer, MAN Diesel and Turbo SE.

The investigation identified that a fracture of the connecting rod small end had led to the sudden failure of the main engine. The investigation also found that the method used to replace the connecting rod small end piston pin bearing bushes by the vessel manager’s maintenance support contractor had introduced stress raisers that significantly increased the likelihood of crack initiation and fatigue failure.

Other factors that contributed to the engine failure included: standards of maintenance management; lack of appreciation of the importance of following the engine manufacturer’s instructions for the removal and refitting of the piston pin bearing bushes; and external oversight of the engine maintenance process.

Lack of emergency escape breathing devices

With regard to the emergency response, although the carbon dioxide fire-fighting system was activated successfully, the third engineer was fortunate to have survived given that there were no emergency escape breathing devices on his escape route. In common with other accidents in which carbon dioxide has been released following a fire, the inability to confirm which gas bottles had discharged hampered re-entry to the engine room. In addition to this, the voyage data recorder did not record the incident due to the uninterruptible power supply failing.

On 27 July 2018, the MAIB and the Lithuanian Transport Accident and Incident Investigation Division wrote to MAN Diesel and Turbo SE and the vessel’s classification society recommending that they provide technical advice to Finlandia Seaways’ operator to reduce the likelihood of a similar accident occurring in the future.

In response, Finlandia Seaways’ sister vessel Botnia Seaways was withdrawn from service and its engine connecting rods removed and replaced. In addition to many actions taken by stakeholders as a result of this accident, further recommendations aimed at addressing the safety issues raised in the MAIB report have been made to the vessel operators, DFDS Seaways AB-Lithuania and its engine maintenance support contractor, Diesel Service Group.

Findlandia Seaways, the subject of the MAIB report, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Findlandia Seaways, the subject of the MAIB report.  Picture: Fleetmon

Safety Issues

With regard to safety issues:

* the engine’s connecting rods had not been maintained in accordance with engine manufacturer’s instructions;

* defects introduced during component overhauls had not been identified by the ship’s crew or the company’s technical superintendents;

* the significance of the damage caused to the connecting rod small ends during overhaul was not fully appreciated and although a Class survey item, Class was not kept informed;

* there were no emergency escape breathing devices on the secondary escape route used by the third engineer.


A recommendation was made to MAN Energy Solutions and Lloyd’s Register (2018/121) to provide technical advice to DFDS on the actions the company should take to minimise the risk of a similar catastrophic engine failure, and any other vessel operators whose MAN engines might have been subjected to similar maintenance practices.

Further recommendations aimed at addressing the safety issues raised in this report have been made to the vessel operators, DFDS Seaways AB-Lithuania and its engine maintenance support contractor (2021/102), Diesel Service Group (2021/103-105).

For the MAIB report see here: MAIBInvReport 2/2021 – Finlandia Seaway – Serious Marine Casualty (

Editorial note:
The text reproduced here is based on Marine Accident Investigation Branch Report No 2/2021 of February 2021: Report on the investigation of the engine failure and fire on board the ro-ro cargo vessel Finlandia Seaways resulting in injury to one crewman 11 miles east of Lowestoft16 April 2018. This material is Crown Copyright ©.

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


Edited by Paul Ridgway


Added 4 March 2021


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Freight association comments on UK budget


The trade association that truly represents the UK international freight services industry says that it welcomes some of the macro-economic announcements in the UK Budget (announced on 3 March) that will offer ongoing support to businesses in the freight and logistics sector that have been hit hard by the double-edged sword of EU Exit and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commenting on announcements with specific relevance to the freight and logistics sector, Robert Keen, Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) said: “Our members will welcome the news that the freeze in fuel duty will remain. However, they would have preferred to see an outright cut, the introduction of an essential user rebate and some form of fuel duty stabilisation mechanism.”


With regard to the news that eight freeports would be introduced in East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe (pictured) and Harwich, Humber, Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent, Thames and Teesside, Keen added: “To date, BIFA has been indifferent to this proposed development, and queries whether freeports will provide new advantages compared to the existing Customs Special Procedures, which from 1 January 2021 no longer need a guarantee to operate.

“The additional £126 million announced for apprenticeships and the raising of the cash incentive for employers to £3,000 may help BIFA’s campaign to encourage companies to consider recruiting youngsters and enrolling them on the International Freight Forwarding specialist apprenticeship, which BIFA helped to create in 2018.”

Air freight

With regard to aviation Keen concluded by saying: “However, there was no mention of the issues facing the aviation sector in either the announcement of the roadmap out of recovery, nor the Budget. This is a concern because a recovery in the passenger sector with an increasing number of flights carrying belly hold cargo will be necessary to allow the air cargo sector to fully recover.”

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


Edited by Paul Ridgway


Added 3 March 2021


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South African hake trawl fishery
– celebrating fourth certification to MSC standard for seafood sustainability

I&J freezer fishing vessel UMLOBI outside Cape Town. Picture courtesy I&J, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
I&J freezer fishing vessel UMLOBI outside Cape Town. Picture courtesy I&J

Supported by government, industry and market stakeholders, the SA hake trawl fishery’s MSC status places it amongst the best managed fisheries in the world – helping to maintain its international market presence and deliver long-term socio-economic benefits to the South African people.


South Africa’s hake trawl fishery is celebrating 16 years of MSC certification following the announcement of its fourth successful assessment, on 12 February 2021. To become certified, a fishery must show that the stock it targets is healthy, that it minimises its impact on the environment and other species and that it has effective management in place.

In 2004 the fishery became the first hake fishery in the world, and the second groundfish fishery, to meet the globally recognised standard for sustainable fishing set by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), an environmental not-for-profit.

Since its first certification the fishery has seen several environmental benefits, including the rebuilding of stocks, reductions in seabird interactions, improved management of by-catches, and greater understanding of benthic impacts, in pursuit of responsible ecosystem-based fisheries management.

The South African hake trawl industry catches approximately 120,000 tons of hake per year. Around 67% of hake caught is exported and MSC certification is vital to the international competitiveness of the fishery*.

South Africa hake fisherman, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
South African hake fisherman

According to Felix Ratheb, Chairman of the South African Deep-Sea Trawling Industry Association (SADSTIA) and Chief Executive of Sea Harvest, “In northern European countries like Germany, Holland and Sweden, as well as in Australia, the United States and the UK, there is a high degree of consumer awareness of seafood sustainability. Customers in these countries demand seafood products that can be traced to a sustainable source and this is exactly what our industry is able to deliver. MSC certification is vital to our export business and to the success of our fishery.”

Ratheb said the fact that the South African hake trawl fishery has retained this prestigious certification for 16 years “speaks to an enduring partnership between industry and the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, the industry regulator, and academic institutions like the University of Cape Town.”

South African hake women in processing plant. Picture Leonard Faustle, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
South African hake women in processing plant. Picture Leonard Faustle

A wide range of stakeholders were consulted during the latest assessment of the fishery, and their input is reflected in the certification which also sets out a series of goals for the fishery to meet in the next five years.

Sue Middleton, Acting Deputy Director General in the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) said that the DEFF’s Fisheries Management branch is one of the stakeholders involved in the re-certification of South Africa’s deep-water hake fishery by the MSC. “The branch is proud to support this certification that promotes sustainable fishing practices in our fishery,” she said.

Trawled hake is South Africa’s most valuable commercial fishery, generating sales of R4.5 billion per year and making a total annual socio-economic contribution of R6.7 billion. The fishery employs approximately 27,000 South Africans in direct and indirect jobs. Fishing rights are held by 32 companies which range from large, vertically integrated firms, to small- and medium-sized enterprises with diversified operations – together these companies are 66.6% black-owned1.

Ratheb said that because it is sustainably-managed, the hake trawl fishery will continue to deliver benefits to the people of South Africa for generations to come.

