Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 3 February 2023

Bringing you shipping, freight, trade and transport related news of interest for Africa since 2002


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

Week commencing 30 January 2023.  Click on headline to go direct to story : use the BACK key to return 



Stay Well, Stay Safe, Stay Patient, don’t become one

Advertising:– request a Rate Card from

For a free daily newsletter via email?  Send your email marked NEWSLETTER to 

Ukraine flag in Africa Ports & Ships

Join us as we continue to report through 2023

and stay up to date with Africa Ports & Ships  (founded 2002 – into our 21st year).  




Maersk Tacoma arriving in Durban 19 January 2023. Picture by Trevor Jones

The oil products tanker MAERSK TACOMA (IMO 9708617) was built in 2015 and is Danish registered with Svenborg as her port of registry. The ship is currently on the South African coast and last week had sailed from Durban bound for Ngqura with a parcel of oil products.

The 4,828-dwt tanker has a length of 183 metres and a beam of 32 metres. wned by Maersk Products Tankers A/S she is operated by Synergy Denmark A/S.

Picture by Trevor Jones


News continues below

Kumba’s tale of lost exports

A two-mile long ore train running on the Sishen-Saldanha ore line. Operational issues have severely impacted exports along this corridor   Picture: Transnet

It’s impossible to pick up a South African mining report without reading the woeful tale of lost exports owing to problems experienced either with the railways or of the ports, or of both.

Such is the case with the 2022 annual report just issued by mining house Kumba, which for those not aware, is Anglo American.

On Thursday Kumba isued its production and sales report for the fourth quarter and year ended 31 December 2022.

Kumba CEO, Mpumi Zikalala, had this to say: “Kumba is producing safely and responsibly as we mark more than six-years of fatality-free production. Sishen [where iron ore is mined] delivered a solid performance demonstrating ongoing operational stability, while Kolomela’s performance is improving, ensuring that both of our operations are well set up for 2023.

“However,” he added, “Transnet’s logistics remain a concern with poor performance continuing subsequent to the two-week wage strike in October 2022 and the annual maintenance shutdown in November 2022.”

This, Zikalala said, limited production to 10.0 Mt, representing an increase of 3% in Q4 2022, but sales [exports] decreased by 35% to 6.9 Mt, “largely due to Transnet’s performance.”

In Q4 2022 production increased by 3% to 10.0 Mt (Q4 2021: 9.7 Mt). However, for the full 2022 year, production decreased by 8% to 37.7 Mt (2021: 40.9 Mt) due to operational headwinds at Kolomela as well as Transnet’s rail constraints. These included industrial action at Transnet, resulting in high levels of finished product stock at the mines, where stockpile levels have reached capacity.

Kumba’s sales decreased by 35% to 6.9 Mt in Q4 2022 (Q4 2021: 10.7Mt) and by 9% to 36.6 Mt for 2022 (2021: 40.3 Mt), due to the “sub-optimal logistics performance which has resulted in low levels of finished stock at Saldanha Port.”

Map of the iron ore export channel between Sishen and the port at Saldanha

Socio-economic benefits

The report emphasises that the mining sector, including Kumba, has the ability to continue contributing significantly to the fiscus, sustained employment, and delivering far-reaching socio-economic benefits.

However, it makes it clear that these are inextricably linked to Transnet improving its operational performance.

“Recognising the integrated nature of the mining industry as part of the logistics system, the Transnet Board and Minerals Council Office Bearers announced on 19 December 2022 that they have agreed to establish joint collaborative structures and work together to ensure that all possible actions are taken to stabilise, recover and improve the throughput of South Africa’s rail and ports systems to enable inclusive growth and maximise the movement of commodities in the national interest.”

The end of the line – the main conveyor line from the stockpiles at the Saldanha Bay Loading facility. Picture: Kumba

Iron Ore Export Channel

Kumba says it is actively involved in this collaboration with its focus on the improvement of the performance of the Iron Ore Export Channel.

The report adds that load curtailment (loadshedding) by Eskom has increased and while Kumba has minimised the impact on production by rescheduling its work according to load curtailment requirements, “managing our operations around the availability of power supply represents an increasing risk for our operations.”

Logistics, sales and the market environment

Ore railed in Q4 2022 decreased by 27% to 6.8 Mt (Q4 2021: 9.4 Mt), further reducing already low levels of finished stock at Saldanha Port. Combined with the impact of the Transnet industrial action at the port, shipping throughput was significantly reduced. As a result, sales for the Q4 2022 period decreased by 35% to 6.9 Mt (Q4 2021: 10.7 Mt).

“Closing finished iron ore stock for the 2022 year ended at 7.8 Mt (Q4 2021: 6.1 Mt), with the majority of the stock situated at the mines given the rail to port performance challenges.”

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 3 February 2023


News continues below

WHARF TALK: LR1 class products tanker CHEMTRANS ARCTIC

The products tanker Chemtrans Arctic on her berth in the Cape Town tanker basin. Picture by ‘Dockrat

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

It is not in the too distant past that hordes of pirates roamed the north Indian Ocean, off the coasts of Somalia and Oman, searching out easy prey to capture and hold for ransom. The outcome of this was shipowners adopting all kinds of measures to make boardings at sea difficult, to make their accommodation seem impregnable, to give the impression that men were on deck scanning all horizons, and to use lethal force, if necessary, to ward off attackers.

The deployment of multinational naval assets throughout the region, with a visible, and permanent, show of force, through programmes such as the EU led Operation Atalanta, and the US led Combined Task Force 151, has effectively removed the threat of piracy in this region. This naval force protection has now also been applied throughout the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, by both the EU led Coordinated Maritime Presences (CMP) programme, and the US/UK led anti-piracy patrols. Again, the presence of western Naval vessels has reduced acts of piracy.

For the casual maritime observer, the upshot of all this skullduggery and piracy in both regions, has been spotting the anti-piracy measures that tankers have applied, and are still carrying, as they enter port. From strung out razor wire, to prepared razor wire canisters, to mannequins on deck watch, to anti-boarding boards, port hole burglar bars, and lockable deck gates preventing access to the accommodation block. Occasionally, one gets to see measures that would be considered to be quite unique, and possibly applied only to the one vessel in particular..

