Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 9 October 2022

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

Week commencing 3 October 2022.  Click on headline to go direct to story : use the BACK key to return  


The week’s mastheads:

Monday: Port of East London
Tuesday: Port of Durban Container Terminal by night
Wednesday: Port of Tin Can Island
Thursday: Port of Tema
Friday: Port of Saldanha futuristic
Saturday: Port of Saldanha Bay Iron Ore Terminal
Sunday: Port of Richards Bay Coal Terminal

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Grey Fox Picture by Trevor Jones in Africa Ports & Ships
Grey Fox    Picture by Trevor Jones

The general cargo ship GREY FOX (IMO 9594470) has been a regular on the Southern African coast (South African and Namibian ports) since her launch in 2011, operating between northern Europe and South Africa. The ship has a deadweight of 33,217 tons and a length of 179 metres with a beam of 28m. Grey Fox is operated by the German MACS line, with main offices in Hamburg and Cape Town.

For greater detail of this ship, including her technical details (builder, engine power etc) refer Africa Ports & Ships recent Wharf Talk article to be found HERE

This picture is by Trevor Jones

and now the news….


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VIDEO: Bridge across Kerch Strait between Russia & Crimea damaged by explosion

An explosion damaged the road and rail bridges across the Kerch Strait earlier this morning (Satursday 8 October). The 12-mile long bridge connects the Russian mainland with Crimea, which was annexed to Russia in 2014.

Reports say two spans of the road bridge collapsed into the sea while the rail bridge suffered damage to a goods train at that same spot. Some reports say the explosion originated on the road bridge and engulfed the train on the second bridge but this has not been verified.

It is unclear what caused the explosion which was seen and filmed from both on the bridge and on the land some distance away. While Ukraine was quick to report the incident they haven’t laid claim to having caused the explosion, though President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy is reported to have said this was the first – he didn’t go further.

The log bridge stands high above the waters and is navigable for ships entering or exiting the Sea of Azov. It was completed in 2018 and opened by Russia’s President Putin.

Watch short {02:31] video (non-English) of the explosion and fire that destroyed part of the road bridge and damaged a goods train on the adjacent rail bridge.

and some additional scenes here amidst much dialogue [09:31]

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Added 8 Octiber 2022


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STRIKE!  SA ports and rail face ongoing delays as unions declare strike action

Durban Container Terminal, bracing for a period of strike action in Africa Ports & Ships
Durban Container Terminals, bracing for a period of strike action  Picture:  Transnet

Transnet Port Terminals declares Force Majeure

Members of the United National Transport Union (UNTU) began a stay-away yesterday (Thursday) after negotiations with Transnet fell apart at around midnight on Wednesday. At issue is a dispute over wage increases offered by Transnet, which have been rejected by both UNTU and the SA Transport Workers Union (SATAWU). The latter is set to begin an official strike from Monday 10 October 2022.

UNTU said its strike action had to be in the form of a stay-away as written picketing rules were not in place. “Members must refrain from picketing and embark on a stay-away as mentioned earlier to ensure they remain protected!” the union advised its members.

The strike affects all aspects of Transnet workers except for two categories of employees that have been classified as ‘Essential Services’ workers who are prohibited from embarking on any form of strike action. These categories are Port Security, and Marine Services.

Strike action was reported on Thursday at the ports of Richards Bay and Durban, following the news that both trade unions had rejected Transnet’s latest pay offer.

Transnet said on Thursday morning it was aware that “some employees across its various port operations” were embarking on what was an illegal strike action. This followed a lack of resolution the day before in the ongoing wage negotiations.

Early Thursday morning workers at the Port of Richards Bay were burning tyres on roads in order to block entrances to the port.

The two unions involved, SATAWU (SA Transport & Allied Workers Union) and UNTU United National Transport Union) rejected latest offers by Transnet amounting to 3% for levels G and H, 3.5% for levels I and J, and 4% for levels K and L.

On top of that the company offered an ex-gratia payment of R5,000.

This did not meet with agreement by the unions, which are asking for increases of 12% and 13.5% respectively. The offer, they pointed out, is less than half the official South African inflation rate of 7.6%.

“Any strike action taking place presently is illegal and unprotected, as one of the unions, the United National Transport Union (UNTU) has not followed the prescripts as set down in the Labour Relations Act prior to embarking on strike,” said Transnet.

The port and rail company says that at this stage it is not in a position to predict the turnout of the strike or its potential impact on operations but remains committed to discussing the revised offer that was made to the two unions.

The port of Durban, followed by that of Richards Bay, is usually the first to be impacted when strike action against Transnet takes place, with the strategically important container terminals as well as the Durban car terminal at the Point the most affected.

It is not clear what effect the strike will have on the other ports in the country though Cape Town and Ngqura are likely to be affected.

In the event of mass industrial action, Transnet says contingency plans will be implemented and the company will do all in its power to ensure the safety of personnel and facilities. Security measures at the ports and other installations will be tightened.

“Staff have also been informed that the principle of ‘no work, no pay’ shall be enforced.”

SATAWU has meanwhile distanced itself from the stance UNTU is taking in staging a stay-away and disputes that SATAWU intends embarking on an illegal action. It said it issued its 48-hour notice to the employer through the Transnet Bargaining Council (TBC) in proper order.

“Following the issuing of the notice of intention to embark on industrial action, the union furnished the TBC with picketing rules for the attention of the employer. According to our knowledge, the union has followed all processes and procedures as contained in various legislations such as the Labour Relations Act (LRA) and TBC Constitution.”

SATAWU has indicated it will commence its strike action on Monday 10 October 2022.

Force Majeure

In an email sent to clients, of which Africa Ports & Ships has a copy, Transnet Port Terminal (TPT) chief executive Jabu Mdaki advises that TPT has declared Force Majeure as a result of the strike and stay-away action.

Mdaki advises that at the dedicated container terminals TPT will schedule vessels in accordance with the general weekly berthing, subject to a number of ‘principles’ applying. For details of these send an email to

 – trh

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Added 7 October 2022


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WHARF TALK: diamond mining vessel MAFUTA

The diamond mining vessel Mafuta in Cape Town harbour during the ship's recent call at her home port. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The diamond mining vessel Mafuta in Cape Town harbour during the ship’s recent call at her home port. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Jay Gates, in Africa Ports & Ships

To maritime observers, one of the exciting things about domestic shipping sights is that of something that no other nation possesses, and that is a fleet of large, and sophisticated, offshore diamond mining vessels. There is simply nowhere else of earth that you will get to see such a collection of specialised vessels.

The additional excitement, especially for Cape Town based maritime observers, is that the vessels all use Cape Town harbour, at some point, in order to undergo refits, drydocking, surveys, or maintenance programmes. Despite a number of the fleet operating in Namibian waters, the parent company has its base in Cape Town, and it is where they have their own bespoke quayside, and yard, for all of the diamond mining vessels to utilise.

Back on 19th September at 09h00 the offshore diamond mining vessel MAFUTA (IMO 8125064) entered Cape Town harbour, from the Atlantic 1 mining concession, which is located north of the Orange River mouth, and proceeded into the Duncan Dock, going alongside at L berth.

Mafuta arriving in port from Namibia. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Mafuta arriving in port from Namibia. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

As with all but two of the current fleet of large diamond mining vessels, ‘Mafuta’ did not start life in that guise. She started life as a specialised multi-role, semi-submersible, heavylift, vessel of the famous Dutch specialist operator, Dockwise BV, of Rotterdam.

Built as ‘Dock Express 20’ in 1983 at Verolme Scheepswerfen BV at Heusden in Holland, ‘Mafuta’ is 176 metres in length and has a deadweight of 7,935 tons. As built, she was powered by two Stork-Werkspoor 6TM410 6 cylinder 4 stroke main engines, each producing 4,195 bhp (3,128 kW) to drive two controllable pitch propellers for a service speed of 16 knots. Modern upgrades have included Wärtsilä engine control systems being installed.

Her auxiliary machinery included two generators providing 600 kW each. For added manoeuvrability she had a transverse bow thruster providing 625 kW. She was later converted into the world’s largest cable layer, and her conversion included having dynamic positioning capability. She received three azimuth thrusters, each of 1,325 kW, with two located towards the bow, and one located towards the stern, which gave her a DP1 capability.

Mafuta is the largest diamond mining ship in the De Beers fleet. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Mafuta is the largest diamond mining ship in the De Beers fleet. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

In 2005 she was purchased by De Beers Consolidated Diamond Mines, for conversion to an offshore diamond mining vessel. The conversion took place at the A&P Tyne Ltd. dockyard, at Hebburn, close to Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the United Kingdom. She was renamed ‘Peace in Africa’ and entered service with De Beers in 2007.

Her purchase price, and conversion costs, came to US$67.4 million (ZAR1.2 billion), and out of that total a full US$28.1 million (ZAR500 million) was the cost of the onboard diamond treatment plant, and all of its associated infrastructure and equipment.

When she joined the De Beers Marine fleet she was, easily and by far, the largest vessel in their burgeoning fleet and, in fact, she was the second largest vessel on the South African register. On the delivery, in September 2021, of ‘Benguela Gem into the fleet, she became the second largest vessel operated by De Beers Marine.

Her first voyage took her to the ML3 offshore concession, which is located in South African.... Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Her first voyage took her to the ML3 offshore concession, which is located in South African waters…. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her first voyage took her to the ML3 offshore concession, which is located in South African, and not Namibian waters. She was the first of the large offshore diamond mining vessels of the modern De Beers Marine fleet to undertake mining operations in South African waters.

The ML3 concession is located south of the Orange River mouth, and it runs from Kleinzee in the south, to Alexander Bay in the north. The inshore boundary of the concession area begins 2.7 nautical miles (5km) offshore. It covers an area of 2,500 square nautical miles (8,600 km2), and runs out to a distance of 17 nautical miles (32 km) offshore.

In 2003 she was transferred into the new Debmarine Namibia subsidiary, which is a joint venture between De Beers Marine, and the Namibian Government. On transfer she was renamed ‘Mafuta’, which is an Oshiwambo word meaning ‘Great Waters’, or ‘Great Seas’. An interesting observation of ‘Mafuta’, when she entered Cape Town harbour, was that her funnel did not carry the traditional De Beers Marine houseflag of blue/white/blue bands, with a red diamond in the central white band. Instead she has the national flag of Namibia on her funnel.

After mining on the South African side or south of the Oramge River mouth, Mfuta was trasferred to the Namibian operation further north. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
After operating on the South African side or south of the Orange River mouth, Mafuta was transferred to the Namibian operation just to the north. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her transfer to Debmarine Namibia meant that she is now operating exclusively in the Atlantic 1 concession area, located north of the Orange River mouth, in Namibian waters, along with all other Debmarine Namibia vessels. There are still two mining vessels operating for De Beers Marine in the ML3 concession to the south of the Orange River mouth.

The mining process of ‘Mafuta’ is that of crawler technology, down to a depth of up to 150 metres. Her crawler is a gargantuan 265 ton beast, deployed off the stern of the vessel, and which runs along the seabed, connected to the vessel by a 655mm hose, and capable of pumping 10,000 m3 of seawater and up to 60 tons of gravel, every hour, through the onboard treatment plant, via a dredge pump providing 2,400 kW. Despite having a DP1 capability, she still utilises four anchors as part of her position holding, and station keeping, requirements.

when mining, Mafuta provides approximately 57 carats of diamonds per hour, Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Here is her port side.  When mining, Mafuta provides approximately 57 carats of diamonds per hour…. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Such a throughput of gravel on ‘Mafuta’ provides approximately 57 carats of diamonds per hour, and equates to approximately 240,000 carats per year, at a value of US$60 million (ZAR1.1 billion). Such productivity, being over 30% of Debmarine Namibia’s total offshore diamond recovery, makes her the best performing vessel in the Debmarine Namibia fleet.