Michael Marriott, MSC Program Manager: Africa, Middle East and South Asia congratulated the fishery on their re-certification. “The MSC Standard is regularly updated to reflect current scientific understanding on what it means to be sustainable, and for 16 years the South African hake trawl fishery has played a leading role in working with government, scientists and NGOs to ensure the long-term future of the hake resource.”

He said they continue to contribute to research and to improve their operations in their efforts to achieve best practice.

The Marine Stewardship Council works with fisheries around the world to combat overfishing, including the newly certified Namibian hake fishery – Africa’s second fishery to receive MSC certification.

* Sources: SEE HERE

Added 3 March 2021


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CMA CGM acquires significant equity stake in Algeciras’ TTIA container terminal

The CMA CGM Group builds up its terminal footprint position in the Mediterranean

* CMA CGM owns 50% minus one share in the TTIA terminal in Algeciras, Southern Spain.

* A strategic investment consolidating the Group’s position in the Strait of Gibraltar.

* CMA CGM continues pushing its global expansion strategy as a terminal operator.

The CMA CGM Group announced today (Wednesday 3 March) that its CMA Terminals subsidiary has acquired a 50% interest minus one share in Spain’s Total Terminal International Algeciras (TTIA) port terminal.

The TTIA terminal, located in the Strait of Gibraltar at the crossroads of trade between Africa, Asia, Mediterranean and Northern Europe, is capable of accommodating the largest containerships in the CMA CGM Group fleet through its latest equipment:

The terminal, which has a container yard area of 30 hectares, a quay length of 850 metres, draught of 18 metres, eight ship-to-shore (STS) cranes and an annual capacity of 1.7 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), has the potential to double its capacity in the future.

The multi-user TTIA terminal was inaugurated in 2010 and is the first semi-automatic terminal in the Med area.

CMA CGM Group’s partners in Algeciras, HMM and DIF Capital Partners, will join forces to support and develop this strategic terminal.

By strengthening its terminal operating position in the Strait of Gibraltar, it dovetails well with its position held via Terminal Link in Tangiers, Morocco, Eurogate terminal since 2006, said CMA CGM.

The Group currently operates 48 port terminals in 27 countries and operates close to 1,200 calls at ports in the Strait of Gibraltar, one of the world’s busiest commercial shipping lanes.

Added 3 March 2021


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Buoyant air cargo demand being reported

Boeing B747F of Cargolux. Picture: Wikipedia Commons, Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Boeing B747F of Cargolux. Picture: Wikipedia Commons

Pre-COVID levels

From Geneva on 2 March the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released January 2021 data for global air cargo markets showing that air cargo demand returned to pre-COVID levels, of January 2019, for the first time since the onset of the crisis.

January 2021 demand also showed strong month-to-month growth over December 2020 levels.

Because comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of COVID-19, unless otherwise noted all comparisons to follow are to January 2019 which followed a normal demand pattern.

* Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), was up 1.1.% compared to January 2019 and +3% compared to December 2020. All regions saw month-on-month improvement in air cargo demand, and North America and Africa were the strongest performers.

* The recovery in global capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTKs), was reversed owing to new capacity cuts on the passenger side. Capacity shrank 19.5% compared to January 2019 and fell 5% compared to December 2020, the first monthly decline since April 2020.

* The operating backdrop remains supportive for air cargo volumes as witnessed by details below:

Conditions in the manufacturing sector remain robust despite new COVID-19 outbreaks that dragged down passenger demand. The global manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was at 53.5 in January. Results above 50 indicate manufacturing growth versus the prior month.

In the words of Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO: “Air cargo traffic is back to pre-crisis levels and that is some much-needed good news for the global economy. But while there is a strong demand to ship goods, our ability is capped by the shortage of belly capacity normally provided by passenger aircraft.

“That should be a sign to governments that they need to share their plans for restart so that the industry has clarity in terms of how soon more capacity can be brought online. In normal times, a third of world trade by value moves by air. This high value commerce is vital to helping restore COVID damaged economies—not to mention the critical role air cargo is playing in distributing lifesaving vaccines that must continue for the foreseeable future.”

Regional Performance

With regard to regional performance for January 2021:

* Middle Eastern carriers posted a 6.0% rise in international cargo volumes in January versus January 2019, which was an acceleration over the 2.4% year over year gain recorded in December compared to December 2019. Of the region’s key international routes, Middle East-Asia and Middle East-North America have provided the most significant support. January capacity was down 17.3% compared to the same month in 2019. This was a slight reduction compared to the18.2% decline recorded in December 2020 compared to the year-ago period.

* African airlines’ cargo demand soared 22.4% compared to the same month in 2019, eclipsing the 6.3% year-over-year increase for December 2020. Robust expansion on the Asia-Africa trade lanes contributed to the strong growth. January international capacity decreased by 9.1% compared to January 2019, reduced compared to the 17.8% capacity decline recorded in December 2020 versus December 2019.

Readers may view the January 2021 Air Cargo Market Analysis by CLICKING HERE

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


Edited by Paul Ridgway


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IN CONVERSATION: Infrastructure spend: insights from the effect of a bridge across the Zambezi on maize prices

Sam Jones, United Nations University

Investments in infrastructure – such as roads – typically aim to reduce transport costs, stimulate trade and make new production activities viable. Across sub-Saharan Africa, the need for such investments is widely acknowledged.

The argument for more and better infrastructure seems fairly compelling. But little rigorous evidence has been collected about the magnitude of the economic impacts from such new investments. In part, this is because new investments often respond to new activities, such as growing cities, and are not necessarily independent causes of that growth.

To get around this, researchers typically focus on so-called “exogenous shocks”, where neither the location nor timing of changes to infrastructure can be explained by existing economic factors. In Mozambique, one such positive shock occurred in 2009 with the completion of a major bridge over the Zambezi river, financed primarily by external development partners.

The Armando Emilio Guebuza Bridge was important for two reasons. First, before it was constructed, the river formed a natural barrier to direct north–south trade along the main highway. Historically, there was a ferry service. But it was extremely inefficient. The journey lasted less than 30 minutes, yet the ferry only ran from 7 am to 5 pm, was notorious for breaking down, and was frequently suspended during the rainy season. As found at many other border posts and river crossings in the region, lengthy queues of vehicles lasting several hours and even days were common. Also, alternative options were limited, necessitating extremely lengthy detours.

Second, the new bridge was constructed at the same point as the old ferry. So, rather than creating new driving routes, the bridge simply made crossing the river more efficient and reliable, reducing the overall journey time. And the toll for crossing the bridge was fixed at the same price as the old ferry.

To analyse the economic impact of the bridge, we looked at changes in the difference in maize prices between market pairs that did, and did not, use the bridge to trade. According to the “law of one price” expounded by economists, opportunities for arbitrage will tend to ensure that the difference in prices between goods produced in place A and sold at place B only reflect transport costs – in other words, competition between traders should drive any opportunities for additional profit down to zero. So, because market pairs that did use the bridge to trade experienced a positive shock to the quality of their transport infrastructure, we would expect their transport costs to fall – and this should be reflected in smaller price differences.

Comparing the groups of market pairs that did and did not use the bridge to trade, we found that differences in maize prices did become smaller for the first group. In other words – consistent with the law of one price – their maize markets did become more closely integrated. Even so, we found this was only the case for relatively close market pairs. For others, driving distances remained so large that the gain from the bridge was negligible.

The analysis

Maize is the staple food in Mozambique, consumed across the country and predominantly by the poorest households. While it is also produced by small farmers across the country, there are large distances between the most productive areas of the country in the centre and the north and the main urban centres of demand in the south.

Historically, poor transport infrastructure – including just one north-south road, no integrated national rail network and no coastal shipping services – has meant differences in prices for maize can be very large over the country. As we plot in in the figure below, for agricultural markets located more than 250km apart, on average maize prices are at least 25% more expensive in destination versus origin locations. And, at times, this average difference has reached over 40% such as during the food price crisis of 2007/08.