On 18th January at 14h00 in the afternoon, the LR1 class products tanker CHEMTRANS ARCTIC (IMO 9298296) arrived off the Table Bay anchorage, from Walvis Bay in Namibia, and went to anchor for just over a week. She finally got to enter Cape Town harbour at 22h00 in the late evening on 25th January, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and going alongside the long, 250 metre, tanker berth in the Tanker Basin. As always, her time alongside was never going to achieve commercial timescales, as no tanker seems able to achieve when discharging in Cape Town.

Chemtrans Arctic, Cape Town January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2005 by New Century Shipbuilding at Jingjiang in China, ‘Chemtrans Arctic’ is 229 metres in length and has a deadweight of 73,911 tons. She is powered by a MAN-B&W 5S60MC-C7 5 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 13,827 bhp (10,170 kW), driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three Yanmar 8N21LEV generators providing 900 kW each, and a single Volvo-Penta D12D-A MG emergency generator providing 150 kW. She has one Alfa Laval Qingdao Mission OC exhaust gas boiler, and two Alfa Laval Qingdao Mission OL oil fired boilers. She has 12 cargo tanks, with a cargo carrying capacity of 80,721 m3. She can carry three grades of product at any one time, and has three cargo pumps, each capable of pumping at a rate of 2,300 m3/hour.

Chemtrans Arctic, and what appears to be a water cannon. Cape Town January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

As to her anti-piracy measures, there is one structure on ‘Chemtrans Arctic’ that draws you in for a closer look, as it is something that is not something you see as a matter of course on tankers, and it is certainly not anything you see on any vessel, of any description. On her stern, right at the amidships point, immediately behind her flagstaff, is a steel tower construction. It is clearly fed by what appear to be water mains pipework, emanating from the accommodation water ring main, and feeding what looks suspiciously like a water monitor, protected by what looks very much like an armoured front plate, akin to a cannon!

Its location, and design, can only bring one to the conclusion that it is used as a defensive measure, presumably as an automatically activated, directional, or remote control operated, high pressure water jet, to be used to deter potential boarders approaching ‘Chemtrans Arctic’ from astern. If it works, whoever came up with that contraption deserves plaudits. One assumes it is not a contraption to pump unwanted tank, or engine, washings over the side.

New Century Shipbuilding, where ‘Chemtrans Arctic’ took to the water, are specialists at tanker building, and is the second largest tanker shipyard in the world, second only to Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea. The local LR1 tanker design of ‘Chemtrans Arctic’ is extremely popular and, up to late 2022, more than 70 of this design had been completed by the yard.

Chemtrans Arctic, Cape Town January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Nominally owned by Tikalenio Shipping Co. Ltd., of Lemesos in Cyprus, ‘Chemtrans Arctic’ is operationally owned by Chemikalien Seetransport (CST) GmbH, of Hamburg, and managed by Chemikalien Seetransport Cyprus Ltd., of Limassol in Cyprus. She proudly flies the CST logo and houseflag on her funnel. She is placed within the Singapore based Hafnia-BW LR tanker pool. In 2018, ‘Chemtrans Arctic’ and three more of her sisterships were purchased by CST for US$11 million each (ZAR187.36 million).

The founder of Chemikalien Seetransport (CST) was the late Peter Krämer, who was a guest of the late President Nelson Mandela, back in December 2004. President Mandela and Peter Krämer worked together to develop the Peter Krämer Foundation and his ‘Schools for Africa’ project. The intention of the project was to build primary schools in Africa, and has become the most important, and successful, private initiative in the education sector worldwide. The project was the birthplace of President Mandela’s famous phrase “Education is the doorway to freedom, democracy and development in Africa”.

Since the launch of the ‘Schools for Africa’ project in 2005, more than US$300 million (ZAR5.11 billion) has been raised by partners, institutions and individuals. More than 3,000 primary schools have been either built, or renovated, throughout Africa, to benefit more than 30 million children throughout Africa, and improved the long term prospects, and lives, of these children. The figure of 30 million children includes giving 4 million disadvantaged girls the opportunity to attend school for the first time, and on equal terms with their male counterparts.

Katepa Schule Angola, CST Schools for Africa

The ‘Schools for Africa’ campaign has reached primary school age children in 25 countries throughout Africa. They now learn in their newly built, or renovated, classrooms, as well as receive school supplies, and benefit from better teaching quality. Since its launch in 2005, the number of uneducated children in Southern Africa has fallen substantially. Education about HIV/AIDS is now reaching significantly more children today because of the project.

The current Chairman of CST, Christian Krämer, who is the Grandson of Peter Krämer, oversees current ‘Schools for Africa’ projects. These projects encompass the West African states of Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauretania, Ivory Coast, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Southern, and Eastern, African states which receive financial, operational, and logistical project assistance includes Angola, Namibia, Swaziland, Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana, Lesotho, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Madagascar, Somalia, Ethiopia, and of course, South Africa.

Chemtrans Arctic, Cape Town January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

This trip to Namibia and South Africa is not the first to Africa in the last 12 months for ‘Chemtrans Arctic’, as she discharged a cargo of fuel products in Djibouti back in September 2022. As expected, this trip to Africa, and in particular to Cape Town, for ‘Chemtrans Arctic’ was not going to be swift, as the discharge of an LR1 tanker in this port happens at a woeful pace.

When one considers that she can pump a minimum of 2,300 m3/hour, using just one of her three cargo pumps, and that if full she carries 80,731 m3 of cargo, then simple maths of 80,731 divided by 2,300 gives you a figure of an effective 36 hours to empty her tanks. Even allowing for time to change tank couplings, she would be in and out of an efficient, proficient and slick operated port within 48 hours, or two days. If she used all three cargo pumps simultaneously, that figure drops to 12 hours, the sort of figures you see at loading ports in Europe, Singapore, India, and the Persian Gulf.

Yet, by 03h00 on 2nd February, as this article is being written, ‘Chemtrans Arctic’ is still alongside in the Cape Town tanker basin discharging her cargo. That is more than seven days, or a full 173 hours, after her arrival alongside to start her discharge. No doubt, one hopes, she will be ready to sail within the next 24 to 48 hours. As to where, is as yet unknown.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 3 February 2023


News continues below

Green shipping in South Africa: IMO supporting opportunities

Picture: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway

Biofuels from farmed algae, hydrogen-based fuel production and making harbour vessels greener through low carbon fuels are among proposals being considered for support through IMO’s GreenVoyage2050 Accelerator programme.