After a fortnight alongside L berth, and completing her maintenance requirements, ‘Mafuta’ sailed from Cape Town on 3rd October at 08h00, bound once more for her allocated grid location in the Atlantic 1 concession area.

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Added 7 October 2022


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Egypt Taps Agility to Modernise Suez Canal Economic Zone Customs, Operations

Suez Canal Authority picture in Africa Ports & Ships
Suez Canal Authority picture

Earlier this week the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) said it has signed a contract with Agility, a supply chain services, infrastructure and investment provider, to develop and operate a customs and logistics centre in the SCZone.

Agility will work with SCZone to implement its strategic vision and establish a technical and logistical arm that will automate customs processes and operations in the SCZone. The automation piece will link the SCZone’s customs departments and relevant government agencies concerned with inspection work.

The project, intended to turn the zone into a global logistics hub, will improve the flow of goods and commodities and bring efficiency and lower costs to international companies and investors operating there.

Agility will invest USD 60 million to build two 100,000 square metre customs and logistics centres in the industrial zone in Ein Sokhna and in East Port Said. The project will be implemented during the second half of 2023.

SCZone chairman Walid Gamal El-Din said the signing of the contract with Agility is consistent with the Suez Canal Authority’s strategic plan 2020/2025, which aims to create an enticing investment environment and further one of Egypt’s key development goals, which is to create job opportunities through integrated, sustainable economic growth.

“This agreement will enable the Suez Canal Authority to improve visibility over inbound materials and finished goods and enhance efficiency through a single-window customs platform,” he said. “The result will be increased commercial activity, quicker release of cargo and better overall operations.”

Gamal El-Din added that the agreement is in line with the State’s policies in developing the customs clearance services by building an integrated and automated system that raises overall efficiency of customs operations, reducing accumulation of shipments and goods, while providing the best services possible to investors.

Tarek Sultan, Agilitiy's vice chairman, in Africa Ports & Ships
Tarek Sultan, Agilitiy’s vice chairman

“This is in addition to the facilitated coordination and integration between the Ministry of Finance, tax and customs authorities as well as other government bodies with the economic zone,” he said.

Tarek Sultan, Vice Chairman of Agility, said Egypt plays a vital role in global and regional trade. The ambitious modernisation project, along with the other strategic development efforts undertaken by the government, demonstrate Egypt’s determination to be an economic leader in the future.

“By developing and modernising the customs and logistics centre, the SCZone and the Egyptian government are positioning Egypt to be the one of the world’s most advanced operators and an indispensable 21st century trade partner for MENA, Asia and Europe.”

According to Sultan, companies with a presence in the Suez Canal Economic Zone will have access to the world’s best logistics infrastructure and services. “They will be situated at the trade crossroads of the world, amid the fastest-growing markets.”

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Added 7 October 2022


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Xeneta Rates Report: Spot rates collapse continues, as prices fall two thirds since May


More to come, dead ahead

Spot rates from the Far East to the US West Coast are falling fast, according to the latest market analysis released by Oslo-based Xeneta. Prices, which were as high as USD 9,000 per FEU in May, had collapsed to USD 3,000 per FEU on 5 October, with a USD 500 fall on 1 October alone (as new monthly rates replaced September prices).

It is, in the words of Xeneta Chief Analyst Peter Sand, “a dramatic decline”, but one that should also be seen in the context of longer-term trends.

How low can they go?

“It really is an eye-catching development,” he notes. “Shippers, who have had their backs against the wall in negotiations for so long, are seeing the market turn much quicker than many anticipated. They can now move three 40ft containers for the price they paid for just one only a few months ago. Carriers, on the other hand, seem powerless in their efforts to protect rates, as we see widespread blanked sailings failing to soften the precipitous downward curve.

“However, despite the fact that rates have fallen so dramatically (just two weeks ago, 20 September, the average was USD 4,150 per FEU) there is still a long way to go! The market has been so strong, for so long, that it’s easy to forget where rates have climbed from.”

Sand continues: “So, even though we’re now at the lowest level since July 2020, we only have to go back to October 2019 to see spot rates at just USD 1,300 per FEU. Which begs the question, how much further might they drop in the coming weeks in the face of ongoing weak demand and uncertain macroeconomic indicators? We’d suggest there’s more development dead ahead.”

Hidden costs

Peter Sanda, Xeneta in Africa Ports & Ships
Peter Sand

Xeneta’s data, crowdsourced from leading global shippers, shows that long-term rates are “still playing catch up” with the short-term decline. The average rate for contracts signed in the past three months remains over USD 7,500 per FEU; demonstrating the current opportunity in the spot market for shippers with limber logistics strategies. Sand notes he expects long-term rates to “follow the leader” with continuing falls in the months to come.

Xeneta’s analysis also makes clear that the ‘base rates’ paid by shippers have not reflected the full price to ship containers over the last 18 months. The total cost has been impacted by what Sand calls “huge increases” in surcharges, which are now in “freefall” as carriers compete to fill capacity.

All change

“Surcharges are falling away even faster than base rates,” he explains. “For example, the average congestion and peak season surcharges in spot contracts have fallen to around USD 6 per FEU. Many shippers aren’t paying them at all, while others may be paying more than the average. But what’s really remarkable is that on 1 October they stood at USD 680 per FEU and USD 490, respectively.

“There’s clearly not much room for these to fall further, but we may see continued movement on fuel surcharges. These have already fallen significantly, reflecting declining bunker prices over the past few months. The average fuel surcharge on all contracts has fallen to USD 80 per FEU. However, if we only look at contracts where a fuel surcharge is specified, the average fell from USD 1,650 per FEU on 1 September to USD 700 per FEU on 1 October. Needless to say, this is further (very) good news for shippers.”

To sign up to Xeneta’s weekly container rates blog please visit

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Added 7 October 2022


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WHARF TALK: Holding the country to ransom

The COSCO tanker Qian Chi arrived in Cape Town harbour on Monday with a cargo of desperately needed jet fuel. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The COSCO tanker Qian Chi arrived in Cape Town harbour on Monday with a cargo of desperately needed jet fuel. Picture by ‘Dockrat’


Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Jay Gates, in Africa Ports & Ships

At what point is it that you are not only looking forward to the arrival of a vessel, but that you are, in fact, praying for that vessel to arrive? It is probably the point at which you are seriously concerned that somebody else’s cock-up has very nearly trashed your international reputation, and it is not the ship that can’t come soon enough, but rather the cargo that she is carrying.

On 3rd October at 09h00 the MR2 tanker QIAN CHI (IMO 9262417) arrived off Cape Town, from Sungai Udang in Malaysia. Her arrival was not only expected, but the Port Captain had already advertised the fact that she would receive priority berthing on arrival, with no delays, due to the urgency of the cargo that she was carrying. She entered Cape Town harbour, going straight into the Duncan Dock and berthed at the Tanker Basin to begin her discharge. It is not often that the arrival of a run of the mill MR2 tanker is so eagerly awaited.

Leading up to her arrival the much coveted international reputation of Cape Town International Airport (CPT/FACT) was slowly being eroded because, since before the 26th September, they had been informing the aviation world, through the promulgation of what is called a ‘Notice to Airmen’ (NOTAM), that they were running out of JET A1 fuel, and there was no sign of the replenishment of their rapidly diminishing stocks of fuel expected for a week.

Bows on, this is the tanker Qian Chi, in Cape Town harbour. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Bows on, this is the tanker Qian Chi, in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The outcome of this was that the majority of the major international airlines, and some African regional airlines, were going to have to divert to other airports in order to uplift enough fuel to allow them to return home on their scheduled flights from Cape Town. The Angolan state airline TAAG, had to divert to Windhoek, en-route home to Luanda, and Turkish Airlines, Emirates and Qatar Airways had to divert to Johannesburg ORTIA airport on their return flights to Istanbul, Dubai and Doha, respectively.

When you are being rationed to only 50% of your fuel requirement for your flight, for some other airlines it means that the only option is cancellation. United Airlines cancelled their flight from Newark in the USA, and the subsequent return flight back to the USA. KLM also cancelled flights back to Amsterdam, although fuel may not have been the only reason for cancellation.

The simple act of having to spend up an hour diverting from your planned route, to reach a diversion airport, and then spending at least one hour on the ground whilst you are being refueled, followed by another hour in flight to track back to your planned route, means that often it is impossible for the flight crew to be able to conduct the flight within the legal confines of their national Flight Time Limitation (FTL) regulations. You simply cannot add three hours to a twelve hour flight, and allow the operating crew to fly on, without some element of fatigue being a real risk.

All these cancellations, and diversions, also create huge costs to the airline, with additional landing and handling fees, additional fuel burned to get to the diversion airport. Some airlines, especially South African domestic carriers, have had to carry extra fuel from their airport of origin, known as tankering, in order to ensure they can make the return flight without worrying about a fuel uplift at Cape Town. So you trade a heavier weight carrying additional fuel, and end up with having to carry less payload, and the penalty for this can be in terms of not being able to carry precious cargo, and in some instances passengers and/or baggage. It is all very costly to the airline.

As this last week was unfolding, ACSA was making disingenuous public announcements that no scheduled flight would be affected with a delayed departure. This is true, because you might depart on time, which looks good for the statistics of the airport, but you then add three hours to the departing aircraft, which means it arrives at its destination late, with all the potential problems of missing flight connections for the passengers. Out of sight, is out of mind, as they say.

However, that said, ACSA is also being unfairly targeted as the villain of the piece, when they are just as much a victim of this situation as the airlines, and their passengers, are. ACSA do not trade in fuel, they do not own the fuel, and they do not sell the fuel at their own airports. It is the aviation fuel majors that operate the storage facilities, bring in the fuel, and provide the fuel to the airlines. Even then, the fuel majors sometimes have to procure their fuel from third party providers, so the blame game is not as obvious as one thinks.

The reason for the elation at the arrival of ‘Qian Chi’ is that she was carrying a cargo of the elusive Jet fuel that everybody was waiting for. The reason for the delay in the arrival of ‘Qian Chi’ in Cape Town, i.e. a delay that was nine days if you believe the reports, was all due to bad weather at sea, again if you believe the reports. A pinch of salt might be needed with that story.

Qian Chi's accommodation, bridge and funnel area. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Qian Chi’s accommodation, bridge and funnel area. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

A voyage from Singapore to South Africa, across the Indian Ocean, through the Southern hemisphere tropics, in September, that took ‘Qian Chi’ just over 22 days, is highly unlikely to have been achieved in 13 days, had she not met with bad weather. She left her anchorage in Singapore on 10th September at 23h00z, arriving at Cape Town on 3rd October at 07h00z. Somebody is telling porkies, as her delay was not entirely due to Mother Nature!

It was alluded to in the article regarding the tanker ‘Bruno’ in yesterday’s Africa Ports & Ships that an element of a dangerously risky game of ‘’ procurement is in play with fuel ordering. Senior ACSA management confirmed this fact in an interview this weekend. ACSA appear to be hostages to fortune, like the airlines are, as a seeming result of those responsible for such procurements in South Africa taking chances with the availability of crucial fuel supplies.

In the good old days, only two years ago, there were three operational refineries in South Africa, all producing Jet fuel. Since 2020, there has only been one, so the supply line is now longer, in terms of both distance and time. If current oil traders, and brokers, in South Africa are still using the 2020 play book, when deciding when to order fuel supplies, then they are not taking into account that the fuel delivery is not going to come the next day, or the next week. This is especially so when the nearest refinery supply is no longer in Durban, or in Cape Town, but rather in India, Malaysia or Saudi Arabia, a minimum of a fortnight away.

As such, your local, regional, and national strategic reserves of crucial fuel has to be greater to cope with these unintended, or intended, delays. To make matters worse, it seems that a tanker arrived in Cape Town more than a week earlier, carrying no less than 4.7 million litres of Jet fuel. However, the purchaser, or distributor, placed the fuel into storage and sat on it. Presumably, they were hoping to raise the premiums due to the emergency, in the hope that a quick profit could be made. Why was ACSA kept in the dark about the arrival of this tanker?