Figure 1: Average absolute relative difference in maize prices between markets more than 250km apart. Author

Using data from Mozambique’s agricultural market data system and applying a variety of econometric techniques, we found that the bridge did indeed have an effect on maize price differences. We found a positive relationship between changes in the journey time associated with the opening of the bridge and changes in absolute price differences. For the closest market pair using the bridge to trade, located just under 5 hours apart, we estimate the opening led to an approximate 7% reduction in maize price differences.

At the same time, given the long journey times between many markets in Mozambique, most market pairs that use the bridge to trade experienced only small relative changes in journey times due to the opening of the bridge. As summarised in Figure 2, which plots the change in absolute relative maize prices against the relative difference in journey times associated with the bridge, only market pairs that experienced a more than 20% fall in journey time saw a significant reduction in maize price differences.

Figure 2: Change in absolute relative maize prices (y-axis) vs. relative difference in journey times associated with the new bridge, treated market pairs only

Staple foods and well-being of the poor

Understanding what drives food prices is important because these prices are critical to the well-being of the poor. Sudden price increases can drive many consumers into poverty, with knock-on consequences for other important expenditures such as schooling. And as we saw during the prelude to the Global Financial Crisis of 2007/08, rising food prices often spilled-over into political unrest.

But stabilising prices is fraught with difficultly. And this case is no different. On the one hand, we see that the construction of the bridge did significantly improve the integration of maize markets in Mozambique. We also found evidence that other agricultural commodity markets, especially for products that can be easily stored and transported in bulk, benefited from the bridge.

On the other hand, the benefits appear to be fairly narrow. A comparatively small number of market pairs substantially benefited from the new investment. For others, the improvement in journey times was not sufficient to seriously reduce trading frictions between the capital city and areas of surplus maize production.

Overall, the general lesson is that very careful cost-benefit analysis must be undertaken when embarking on major infrastructure investments. In themselves, they are rarely a panacea for the difficult trading conditions facing many rural producers and provide no guarantee of price stability.The Conversation

Sam Jones, Research Fellow, World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), United Nations University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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R583 million cocaine haul on Saldanha coast

Compressed bricks of coaine seized from a fishing vessel off the Saldanha coast are laid out to be photographed in Saldanha fishing harbour on Monday night. Picture SAP supplied, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Compressed bricks of coaine seized from a fishing vessel off the Saldanha coast are laid out to be photographed in Saldanha fishing harbour on Monday night. Picture SAP supplied

Detectives from the Organised Crime Narcotics Unit of the SA Police on Monday (1 March) seized cocaine worth almost R600 million from a fishing vessel on the Saldanha Bay coast.

Acting on intelligence received the police intercepted the fishing vessel on which they discovered 973 bricks of compressed cocaine estimated to be worth R583 million.

The cocaine bricks were found hidden in three compartments on the vessel.

Ten men on board the vessel, six from Myanmar and four from Bulgaria, were placed under arrest.

They have been charged with dealing in drugs and are expected to appear in the Vredenburg Magistrates’ Court soon.

National Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, encouraged the detectives to build a strong case to ensure the suspects receive harsh sentences.

“South Africa should not be used as a transit point or destination for the illicit drug trade. We have a responsibility of removing drugs from our streets. This is a welcome disruption and huge blow to drug organised crime,” said Sitole.

Western Cape police will continue with investigations aimed at uncovering the origin and intended destination of the consignment.

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IHMA announces new Regional Committee for Africa

Seen here at the meeting at Tangier City Port (SGPTV), left to right: Mohamed Maghazi, President AHMC; Mohamed Ouanaya, President, Chief Executive Officer, SGPTV; Yoss Leclerc, President IHMA and Kamal Din Aamraoui, Chief Operating Officer, SGPTV, Appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Seen here at the meeting at Tangier City Port (SGPTV), left to right: Mohamed Maghazi, President AHMC; Mohamed Ouanaya, President, Chief Executive Officer, SGPTV; Yoss Leclerc, President IHMA and Kamal Din Aamraoui, Chief Operating Officer, SGPTV.   IHMA

The International Harbour Masters’ Association (IHMA) says it is proud to endorse the establishment of its African Harbour Masters’ Committee, the second such committee to be created under the Association’s Constitution which allows a region of IHMA to be formed in an area of the world, the boundary of which is defined by named countries. IHMA’s Executive Committee unanimously supported the proposal which was formally approved on 25 January, 2021.

The AHMC will bring together the African continent and collaborate in a spirit of co-operation to share ideas and provide guidance, support, and direction in the management of all aspects of maritime matters related to the Harbour Master’s function in ports.

AHMC President, Mohamed Maghazi said, “I am honoured to chair the AHMC and look forward to serving AHMC’s membership and the specific ports’ matters in Africa.

“The African harbour masters have various expectations within the framework of the objectives assigned to the AHMC, but with our commitment and the support of the IHMA, I am confident that we will succeed in navigating the challenges ahead.”

Members of the African Harbour Masters’ Committee Executive Committee are:

* President: Captain Mohamed Maghazi

* Vice President in charge of Secretary: Representative for West Africa, Kabara Mansare

* Vice President: Representative for East Africa, Captain Federico Da Silva

* Vice President: Representative for East Africa, Captain William K Ruto

* Vice President: Representative for West Africa, Capt. James Quayson

* Vice President: Representative for West Africa, D.G Hosea

* Vice President: Representative for North Africa, Captain Cherigui Benyebka

* Vice President: Representative for South Africa, Captain Thulani Dubeko

* Vice President: Representative for Central Africa, Captain Kuoa-Ngoulhoud Alain

* Vice President: Representative for Central Africa, Captain Dunstan Kangwa

Of the initiative, Captain Yoss Leclerc, IHMA President said, “As the President of the International Harbour Masters’ Association, I am honoured to be here at Tangier City Port to celebrate the establishment of the African Harbour Masters’ Committee.

“I am confident that the new organisation will add valuable benefits to the vibrant African Maritime industry in matters of port safety, security and port’s sustainability. IHMA is committed to supporting the growth and success of the AHMC and wishes Captain Maghazi and the board members ‘fair winds and following seas’.”

About the International Harbour Masters’ Association

Founded in 1996, the International Harbour Masters’ Association is the professional body for those with responsibility for the safe, secure, efficient and environmentally sound conduct of marine operations in port waters.

With members in more than 50 countries, the Association is open to all those who hold a managerial position in aspects of the control of marine operations within a port.

IHMA has non-governmental, consultative status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).

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


Edited by Paul Ridgway


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CMA CGM's NEMO service Europe-Australia via Reunion & Mauritius,

Connects Europe with Indian Ocean & Australia

In a service update, French shipping company CMA CGM has announced that it is adding calls at Port Louis, Mauritius on its NEMO service that connects Europe with the Indian Ocean & Australia.

The announcement stated that “In a continuous effort to improve the service efficiency, reliability, competitiveness and commercial assets of its NEMO service connecting Europe with the Indian Ocean & Australia, CMA CGM is pleased to announce the return of Port Louis, Mauritius call on the rotation, adding a second call in the Indian Ocean region after Pointe des Galets, Reunion call.

The line said this addition will be effective as from vessel APL SAVANNAH on voyage 0NN9JE1MA (ETD Le Havre on 2 March 2021).

The NEMO Schedule will be as follows:

Le Havre      2 March
Fos sur Mer 7 March
Malta           11 March
Port Louis   24 March

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The South African government has welcomed the recent sentences handled down in a Western Cape High Court of a combined 1250 years in jail for five copper thieves.

The guilty were part of a syndicate involved in the theft of copper cable.

Addressing media on the outcomes of last week’s Cabinet meeting, acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, said: “We congratulate our law enforcement agencies for the arrest and successful prosecution of those involved in copper cable theft.”