This programme aims to accelerate deployment of low- and zero-carbon solutions onboard ships or in ports by supporting the development and implementation of pilot projects.

Proposals for low- and zero-carbon pilot projects were pitched during a stakeholder meeting held in Cape Town on 18 January.

Representatives from the Government of South Africa (Department of Transport, and the South African Maritime Safety Authority) and the GreenVoyage2050 project team met with many stakeholders from the private sector, academia and non-government organizations.

It is understood that the next step in the process is for one to two pilot projects to be shortlisted for consideration of support through the GreenVoyage2050 Accelerator programme. The decision on which projects to take forward will be made in consultation with the Government of South Africa.

While in Cape Town GreenVoyage2050 Technical Manager, Astrid Dispert, participated in the Opportunities for Green Shipping in Southern Africa event, organised by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria.

During her panel speech, she provided an overview on recent developments at IMO concerning the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships and how IMO is supporting developing countries in their decarbonization efforts through projects such as GreenVoyage2050.

In particular, she highlighted how, through its geographical position and the abundance in renewable energy, South Africa is well placed to become a producer of maritime low and zero carbon fuels.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 3 February 2023


News continues below

Boluda Towage adds additional tug to fleet in Mauretania

The Boluda Towage tug, VB Maestro. Picture: Shipspotting / Eddie Walker

Boluda Towage has added an additional tug, the VB MAESTRO (IMO  9204453), to its fleet operating port marine services at the Autonomous Port of Nouakchott Port de l’Amitié (PANPA) in Mauretania.

Boluda together with PANPA took over the towing, mooring and pilotage services at Nouakchott from 1 November 2021, operating as the Society of Maritime Services of Nouakchott (SSMN). The Boluda tug VB JAMSAH (IMO 9204465) is also stationed at the port.

According to reports the 60-ton bollard pull VB Maestro tug, which was deployed to marine services in the port of Cádiz, was seen making a ‘technical call’ in the port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria while en route to Mauretania.

Her place at Cádiz has been taken by another Boluda Towage tug, VB MATADOR.

VB Maestro was built at the Cheoy Lee Shipyard Ltd in Hong Kong (China) and entered service in 2000 under the name QURIYAT in service with Svitzer Middle East, based in Dubai.

With a gross weight of 448-gt and 230 deadweight tons, she has a length of 34 metres and a width of 11m and a draught of 5 metres.

VB Maestro is powered by two engines producing 5,032 HP and is capable of maintaining a speed of 15 knots.

Boluda Towing is one of the largest tug companies in the world, operating with a fleet of over 400 tugs in 18 countries and 100 ports in Europe, Africa and Latin America. Source: Puente de Mando & Tugs Towing & AP&S

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 3 February 2023


News continues below

COMMENT: MSC Shosholoza feeder service Ngqura to Cape Town

Anusha III at the Sea Point anchorage Thursday 2 February 2023. Picture: Phil Short

MSC ANUSHA III delays at Cape Town – yesterday’s article refers SEE HERE

I read your article this evening, about the new MSC Shosholoza service starting up, which I also mentioned in the MSC Athens article a few days back. The whole point was to get around the delays that Cape Town seems to introduce on a continuous basis for operators like MSC.

Well, it seems to have fallen at the first hurdle, as MSC Anusha III arrived off Cape Town on 30th January at 09h00, with no berth to go to, so like all the rest she was directed to one of the anchorages (in this case, Sea Point).

She has been there now for what is approaching 72 hours, or three days, or it will be by the time you get to read this email, and with no idea of when she will berth. So the delayed Cape imports are further delayed by a vessel bypassing the Cape for Ngqura, transshipped there, and brought back to Cape Town, just for her to wait offshore.

If MSC Athens had stopped southbound, these containers, and there are a lot of them, would now all be en route to those who are desperately waiting for them. Photo above of her at the Sea Point anchorage taken today by Phil Short, of the Ship Society of SA.

– Jay Gates

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 2 February 2023


News continues below

Mercy Ships’ newest Hospital Ship ready to lower her gangplank for patients

The Global Mercy sailing during Sea Trials. The hospital ship has since joined the Mercy Ships fleet and will be deploying to Dakar, Senegal.  Picture: Mercy Ships

The newest ship in the Mercy Ships fleet will lower her gangway in Dakar, Senegal, and welcome patients on board to receive life-changing surgery.

That’s the word from the Canary Islands, where on board the GLOBAL MERCY there is an atmosphere of expectation.

Ever since the new ship’s construction was completed in mid-2021, she’s been getting ready to serve her very first patients. Day after day, her crew has been patiently preparing for a moment that’s finally about to arrive.

Soon, the newest ship in the Mercy Ships fleet will lower her gangway in Dakar, Senegal, and welcome patients on board to receive life-changing surgery.

Preparing the Ship

Janet and Lawrence Adjei, from Ghana, live on board the Global Mercy with four children, ages 5 through 13. While normally volunteer families spend most of their time serving in West Africa, the Adjeis have been working on the Global Mercy for the past year, making sure she’s ready to serve her first patients.

Now, Janet can’t wait to sail to Senegal in February.

“For the first time, this purpose-built ship is going for field service and to serve its purpose,” she said. “It’s amazing.”

Janet has watched the mood shift on the ship. Anticipation is growing, and new crewmembers arrive regularly.

“Seeing people coming and going, meeting new people, and also getting the hospital ready, it’s exciting,” she said. “We’re just looking forward for the ship to start working.”

For both Janet and her children, the experience of seeing patients receive surgery in Dakar will be a fulfillment of a year of planning and dreaming.

Lawrence Adjei, the Global Mercy’s bosun, has been with Mercy Ships since 1991, serving all over West Africa. But for the past year, he has been hard at work in the Canary Islands, preparing the deck and the crew of this brand-new floating hospital.

“It’s a big ship,” he said with a laugh. “More work, more to be done. And more people to be reached out to.”

“We’re going to double the work we did before,” Lawrence said.

The Global Mercy’s size and custom design give her the capacity to serve more people than ever before. This capacity will be important in 2023, as Mercy Ships serves patients in two countries – Senegal and The Gambia – from one port.