Simply put, it is all down to the basics of economics, and of ‘supply and demand’, except that under the current situation it risked the reputational damage to the brand of ACSA, to the Cape Town Tourism Industry and to South Africa itself in international circles. The lack of Jet fuel at Cape Town International Airport has not been reported positively anywhere on earth. There are very few storage facilities in Cape Town for such a large amount of Jet fuel, so it would not be very difficult to find out who was storing it, knowing that the both local tourism industry, and the international aviation industry, was suffering.

Hopefully, a good amount of the cargo of Jet fuel that was brought in by ‘Qian Chi’ has now been pumped to the airport fuel farm holding tanks, received sufficient settling time, passed the required quality tests and inspections, and is now going into those aircraft that need it to complete a long haul, single sector, flight back to the USA, Europe of the Middle East.

As for ‘Qian Chi’, she was built in 2008 by the China Shipping Industry ship yard at Jiangsu in China. She is 185 metres in length and has a deadweight of 45,541 tons. She is powered by a single YMD MAN-B&W 6S50MC-C 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 11,510 bhp (8,466 kW), driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three Wärtsilä 6L20 generators providing 1,050 kW each, and a single Caterpillar 3406DITA emergency generator providing 272 kW. She has a TH EG560 exhaust gas boiler, and a TH V6000 oil fired boiler. For added manoeuvrability she has a transverse bow thruster providing 1,100 kW.

She is one of two sisterships, and she has 12 cargo tanks, with a cargo carrying capacity of 53,700 m3. She is capable of carrying 5 grades of products at any one time, and she has 12 onboard cargo pumps capable of moving 600 m3/hour each.

She is nominally owned by Qian Chi Shipping SA, but under the auspices of the Chinese state owned COSCO group, and is both operated and managed by COSCO Shipping Energy Transportation Co., of Shanghai in China. Her blue hull, with her buff and blue funnel, identify her immediately as one of the huge COSCO fleet.

Qian Chi on her tanker berth in Cape Town harbour. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Qian Chi on her tanker berth in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

In January 2011 ‘Qian Chi’ suffered a serious incident when at anchor in Moreton Bay, in Queensland, Australia. One of her thermal oil heaters boilers exploded, whilst being restarted, after maintenance, and severely injured the Third Engineer, Electrician and Engineering Cadet who were working on the heater. All received serious third degree burns. Medical assistance was called for by the Captain, and the Brisbane Port authorities despatched five paramedics, with two firefighters , on two Harbour Police launches.

The burn injuries to the three crewmen was so serious that helicopter evacuation was called for, and two SAR helicopters were despatched to winch all three crewmen off ‘Qian Chi’ and transfer them directly ashore to the Royal Brisbane Hospital for treatment. The Third Engineer’s burns were so severe, that he was admitted immediately into the critical care unit at the hospital. Happily, all three of the crewmen made full recoveries, and all were eventually flown back home to China.

The port of origin for ‘Qian Chi’ was Sungai Udang, located on the Malacca coast of Malaysia, at 02°14’ North 102°07’ East. The port is operated by the Malaysian state owned energy company, Petronas, and consists of seven berths, situated on a T-Jetty that stretches 0.8 nautical miles out from the shore. The jetty is connected, by pipeline, to the dual Petronas Refinery ashore. The refinery processes 270,000 barrels of oil per day, and produces Sulphur, LPG, Petrol, Diesel and the important Jet fuel, which was so desperately needed at Cape Town International Airport.

Let’s hope that this farcical situation, that is so damaging to the image and reputation of South Africa, is not repeated, and that the rules governing both fuel procurement, and strategically held fuel reserves, are amended to ensure that a short delay in delivery of fuel stocks does not ever again threaten the integrity of a crucial national keypoint, and a major industry player, as it has done with ACSA at Cape Town.

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Added 6 October 2022


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Transnet increases its offer but strike remains a possibility

Transnet banner, in Africa Ports & Ships

With a Transnet-wide strike a clear possibility, Transnet says it has increased its offer to workers to a 3% pay rise and other benefits.

This followed a meeting on Tuesday evening that failed to reach an agreement.

The latest offer by Transnet includes:

• A 3% increase to guaranteed pay, with effect from 1 April 2022.
• The back-pay for the April to September 2022 period will be made in three equal amounts beginning January, February, and March 2023.
• From the end of October 2022, salaries will be paid with the 3% increase.
• A once-off ex gratia payment to each employee, which amounts to R7 600 before tax, to be paid at the end of the financial year.

The latest offer was tabled on Tuesday to its recognised labour unions, South African Transport Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU) and United National Transport Union (UNTU).

However, later on Wednesday Transnet said it noted that SATAWU was advising its members that the revised wage offer included a pay rise of 4%, not the 3% that was tabled.

SATAWU has been requested to retract and correct this with their members.

According to SATAWU, if no satisfactory agreement with the employer is reached. its members will embark on industrial action (strike) on Friday 7 October 2022.

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Maersk adds another six green methanol-fueled ships

Images courtesy of Maersk in Africa Ports & Ships
Images courtesy of Maersk

Maersk has ordered a further six large container ships that can operate on green methanol. The six vessels, to be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries, will have a nominal capacity of approx. 17,000 containers (Twenty Foot Equivalent – TEU).

The six 17,000 TEU vessels are all to be delivered in 2025 and will sail under the flag of Denmark. They will replace existing capacity in the Maersk fleet.

Maersk has emphasised its strategy of maintaining a fleet capacity at a maximum of 4.3 million TEU, made up of a combination of Maersk managed and time-chartered vessels.

19 green methanol vessels on order

With the order, Maersk has orders for 19 vessels with dual-fuel engines able to operate on green methanol.

“Our customers are looking to us to decarbonise their supply chains, and these six vessels able to operate on green methanol will further accelerate the efforts to offer our customers climate neutral transport,” says Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO of Fleet & Strategic Brands at Maersk.

“Global action is needed in this decade in order to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to a 1.5°C temperature rise,” she adds.

Maersk has set a net-zero emissions target for 2040 across the entire business and has also set tangible near-term targets for 2030 to ensure significant progress. This includes a 50% reduction in emissions per transported container in the Maersk Ocean fleet compared to 2020 and a principle of only ordering newbuilt vessels that can be operated on green fuels.

Images courtesy of Maersk in Africa Ports & Ships

Green methanol

According to maersk, green methanol is the best scalable green fuel solution for this decade.

“We are excited to see several other shipowners choosing this path,” says Palle Laursen, Chief Fleet & Technical Officer at Maersk. “It adds further momentum to the rapid scaling of availability needed to bring down the premium on green methanol and accelerate the evolution of climate neutral shipping.”

Benchmarked against conventional fuel capabilities, additional capital expenditure (CAPEX) for the methanol dual-fuel capability is in the range of 8-12%, which is an improvement compared to when Maersk ordered eight vessels with the same technology last year.

They all come as part of Maersk’s ongoing fleet renewal program and their capacity will replace an equal amount of capacity reaching end-of-life and leaving the Maersk managed fleet. When all 19 vessels on order are deployed and have replaced older vessels, they will generate annual CO2 emissions savings of around 2.3 million tonnes.

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Samskip and carbon capture: Decarbonisation strategy

Samskip Endeavour. Each installation will feature a gas cleaning unit behind the funnel, with recovered CO2 pumped to a battery housed in containers carried on deck. in Africa Ports & Ships
Samskip Endeavour. Each installation will feature a gas cleaning unit behind the funnel, with recovered CO2 pumped to a battery housed in containers carried on deck. Picture: Samskip

It was reported from Rotterdam on 3 October that Samskip is making carbon capture a key part of its integrated plan for decarbonising shipping, after choosing the Value Maritime Filtree gas cleaning equipment for its container ships Samskip Innovator and Samskip Endeavour.

For ships running on conventional marine fuels, the Filtree system is said to capture 30% or more of CO2 emissions, providing owners with a direct response to coming restrictions on greenhouse gasses. Carbon capture is complementary to other parts of Samskip’s maturing strategy for decarbonisation.

Erik Hofmeester, Head of Vessel Management, Samskip, commented: “We work closely with freight owners who prioritise sustainability and whose end consumers hold them to account.

“Samskip Innovator and Samskip Endeavour, for example, run between the UK and the Netherlands on bio-fuels, which already cut CO2 by 90%. Using the Filtree system in addition will allow us to offer our first carbon neutral shortsea services.”

Other strands of Samskip’s sustainability strategy include a joint project with Ocean Infinity to build two emission-free ‘SeaShuttle’ ships powered by 3.2MW hydrogen fuel cells, and a battery-powered barge initiative.

Value Maritime has developed its Filtree technology as a prefabricated, pre-installed gas cleaning system for ships which removes sulphur, particulate matter and CO2. The system also neutralises the PH value of wash water, removing oil residues and ultra-fine particles.

Laurens Visser, Commercial Manager, Value Maritime, said tens of Filtree installations had been made to date, for owners seeking to solve a variety of emissions challenges.

He commented: “Ship operators can remain compliant while using lower cost, higher-sulphur fuel, for example. Others may be planning ahead for future regulations on CO2 and want to ensure that the technology they choose has been proven in service.”

Gas cleaning installation behind the funnel

Due for commissioning in early 2023, each Samskip installation will feature a gas cleaning unit behind the ship’s funnel, with recovered CO2 pumped to a 10MW CO2 battery set housed in ISO tank containers and carried on deck. Charged during the voyage, these batteries are landed in port, with Value Maritime trucking them to CO2 consumers such as greenhouses for discharge, then returning them empty for the next voyage.

As a multimodal transport provider, Hofmeester said the CO2 logistics aspect of the Value Maritime solution was highly appealing to Samskip. He reflected: “We have not seen anything like Filtree carbon capture technology out there, but reusing the CO2 by delivering it to greenhouses – that is something really special. It is an elegant system which redelivers CO2 for natural absorption.”

Visser added: “Carbon capture technology can make a significant contribution for owners seeking to reduce their carbon footprints now. We are making a ‘green circle’ for ship owners and freight shippers by recycling the CO2 , and offering certificated accountability on greenhouse gas reductions.”

With multiple battery sizes available, ranging between 3MW and 15MW, the Value Maritime’s current carbon capture solution covers engine sizes suitable for container ships of up to 2,000 TEU capacity.

Samskip Endeavour. Each installation will feature a gas cleaning unit behind the funnel, with recovered CO2 pumped to a battery housed in containers carried on deck. in Africa Ports & Ships
Samskip Innovator. Samskip is making Filtree carbon capture from Value Maritime a key part of its integrated plan for decarbonising shipping. Picture: Samskip


Samskip offers pan-European, environmentally responsible combined transport services via shortsea, road, rail and inland waterway routes.

The company offers high frequency services connecting destinations across Europe, the Baltic States, Iceland and Faroes Island, and Russia, both door-to-door (including collection) and quay-to-quay, transported using a wide range of owned vessels, containers, trucks and trailers. To match equipment to cargoes shipped, options include a full range of ISO containers and reefers, including 33-pallet capacity 45ft units.

Samskip Global Forwarding division offers global expertise in transporting perishables. With offices throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas connected by advanced operational software, and backed by a group transporting 800,000 containers every year, the company moves fresh food to markets worldwide.

Paul Ridgway, London, in Africa Ports & Ships

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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Hapag-Lloyd expands horison and acquires SAAM Ports SA

Hapag-Lloyd expands horison and acquires SAAM Ports SA in Africa Ports & Ships
Hapag-Lloyd adds SAAM Ports SA to portfolio.  Picture Hapag-Lloyd

Hapag-Lloyd AG is following the route of other large shipping lines by acquiring its own landbased terminals and logistics operators.