She described Cabinet as being hopeful that the recent arrests and sentences send a strong message that those responsible for economic sabotage and crimes will face the full might of the law.

“We call on the public to report criminals to law enforcement agencies,” she said.

The theft of copper cable has resulted in the cancellation of train services while also posing dangerous risks with the interference of signalling systems on both passenger and freight rail services. The provision of electricity from Eskom was likewise affected.

In this particular case, the copper cables were stolen from Eskom and Telkom


While applauding the arrest and successful sentencing of the syndicate members, the question arises of whether 250 years is appropriate, particularly when held up against a 20-year sentence for a rather brutal murder, also recently handed down by one of our High Courts?

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NSPCA hits out at transporting livestock by sea

How many more countless animals must suffer before live export is recognised as cruelty?

The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) has spoken out at the continued means of transporting live animals by sea, calling it an atrocity and cruel.

The reaction is a result of there currently being over two thousand cattle drifting aimlessly across the Mediterranean sea aboard two different vessels.

The vessels, the KARIM ALLAH and the ELBEIK, left Spain around mid-December in 2020 with the intent of selling the cattle but were rejected repeatedly due to suspected outbreaks onboard both ships of the bovine disease bluetongue.

This means that the cattle have been aboard the ships for well over two months.

The Karim Allah, said to have been carrying around 895 bull calves at its departure in December, docked in Cartagena, Spain on Thursday last week (25 February 2021). A leaked report written by veterinarians of the Spanish Government indicated that the calves (now only 8 months old) had suffered from the lengthy journey and were in generally poor condition.

The report further indicated that the calves would not be deemed fit for the purpose of live export again and that, as a result of their condition, the calves must be humanely euthanized in the best interest of their health and welfare.

Miquel Masramón, a lawyer representing Karim Allah’s management company, Talia Shipping Line, has publicly stated that, even though he admits the calves were observed with various injuries/diseases (which he describes as normal during live export), they should simply be treated and sent back to sea for export and not euthanized.

“According to reports, 22 calves died aboard the Karim Allah, the remaining 873 odd calves are in such bad condition as a result of live export that they must now be euthanized. This is a clear indication of the brutal suffering animals must endure during live export,” said Marcelle Meredith, Executive Director of the NSPCA.

“We are simply horrified that the calves were left to suffer to this point- especially considering it is not the first time this has happened. Today it is the cattle in Spain, tomorrow it may be our sheep exported to the Middle East. Vessels are certainly not floating feedlots, and animals should not be subjected to such abuse. This atrocity proves yet again why the NSPCA will not back down from the battle against live export. We will protect our animals at all costs,” Meredith said.

NSPCA withdraws from the LWCC

The NSPCA which has been a member of the Livestock Welfare Coordinating Committee (LWCC) since its inception more than four decades ago, withdrew its membership from the organisation in November 2020, according to Meredith.

She stated that the majority of the LWCC membership has moved from a position where they previously opposed the live export of animals by sea, to one that actively promotes the trade.

This position was unanimously adopted by LWCC members in 2012 and was revised in 2019, the basis essentially for short hauls with far fewer animals to Mauritius.

Meredith said the NSPCA finds it disconcerting that some members of the LWCC, who have for years supported the banning of live export by sea now wish to develop standards relating to a cruel practice at the LWCC, those based on Chapter 7.2 TRANSPORT OF ANIMALS BY SEA – Terrestrial Animal Health Code published by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

“The codes published by the OIE are minimum welfare standards and are not formally recognised by South Africa’s Parliament and the Animals Protection Act, No. 71 of 1962 (as amended) remains the foundation for animal legislative framework within South Africa.”

She said the NSPCA regarded it as counterproductive and untenable to remain as a member of a welfare grouping which is currently in litigation against the Society. “It would be an anomalous situation to be in, especially considering the public interest in this, both locally and internationally and from an ethical viewpoint, the NSPCA withdrew as a member of the LWCC,” she said.

“Every living creature has intrinsic value and is a sentient being. Our primary and motivating concern is the prevention of cruelty to all living creatures. The NSPCA is, always has, and will continue to remain opposed to the transport of live animals by sea,” Meredith said.

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Tanzania-Burundi rail connection to cost US$ 1.9 billion

The Kenyan SGR rail model, successfully engineered, challenged financially, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime bews
The Kenyan SGR rail model, successfully engineered, challenged financially.  Picture: KR

The project to connect Tanzania with Burundi via a standard gauge railway (SGR) will require the two East African countries to raise US$ 1.9 billion, says a spokesman for the Central Corridor Transit Facilitation Agency (CCTTFA).

The proposed 190km railway will link Burundi with the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam along the SGR Central Corridor and will facilitate the smooth and efficient transit of cargo including mining exports – in particular nickel.

The line will connect the Burundian town of Musongati with the junction at Isaka in Tanzania.

CCTTFA’s Executive Secretary Dieudonné Dukundane described the railway as assisting in opening up opportunities for Burundi via a modern and fast rail connection to a modern port.

Dukundane said it was imperative to begin the raising of funds and called on other member countries along the Central Corridor to similarly prepare plans of connecting with the Tanzanian SGR.

Tanzania was a late beginner in the drive to modernise its aging railway network but has since approached the task with a determination of ensuring the success of the multi-billion dollar venture. The new line is now steadily reaching inland from Dar es Salaam.

Unlike Kenya, its immediate neighbour and competitor for traffic between the neighbouring inland states, Tanzania has gone about raising the money for construction of its SGR in a different manner.

Whereas Kenya looked east to China for the financing and construction of its SGR from the port of Mombasa to the Uganda border in stages, and to the Kenyan Lake Victoria port of Kisumu, Tanzania set about raising the necessary financing from a number of different sources and contractors.

The Kenyan SGR railway meanhile, opened with much fanfare a few short years ago, has since ground to a halt some distance from both objectives, with Kenya struggling to meet its financial obligations and China’s Exim bank reluctant to advance more money. The decrease in rail traffic on account of the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t helped, with lower traffic levels generating less income.

This has raised the spectre of China assuming control of the SGR between Mombasa and Naivasha, not too far beyond Nairobi. Kenya has meanwhile undertaken to rehabilitate the exiting metre gauge Rift Valley Railway to continue the traffic from the SGR railhead to the Ugandan border and to the lake port of Kisumu.

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Ministerial Conference

WTO members have agreed that the organization’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) will take place in the week of 29 November 2021 in Geneva. The timing and venue were endorsed at a meeting of the WTO’s General Council on 1 March.

Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala welcomed civil society’s plea for a successful conclusion to the fisheries subsidies negotiations, illustrated through a fish ice sculpture set up by a coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in front of the WTO headquarters on 1 March. Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Civil society call for fishing subsidies deal welcomed by Dr Ngozi and negotiations chair.  Picture: WTO

Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala welcomed civil society’s plea for a successful conclusion to the fisheries subsidies negotiations, illustrated through a fish ice sculpture [above] set up by a coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in front of the WTO headquarters on 1 March.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala visited the sculpture accompanied by the chair of the negotiations, Ambassador Santiago Wills of Colombia.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala and Ambassador Wills met with representatives of the Stop Funding Overfishing Coalition, made up of 175 NGOs, which had set up the ice installation titled Stop the Fish Meltdown to highlight their call for an end to harmful fishing subsidies.

When she was selected as Director-General by the General Council on 15 February Dr Okonjo-Iweala highlighted the importance of these negotiations, indicating that it is time for WTO members to identify appropriate landing zones and deliver an agreement for the benefit of global fish stocks as well as for the organization’s track record of forging new rules important to current and future generations.

Ambassador Wills has said that members must not waste the ongoing momentum in the negotiations and should close the gaps in their respective positions soon.