Global Mercy on her sea trials after launching.   Picture Mercy Ships

Preparing the Hospital

Perhaps the most exciting element of the upcoming field service is the chance to see the Global Mercy’s hospital in action for the first time.

“This will be a historic field service,” said Mercy Ships Director of Clinical Services Nathan Claus. “This place really is incredible.”

The Global Mercy hospital will bring new technology and larger spaces to the field service. For the 2023 Senegal field service, she’ll start with two operating rooms running simultaneously, as the crew gets used to the new platform. She’ll eventually scale up to four operating rooms, and in subsequent field services, she’ll begin maximizing her full capacity.

“It’s amazing how much surgery and training we will do in this place,” Claus said. “How many patients, caregivers, trainees, crew, and day crew will be on board at any given time. Decks 3 and 4 will be bustling, and we can’t wait for that.”

The new hospital has several advantages. Many of the off-ship facilities, like the dockside medical tents, have been moved on board. This saves weeks of setup and tear-down, allowing more time for surgeries.

Built-in cameras will allow trainees to watch surgeries remotely, exponentially expanding training opportunities.

The hospital has more physical space, with six operating rooms and 199 beds, significantly increasing the number of surgeries that can be performed during a field service.

“This hospital is six times the size of the Africa Mercy,” Claus said. “It’s a whole different way of working, and it has been helpful to have this time to figure out how we’re going to run this place.”

Claus has been moved by the dedication of the volunteers who have worked on the Global Mercy month in and month out during the equipping phase, without being able to see the transformation that they’re making possible.

“Equipping has been long and not always glamorous,” he said. “It’s tremendous to see their stamina and endurance.”

Africa Mercy in Durban for maintenance and lay-up, 2010. Picture by Trevor Jones

Preparing the Africa Mercy

Now that the Africa Mercy has finished her 2022 field service in Senegal, it’s her turn to take time for rebuilding. While the Global Mercy takes the lead on the next field service, the Africa Mercy will sail to Durban, South Africa (ETA 28 February 2023) for an intensive maintenance period known as ‘refit.’

According to Lawrence Adjei, refit is especially important because it translates to “upgrade.”

“It’s necessary to take time to work on the ship, so that the doctors and the nurses will be able to do their job,” he said. “The ship cannot go on without upgrade; some things have to be done for the ship to last longer.”

Preparing the Community

As Lawrence says, “it’s the people that make the community.”

If there’s anyone who knows the importance of having community on board, it’s the Kirchner family.

Beth Kirchner started volunteering as a teacher in the Africa Mercy Academy six years ago. In the summer of 2021, her parents Caroline and Mike joined her.

“For years, we’ve heard about what she’s doing,” said Mike. “It’s just a special privilege to get to see it.”

All three have now transferred to the Global Mercy, where Mike is a science and social studies teacher, and Caroline leads the hospitality team.

The Kirchners make the most of the community time together on the ship, scheduling standing lunch dates and regular weekend adventures.

“We’re all in the same boat, literally,” Caroline said. “We might as well make the best of it and make it meaningful.”

Africa Mercy, a converted rail wagon ferry now hospital ship, in Durban 2010. Picture by Terry Hutson

Caroline’s team is responsible for greeting new crew, and she puts her position to good use.

“My mom is literally the first person to meet everybody who comes on board,” Beth said.

Caroline is intentional about making sure each new volunteer knows about all the activities they can join. The Kirchners put on a movie night every Friday. They host regular game nights. They gather fans of The Chosen to watch the show on Tuesdays.

“We need to take the initiative to build community on the ship,” Mike said. “The GLM is new. … There’s a lot of people who come by themselves; they don’t know anyone. We want them to feel a part.”

Beth has spent years on the well-established Africa Mercy, which has many of its own traditions. Now, she said, the Global Mercy feels like home.

“It’s a little different because it’s a different space,” she said. “I think it can be a very similar community, in that it is a lot of people who all have one purpose.”

Mike and Caroline have both had the opportunity to see the Africa Mercy in action, if only for a short period. But they know many of their fellow crewmembers have never seen the joy of a successful surgery firsthand.

“They haven’t had that visceral experience,” said Caroline. “So, I’m super excited for everybody on the ship to actually experience it.”

In the meantime, Caroline has been giving hospital tours to as many GLM volunteers as she can.

When they step into the Global Mercy’s gleaming OR, she pictures it as it soon will be: Surgical equipment whirring, ward beds covered with quilts and stuffed animals, lives being transformed.

Every time she enters, Caroline said, she remembers. “Oh, yeah. This is what we’re here for.”

The Global Mercy will soon be making her way to Senegal, and the team are looking forward to serving their first patients for 2023.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 2 February 2023


News continues below

WHARF TALK: mini bulk carrier – LITA

The small bulk carrier Lita in the Duncan Dock at the Port of Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’


Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

To most casual observers, the arrival of a bulk carrier in a South African port is one that raises questions as to what type of bulk carrier it is. This is entirely down to size, and the type is purely based on her tonnage, which is not readily apparent. So is she Minibulk, Handysize, Handymax, Supramax, Ultramax, Panamax, NeoPanamax, Aframax, Kamsarmax, Newcastlemax, Capesize, and so the list goes on.

The other question that arises, is always raised if she arrives in a loaded condition, and that is as to what bulk cargo she might be carrying. Very often, the answer is easy to work out, and that is by finding out what loading port she came from. There are some ports in this world that exist purely for the export of one, single, commodity. An example being Dampier in Western Australia, where Iron Ore is her only export cargo, and the only reason that she exists as a port, in a similar vein to what drives Saldanha Bay exports.

Back on 16th January at 10h00 in the morning, the small handy sized bulk carrier LITA (IMO 9117416) arrived off Cape Town, from Tocopilla in Chile. She entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and going alongside B berth at the FPT to begin the offload of her bulk cargo, an import cargo that was obviously required to keep at least one of the South African industries moving. But what was the cargo, and which industry was in need of it?