The German shipping company has signed a binding agreement with SM SAAM SA and SAAM Logistics SA, to acquire 100% of SAAM’s terminal business and associated real estate assets.

The statement says a price of around US$1 billion was agreed to.

Chile-based SM SAAM is a terminal operator, logistics company and towage provider active in multiple countries in the Americas. It was founded in 1960 and has been listed on the Santiago Stock Exchange (SSE) since 2012.

SM SAAM’s terminal business

SM SAAM’s terminal business comprise 10 terminals in six North, Central and South American countries with around 4,000 employees and a combined container throughput of around 3.5 million TEU in 2021.

The related logistics services complement the terminal business at five locations in Chile, with together around 300 employees.

SM SAAM’s tugboat services and airport logistics services businesses are not part of the transaction and will remain with SM SAAM.

“Investing in terminal infrastructure is a key element of our strategic agenda, and Latin America is one of our stronghold markets,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd.

“Acquiring SM SAAM’s terminal operations and complementary logistics services will help us to further strengthen our business while building up a robust and attractive terminal portfolio.”

Expansion in the terminal sector

In driving its Strategy 2023, Hapag-Lloyd has begun expanding its involvement in the terminal sector, most recently by announcing that it aims to acquire a minority stake in the Italy-based Spinelli Group, by acquiring a stake in JadeWeserPort in Wilhelmshaven, and by investing in the construction of Terminal 2 in the Egyptian port of Damietta.

Hapag-Lloyd also has a stake in the Container Terminal Altenwerder in Hamburg and in Terminal TC3 of the Moroccan port of Tangier.

The closing of the transaction is subject to approval by the relevant antitrust authorities and to additional conditions customary for a transaction of this kind.

On the ocean side, Hapag-Lloyd operates with a fleet of 253 modern container ships and a total transport capacity of 1.8 million TEU, making it one of the world’s leading liner shipping companies.

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Second batch of rail wagons arrive for Mozambique railways

One of the rail wagons being lowered from the ship in Maputo port. Picture: TVM in Africa Ports & Ships
One of the rail wagons being lowered from the ship in Maputo port. Picture: TVM

A second batch of an order for 300 rail wagons ordered by Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM – Ports and Railways of Mozambique), has arrived in the port of Maputo and was safely discharged .

The order for the heavy-duty rail wagons, suitable for carrying bulk cargo like coal or manganese, was placed with a Chinese manufacturer.

The wagons will see duty on the southern and central divisions of CFM

Financing of the project came from Mozambique banks.

The port at Maputo recently began handling exports of Botswana coal and the new wagons are expected to go into service with this contract.


In other rail news from Mozambique, a freight train derailed on Monday night near Aldeia da Barragem on the Limpopo line in Chókwè district, Gaza province.

The freight train was en-route from Maputo heading for Chicualacuala when the derailment occurred. The cause of the derailment was not immediately apparent. No injuries have been reported and it is believed the railway services on the line have since been restored.

The train consisted of the locomotive and 18 tanker wagons.

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Semi-submersible drilling rig Island Innovator arrives to drill off Orange River Block 2B

Semi-submersible drilling rig, Island Innovator, now in position at the Ornage River Basin in Africa Ports & Ships
Semi-submersible drilling rig, Island Innovator, now in position at the Orange River Basin. Pic: Eco Atlantic

Eco Atlantic’s semi-submersible drilling rig, ISLAND INNOVATOR, has arrived off the South Africa west coast to commence drilling a well in Block 2B offshore the Orange River mouth.

This will be the start of operations on the Gazania-1 exploration well.

Eco holds a 50% working interest in Block 2B and is operator of the block. The drilling location is located 25km offshore the Northern Cape on the South African side of the Orange Basin, in approximately 150 metres of water.

The Gazania-1 Exploration Well is being drilled to a depth of approximately 2,800 metres through a multizone pay section. The well is being drilled up dip of the AJ-1 Discovery Well on the block, which proved approximately 50 million barrels of contingent resources.

According to Eco, the Gazania-1 Prospect is targeting over 300 million barrels of light oil. Pending discovery in the vertical section, the joint venture partners* have the option to directionally drill a second sidetrack well from the main well bore.

map: Africa Energy Corp in Africa Ports & Ships
map: Africa Energy Corp

Both the vertical well and the sidetrack optional well will be logged and then plugged back to surface, the well will be sealed, plugged and the casing cut off below surface. No equipment will remain on the sea floor.

“Drilling Gazania-1 offers a significant opportunity to South Africa to open up the Orange Basin,” said Colin Kinley, Chief Operating Officer of Eco Atlantic.

“A number of prior discoveries in the region are changing the understanding of this basin both in South Africa and Namibia where recent multi-billion-barrel discoveries have opened the gate to a new era of economic and resource opportunity.”

Kinley said the discovery at AJ-1 is extremely helpful in creating the opportunity on the Gazania-1 well.

“This well is being drilled to define the opportunity and the initial path in the basin. We are drilling this strictly as an exploration well. Once we have defined the resources here, South Africa and the JV partners will make its choices and we will determine the next stage of development.

“Eco appreciates all the support of the South African Government, the local industries and local communities in the communication, participation and planning of this well.”

* The joint venture partners on Block 2B are Eco Atlantic (50% and operator), Africa Energy Corp (27.5%), Panoro 2B Limited, a subsidiary of Panoro Energy ASA (12.5%), and Crown Energy AB (10%)

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The MR2 tanker Bruno, having discharged her cargo of fuel in Cape Town, moves through the waters of Duncan Dock, as a fishing vessel, Hug Yu 218 passes by and pilot/work boat Kestrel stands by. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The MR2 tanker Bruno, having discharged her cargo of fuel in Cape Town, moves through the waters of Duncan Dock, as a fishing vessel, Hung Yu 218 passes by and pilot/work boat Kestrel stands by to take off the pilot. On the port side of the tanker is the harbour tug Umbilo.   Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Jay Gates, in Africa Ports & Ships

Not having your own national refining capacity brings with it, its own problems, especially so if your procurement policies are potentially inefficient, and thus, possibly, not fit for purpose.

Despite tankers seemingly lining up to enter South African ports in ever increasing numbers, two recent events seen to highlight either a lack of forward planning when it comes to ensuring that fuel stocks never go below a certain level, or a dangerous, and risky, attitude to ordering, and arranging for, delivery of fuel to keep critical national infrastructure operating.

Recently we have had Cape Town International Airport having to tell airlines, especially foreign airlines that bring in the tourists, to arrange to take Jet Fuel uptakes elsewhere, as they do not have enough fuel available to ensure refueling of long haul flights. The excuse was that the tanker was one week late, due to bad weather elsewhere, and the fuel reserve was running out.

The tanker on the berth of the tanker basin, under the shadow of Table Mountain. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The tanker Bruno on the berth of the tanker basin, under the shadow of Table Mountain. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Similarly, a situation of Stage 4 load shedding took place because the power station, that provided the electricity supply to a part of the Southern Cape region, had to shut down due to a lack of diesel fuel needed to run the power station. The excuse was that the tanker was unable to connect to the SBM at Mossel Bay, due to bad weather.

In both cases, one has to question how the local operating reserve, and the regional storage capacity, is incapable of handing a short delay in resupply. To allow such a situation to arise, knowing what the consequences will be, speaks to a problem of management of the strategic reserve needed to keep the wheels turning, and to keep the lights on, literally.

The tanker's accommodation and bridge block. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The tanker’s accommodation and bridge block. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

To highlight the issue, one only has to look out into the Table Bay anchorage, and note that there are always tankers at anchor, awaiting a berth in Cape Town harbour, even when a berth is available to effect a discharge. One such fully loaded tanker has recently spent more than a fortnight at anchor, before entering the port to discharge, and one has to ask who was waiting for that fuel delivery to arrive? ACSA, or ESKOM, maybe?

On 24th September at 2000, the MR2 tanker BRUNO (IMO 9273650) arrived at the Table Bay anchorage, from Durban, and went to anchor for the next five days. On 29th September at 08h00, she raised her anchor and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Tanker Basin to start her offloading of a parcel of fuel.

The tanker Bruno in Duncan Dock, preparing to depart. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The tanker Bruno in Duncan Dock, preparing to depart. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The voyage of ‘Bruno’ had begun at Port Klang, in Malaysia, and she had arrived off Durban on 20th September at 01h00, and immediately entered Durban harbour, proceeding to berth at Island View 2, where she discharged part of her cargo. She was alongside for less than 24 hours, and sailed from Durban on 21st September at 23h00, bound for Cape Town.

Built in 2004 by STX Shipbuilding at Jinhae in South Korea, ‘Bruno’ is 183 metres in length and has a deadweight of 46,101 tons. She is powered by a single STX MAN-B&W 6S50MC-C 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 12,900 bhp (9,488 kW), to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

Bruno underway in Duncan Dock. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Bruno underway in Duncan Dock. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes three MAN-B&W 6L23/30H generators providing 1,010 kW each, and a Cummins NT855MDGE emergency generator providing 209 kW. She has a Kangrim EM11DD12A2 exhaust gas boiler, and Kangrim MB06D2DY oil fired boiler.

She has 12 cargo tanks, and a cargo carrying capacity of 51,842 m3. She is capable of carrying 6 grades of product at any one time, and she can discharge her cargo using 12 cargo pumps, each capable of discharging 600 m3/hr.

She is one of four sisterships, and was purchased for her current owners in 2018 for US$9.5 million (ZAR168.1 million). She is nominally owned by Bruno Maritime Inc., is operated by IMS SA of Piraeus in Greece, and managed by Palermo SA, also of Piraeus, with all three companies being located at the same address.

The tanker has completed discharging in Cape Town. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The tanker with the open waters of Table Bay in sight. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

In 2020 there was an accusation against her operator, IMS SA, that they were using four of their fleet, but not ‘Bruno’, to carry full cargoes of petroleum, from Iran to Venezuela, in contravention of US sanctions in force against both countries. All four tankers were seized on behalf of US authorities, and the whole cargo, which was the equivalent of 1.12 million barrels of petrol, was confiscated.

Unofficial reports at the time noted the absence of military force used in the vessel seizures. It was reported that the shipowner was threatened with sanctions themselves, by the US government, which resulted in the voluntary surrender of the cargo to US officials.

During this period, the business sanctions that were threatened against foreign companies, who wantonly violated US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, included having all their vessels banned from US ports, and the companies themselves being unable to conduct any financial transactions in US Dollars. Naturally, not something that any Greek shipowner could afford.

Having departed from Cape Town, Bruno's next call is Tema in Ghana. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Having departed from Cape Town, Bruno’s next call is Tema in Ghana. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The originating port of ‘Bruno’, Port Klang in Malaysia, was originally known by its colonial name of Port Swettenham. It is the largest operational port in Malaysia, especially in terms of container traffic, and it has a large oil storage terminal, run by Shell, in the Westport section of the port. There are four berths provided for tankers to load products at the facility.

Having completed her parcel discharge at Cape Town, but not a full discharge, ‘Bruno’ sailed from the harbour on 2nd October at 09h00, with her destination being set as Tema, in Ghana, where she would complete the final discharge of her cargo.

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UNCTAD Trade and Development Report 2022 

Banner for UNCTAD report in Africa ports & Ships

Development prospects in a fractured world:

Global disorder and regional responses

Part 1


The UNCTAD Trade and Development Report 2022 warns that monetary and fiscal policy moves in advanced economies risk pushing the world towards global recession and prolonged stagnation, inflicting worse damage than the financial crisis in 2008 and the Covid-19 shock in 2020.

For the report readers are invited to SEE HERE

According to the report, rapid interest rate increases and fiscal tightening in advanced economies combined with the cascading crises resulting from the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine have already turned a global slowdown into a downturn with the desired soft landing looking unlikely.

In a decade of ultra-low interest rates, central banks consistently fell short of inflation targets and failed to generate healthier economic growth. Any belief that they will be able to bring down prices by relying on higher interest rates without generating a recession is, the report suggests, an imprudent gamble.