The latest cluster of meetings for fisheries subsidies negotiations concluded on 19 February.

Based on the mandate from the WTO’s 11th Ministerial Conference and the UN Sustainable Development Goal Target 14.6, WTO members have been given the task of securing agreement on disciplines to eliminate subsidies for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and to prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, with special and differential treatment being an integral part of the negotiations.

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


Edited by Paul Ridgway


Video images of the first day of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as WTO Director-General, including shots of her arrival, participation in a WTO meeting and a photo-op about the fisheries subsidies negotiations [4:12]. Use the samll square icon at the bottom right hand of YouTube screen to go to full screen, likewise to return.

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Saldanha Bay IDZ brings in R21 billion worth of investments

Proposed Saldanha IDZ artistsic impression, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Proposed Saldanha IDZ – artist’s impression

The Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone has to date attracted over R21 billion worth of investments, according to Trade, Industry and Competition Deputy Minister Fikile Majola.

The Deputy Minister said these investments were at different stages of development and two of them, with private investment value of R380 million have already started constructing their manufacturing facilities.

The Deputy Minister revealed this while visiting the Western Cape based Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone (SBIDZ) on Thursday (25 February 2021).

The SBIDZ is the first special economic zone (SEZ) to be located within a port and is the only sector-specific SEZ in South Africa catering specifically to the energy and maritime industries.

The zone operates as a free port with streamlined investor procedures supported by its ease of doing business model.

It is committed to creating a competitive and profitable zone for investors and local Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), while promising a better future for the community of the West Coast region.

Majola said he was happy with the progress made within the zone as well as the implementation of its strategy since 2017.

“The SBIDZ has also signed eight new investment agreements with operational companies in the maritime, oil and gas sectors. These investments will lead to permanent and sustainable jobs that the country needs to create for its citizens.

“The development of the zone will also have to align and integrate with the entire area of Saldanha and West Coast region to achieve real projects that benefit all,” said Majola.

He also emphasised the urgency of involving all spheres of government and state-owned agencies with the aim of driving the development of the zone through the District Development Model approach.

Chief Executive Officer of the SBIDZ, Kaashifah Beukes, said the zone has already conducted oil and gas readiness assessment on 35 local companies. The SBIDZ has spent more than R200 million, which translates to 35% of the zone’s total spend with local contractors.

She said the SBIDZ provided support to the local SMME sector through its SME Co-Lab facility established in March 2020. The Co-Lab has attracted more than 1,500 SMME visits and engagements since it opened.

“We are proud to have emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic and are on track to usher in projects worth more than R300 million in capital investment towards investor infrastructure, bringing a much-needed boost to our construction sector and jobs in the West Coast, and ultimately, the country,” she said.

Over 2,900 jobs have been created at the zone in the last five years, while more than 1,800 beneficiaries had received skills training in the last four years.

“We calculate the eventual economic contribution to be more than R12 billion and this will result in the creation of more than 21,000 jobs. We have a pipeline of 52 investors, 11 of which have signed lease agreements and already 18% of the gross area has been leased.

“We anticipate that investment will grow to R21 billion by 2030,” said Beukes.

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Hapag-Lloyd opens new office in Nairobi, Kenya

The new office will be headed by Country Manager Prashant Sindhwani

German shipping company Hapag-Lloyd is continuing its growth path in Africa, with a new office in Kenya. While the main business will be managed from the port city of Mombasa, the company now also has an office in Nairobi, the country’s capital.

Hapag-Lloyd mainly transports agricultural goods out of Kenya, especially tea, coffee, fruits and textiles. The imports primarily consist of chemicals, foodstuffs and a wide range of goods made of plastic or rubber.

The new office will be headed by Country Manager Prashant Sindhwani. While 19 staff members will work in Mombasa, 6 will be based in Nairobi and 1 in Uganda.

Via the gateway port of Mombasa, the shipping company offers two different services. While the China Kenya Express Service (CKX) connects Kenya with some of the most important ports in Asia, such as Singapore and Shanghai, the East Africa Service (EAS2) connects the East African country with the west coast of India and Jebel Ali in Dubai.

“Kenya is the economic hub of East Africa and the most important growth region on the continent,” says Dheeraj Bhatia, Senior Managing Director Region Middle East at Hapag-Lloyd. “By opening our new office in Kenya, we expect to continue our robust growth on the African continent.”

Hapag-Lloyd also serves landlocked East African countries – such as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan – with regular inland connections to and from Mombasa. As part of its growth strategy, the shipping company says it will endeavour to develop inland connections to Somalia, Southern Ethiopia and Northern Tanzania.

“Our Strategy 2023 focuses not only on becoming the ‘Number One for Quality’, but also on selected growth markets worldwide,” says Rolf Habben Jansen, Chief Executive Officer at Hapag-Lloyd. “We see an enormous growth potential in Africa and will further invest into our services and selected countries.”

German Ambassador to Kenya Annett Günther said that she wishes Hapag-Lloyd all the best with their new presence in Kenya.

“Kenya as a regional and continental hub for trade relies on strong and efficient logistics service providers,” she said. “Hapag-Lloyd has been serving the region for many years, so it is a logical step, and a good sign for the business community in Kenya, that they are now establishing a permanent presence in Mombasa and Nairobi.”

With the opening of the new office in Kenya, Hapag-Lloyd now has own five offices on the continent in South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya. Additionally Hapag-Lloyd recently opened its Quality Service Center in Mauritius.

Hapag-Lloyd operates with a fleet of 234 modern container ships and a total transport capacity of 1.7 million TEU, making it one of the world’s leading liner shipping companies. The company has around 13,200 employees and 388 offices in 129 countries.

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Global tank container fleet reaches 686,650 units

ITCO has donated a tank container to the Shanghai Maritime University, to enable students to learn more about the industry. Picture: ITCO, featured in report carried by Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
ITCO has donated a tank container to the Shanghai Maritime University, to enable students to learn more about the industry. Picture: ITCO

ITCO, the International Tank Container Organisation (see:, has published its 9th Annual Tank Container Fleet Survey. This year’s Survey estimates that, at 1 January 2021, the global tank container fleet had reached 686,650 units worldwide, compared to the figure of 652,350 on 1 January 2020, a year-on-year growth of 5.26%.

Reflecting market uncertainty during 2020 – primarily caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic – the number of tank containers produced last year was lower than in 2019. In 2020, a total of 35,800 tank containers were built, compared to 54,650 in 2019, a decrease of some 18,850 units over the previous year.

The 2021 ITCO Tank Container Fleet Survey reports that the global tank container fleet has now reached 686,650 units, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The 2021 ITCO Tank Container Fleet Survey reports that the global tank container fleet has now reached 686,650 units

The complete Survey can be downloaded from the above link (ITCO website)

This survey shows how, numerically, the industry continues to be dominated on a global level by a relatively small number of major tank container operators and leasing companies. The top ten operators account for over 246,000 tanks representing over 55% of the global operators’ fleet of 443,100 units. The top ten leasing companies account for over 250,000 tanks, about 80% of the total leasing fleet of 316,710. The top three leasing companies account for nearly 159,000 tanks, over 50% of the total leasing company fleet.

Commenting on the results of the Survey, Reg Lee, ITCO President, noted: “While tank container production in 2020 was lower than the previous year, there have been clear signs in recent months of a recovery in orders – indicating an improved situation in 2021.

“The figures in this Survey confirm that the Tank Container industry is continuing to expand, with shippers appreciating the Just in Time concept allowing them to increase or decrease their product being shipped to meet the ever changing pattern of their customers’ requirement and greatly reducing the need and costs for large amounts of static storage at either end of the liquid supply chain.

“At the same time, they recognise the safety, efficiency and operational benefits of this type of equipment. ITCO’s Fleet Survey is part of the work that the Organisation undertakes, to promote the tank container and to support its Members.”