Lita, Cape Town, January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 1995 by Shikoku Dockyard at Takamatsu in Japan, ‘Lita’ is 148 metres in length and has a deadweight of 18,305 tons. Such a small size identifies her as a Handysize bulk carrier, a label that is applied to any bulk carrier that is smaller than 35,000 tons. She is powered by a single Mitsui MAN-B&W 6L42MC 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 8,130 bhp (6,063 kW), driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 13.5 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three Yanmar S185-LUT generators providing 340 kW each, and an emergency generator providing 100 kW. She has a Tortoise composite boiler. She is known as a Rubin Hawk design, named after the name of the first of her type built, and she represents a popular ship design for one of her size, especially liked by Far East owners.

Her Handysize mantle is made more apparent when you note that she is equipped with only three deck cranes, and not the usual four you would expect to see on a modern day bulk carrier. Her cranes have a 30 ton lifting capability, and serve four holds with a cargo carrying capacity of just 23,212 m3, another measure of her small size.

She is nominally owned by Iota Shipping Ltd., which is ironic in regard to her recent history, with her operational ownership being Johann M.K. Blumenthal GmbH of Hamburg. She is managed by Blumenthal Asia Pte. Ltd., of Singapore. She is one of three sisterships in the Blumenthal fleet, and her Blumenthal ownership ties are clearly displayed by the Blumenthal houseflag that proudly adorns her funnel.

Lita, Cape Town, January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The recent history of ‘Lita’ has a slight dark episode attached. Most Western, and other established, major shipowners would be happy never to have to be involved in a serious run-in with the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF). To do so is tantamount to being exposed as being a shipowner with serious human resource issues relating to crew treatment, conditions aboard, or service contracts. The negative press exposure that can be brought about by the ITF, and the industry clout that the ITF possesses, can ruin any shipowners day.

In May 2019 the ITF published a photograph taken by a crewmember aboard ‘Lita’ that showed that they had been reduced to collecting drinking water by erecting a deck tarpaulin to catch rainwater, and feed it into a plastic tank placed on the deck. An investigation by ITF representatives, in the Belgian port of Ghent, exposed a series of serious claims, of a number of issues regarding the treatment of the crew by persons associated with Blumenthal. Her ownership by a company called ‘Iota’ is ironic insofar as the impression given, by the ITF, was that Blumenthal didn’t care one for their crew on ‘Lita’.

It turns out that this was not the first run-in that Blumenthal had had with the ITF in recent months, as in the previous month, April 2019, the ITF had the bulk carrier ‘Anna-Elisabeth’, also operated by Blumenthal, detained at Port Kembla, in Australia, for exploitative practices, in regard to crew treatment, and onboard living conditions.

The history of ‘Lita’ throughout 2019 makes for disappointing reading. As a result of the ITF involvement in Ghent, a Port State inspection conducted in July 2019, found no less than 36 deficiencies, of which 7 were grounds for detention, and she was detained for 8 days whilst the deficiencies were cleared.

Lita & tug Usiba, Cape Town, January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Earlier that year, in March 2019, she received a Port State Inspection in Saint Petersburg in Russia, where 14 deficiencies were recorded, again of which 7 were grounds for detention. On this occasion she spent just one day under detention before she was allowed to sail. Both inspections took place under the auspices of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

It wasn’t just 2019 that was a poor reflection on ‘Lita’, as the year before, in February 2018 at Keroman, in France, her Port State inspection raised 13 deficiencies, of which 2 were grounds for detention, and she served a three day period in detention.

Finally, back in April 2016, at the port of Falmouth, in the United Kingdom, ‘Lita’ received a Port State inspection that raised 27 deficiencies, of which 8 were grounds for detention. Again, she was detained for 10 days before being allowed to sail. As before, both inspections in 2018 and in 2016 were carried out under the auspices of the Paris MoU.

For those who wonder what cargo ‘Lita’ brought to South Africa, we go back to the notion that there are some ports that are in existence solely for the purpose of exporting a single commodity. In the case of Tocopilla, it is fertiliser that gives that port her livelihood.

Lita, Cape Town, January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The port itself is a small exposed port, located in an open roadstead, with just a single berth and a bulk loader. Her small size, and ‘half’ berth, makes it an ideal port for the small Handysize bulk carriers. The open roadstead loading is possible because there are no tides in this location to affect the operation of the autoloader. Tocopilla is located at 22°05’ South 070°12’ West.

The fertiliser in question is Potassium Nitrate, which is one of the fertilisers, used in the agriculture industry, which is naturally occurring, and is sourced from vast open cast mines in the north of the Atacama Desert region of Chile. It has the smallest carbon footprint of any fertiliser, due to it being naturally occurring and, unlike other fertilisers, it is not produced as a result of any industrial processes, and chemical treatment, of natural gas feedstock from the oil and gas industry.

Chile is, by a wide margin, the largest producer of Potassium Nitrate fertiliser in the world, reportedly with over 51% of total world production. For those who have a chemical background, or who excelled at Chemistry in school, you will know that Potassium Nitrate is the fertiliser that all other scientifically likeminded schoolboys used to successfully launch their homemade rocket ships, from their back gardens, usually in a cloud of blinding white smoke.

Lita, Cape Town, January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Known as ‘White Gold’, ownership of that part of the Atacama Desert where this natural commodity was located, was considered to be so important to the entire region that the three nations of Chile, Bolivia and Peru all went to war over the control of the Atacama Desert where it is to be found. It was a conflict known as the War of the Pacific, or the Saltpeter War, and was fought between 1879 and 1884. It ended with Chile defeating the Peru-Bolivia alliance, and annexing the territory, effectively leaving Bolivia as a landlocked country, despite the fact that Bolivia still fields a Navy to this day.

The discharge of the fertiliser cargo was complete after two and a half days, and ‘Lita’ sailed from Cape Town at 22h00 in the late evening of 18th January. Her destination was given as ‘For Orders’ and she sailed straight for the Table Bay anchorage, where she has remained to this day. In the past fortnight ‘Lita’ has made one or two short runs out into deep water, just off the Cape, presumably to discharge something not allowed in the anchorage, otherwise she has given no indication as to when she will sail permanently from the Table Bay anchorage, nor for which destination.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 2 February 2023


News continues below

MSC’s Shosholoza feeder service gets underway

MSC Anusha III. Picture: MarineTraffic

The container ship MSC ANUSHA III (IMO 9323041) has been deployed to Mediterranean Shipping Company’s new Shosholoza feeder service operating between the ports of Ngqura and Cape Town.