At a time of falling real wages, fiscal tightening, financial turbulence and insufficient multilateral support and coordination, excessive monetary tightening could usher in a period of stagnation and economic instability for many developing countries and some developed ones.

In the words of Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of UNCTAD: “There is still time to step back from the edge of recession.

“We have the tools to calm inflation and support all vulnerable groups. This is a matter of policy choices and political will. But the current course of action is hurting the most vulnerable, especially in developing countries and risks tipping the world into a global recession.”

Screenshot-2022-10-04-at-14-30-16-Trade-and-Development-Report-2022- in Africa Ports & Ships


UNCTAD is the UN’s leading institution dealing with trade and development. It is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964.

UNCTAD is part of the UN Secretariat and has a membership of 195 countries, one of the largest in the UN system. UNCTAD supports developing countries to access the benefits of a globalised economy more fairly and effectively.

The organisation provides economic and trade analysis, facilitates consensus-building and offers technical assistance to help developing countries use trade, investment, finance and technology for inclusive and sustainable development.

Paul Ridgway, London, in Africa Ports & Ships

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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UNCTAD Trade and Development Report 2022 

Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, in Africa Ports & Ships
Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of UNCTAD.  Picture: Unctad

Part 2     The effect on Africa   

With regard to Africa and the 70-page UNCTAD Trade and Development report* for 2022 it is noted that Africa’s economic growth decelerates sharply. It is further reported that almost 60% of Africa’s low-income countries are already in debt distress or at high risk of it and millions of Africans are falling back into poverty amid acute risks of food insecurity

Africa’s economic activity is expected to expand by a moderate 2.7% in 2022 and 2.4% in 2023, following a rebound of 5.1% in 2021.

As a result, an additional 58 million Africans will fall into extreme poverty in 2022, adding to the 55 million already pushed into extreme poverty by the Covid-19 pandemic, the report says.

Rebeca Grynspan, UNCTAD Secretary General commented: “The economic slowdown causes further setbacks in the realisation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

According to the report, almost 60% of Africa’s low-income countries are already in debt distress or at high risk of it, as debt levels, both private and public, stand at record levels with countries needing external assistance for food, with hunger further spreading across the continent.

Several new challenges

UNCTAD says the sharp economic slowdown reflects several new challenges. These include high international food and fuel prices, financial shocks owing to the stronger-than-anticipated tightening of monetary policy in advanced economies and acute risks of food insecurity in many parts of the region.

Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa

Growth prospects on the continent have deteriorated across the board. This is partly reflected in the growth trajectory of its three largest economies, Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa, which altogether account for roughly 60% of Africa’s gross domestic product.

In Nigeria, the economy grew 3.1%, year on year, in the first quarter of 2022, compared with 4.0% in the fourth quarter of 2021. This marks the sixth consecutive quarter of economic expansion. The continuous growth in the non-oil sector – specifically, in the services and agriculture subsectors – was the main driver of this expansion.

In Egypt, economic activity continued to expand relatively quickly in early 2022, driven by tourism, non-petroleum manufacturing and trade. Yet the country made a request to the IMF for a new programme in March 2022 when it came under new financial pressure. For the rest of the year, economic activity is expected to soften owing to the negative spillover of the war in Ukraine, leading to an annual growth forecast of 4.0 per cent.

In South Africa, growth in the first quarter of 2022 surprised on the upside (+1,7 per cent), before contracting 0.7 per cent in the second quarter, with flooding in the southeast of the country.

While private investment has strengthened on the back of the recovery, public sector investment remains weak. Household spending – which had continued to expand in early 2022 – contracted in the second quarter and are expected to remain subdued until the end of the year owing to higher inflation, lower asset prices and rising interest rates.

Meanwhile, tourism (and that includes cruise-ship calls), hospitality and construction should see stronger recovery as the year progresses.

Elsewhere on the continent, tourism-reliant economies have benefited from the return of international visitors while fuel exporters have enjoyed favourable terms of trade. Yet, the economic situation remains difficult in most of the continent.

Zambia, Ghana, Tunisia

Zambia has agreed to a three-year programme with the IMF and Ghana and Tunisia are in rescue talks. At the end of May 2022, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank considered sixteen low-income African countries to be at high risk of debt distress while seven countries were already in debt distress.

Meanwhile, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 33 African countries need external assistance for food, while acute food insecurity is likely to worsen in the next months in eighteen of these economies.

Rebeca Grynspan reflected: “Soaring fertiliser prices owing to the war in Ukraine threaten to reduce food production and deepen the food crisis, with smallholder farmers likely to be worst hit.”

The situation is especially dire in parts of East and West Africa due to shortfalls in agricultural production, multiple seasons of drought conditions and persisting conflicts.

Overall, high prices are likely to exacerbate social unrests across the continent.

* For the report CLICK HERE

Paul Ridgway, London, in Africa Ports & Ships

Edited by Paul Ridgway

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IN CONVERSATION: Ghana’s petroleum sector management is a mess: what’s gone wrong?

Ghana has considerable oil deposits.   Wikimedia Commons

Clement Sefa-Nyarko, La Trobe University

After three decades of prospecting Ghana discovered commercially viable quantities of petroleum in 2007. Within 3.5 years, it exported its first barrels of crude oil. The progression from discovery to extraction and export was twice as rapid as the global average of six to seven years.

The record speed is indicative of the significant political interest in the sector relative to others such as agriculture and healthcare.

In the intervening years, oil has contributed in many different ways to Ghana’s economy. Directly it has contributed over US$1bn annually to the gross domestic product of the country. This includes the royalties paid by multinational oil companies. Indirect benefits have included gas infrastructure, an expanded petrochemical industry and increased skilled employment.

The natural resource literature on resource rich developing countries equate such resources to a ‘curse’. This is because the benefits are, in most cases on the continent, not enjoyed by citizens.

Does Ghana exemplify this?

In a recent paper, I investigated the political behaviour and institutional arrangements in the petroleum sector over three decades.

My view, based on my analysis, is that two factors – political disagreements and political considerations – supersede any predictable and clearly stated objectives in petroleum governance. This is despite enhanced checks and balances that civil society introduced after the discovery of oil in 2007.

The arbitrary and uncensored decision making have consistently cost the country – and particularly ordinary Ghanaian dearly. This continues to be the case today.

A history of mistakes

I identified three phases of petroleum governance.

The first – 1983 to 2001 – was the period when personal relationships determined who had power in petroleum governance. This period predates oil discovery and production.

The second – 2001 to 2008 – saw the sector change dramatically as clientelist political manoeuvres took over to attract foreign investments.

The third phase – from 2009 to the present – was the active involvement of civil society following the discovery and production. This offered some degree of checks-and-balances.

In 1983 the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation was set up as a national oil company. It was responsible for the sector emerging as a rent-seeking venture. This was because it hedged anticipated future petroleum revenues in the form of loans receivables to meet the country’s petroleum import needs and to fund exploration activities.

This action was termed ‘booty futures’ – a situation where revenues from petroleum are collected several years before discovery and production.

The corporation had the mandate for petroleum exploration as well as imports of petroleum products for domestic consumption. Fiscal space was constrained at the time. One of the corporation’s strategies was therefore to use anticipated proceeds from future oil production from some fields to hedge oil price hikes. It also used proceeds from the sale of cocoa on the world market to directly pay for imported crude oil without having to look for foreign exchange to cover the cost.

These kinds of derivative transactions cost Ghana millions of dollars due to ill-informed advice from its financial advisers.

In addition, the government demanded 65% of the profits. This was a high share for a nascent industry without certainty of discovery. This made Ghana unattractive to investors. The state continued to pump resources into exploration and incurred further financial losses.

Investors began to show interest in 2001 when a new government revised the profit-sharing terms to between 10% and 15%.

The petroleum sector continues to be manipulated by politicians. This is done through the indiscriminate removal and appointment of technocrats and executives. The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation has become notorious for being embroiled in several petroleum agreement scandals. Potentially these are costing the tax payer billions of dollars. Some misappropriation has been averted due to the vigilance of civil society groups. But there’s still a lack of transparency and inadequate political will to propose and implement laws to the letter.

Petroleum itself is not the problem

The primary determinants of the quality of Ghana’s petroleum governance are the political environment and the degree of engagement of civil society in governance.

Petroleum is not a problem, neither is any natural resource per se.

Instead, petroleum arrived at a time in which the country was beset by three fundamental structural problems.

First, political arrangement was characterised by political power influencing the disbursement of benefits to the elites. This arrangement was aggravated by the excessive power of decision making, appointment and resource disbursement at the hands of national level political actors.

In this context, there was subjectivity, secrecy, and lack of consideration for alternative and grassroot perspectives in governance in general.

These factors have cost Ghana several billion dollars. And continue to do so.

Recent revelations show that Ghana risks losing about US$1.5 billion annually due to a 2020/21 gas supply agreement. The agreement has seen Ghana selling gas at a needlessly discounted rate of 77% to a private entity.

Second, internal and external party-political disputes have shaped institutional quality and outcomes. For instance, the dismissal or reassignment of up to 90% of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation staff in 2001 due to a change in government created room for the government to pay an avoidable judgement debt of US$19.5 million to Société General. The lack of coordination between the then Kufour government and the corporation due to competing political interests between the two main political parties in Ghana left room for Societe General to get away with a higher rather than lower negotiated judgement debt amount.

Similarly, tensions in 2014 between two leading members of the then ruling party – Tsatsu Tsikata and Kwesi Botchwey – derailed efforts to set up the necessary infrastructure, contributing to the flaring (burning) of gas in the initial stages of petroleum extraction. This disagreement had roots in the mid-1990s when Botchwey was the Finance Minister under Rawlings and vehemently opposed the indiscriminate infusion of public funds into petroleum exploration.

Third, all Ghanaian governments have shown a lack of political will to formulate and implement laws and other legal frameworks. Even where laws exist, they have shown an appetite to bypass them.

Options for strengthening petroleum governance

To ensure sustained confidence in Ghana’s petroleum sector, I propose the following.

First, future legislation – or amendments to existing laws – must provide guidelines for dealing with sweat equity. Sweat equity is the equity that one gets in return for one’s efforts in bringing petroleum investors to Ghana.

The EO Group and the AGM Petroleum Ghana Ltd are examples of Ghanaian entities that have benefited from this. Without any legislation governing this phenomenon, political actors have exploited it by allowing their cronies to bring preferred investors into the sector without going through competitive procurement processes.

Dealing with this loophole would ensure that profit sharing in petroleum agreements were discussed with the country’s national interest in mind, not personal interests.

Second, Parliament must ensure that regulations are drafted and gazetted within stipulated periods after passage of laws. This will get rid of excessive political discretion in the implementation of laws.

Third, civil society groups, such as the media, should up the ante by making it politically unattractive for politicians to exploit petroleum governance. They can do this by vigorously informing electorates about how the sector is being run.

Fourth, political parties should build consensus to develop a long-term bi-partisan strategy to establish stability of staffing and appointments in the petroleum sector.The Conversation

Clement Sefa-Nyarko, Postdoctoral research associate, La Trobe University

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

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Unions reject latest Transnet wage offer

Transnet banner, in Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet SOC Ltd has applied to the CCMA to convene conciliation discussions after the respective unions rejected the latest wage offer.

According to Transnet the offer is fair and reasonable in light of the current financial and operational challenges it faces.

• A 1,5% increase on guaranteed pay, effective from 1 April 2022.
• As a result of the company’s cash position, the amount due from 1 April 2022 to 30 September 2022 will be paid to employees over three months, at the end of January, February, and March 2023. At the end of October 2022, Transnet will pay the new salary with the 1,5% increase.
• A once-off ex gratia payment of R10,000 before tax, will be made at the end of April

In total this amounts to an additional R950 million on top of the current annual salary bill.