He continued: “ITCO continues to promote the benefits of the tank container and encourage education and training – especially with the use of the ITCO E-learning Course. With staff at many companies unable to go into their offices over the past year, the E-learning course has proved particularly valuable for Companies to give their staff who are working at home some relevant training in key aspects of the business.”

Over the past year, ITCO has undertaken an active campaign to promote the environmental benefits of tank containers. A video has been prepared explaining the problems of single-use plastics and encouraging the use of ISO tanks as a more sustainable mode of transport

Lee concluded: “ITCO takes the issue of plastic waste very seriously and is endeavouring to play its part in the reduction of single use plastic. The new generation of professionals also want to see that the tank container industry is taking a serious approach to the environment and sustainability. They need to see that the industry operates, repairs, maintains and cleans its equipment in the correct way.”

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


Edited by Paul Ridgway


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TRADE NEWS: LOC launches digital solution for enhancing port pilotage safety

LOC, part of AqualisBraemar LOC Group, has announced the launching of a new digital solution to enhance safety of marine operations within ports and harbours.

The service will be based on the development of a digitised training library for port-based ship pilots, creating a structure for the retention of pilotage experience, and reducing risk of marine operations with 360-degree aerial views for pilot operations using drone technology.

In addition to reducing risk, the benefits provided by the platform include:

Read the rest of this report in the TRADE NEWS section available by CLICKING HERE

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AIRFREIGHT: Kenya Airways resumes cargo flights to India

B787 of Kenya Airways, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Kenya Airways (KQ) has resumed weekly cargo flights between Nairobi and New Delhi, after they were curtailed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The first flight took off from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), returning on Sunday, 21 February.

The resumption of flights to the Indian sub-continent comes at a time when aviation – particularly cargo flights – are gradually returning to some normality.

On returning from New Delhi the inaugural flight carried pharmaceuticals, machinery and general merchandise.

According to the Kenya Airways Cargo Director, KQ has scaled up its cargo services on account of the growing demand for air freight across the African continent and connecting with international markets.

Among KQ’s continental destinations are South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and Malawi.

Kenya Airways recently re-purposed the first of two of its B787 Dreamliner wide-bodied aircraft as a dedicated cargo carrier, allowing for the full utilisation of the aircraft’s 46-tonne payload. KQ has nine Dreamliner aircraft in its fleet.

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WHARF TALK: Sunday’s Ship Movements at the Port of Durban

The container ship ATHENA (IMO 9275361 sails from Durban earleir in February bound for North American East Coast ports. The 234-metre long Panamax ship sails under the Panama flag and was built in 2003. Picture: Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The 2762-TEU container ship ATHENA (IMO 9275361 sails from Durban earlier in February bound for North American East Coast ports. The 234-metre long Panamax ship sails under the Panama flag and was built in 2003. Picture: Keith Betts



Please remember you can check on these daily ship movements at Durban and the other South African ports by Clicking on our SHIP MOVEMENTS page



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(A), PSD2 (B), Hadar (C), New Jersey Trader (D), Montpellier (E), (F), Delphinus Leader (G), (M), Hansa Asia (N), (O), RT Spirit (O/P), Isiqalo (P), Glovis Crown (R),


Delphinus Leader (G), (M), Glovis Crown (R)


Ogs Explora (101), (102), AS Patricia (103), Vishva Anand (104)


(1), (2), Predator (3), (4), Spring Rainbow (5), Elar Trader (6), (7), (8), (8/9), Golden Karoo (9), (10), African Loon (11), Qing Hua Shan (12), Endurance (13), Sagar Shakti (14),Angelos (15)


(105), (106), MOL Endowment (107)


Akadimos (108), (200), MSC Maureen (202), (203), Maersk Tanjong (204), (205)


(1), Tiger Glory (2), Genco Warrior (3), Bow Summer (4), (5), (6), Maersk Altus (7), (8), (9)


Fairy Tale (1), (2), (3), ASL Jupiter (4)


Dry Dock: tug
Shop 24: R83 Uzavolo/Ilembe/Iphotwe/Ingwenya
TNPA Floating Dock: Out of commission
Elgin Brown & Hamer: RT Magic/fv Herdusa Primero
Eldock Ocean Spray
DormacFumana/Tropical 1/Bulk Titan
Dormac Dock:
Dormac Slip: Harvest Krotoa
SRJ 1: Macuti/Ukhozi
SRJ 2: Fellowship/Evelyn/Serah/Acechador/Tumay
Sandock Austral ex SA Shipyards: Ndongeni/fv Ria Mar/LSS Success
Sandock Austral ex SA Shipyards Floating Dock: In East London
Subtech Jetty: Nil
Silt Canal: KB Jack up barge

Ships at the outer anchorage

Energy Glory, European Highway, Sifsafah, Montet Tide, Silver Dubai, Breede, Stolt Larix, IVS Pebble Beach, SMuscat Silver, Bow Flower, Unisky, Hafnia Taurus, Pacific Jade, Delta Med, EM Astoria, Stadion II, Blue Master II, Delta Aigaion,

At the SBM

Aegean Unity/Siyakhula

Entering port at the time of this report:


Leaving port at the time of this report:


Ships that arrived on 27/02/2021

Bow Summer, Maersk Tanjong, New Jersey Trader

Ships that sailed on 27/02/2021

Anita N, Melati Dua, NCC Rabigh, fv Zumaya Dous, Maersk Luz, Stralsund, Dream Orchid

Note: The Durban list excludes all fishing vessels berthed at the respective fishing quays but includes those, usually foreign, berthed at commercial berths. While care is taken in preparing this and other similar reports we can accept no responsibility for errors or sudden changes of schedule. The onus remains with the reader to check with ships agents or shipping lines.


The container ship MAERSK STRALSUND is currently in port at DCT and is now listed as the vessel STRALSUND, having undergone a name change, presumably having gone off charter. CORRECTION: the report above concerning the vessel Stralsund is incorrect.  The vessel is a different ship to that of Maersk Stralsundand is not a name-change – our apologies for the mistaken identity. –  AP&S



  • report compiled by Sheila Hutson
Added 28 February 2021


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WHARF TALK: Cape Town Ship Movements

Cape Town Container Terminal, berth 604 nearest the camera, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Cape Town Container Terminal, berth 604 nearest the camera.  Picture: Transnet 

The port of Cape Town has endured another three days of the howling South Easter, which presented challenges especially at the container terminal. The wind finally dropped at around 10h45 on Sunday 28 February. The container berth in the Sturrock Dock was not affected and cargo working was able to continue.


Ships at anchor off the Milnerton coast as of Sunday 28 February:

Container vessels:
MSC KOREA from Durban – arrived 19 February;
LEONIDIO from Cotonou – arrived 23 February;
SANTA ROSA from Durban – arrived 22 February;
MAERSK INDUS from Cotonou – arrived 28 February
NAUTICAL SARAH from Pengerang, Malaysia arrived 28 February;
AL SAFA from Durban arrived 27 February

Ships at anchor off the Sea Point coast:

Container vessels:
COSCO AQABA from Durban – arrived 21 February;
MAERSK AMAZON from Luanda – arrived 26 February;
MSC MARINA from Durban – arrived 26 February

Commercial Ships in Port 28 February 2021

Tanker Basin: HELLAS MARIANA (Tanker Basin); BW COUGAR (Tanker Basin); ATINA (Landing Wharf).

Sturrock Dock: MSC Adele (F berth); Akademik Fedorov (D berth); Bright Horison (A berth).
Container Basin:  MSC ELMA (602); SANTA URSULA (603); BAY BRIDGE (604).

An unusual ship movement during the week involved the vessel ER BORNEO which arrived at anchorage off Milnerton at 16h47 on 25 February, ex Qingdao. On 27 February she sailed for Ponta Ubu in Brazil, without entering the harbour.