This new feeder service has been introduced in response to the demand for a regular reliable service ex Far East / Europe to Cape Town, MSC said.

As already reported here in Africa Ports & Ships, the feeder service became necessary when, in order to maintain schedule integrity with the Northern Europe to South Africa weekly service it was necessary to eliminate the southbound call at Cape Town, owing to ongoing port delays at the South African ports.

Instead those ships sail directly to Ngqura in the Eastern Cape where import cargo for Cape Town is offloaded and subsequently handled by the Shosholoza feeder service.

From Ngqura the Europe ships proceed to Durban and then call at Cape Town for export cargo on their northbound voyage.

MSC says the Shosholoza Feeder Service will give its clients the same advantage of having a direct call in to Cape Town but without lengthy transshipment delays.

MSC Anusha III is already deployed on the service and made her first call at Ngqura on 23 January.

The new rotation is as follows: Ngqura – Cape Town – Ngqura.

MSC Anusha III

The feeder vessel MSC Anusha III was built in 2008 and has a container capacity of 3,500 TEU. The container ship has a length of 247 metres and a width of 32m and is flagged in Portugal. Of interest is that although now in use as a feeder vessel, her size and dimensions are not dissimilar to those of the former Safmarine Big Whites.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 2 February 2023


News continues below

IN CONVERSATION: Somaliland’s oil find could reset the regional balance: here’s how

Michael Walls, UCL

The presence of oil in Somaliland has been confirmed by a recent exploration. The discovery has raised the stakes in Somaliland’s claim for independence from Somalia as it holds the potential for a new stream of revenue for the semi-autonomous state. But the oil exploration is deepening the rift with Somalia, which claims sovereignty over the region. Michael Walls answers five key questions.

What is Somaliland’s hydrocarbon potential?

In 2020, Norwegian seismic survey company, TGS, estimated that the Somali basin as a whole likely holds offshore reserves of about 30 billion barrels, with additional onshore reserves, although land estimates are considerably less consistent. Assessments generally include Somaliland and would place Somalia reserves at about the same level as Kazakhstan, which would give the area the 18th or 19th largest reserve globally, as assessed in 2016.

Geological conditions seem to support the view that there are likely to be commercially viable deposits in the region. Whether they prove close to estimates remains unknown at this stage.

There is also evidence of offshore (undersea) reserves in the region, as well as onshore (beneath the land) in the Somali region of the neighbouring Ethiopia. Bordering Somalia, and located next to Oromia Regional State, the Somali Regional State (also Ogaden) is Ethiopia’s second largest federal region.

Why has it taken so long to make an oil find?

This find is being billed as the first discovery in Somaliland but in fact there have been several instances of oil seepage. An oil seep occurs when geological or unrelated human activity results in oil “seeping” into the ocean or onto land. In such cases, the physical appearance of oil occurs unexpectedly rather than as a result of deliberate exploration. It is unsurprisingly taken as evidence of a substantial reserve that is close to the surface, but doesn’t always indicate the presence of commercially viable quantities or accessibility.

Genel Energy, the UK oil exploration firm on whose concession this discovery occurred, has held rights to explore in Somaliland since 2012. So the find isn’t quite the sudden and unexpected bonus that’s been implied by some reports.

Progress has been slow because Somaliland’s lack of international sovereign recognition creates an uncertain context for significant investment. Somalia still claims sovereignty over Somaliland even though the region has operated as a fully if informally independent state since 1991.

This creates a vacuum. The Somali federal authorities cannot enter into meaningful agreements over exploration or extraction in Somaliland. Somaliland is limited by investment risk. And Somalia’s threats and complaints emphasise that risk.

This has not stopped Somaliland from entering into agreements, but it has slowed activities taking place under them.

In addition, there have been disputes within Somaliland over how the proceeds of hydrocarbon exploitation would be shared.

One of the areas with significant potential is the Nugaal Valley, which stretches across the border of eastern Somaliland into Puntland. Genel Energy was already exploring in that zone a decade ago. It withdrew for a time in 2013, citing security concerns. In the same time period, Africa Oil secured rights from the Puntland administration that overlapped with those issued by Somaliland to explore in the Nugaal Valley. A 2014 UN report expressed concern that hydrocarbon exploration in the Nugaal Valley risked fuelling violent conflict. Africa Oil ceased active operation in the area a year later.

The most recent find is in a different area of Somaliland: Salaxley in the Maroodi Jeex region, which is less politically volatile. This makes it more likely that Genel Energy will be able to advance its work.

What challenges lie ahead?

The uncertainty created by a lack of international recognition makes it difficult to mobilise sufficient investment. And there is little doubt that Somalia will continue to remain hostile to both exploration and extraction.

Similarly, local sensitivities around the sharing of financial rewards will need to be managed with care and deep local engagement.

Some commentaries have suggested that the newly discovered oil could be abundant. But the reserves could also prove limited and may present technical challenges in extraction. It is therefore possible that extractive plans will operate at the margin of financial feasibility.

The latest find was the result of an accidental release of oil during drilling for water rather than from deliberate exploration. This may be evidence of a significant and easily accessed reserve, but seepages and strikes like this have happened in the past in Somaliland. A more extensive geo-seismic surveying will be needed before the full extent of the reserve is confirmed.

What would be the political implications of oil wealth in Somaliland?

I had previously studied the place of oil in Somalia and its breakaway states . Somali society is kinship-based. Specific groups identify with particular geographic areas. This means that the political implications vary sharply depending on the location of any oil discovery.

Previous experience of exploration in the Nugaal Valley showed how socially and politically volatile the exercise could be.

The area of the latest find, around Salaxley, is likely to prove less volatile. Unlike the Nugaal Valley, Salaxley has not customarily been subject to the same inter-clan and political disputes. But there will still need to be significant negotiation over sharing of the proceeds of exploration. The government will be keen to ensure that the windfall advantages those in power. Local clan groups will be keen to ensure there is a clear benefit accruing to their communities. Other clans will equally want a say in how increased wealth benefits Somaliland as a whole.

Depending on how negotiations conclude, there is potential for this clan-based process to mitigate the “resource curse” effect. In other words, the system of inter-group negotiation that underpins Somali society might provide some protection from the narrow economic impact of oil wealth that has been felt elsewhere. However, that is by no means certain and the process of negotiation itself has the potential to fuel violence, just as the UN worried in 2014.