The company says it has emphasised its commitment to save jobs but makes the point that its wage bill currently makes up over 66% of monthly operating costs.

“This is not sustainable, particularly given the current operational and financial performance,” Transnet says, adding that it has urged the unions and Transnet workers to accept its offer… “as the best possible deal that can be made right now.”

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Transnet & Alstom reach in-principle agreement over supply of electric locomotives

The first of an order fr 240 class 23E dual-voltage electric locomotives ordered from Bombardier Transport, now taken over by Alstom. Picture: TFR in Africa Ports & Ships
The launching of locally assembled class 23E dual-voltage electric locomotives ordered from Bombardier Transport, since taken over by Alstom. Picture: TFR

Transnet says it has reached an in-principle agreement with another supplier of electric locomotives, stalled since Transnet cancelled the contracts in the wake of revelations in the Zondo Commission Report.

The latest agreement reached is with Alstom, which ‘inherited’ the problem when Alstom bought up Bombardier Transport, one of the appointed suppliers of the original order for 1,064 electric and diesel locos – 599 electric and 465 diesel locomotives.

The Bombardier order was for 240 dual-voltage electric locomotives (3kV dc and 25kV ac), which were supposed to have been built in Durban together with locomotives ordered from China North Rail, despite neither company having assembly lines in the port city.

In the event 85 of the Bombardier/Alstom locos were delivered before the contract was cancelled by Transnet, which alleged that the placing of the contracts and the monetary values were irregular and unlawful.

In Monday’s announcement Transnet said it has reached an in-principle agreement on matters which they are confident will assist in the conclusion of a binding definitive settlement agreement.

“A binding definitive agreement will resolve pending legal disputes and enable urgent completion of delivery of electric locomotives to enhance Transnet Freight Rail’s ability to serve customer demand,” said Transnet.

“This agreement reflects the spirit of cooperation and transparency between the parties. The next steps will be to work toward the finalisation of the agreement.”

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WHARF TALK: neo-Panamax container ship MAERSK SOFIA

The container ship Maersk Sofia arriving in the port of Cape Town.. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The container ship Maersk Sofia arriving in the port of Cape Town.. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Jay Gates, in Africa Ports & Ships

The queue of container ships waiting outside Cape Town harbour for a berth never seems to go down, and all too often there seems to be no reason why that should be. An example being the evening of October 2nd where, since 16h00, only one berth has been occupied in the Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT), thus leaving a potential of 3 empty berths at the CTCT. There have been no vessels occupying the two berths at the Multi-Purpose Terminal (MPT) throughout the same period. This being over an eight hour period from 16h00 to midnight on the 2nd.

The sole occupied berth at the CTCT was as a result of the previous incumbent sailing, and being immediately replaced on the same berth. Despite these empty container working berths within the port, there were no less than five container vessels waiting off the port, with two waiting at anchor, one having been there for three days, and three drifting off port limits.

On 26th September at 07h00 the Neo Panamax container vessel MAERSK SOFIA (IMO 9308637) arrived at the Table Bay anchorage, from Luanda in Angola and, as mentioned above, went straight to anchor, where she remained for over three days. On 29th September at 17h00 she finally entered Cape Town harbour, entering the Ben Schoeman dock and going alongside berth 603 at the CTCT to begin her onload for the next leg of her voyage to the Far East.

Another view of the arrival of the big container ship. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Another view of the arrival of the big container ship. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2007 by the IHI Marine United shipyard at Kure in Japan, ‘Maersk Sofia’ is 335 metres in length and has a deadweight of 102,861 tons. She is powered by a single Wärtsilä-Sulzer 12RTflex96C 12 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 84,159 bhp (61,900 kW), to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 24.5 knots.

Maersk Sofia had arrived in Cape Town from Luanda in Angola. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Maersk Sofia had arrived in Cape Town from Luanda in Angola. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

When first produced in 2006, not only was this model of engine, by Wärtsilä, the largest marine diesel engine ever built, but it also the first one not to utilise camshafts. In 2022, this engine model is still the largest reciprocating engine in the world. It is not surprising when one considers that the crankshaft alone weights 300 tons, and one piston from the engine is 6 metres in length, and weighs in at 5.5 tons.

The bows of Maersk Sofia facing 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The bows of Maersk Sofia facing ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary equipment includes four MAN-B&W 7L32/40 generators providing 3,668 kW, and she has an emergency generator providing 314 kW. She has a Kangrim CHR exhaust gas boiler, and a Kangrim CHO oil fired boiler. For added manoeuvrability, in order to aid berthing, she has a single transverse bow thruster providing 3,000 kW.

Her cargo carrying capacity is 8,466 TEU, which can be carried within, and on top, of no less than 20 holds, ‘Maersk Sofia’ also provides a total of 701 reefer plugs.

She is owned by Moller Singapore AP Pte. Ltd., based in Singapore, and both operated and managed by Maersk AS of Copenhagen of Denmark.

Ships of the size, between 8,000 to 10,000 TEU capacity, seem a correct fit for South African ports. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Ships of the size, between 8,000 to 10,000 TEU capacity, seem a correct fit for South African ports. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She is one of eight sisterships, and she is operated by Maersk on their Far East – West Africa (FEW6) service, which is also operated in cooperation with CMA-CGN, who call this the Asia-West Africa (AWA) service. She shares this service, amongst others, with one other of her sisterships, namely ‘Maersk Sheerness’.

The scheduled port rotation of the FEW6 service is Qingdao- Shanghai- Ningbo- Nansha (all China)- Tanjung Pelepas (Malaysia)- Singapore- Cape Town- Walvis Bay (Namibia)- Pointe Noire (Congo)- Luanda (Angola)- Cape Town- Singapore- Qingdao. The unusual aspect of the FEW6 service, in South African terms, is that the rotation only serves Cape Town, and that the port is served twice, with calls in both the Eastbound, and the Westbound, directions.

Maersk Sofia sailing from Cape Town. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Maersk Sofia sailing from Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Back in November 2006, when ‘Maersk Sofia’ was running a service to the West Coast of the United States, she reported the discovery of leaking chemicals when entering the port of Los Angeles. The leakage was coming from three containers, located down below decks in one of her holds, and involved leakage of Hydrogen and Cyanamid. The operation to clean up the spill was completed without risk to the general public.

Her onload for her onward voyage to the Far East was completed on 2nd October, and at 16h00 she sailed from Cape Town, bound for Singapore, to continue with the FEW6 port rotation.

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IN CONVERSATION: Green hydrogen sounds like a win for developing countries. But cost and transport are problems

Rod Crompton, University of the Witwatersrand and Bruce Douglas Young, University of the Witwatersrand

Hydrogen is used mainly to make chemicals such as fertiliser, and in oil refineries. Most hydrogen in the world today is made from natural gas or coal – methods associated with large carbon dioxide emissions. Developed countries are therefore looking to “green hydrogen” instead – produced using renewable electricity such as solar and wind power. Energy experts Rod Crompton and Bruce Young explain green hydrogen’s potential benefits and challenges.

What is hydrogen used for?

Global hydrogen demand reached 94 million tons in 2021, and contained energy equal to about 2.5% of global final energy consumption. Only about 0.1% of current global hydrogen production is green, but big expansions are planned.

New applications for green hydrogen are also envisaged.

Liebreich’s classification is a useful indicator of the potential markets for green hydrogen.

Reproduced with permission from Liebreich Associates.

Since the objective of using green hydrogen is really to reduce carbon dioxide, the applications to target first should be those that will yield the largest reductions in emissions. Liebreich’s ladder shows which they are. The applications in the (green) top row are an efficient use of valuable green hydrogen.

But green hydrogen currently costs much more to make than less clean types of hydrogen. Using it to produce the 180 million tons per annum of ammonia required globally for fertiliser production would have a severe knock-on effect on food prices.

So it is difficult to see how this transition is going to occur.

How is green hydrogen made?

Green hydrogen is made from water. Using renewable (“green”) electricity, equipment called electrolysers separates the hydrogen from oxygen in water (H₂O). The process is called electrolysis.

Green hydrogen production emits no carbon dioxide, but the construction of renewable electricity infrastructure currently uses fossil fuels, which do emit carbon dioxide.

Hydrogen has traditionally been made from non-renewable energy sources like coal (“black hydrogen”) and natural gas (“grey hydrogen”). When these methods are combined with carbon capture and storage, the hydrogen produced is known as “blue hydrogen”.

What challenges does green hydrogen present?

Although the costs of renewable power generation have been coming down, the cost of electrolysis is still not commercially competitive.

Today, green hydrogen has an estimated energy equivalent cost of between US$250 and US$400 per barrel of oil at the factory gate, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. Future cost reductions are forecast but these are uncertain. Current oil prices are around $100 a barrel – much less than it would cost to use green hydrogen instead of conventional petroleum products.

The costs of transporting hydrogen must be taken into account too.

Unfortunately, the physics of hydrogen is against low-cost hydrogen transport. It is much more challenging than oil-based liquid fuels, liquefied petroleum gas or liquefied natural gas. Ocean transport of hydrogen has to be at very low temperatures (-253℃). Petrol or diesel doesn’t need costly refrigeration: it is transported at ambient air temperature.

And hydrogen carries only 25% of the energy that a litre of petrol does, making it much more expensive to transport and store the same amount of energy.

Alternative ways to transport hydrogen have been investigated. Because ammonia (NH₃) is much easier and cheaper to transport than hydrogen, the International Renewable Energy Agency has recommended “storing” hydrogen in ammonia for shipping. But that requires additional equipment to put the hydrogen into ammonia and strip it out at its destination. These processes add costs of about US$2.50-US$4.20/kg (equivalent to US$123-US$207 per barrel of oil) according to the agency.

Hydrogen is more difficult to handle than conventional fossil fuels. It is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas, unlike conventional hydrocarbons. This makes leak detection more difficult and increases the risk of fire or explosion. Hydrogen fires are invisible to the human eye.

Historically, hydrogen has been controlled within factory perimeters and managed by trained people. The widespread introduction of hydrogen into society will require new measures and skills, including insurance, materials handling, firefighting and disaster management.

Where are the first hydrogen mega projects likely to be built?

Construction of the first gigawatt scale green hydrogen project in Saudi Arabia has already started. Many of the pioneering projects will be built in the southern hemisphere, mostly in developing countries. This is because they are less densely populated and have better renewable energy resources (solar and wind) for generating the necessary electricity.

Although this may sound positive for developing countries, there are big risks in developing hydrogen mega projects. For one thing, the “iron law” of megaprojects states: “Over budget, over time, under benefits, over and over again”. Project owners bear the project execution risk.

Risks also include exchange rate risk, remote locations, pioneering technology, and a lack of skills. Prospective host countries will have to balance these risks against the temptations of improved investment, employment and balance of payments. They would be wise to extract guarantees from their customer countries so as to avoid the injustice of the global south subsidising the global north as it transitions to cleaner energy.

South Africa now has a “Hydrogen Roadmap” after many years of government funding. There is talk by the energy company Sasol and vehicle manufacturer Toyota of a “Hydrogen Valley”, a geographical corridor of concentrated hydrogen manufacture and application industries. And the South African government and Sasol are talking of establishing a new port on the west coast at Boegoebaai for the manufacture and export of green hydrogen. In Nelson Mandela Bay, Hive Hydrogen is planning a US$4.6 billion green ammonia plant.

Namibia also has big plans for a US$10 billion green hydrogen project.

The key to reducing green hydrogen costs in the future lies mainly in technological improvements and cost reductions related to mass manufacture and a scale-up in electrolysis. And to a lesser extent, incremental cost reductions in transport and handling.The Conversation

Rod Crompton, Visiting Adjunct Professor, African Energy Leadership Centre, Wits Business School, University of the Witwatersrand and Bruce Douglas Young, Senior Lecturer, Africa Energy Leadership Centre, University of the Witwatersrand

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

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190-metre long bulk carrier ship calls at Calabar port

The Chinese bulk carrier Yong Jin that recently called at Calabar. Picture: Fleetmon in Africa Ports & Ships
The Chinese bulk carrier Yong Jin that recently called at Calabar. Picture: Fleetmon

“We’re active, not sleeping, ready for business,” said the port manager of Calabar, one of Nigeria’s ports in the Niger delta region.