Also of interest, the USNS HERSCHEL ‘WOODY’ WILLIAMS departed Cape Town at 08h42 on Sunday 28 February, bound for the Greek port of Katakolo, after a six day courtesy and R&R visit to Cape Town. The unusual-looking Expeditionary Sea Base vessel has visited a number of African ports on her African ‘tour’.

Report by John Hawkins
Cape Town

Please remember you can check on daily ship movements at Cape Town and the other South African ports by Clicking on our SHIP MOVEMENTS page

Added 28 February 2021


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IMO African Regional webinar builds support

Photograph per ©, Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Photograph per ©

Delegates at an African regional webinar discussed the benefits of the 2012 Cape Town Agreement as a tool to improve fishing vessel safety in countries’ territorial waters. This was reported by the IMO media service on 26 February.

The use of the 2012 Cape Town Agreement as a tool to drastically improve the safety record of the fishing industry formed the focus of the webinar held for decision-makers from maritime administrations and fishery authorities in Africa.

Two day event

This event took place on 23 and 24 February. Speakers pointed out that the continuing and alarmingly high number of fishing vessel personnel fatalities and of fishing vessels reported lost every year could be reduced by global, uniform and effective implementation of the Agreement.

IMO’s two-day online event, one in a series of regional webinars, was organised in cooperation with ( The Pew Charitable Trusts.

This series aims to provide insight into the Agreement and provide a platform for information sharing by States that have already ratified the Agreement, or are currently in the process of doing so.

Presenters highlighted the various benefits open to Member States that ratify the Agreement, not the least of which is the ability to shape the global discussion. They made clear that countries should consider becoming signatories even if they did not presently have a large fishing fleet.

The 2012 Cape Town Agreement

The 2012 Cape Town Agreement, which is yet to come into force, sets outs minimum safety standards for vessels flagged with the country. Furthermore it includes provisions for harmonised inspections of the fishing fleet. Additionally, the Agreement will enable Parties to the Agreement to have the ability to request any vessels fishing in their territorial waters to implement same safety standards, for example, no favourable treatment. In conclusion the Agreement could be used as a template to create national regulations for vessels falling under the 24-metre length requirement.

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

Once in force, the Agreement is expected to play a key role in combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which is often linked to unsafe operating and poor labour conditions. Presenters highlighted that the entry into force of the Agreement would give individuals the means to report violations, thereby calling out substandard players and thus increase transparency for preventing the exploitation of ocean resources.

Participants noted that the related treaty on training, the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F), is already in force but currently undergoing revision.

To read a statement from the participants of the African regional webinar readers are invited to SEE HERE

The next webinar in the series, for participants from the North Africa and the Middle East region will be held on 13-14 April 2021. Details will be added to the IMO Events Page.

The 2012 Cape Town Agreement, which sets minimum requirements on the design, construction, equipment, and inspection of fishing vessels of 24 metres in length and over or equivalent in gross tons, will come into force 12 months after being ratified by at least 22 States, with an aggregate 3,600 fishing vessels meeting the length requirements operating on the high seas.

At the time of the African Regional webinar the 2012 Cape Town Agreement had been ratified by 15 Parties with an aggregate number of 1433 fishing vessels of qualifying length. These are: Belgium, Congo, Cook Islands, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, The Netherlands, Norway, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa and Spain.

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


Edited by Paul Ridgway


Added 28 February 2021


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WTO LATEST: DDG Wolff calls on members to work with new Director-General

WTO Deputy Director-General David Wolff, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
WTO Deputy Director-General David Wolff      Picture: WTO

Reform of WTO

Speaking to heads of WTO (World Trade Organization) member delegations on 25 February, Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff urged them to build on their warm welcome for incoming Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala by working with her to deliver much-needed reforms to the WTO.

He said: “Enthusiasm, optimism and hope need to be translated into concrete action” to enhance global trade’s contribution “to a more effective pandemic response as well as a strong and sustainable economic recovery,” he said. Delivering negotiated agreements, starting with fisheries subsidies, would be essential to repair the WTO’s reputation.

DDG Wolff was speaking on behalf of all four Deputy Directors-General as part of the interim leadership arrangements the WTO has had in place since September 2020. He also used his remarks to look back at how members and the Secretariat had continued work across the full spectrum of WTO issues during six months in which in-person meetings for the most part could not be held.

The Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala era

Wolff commented: “The landmark event of the last six months was the appointment of the new Director-General ten days ago after what turned out to be a lengthy process. 91 member delegations spoke last week to congratulate the new Director-General. The DDGs and the Secretariat join you in welcoming Dr Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment with great enthusiasm.

“Of course, member enthusiasm, optimism and hope need to be translated into concrete action.

“There is much that needs to be done at this critical juncture for the WTO. World trade must contribute to a more effective pandemic response as well as a strong and sustainable economic recovery. Climate issues are demanding more urgent attention. WTO reform is overdue, having been called for repeatedly by you, by your ministers and by many heads of government.

“The challenges are many but so are the opportunities. Dr Ngozi’s remarks at the Special General Council meeting last Monday, subsequently circulated to delegations in document JOB/GC/250, presented a worthy and ambitious agenda for the members of this organisation.”

His full speech can be found HERE

Here at Africa Ports & Ships we look forward to bringing you the latest news from WTO.

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


Edited by Paul Ridgway


Added 28 February 2021


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US Military Sealift transport ship USNS Carson City visits Port Sudan

A rapid transport ship of the US Military Maritime Transport Command USNS CARSON CITY arrived at Port Sudan harbour on the Red Sea on Wednesday 24 February 2021 “to enhance maritime security in the region” in a new indication of a post-embargo thaw in Sudan-US relations this year.

In a statement via social media on Wednesday, the US Embassy in Khartoum stated that the arrival of the US naval ship to Sudan is the first in decades, indicating that the ship’s arrival refers to the US Armed Forces readiness to enhance the renewed partnership with the Sudanese Armed Forces.

“Today, the Military Sealift Command expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Carson City arrived in Port Sudan, Sudan. This is the first US Navy ship to visit Sudan in decades and highlights the willingness of the United States Armed Forces to strengthen their renewed partnership with the Sudanese Armed Forces,” the US Embassy said.

The US Embassy statement points out: “This visit follows the visit to Khartoum in January by US Africa Command’s Deputy Commander for Civil-Military Engagement, Ambassador Andrew Young, and Director of Intelligence, Rear Admiral Heidi Berg, to expand cooperative engagement.”

After the impressive vessel docked at the port’s northeast quay, Capt Frank Okata, commodore, Military Sealift Command Europe and Africa and Commander, Task Force 63 was ‘piped ashore’.

“We are honoured to work with our Sudanese partners in the enhancement of maritime security,” Capt Okata said.

Thaw in relations

The visit of USNS Carson City as well as the visit by the Andrew Young delegation in January are indicative of a thaw in Sudan-US relations in the wake of the removal of Sudan from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (SST) on 14 December 2020 after 30 years of sanctions.

Sudan’s removal from the SST list, decreed in the dying days of the Donald Trump administration, was conditional on a bilateral claims settlement signed in November 2020 to resolve “default judgements and claims based on allegations that Sudan’s prior regime supported acts of terrorism”. Sudan had to pay US$335 million, on top of approximately $72 million already paid, for distribution to victims of terrorism.

In exchange, after payment of compensation to the families of the victims of the bombing of the destroyer USS COLE in Yemen in 2000, and the 1998 bombing of the US embassies in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Nairobi in Kenya, the default judgments and claims against Sudan in US courts would be dismissed, and Sudan’s sovereign immunities under US law would be restored to those enjoyed by countries that have never been designated by the US as a State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST).     source: Dryad Global

Added 28 February 2021


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IN CONVERSATION: At last, climate science may be able to predict tropical Atlantic weather better

Hyacinth C. Nnamchi, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

El Niño Southern Oscillation or ENSO, an anomalous warming of the surface waters in the tropical Pacific Ocean, is famous for producing months-long unusual weather patterns across the globe.