Either way, the Somaliland economy remains tiny. Any influx of significant new wealth, even on a fairly modest scale, will create new social, economic and therefore political tensions.

What are the implications for regional dynamics?

The regional impact will depend on the extent of the discovery. Somalia has consistently objected to hydrocarbon exploration in Somaliland as all concessions have been granted under Somaliland legislation. It would object even more strongly to commercial extraction.

Ethiopia’s interest is likely to be more equivocal. Salaxley is close to the Ethiopian border, and not far from active hydrocarbon exploration concessions in Ethiopia’s Somali region. If the Somaliland reserves prove to be extensive after a technical appraisal, it would suggest that those in the adjacent Ogaden Basin are also significant. In this case Somaliland and Ethiopia would hold a mutual interest in ensuring sufficient regional security to enable extraction.The Conversation

Michael Walls, Professor of Development Politics and Economy & DPU Director, Faculty of the Built Environment, UCL

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

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 2 February 2023


News continues below

Transaid at 25: London fundraising

Transaid at 25

Edited by Paul Ridgway

The 2022 Freight Service Awards ceremony presentation and luncheon once again took place at the Brewery* in London, and attracted a record-breaking audience of over 550; who generously raised over £3,500 for Transaid during a raffle at the event.

Hosted by sporting legend, Kevin Keegan, the awards demonstrate commitment to both the industry and driving change. The competition encourages and rewards high standards and professionalism, representing the ultimate recognition of special achievements in different sectors of the industry.

Transaid’s Acting Co-Chief Executive, Sam Clark addressed the diners, thanking BIFA and the industry for their continued support for Transaid.

Clark shared updates on many of Transaid’s programmes, revealing that over the last year and with the support from the industry, Transaid has trained trainers who have gone on to train more than 5,000 drivers at its partner training centres in Africa.

Speaking about Transaid’s road safety programmes which currently span six countries, he said: “I spend a large proportion of my time supporting these road safety programmes, most recently travelling to Uganda and Kenya.

“Both of these programmes are developing sustainable approaches with local partners, which we believe can save many lives, by equipping drivers and motorcycle riders with the skills they need to make it home safely at the end of every day.”

Transaid indicated its gratitude to Steve Parker and all at BIFA (British International Freight Association) for kindly hosting Transaid at the awards luncheon and to all patrons of the event for their support for the raffle, which will help the road safety and access to healthcare programmes in sub-Saharan Africa.

A tribute was paid to Robert Keen for his unwavering support to Transaid over the years. He was wished bonne chance in his new role as International Relations Manager for the BIFA. Thanks were also conveyed to BIFA, the London Freight Club, and the Woodland Group for their generous raffle prize donations.

Transaid training

Transaid at 25 in 2023

To commemorate Transaid’s 25th Anniversary year in 2023, the charity is encouraging supporters to fundraise their way by engaging with the 2.5 challenge in which a target for a team or individual would be based on the numbers 2 and 5 with friends, family and colleagues sponsoring.

This could be anything from baking 25 cakes in aid of Transaid and selling slices to colleagues – to walking, cycling or sports challenges, whether it be 25 miles, 25 laps or something achived consistently over 25 days.

There is a wealth of fun to be had and ideas and progress can be discussed here:

Transaid would like to receive any photographs and videos collected with this fund raising venture and may be sent to Maddy Matheson, Communications Officer by e-mail

Current Transaid programmes

Current programmes are OUTLINED HERE

* An historic place in the City of London. For more SEE HERE

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 2 February 2023


News continues below

Six arrested for truck highjacking – one a policeman

Picture: Terry Hutson

A 43-year-old police sergeant was amongst six suspects who were arrested on Monday for possession of a suspected stolen vehicle and two hijacked truck trailers in Clewer, Emalahleni, Mpumalanga.

According to the South African Police Service (SAPS), Middleburg Flying Squad members received information about the truck, which was hijacked in Elsburg, Gauteng, in January.

Provincial police spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala, said police officers followed the tracking signal, which led them to a certain plot in Clewer.

“Upon arrival, members noticed a White Toyota Dakar next to two trailers. Upon seeing the police, six people started running in different directions. Police managed to apprehend them and out of the six people, there was a police sergeant stationed at Vosman SAPS, as well as two Zimbabwean nationals.

“Police further discovered that the trailers were still loaded with cooking oil estimated at about R1.3 million and they were positively identified as the ones belonging to the reportedly hijacked truck. It was also established that the Toyota Dakar was reported stolen in Garsfontein (in Gauteng province) in September 2017,” said Mohlala.

He said the truck was also found abandoned a few kilometres from the plot. Police are currently continuing with the investigation to establish if the suspects are not involved in other similar criminal activities.

A SAPS internal investigation will also be conducted against the arrested police sergeant.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 2 February 2023


News continues below

WHARF TALK: homeported at Cape Town – MSC SINFONIA

MSC Sinfonia entering the port at Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, which as all Francophones know means “the more things changes, the more things stay the same”. If one was asked to name one Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) vessel that has been working the South Africa coast the longest, the odds are that the answer given would be the wrong one.

The time frame for that MSC vessel goes as far back as 13th November 2009, when it entered Durban harbour for the very first time, her first South African port, i.e. more than 13 years ago. To help the guesswork, one has to be reminded that MSC is made up of two major shipping divisions. The one that is the biggest is the Container Shipping Division, with the smaller Passenger Cruise Division making up the other element. The clue, is that the answer to the question, does not lie within the former.

On 30th January at 06h00, saw the regular sight, throughout the summer of the 2023-2024 cruise liner season, of the arrival of the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) passenger cruise ship MSC SINFONIA (IMO 9210153) off Cape Town harbour. She had arrived from one of her regular 36 hour ‘cruises to nowhere’ out of Cape Town, and entered the Tavern of the Seas harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and went alongside the Passenger Cruise Terminal at E Berth.

MSC Sinfonia, Cape Town, January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her arrival was the conclusion of yet another short cruise, from a programme that started with her 33 day positioning voyage from Venice, to Durban, where she arrived on 14th December 2022. She arrived at Cape Town, to begin her full programme of summer cruises on 17th December. Her Cape Town cruise programme, which will continue to run until 10th March, consists of a rotation of two, three, four and five day cruises, either to ‘nowhere’, to Mossel Bay, to Walvis Bay, or to both Walvis Bay and Lüderitz in Namibia.