That’s after his pilots had successfully berthed a bulk carrier vessel with a length of 190 metres.

The 53,389-dwt bulk carrier YONG JIN (IMO 9347918) was built in 2008 and is flagged in Liberia. She arrived in Calabar from China on 24 September with 11,800 tonnes of cargo.

The interesting cargo consisted of, among others, almost 100 heavy duty trucks, excavators, fire-fighting trucks and several other types.

Addressing the media at Calabar at the port’s ECM Terminals, a chuffed ports manager Olumati Festus said the arrival of Yong Jin was significant as the third large vessel to have arrived in Calabar within the last three months.

Festus said this was an indication that Calabar Port if not ‘sleeping’ but remained active and was creating opportunities for the local community in addition to the state.

He said small business also benefited from the ship calls, because the crew on board and those working on the ship in port spent their money locally buying food, water and drinks.

“This has once again proven critics of Calabar port wrong, we are strongly in business and this is the third vessel in less than three months. We are open, ready and have the manpower for business.”

There is 11,800 tonnes of cargo being offloaded here, he said. “I can assure you that the maritime community has greatly been impacted in Cross River.”

The master of the ship, Captain Xin Jian, described the voyage to Nigeria as uneventful adding that he received all the navigational assistance required in arriving at Calabar.

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Kribi Container Terminal in Cameroon to triple capacity by 2024

Port of Kribi in Africa Ports & Ships
Picture: Port of Kribi

Plans are afoot to triple the container handling capacity of Cameroon’s Kribi Container Terminal by 2024.

Reports in Business in Cameroon say an amendment in the concession agreement was signed in Yaoundé between the port authority (PAK) and Kribi Containers Terminal (KCT), a joint venture formed by the Bolloré-CHEC-CMA CGM consortium.

This will be achieved in the first half of 2024 by way of the construction of a new 715-metre long quay and a platform of more than 30 hectares.

The extended terminal will benefit from five new quayside ship-to-shore gantry cranes and an additional 15 rubber tyre gantry cranes.

These additions to the container terminal will enable the Kribi Container Terminal to increase its capacity to 1 million TEUs and to confirm its status as an important container hub port within the sub-region.

Olivier de Noray, Managing Director of Ports & Terminals at Bolloré Ports and chairman of KCT’s Board of Directors, said the new deal was evidence of the intentions of the Cameroon Government and KCT’s shareholders.

“With the continued growth in volumes this year, the Kribi terminal is positioning itself as the main cargo gateway for Cameroon and the sub-region,” he said.

Phase 2 was initiated in November 2017 and suspended a year later before resuming in February 2020. The port of Kribi was commissioned in March 2018 and provides a 16-metre draught alongside, one of the deepest in West and Central Africa.

The terminal is operated by the Bolloré-CHEC-CMA CGM consortium, and a multipurpose terminal is concessioned to the Philippine ICTSI.

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McKinsey & Co and one other added to Transnet fraud case linked to State Capture

Class 45 diesel-electric locomotives manufactured by Chinese company CRRC in Africa Ports & Ships
Class 45 diesel-electric locomotives manufactured by Chinese company CRRC. Picure: TFR

Another two names were added to the R398.4-million Transnet fraud charge sheet on Friday (30 September 2022).

One of these was that of global consulting giant McKinsey & Company SA.

The other, Vikas Sagar, is described as the linchpin in corrupt deals at Transnet, Eskom and SAA.

Brian Molefe, former Transnet Group CEO, in Africa Ports & Ships
Brian Molefe, former Transnet Group CEO

The two names were added to the charge sheet in the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Vikas Sagar is a former McKinsey director and is accused in his personal and representative capacity.

Employee Goitseone Mangope stands on the charge sheet as the representative of the company.

The two names have been added to those of:

Brian Molefe, former CEO of Transnet Group
Siyabonga Gama, former CEO of Transnet Group
Anoj Singh, former Transnet group chief financial officer(CFO)
Garry Pita, former Transnet group chief financial officer (CFO)
Phetolo Ramosebudi, former Transnet group treasurer
Niven Pillay, Regiments Capital director
Lith Nyhonhya, Regiments Capital Director
Eric Wood, Regiments shareholder
Daniel Roy, current Trillian Asset Management director (Novum Asset Management)
Kuben Moodley, Albatime owner

The charges relate to the orders placed with various manufacturers for 1,094 locomotives valued in total at R54 billion, awarded to the McKinsey-led consortium in 2012.

The alleged fraud occurred while Brian Molefe was group CEO at Transnet.

Siyabonga Gama, former Transnet Group CEO, in Africa Ports & Ships
Siyabonga Gama, former Transnet Group CEO

A number of the locomotives were delivered before Transnet took steps to cancel the orders. As a result Transnet has been in dispute with some of the manufacturers over the supply of spares.

Spokesperson for the NPA Investigative Division, Sindisiwe Seboka, said the former Transnet executives and their co-accused are charged with contravention of the Public Finance Management Act and fraud, while the other accused are charged with fraud, corruption and money laundering.

Details of the fraud occurring at Transnet regarding the procurement of the locomotives was exposed in evidence at the Zondo Commission and later by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in Part 2 of his State Capture report.

These charges relate only to the Transnet locomotive procurement and further charges including against some of the current accused with others are likely when Eskom and possible additional Transnet state capture investigations are completed.

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WHARF TALK: Indian MR2 product tanker HARVEST

The Indian product tanker Harvest in Cape Town harbour, discharging a cargo of diesel. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The Indian product tanker Harvest in Cape Town harbour, discharging a cargo of diesel. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Jay Gates, in Africa Ports & Ships

India is a nation with a large merchant navy fleet, operating worldwide, and yet most observers know very little about the make-up of the Indian maritime fleet. This is mainly due to the fact that the biggest Indian operators are not partners in the multi-national shipping cartels, or part of the big container ship service providers, or even operating as part of the large tanker pools. Out of sight, is often out of mind.

Proof of the pudding would be to ask the knowledgeable maritime observer the identity of the top three Indian shipping companies, or name the top two Indian tanker operating companies. Most folk would not know that the third largest Indian shipping company, is also the second largest Indian tanker operator. Nearly everybody would not be able to name that company!

On 27th September at 03h00, the MR2 product tanker HARVEST (IMO 9296559) arrived off Cape Town, from Vadinar in India. She entered Cape Town harbour, and as all tankers do, she entered the Duncan Dock and went alongside the Tanker Basin to begin discharging a major parcel of diesel fuel.

Built in 2004 by Minaminippon Shipbuilding at Usuki in Japan, ‘Harvest’ is 180 metres in length and has a deadweight of 45,727 tons. She is powered by a single Mitsui MAN-B&W 6S50MC-C 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 11,669 bhp (8,580 kW), to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14.5 knots.

The bridge and accommodation block of the product tanker Harvest, at the Cape Town tanker basin. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
The bridge and accommodation block of the product tanker Harvest, at the Cape Town tanker basin. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes three Nishishiba generators providing 500 kW each, and an emergency generator providing 80 kW. She has a Tortoise MECB111 exhaust gas boiler, and a Tortoise MVW-250 oil fired boiler. She has 12 cargo tanks, with a cargo carrying capacity of 55,886 m3. She is able to carry four grades of product at any one time, and is able utilise each of her four pumps to discharge at a rate of 950 m3/hour.

One of a class of 12 sisterships, all originally built for service with Mitsui OSK Tankships, ‘Harvest’ is now owned, operated and managed by Seven Islands Shipping Ltd. (SISL), of Mumbai in India. SISL are India’s third largest shipping company, and the second largest bulk liquids shipowner in India, and whose initials are writ large on her hull, and whose houseflag proudly adorns her funnel.

Her current voyage to South African shores is not her first visit to Southern Africa. On her two previous voyages she delivered a cargo of fuel products to three ports in Mozambique, with her previous voyage to this one delivering to both Beira and Nacala, and the voyage before that one being to Maputo.

Whilst there is often something to be said about not placing all of your eggs into one basket, SISL derive a substantial proportion of their annual revenues from having their tanker fleet deployed on time charters, and spot market contracts, for the three, large Indian Public Sector Undertakings (PSU). A PSU is a government owned establishment, in which either the central Indian Government, or a local State Government, has overall direct ownership of the company, or holds 51%, or more, of the company.

The major bulk product transport contracts of SISL are to three of these PSUs, namely the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOC), which is state owned, the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL), which is also state owned, and the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (HPCL), which is state controlled. In the last four years, SISL earnings from PSUs have equated to an annual average of over 90% of their generated income.

The current voyage may not be tied into the PSUs, as one of the refineries at Vadinar is operated by Nayara Energy, which is a private joint venture between Trafigura Group Pte. Ltd., of Singapore, and PJSC Rosneft Oil Company, of Moscow. Both companies own just over 49% each of Nayara Energy, which is headquartered in Mumbai, in India.

Harvest arrived off Cape Town, from Vadinar in India. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Harvest arrived off Cape Town, from Vadinar in India. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Trafigura Group Pte. Ltd. is a Singapore-incorporated multinational commodity trading company, founded in 1993, that trades in energy. It is the world’s second-largest oil trader having built, or purchased, stakes in pipelines, ports and oil storage terminals.

Rosneft is a Russian integrated energy company, which specialises in the exploration, extraction, production, refining, transport, and sale of petroleum, natural gas, and petroleum products.

There is currently great concern that the Nayara energy refinery may be bypassing international sanctions on the sale of Russian Oil, by importing Russian Oil to Vadinar, and that oil is then re-exported as Indian Oil. Nayara Energy deny that this is happening.

The concerns were based on the fact that Nayara started buying Russian oil, at discounted prices, for the first time in over a year, shortly after the illegal Ukrainian invasion started, and once international sanctions banned the traffic of Russian oil. The oil was all shipped to the Vadinar refinery, almost exclusively on Sovcomflot tankers, whose fleet had been banned from most of the world’s ports, but not banned from ports in India.

Harvest has called at ports in southern Africa on a number of occasions. Picture by 'Dockrat' in Africa Ports & Ships
Harvest has called at ports in southern Africa on a number of occasions. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Vadinar Port is located in the Indian state of Gujarat, located on the northwest coast of India. The Nayara Refinery is India’s second largest refinery, and processes 405,000 barrels of oil per day. The linked port to the refinery has two berths, for the export of fuel products, and capable of handling LR1 tankers. There is also a single SBM, for VLCC offloading of crude oil imports.

The second refinery at Vadinar is also not a state owned enterprise, but operated by the private, wholly Indian owned, company of Reliance Industries Ltd., and is located at nearby Jamnagar. The Jamnagar Refinery is the largest refinery in India, capable of processing 1,240,000 barrels per day. It also utilises two offshore SBMs for the import of crude oil from VLCC tankers, and has seven berths, situated on two long, offshore jetties that project out into the Gulf of Kutch.

The stay of ‘Harvest’ in Cape Town was clearly not going to be her only call whilst on the South African coast, and just short of two days later, once she had completed her discharge of Diesel at Cape Town, she sailed on 28th September at 23h00, bound for the SBM at Mossel Bay, on the Southern Cape coast, where she arrived at 07h00 on 1st October, to continue her discharge.

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Saipem awarded major Ivory Coast oil services contracts

Saipem 12000, drilled wells at the Ivory Coast concession. Picture: Wikipedia Commons in Africa Ports & Ships
Saipem 12000, drilled wells at the Ivory Coast concession. Pictures: Wikipedia Commons

Saipem, the Italian drilling multinational oilfield services company, has been awarded new contracts in the Ivory Coast worth an estimated one billion euro overall.