A similar, albeit lesser known circulation pattern, the Atlantic El Niño, dominates a wide swath of the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic El Niño phenomenon is analogous to the cycles that create Pacific ENSO. But unlike its Pacific counterpart, which has proven invaluable for seasonal climate predictions, the Atlantic El Niño is nearly impossible to predict.

The broad shifts in weather regimes known as ENSO occur when a massive swath of warm water forms off the coast of South America and extends into the central Pacific. The warmth of the water changes the flow of air in the Pacific. This in turn alters the weather patterns in countries bordering the Pacific and beyond as air movements around the globe adjust to the conditions in the Pacific. Because the movement of warm and cold waters occurs rather slowly across the vast stretch of the Pacific, climate scientists are able to predict the arrival of ENSO and accompanying weird weather conditions up to nine months in advance.

This allows the affected countries to prepare for the heavy rainfall and floods in eastern Africa and drought in southern Africa that an ENSO brings them at irregular intervals of 2-7 years.

In many ways, the Atlantic El Niño is like the Pacific-based ENSO. It follows a closely similar pattern of alterations in ocean and the overlying air movements. It occurs when warmer-than-normal waters form in the equatorial Atlantic region bordering the Guinea Coast of Africa, and extending towards the northern parts of South America. This has been linked to heavy rainfall and floods in coastal West Africa from Sierra Leone to southern Nigeria, and droughts in the semi-arid Sahel.

But climate scientists have struggled to understand what causes the Atlantic El Niño to emerge. I recently led a study that offers new insights, raising hope for improved climate predictions and better preparation.

The big puzzle

The air and ocean waters are essentially interwoven. Waters in the ocean move because winds blow on them. The air moves faster than the ocean waters below it. The water responds more slowly. This way, the ocean water forms a distinct pattern of movements, which redistributes heat slowly over a period of several months. Scientists are able use climate models to track the water movements, and predict El Niño events.

Because the El Niño patterns in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are considered to be similar, one would expect them to be similarly predictable. This is not so. The Pacific pattern is relatively easy to predict while the Atlantic one is almost completely unpredictable.

And there are additional important differences: the Atlantic events are of smaller magnitude and shorter duration. The reasons for these differences have puzzled climate scientists for decades.

A different kind of El Niño

The key question is how essential the movements of warm and cold waters are for the emergence of the Atlantic El Niño events.

In our study we investigated the seasonal development of the Atlantic warm events, using data from various sources, including in situ observations, reanalysis (in which observations have been blended using climate models), and satellite products.

We identified the movement of the Intertropical Convergence Zone, a band of low air pressure and heavy rainfall stretching across the tropical Atlantic, as the reason why the Atlantic Niño is short-lived. It is only when this zone is very close to or over the equator that the interaction between air and ocean movement is strong enough to cause large climatic impacts. The Intertropical Convergence Zone provides the right conditions in the air to favour the movements of warm and cold waters in the ocean. But the fluctuations in sea surface temperature in the Atlantic are not strong enough to keep the Intertropical Convergence Zone at the equator, as in the case in the Pacific ENSO.

Computer climate simulations show that air, rather than ocean water, movements are key to the Atlantic warm events. One set of simulations was conventional, trying to incorporate the detailed air and water movements. The second set reduced the complexity by modelling the ocean simply as a slab of motionless water with a thickness of only 50 metres.

This model was formulated in such a way that the ocean could absorb heat, emit heat, and evaporate moisture into the air, but the movements of warm and cold water within the ocean itself were ignored. The atmosphere alone accounts for 63% of the Atlantic El Niño events in these simulations.

This implies the movements of water in the ocean, as observed in the Pacific, are of lesser importance in the Atlantic. The Atlantic is “naturally” less predictable.

This is why our new findings, which established a strong connection to the Intertropical Convergence Zone, are important. The zone needs to be represented more realistically in the climate models and this will make them more accurate and reliable.

Going forward

The African and South American countries bordering the equatorial Atlantic strongly depend upon the ocean for societal development, fisheries, and tourism. They are strongly affected by vagaries in weather systems. Accurate climate predictions are essential.

Our findings suggest that accurate predictions, for up to three months, are possible in this region. When realised, this will aid planning adaptation to the severe weather conditions that normally come with Atlantic events.

However, the equatorial Atlantic is a region of key uncertainties in the climate system: climate models exhibit large errors. And for many parameters, there are large gaps in observations that need to be closed. Closing the observational gaps is a key step in reducing the climate model errors, and improving seasonal climate predictions.The Conversation

Hyacinth C. Nnamchi, Researcher , GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Added 28 February 2021


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TRADE NEWS: Shipowners advised on IMO 2020 compliancy amid high sulphur warning

Overview of the samples and the sulphut limits applicable. Maritec recommends that ships’ crew also take onboard and in-use fuel samples, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Overview of the samples and the sulphur limits applicable. Maritec recommends that ships’ crew also take onboard and in-use fuel samples.  Image: Maritec supplied

Singapore-based independent test and research facility Maritec is advising shipowners on how best to meet IMO 2020 fuel testing requirements following reports of excessive sulphur in some very low sulphur fuel oils.

In a Technical Bulletin issued to customers in December, Maritec reports several cases where tested VLSFO manifold samples have recorded a sulphur content of between 0.51 to 0.53%m/m, exceeding the mandatory allowable 0.50%m/m.

The testing company says this accounts for about 1.23% of VLSFO tested to date.

According to Maritec, since the implementation of IMO 2020, there is “confusion and frustration” as to whether the ISO 4259 upper limit of 0.53%mm still applies or not.

Read the rest of this report in the TRADE NEWS section available by CLICKING HERE

Maritec reports several cases where tested VLSFO manifold samples have exceeded the mandatory allowable sulphur limit of 0.50%m/m., featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Maritec reports several cases where tested VLSFO manifold samples have exceeded the mandatory allowable sulphur limit of 0.50%m/m.  Maritec supplied
Added 28 February 2021


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Further arrests in theft of railway copper wiring

Transnet says the fight against cable theft is continuing to yield results. The state-owned company said this on Thursday (25 February) following the arrest of four of its own employees from the company’s Freight Rail division.

The four arrested are due to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate Court on charges of copper theft.

In a joint operation with Transnet’s security division, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) arrested the employees at the Koedoespoort Infrastructure Maintenance depot in Pretoria on Wednesday 24 February 2021.

This follows the arrest of two suspects a week earlier, who were en route to a scrap metal facility with a truckload of copper cables stolen from Transnet. This arrest led to the arrest of two more suspects, and the discovery of a wooden drum containing new and unused copper cables from Transnet.

Further investigation uncovered that the suspects worked with some Transnet employees, who were then arrested on Thursday.

The fight against cable theft has been intensified in recent months with Transnet working closely with law enforcement agencies. According to Transnet the collaboration is yielding results.

Between April 2019 and January 2020, Freight Rail lost 354,227 metres of overhead cables, resulting in an average of 21 trains being cancelled per day. In 2020 alone, TFR reported 5,138 incidents ranging from cable theft, vandalism of rail equipment, and deliberate cutting of cables.

Based on current ongoing investigations across the country, more arrests are expected to follow.

Added 28 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.

Nigerian Navy's response to reports of pracy attacks in West Africa, reported here in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Added 27 February 2021


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Port Louis – Indian Ocean gateway port

Ports & Ships publishes regularly updated SHIP MOVEMENT reports including ETAs for ports extending from West Africa to South Africa to East Africa and including Port Louis in Mauritius.

In the case of South Africa’s container ports of Durban, Ngqura, Ports Elizabeth and Cape Town links to container Stack Dates are also available.

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