The contracts have been assigned by the ENI Cote d’Ivoire-Petroci consortium for the Baleine Phase 1 Project, for the development of the relative oil and gas field offshore Ivory Coast located at a 1,200m water depth.

The Baleine Prospect represents the largest commercial discovery in the country in the last 20 years and it will contribute to energy production in Ivory Coast, strengthening the country’s role as a regional energy hub.

Saipem was involved with the discovery of the field by way of the drilling activities of the Saipem 10000 and Saipem 12000 vessels.

The first contract entails engineering, procurement, construction and installation activities of subsea umbilicals, risers and flowlines and of an onshore gas pipeline for the connection to the distribution grid.

The offshore laying of flexible lines, risers and umbilicals will be executed by Saipem’s flagship vessel FDS2 and the development of the project will be on a fast-track basis. The start of operations is planned for the fourth quarter of 2022.

Firenze FPSO

The second contract – also developed with a fast-track schedule – encompasses engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning activities regarding the refurbishment of the Firenze FPSO vessel, plus 10 years of operations and maintenance services of the vessel.

Saipem says the award of significant contracts in a new area with great potential such as Ivory Coast represents an important recognition of Saipem’s role as a contractor of excellence, and will consolidate Saipem’s strategic positioning in West Africa.

This discovery of oil off the Ivory Coast is believed to be the the largest discovery of oil in the Ivory Coast in the last 20 years. According to the Eni consortium, the discovery could produce up to 2.0 billion barrels of oil and 2.4 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of associated gas and should strengthen Ivory Coat’;s role as a regional energy hub.

Namibia discovery

In associated news, the CEO of TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanne, is reported to have described the finds by TotalEnergies and Shell of light oil with associated gas made earlier this year in the Orange Basin offshore of southern Namibia, as “very large” or even “giant”.

TotalEnergies announced its discovery in February this year, only a few weeks after Shell Plc drilled a successful well offshore in the same area.

The area in on the north side of the Orange River mouth, close to where Shell and others are keen to drill on the South Africa side of the river.

Offshore exploration on the South African side of the river has experienced considerable opposition from environmental groups, similar to those experienced by Shell Plc along the Wild Coast of eastern South Africa.

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Annual World Maritime Day Parallel Event (WMDPE)

World Maritime Day Parallel Event will be held in Durban between 12 to 14 October 2022, in Africa Ports & Ships
World Maritime Day Parallel Event will be held in Durban between 12 to 14 October 2022

In line with observing this year’s World Maritime Day last week (29 September), the annual IMO World Maritime Day Parallel Event will take place in Durban, South Africa, between 12 – 14 October at the ICC.

In 2020 and 2021 this event was postponed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The event in October in Durban will consist of a number of high-level panel discussions focused on IMO’s 2022 theme: “New Technologies for Greener Shipping”.

As one of the most important maritime events on a global scale, the WMDPE will become a definitive stage for the international community to make concrete contribution and progress on collaboration. This is geared at innovative solutions to address mitigation strategies to reduce the maritime transport carbon footprint.

A separate high-level roundtable discussion, at ministerial level, will also take place, highlighting the above theme as well as other important issues, whose deliberations may be used as a platform to embrace new solutions and ideas within the world’s maritime community.

Details and registration for this event at the Durban ICC is available HERE


One of the feature events of the Parallel Event in Durban will be the unveiling of a commemorative sculpture in Durban that depicts the fullness of the maritime world. The sculpture is due to be unveiled by the General-Secretary of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Mr Kitack Lim at a venue to be announced within the port precincts.

The sculpture, which is named ‘Ukuhlangana’, meaning collectiveness, is the work of two young female architects from Pretoria, twin sisters Letlhogonolo and Tlhologelo Sesana of Sesana Sesana Studio.

While the sculpture remain a surprise to be unveiled during the Parallel Event, the video below features an interview with the two sisters.

Click on the video [11:08] below to view and you’l be given a hint of what it may look like.

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IN CONVERSATION: Africa risks losing out on trade as rich countries cement relationships with trusted partners

Jonathan Munemo, Salisbury University

Over the past few years, the world’s supply chains have been strained and disrupted by the COVID pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and rising geopolitical tensions. These started with the US-China trade war and then intensified following the war in Ukraine.

In response to the cumulative economic and security fallout that has ensued, some advanced countries are now ramping up efforts to divert their supply chains away from countries that are not like-minded and that don’t have shared common values.

This new supply chain strategy is called “friend-shoring.” Advanced countries are creating friend-shoring alliances which are, in turn, reshaping our global economy.

These shifts have adverse implications for Africa. The approaches to reconfiguring supply chains currently unfolding threaten to heap more stress on a continent already weighed down by multiple crises.

Africa stands to lose out because the current reshaping of supply chains is not intended to shift trade, investments and jobs towards African trade partners. Rather it’s got to do with efforts by the EU and US to insulate their supply chains from being disrupted for geopolitical reasons by less trusted partners with significant global market share in key raw materials, commodities and other essential products.

Steps can be taken to mitigate the negative economic effects that will be imposed on Africa by this supply chain reorientation. These include forging strong and effective friend -shoring alliances with the advanced economies and defending the rules-based multilateral trading system.

The push for a friend-shoring strategy

In the US, friend-shoring as a policy goal was first proposed by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in April this year. In her remarks on the way forward for the global economy, she identified friend-shoring of supply chains as a strategy that could achieve two outcomes. Firstly it could securely extend market access. Secondly it could simultaneously lower the risks to the US economy and its trusted trade partners.

Then during a tour of East Asia in July, Yellen sought to promote the US administration’s proposed friend-shoring policy first in Tokyo and later on in a speech delivered in Seoul. She said:

In so doing, we can help to insulate both American and Korean households from the price increases and disruptions caused by geopolitical and economic risks.

And during a recent visit to Japan and South Korea, Vice President Kamala Harris emphasised the importance of friend-shoring. Speaking in Tokyo she said:

…it is important that we and our allies partner in a way that allows us to grow, and in a way that allows us to function at a very practical level.

US President Joe Biden has been pushing the same supply-chain strategy in Asia. A centerpiece of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework he unveiled in Asia is bolstering regional supply chains as part of Washington’s efforts to strengthen ties with trusted Asian partners. And to counter China.

The framework is also a big deal for the US because it brings together economies that contribute nearly 40% of global GDP. Along with the US, its other key members include Australia, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and several Southeast Asian countries.

The Biden administration also unveiled a new US strategy towards Sub-Saharan Africa in August. But, in sharp contrast to the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, it does not include any specific and concrete friend-shoring commitments for African countries. And appears mainly to be another counter play against China and Russia—the US’s two top adversaries.

The push to diversify supply chains is also underway in Europe. According to European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, nearly half of companies had diversified their supplier base by the end of 2021. As the world’s largest single market, the EU is able to use its strong regional base to diversify supply chains within the bloc.

While the COVID pandemic certainly played an important role in spurring the shift from dependence to diversification, the war in Ukraine was a tipping point for Europe from an economic and security standpoint. It further intensified the drive to diversify supply lines away from Russian suppliers of critical commodities, especially energy, food, and fertiliser. The strategy is to friend-shore them to countries deemed reliable and with shared strategic interests.

Africa stands to lose out

Africa has nothing to gain from the current reshaping of supply chains. This is because US and EU friend-shoring initiatives heavily favour Asian and Indo-pacific partners. Winners from these initiatives include Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and other Indo-Pacific countries deemed to be trustworthy. Their economies will benefit from the boost given to trade, production plants, jobs and investments.

In addition, friend-shoring also threatens to undermine the World Trade Organisation’s Aid for Trade initiative. This was launched in 2005 to assist developing countries reduce trade costs and thereby enhance export competitiveness. Its significance has steadily increased in the years after it was launched. At this year’s WTO meeting in July, Aid for Trade discussions focused on helping Africa and other developing countries recover and build long-term sustainable development by supporting priority needs they had identified.

These needs include trade facilitation, digital connectivity, export diversification, connecting to value chains, and women’s economic empowerment. They also focused on how environmentally sustainable development can contribute to achieving these priority needs.

Reconfiguring supply chains in ways that exclusively lend a helping hand to current US and EU manoeuvring will only make it more difficult for Africa to benefit from WTO support in these important areas.

What’s to be done?

Looking forward, there are at least three essential things that can be done to mitigate negative impacts on Africa.

First, effective friend-shoring alliances should be included as a centerpiece of the new US strategy towards sub-Saharan Africa. African policy makers should strongly urge the Biden administration to do this and demonstrate commitment on their part to be trusted partners.

Second, the EU should also develop an effective friend-shoring strategy with African partners, even as it pushes for an expansion of intra-bloc supply chains. Again, it is paramount that African policy makers take the lead and justify the importance of entering into a strong friend -shoring relationship with the EU.

Finally, defending the rules-based multilateral trading system is important to ensure that it continues to deliver benefits for developing and least developed countries, including those in Africa.The Conversation

Jonathan Munemo, Professor of Economics, Salisbury University

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

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Aqaba Container Terminal announces zero-emission vision

The vision for the Port of Aqaba in Africa Ports & Ships
The vision for the Port of Aqaba.  Picture: APM Terminals

APM Terminals and Aqaba Development Cooperation signed a Memorandum of Understanding last week for a 15-year extension of their partnership in the Aqaba Container Terminal (ACT).

ACT is situated within the Gulf of Aqaba, one of two gulfs at the northern end of the Red Sea, separated by the Sinai Peninsula. The other, on the western side of the peninsula, is the Gulf of Suez which leads to the Suez Canal.

The MoU agreement secures a $242 million investment to maintain ACT’s leading position in the region and accelerate plans to transform ACT into a truly sustainable gateway to Jordan, the Levant and beyond.

At a forum following the signing, Keith Svendsen, CEO of APM Terminals, introduced the key aspects of the company’s future vision for the Aqaba port, which include ambitious decarbonisation plans, the modernisation and expansion of ACT, the development of a training center for individuals working in the maritime and logistics sectors, and ongoing support for Jordan’s goal of becoming an export hub for green energy.

“Aqaba is considered one of APM Terminals’ major strategic ports, and an important gateway to the Levant region and beyond,” he said.

“To reinforce our long-term commitment to Aqaba and to Jordan’s 2030 Economic Modernization Vision, we have developed a meticulous plan for enhancing Aqaba’s competitiveness both regionally and globally including a net zero emission target for 2040 – the only port in the region with such.”

Investment in Solar Energy

On site solar will completely eliminate the terminal’s carbon footprint and the zero-carbon terminal will become the heart of Aqaba’s future logistics eco system.

The Gulf of Aqaba (right) and Suez and the northern end of the Red Sea. Map: Wikipedia Commons in Africa Ports & Ships
The Gulf of Aqaba (right) and Suez and the northern end of the Red Sea. Map: Wikipedia Commons

Relocating customs closer to the port will optimise clearance processes and directly connect to Aqaba Logistics Village where increasing trade opportunities will reach the wider economy. Bringing together agents and shippers will also ensure faster goods distribution.

The kingdoms potential for renewable energy will meet APM Terminals commitment to decarbonisation. Maersk will also support the development of green hydrogen fuel with knowledge, expertise and a large demand for green fuel, enabling the Kingdom to enhance its positioning as a producer and exporter of green fuel.

Training Centre of Excellence

Part of the vision is to develop a Centre of Excellence for the logistics and maritime industry, which will play a pivotal role in developing the skills of the sector’s current and future professionals in line with global standards and benchmarks. This will support growth and progress for Jordan and across the Levant.

Students enrolled in the centre will have the opportunity to be an integral part of Aqaba’s transformation, allowing members of the local community to take a more active role in these exciting changes.

Watch a short [3:33] YouTube video about the Aqaba Vision

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