Built in 2002 by the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard at St. Nazaire in France, ‘MSC Sinfonia’ is 275 metres in length, with a deadweight of 65,542 tons. As built, she was only 251 metres in length, and had a deadweight of only 58,625 tons. She was originally built to the order of the now defunct Festival Cruises, and launched with the name of ‘European Stars’, so she is unusual as being only one of two passenger cruise ships in the current fleet that was not built directly to the order of MSC. She joined the MSC cruise fleet in 2004 and renamed ‘MSC Sinfonia’.

MSC Sinfonia, Cape Town, January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She has diesel electric propulsion, and has four Wärtsilä 12V38 12 cylinder 4 stroke main engines producing 10,621 bhp (7,920 kW) each. These provide both domestic power, and power to four electrical propulsion motors, providing 7,650 kW each, driving two Mermaid Kamewa Azipods producing 13,410 bhp (10,000 kW) each, to give her a service speed of 21 knots.

Her auxiliary equipment includes an emergency generator providing 750 kW. She has four Unex CHR exhaust gas boilers, and two Unex CHO oil fired boilers. For added manoeuvrability she has two transverse bow thrusters providing 2,350 kW each.

MSC Sinfonia, Cape Town, January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Costing US$245 million (ZAR4.26 billion) to build, and as with many of the MSC passenger liners, ‘MSC Sinfonia’ was christened by Italian actress, and screen goddess, ‘Sophia Loren’. In 2015 she was lengthened by the addition of a 24 metre long midship hull section, which added 200 balcony cabins, and increased her passenger capacity by 500 persons.

This lengthening process took place at the Italian Fincantieri Shipyard at Palermo, in Sicily. It is this lengthening operation that increased her length overall from 254 metres to 275 metres, and increased her deadweight from 58,625 tons, to 65,542 tons.

She can carry 2,546 passengers, and has a crew of 721 persons. She has a total of thirteen decks, with nine of these decks being exclusively for passenger use, with a total of 980 cabins available. She is owned by the Mediterranean Shipping Company SA, of Geneva in Switzerland, owned by MSC Cruises SA, also of Geneva, and managed by MSC Cruise Management UK Ltd., of Uxbridge in the United Kingdom.

MSC Sinfonia, Cape Town, January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She has a wide range of onboard facilities, which include four restaurants, five cafés, five bars, two lounges, a theatre, casino, spa, salon, gymnasium, business centre, discotheque, teen club, solarium, two swimming pools, a Jacuzzi, and a water splash area. In line with her musical name, all of her passenger decks are named after famous classical music composers, Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Debussy, Bizet and Schubert.

Her remaining cruise programme from Cape Town includes four, four day, cruises to Walvis Bay, three, three day, cruises to Mossel Bay, one, two day, cruise to nowhere, and one, five day, cruise to Walvis Bay and Lüderitz. On completion of this programme, she will conduct her final cruise along the South African coast, departing on 10th March for a three day cruise to Durban.

MSC Sinfonia, Cape Town, January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Departing from Durban on 13th March, ‘MSC Sinfonia’ will make her positioning voyage back to Europe, in time to start her summer cruising programme, based from Venice, and cruising the Mediterranean, Adriatic and Aegean Seas. Her 27 night, 28 day, itinerary will be Durban- La Possession (Reunion)- Port Louis (Mauritius)- Victoria (Seychelles)- Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)- Safaga (Egypt)- Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt)- Sokhna (Egypt)- Suez (Egypt)- Heraklion (Greece)- Piraeus (Greece)- Split (Croatia)- Venice (Italy).

After taking on more bunkers from the Cape Town based bunker tanker, ‘Al Safa’, ‘MSC Sinfonia’ was ready to undertake her next short cruise, and at 16h00 on 30th January she sailed from Cape Town, on a four day cruise, bound for Walvis Bay in Namibia. She returns to Cape Town on 3rd February.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 1 February 2023


News continues below

Land reclamation in the Maldives: Boskalis acquires €120 million contract

Dredging and reclamation in the Maldives. Picture: Boskalis

Edited by Paul Ridgway

Development and climate adaptive measures Gulhifalhu

Boskalis announced from Papendrecht on 30 January 2023 that it had acquired a contract from the Ministry of National Planning, Housing and Infrastructure of the Republic of the Maldives relating to the further development including climate adaptive measures of Gulhifalhu.

It is understood that the contract carries a value of approximately €120 million.

This project concerns the second phase of the expansion of the island of Gulhifalhu for which Boskalis also executed the first phase in recent years.

Port development

Development of Gulhifalhu, which is located approximately four kilometres from the capital Malé, is part of the Ministry of National Planning, Housing and Infrastructure’s strategic plan to improve and develop the port infrastructure, and will serve as a climate adaptive solution, making this part of the Maldives resilient to rising sea levels.

For the second phase of the island’s expansion, Boskalis will deploy a large trailing suction hopper dredger to reclaim new land using approximately eighteen million cubic metres of sand. Boskalis’ activities also include rock revetment work for shoreline protection.

Environmental assessment

To manage the environmental impacts of the dredging and land reclamation activities, a comprehensive environmental impact assessment was conducted in accordance with the highest international standards. To mitigate possible adverse effects, Boskalis is implementing various measures, including coral relocation and measures to limit the spreading of sediments in the water in combination with regular monitoring of the water quality.

Over the past two decades, Boskalis, a leading global services provider operating in the dredging, maritime infrastructure and maritime services sectors, has successfully executed several climate-adaptive dredging and land reclamation projects in the Maldives, including reconstruction work on the islands of Vilufushi and Villingili following the devastating tsunami in late 2004 and the initial development of Gulhifalhu in 2010 and 2012.

In addition, Boskalis was responsible for the successful execution of the first phase of the expansion of Gulhifalhu in 2019 and 2020.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 1 February 2023


News continues below

Xeneta container rates alert: record-breaking fall in long-term rates for ocean freight, as carriers brace for stormy 2023X


January proved to be a dramatic month for long-term ocean freight rates, with the latest data from the Xeneta Shipping Index (XSI®) showing the largest ever month-on-month declines.

According to the XSI®, which is based on crowd-sourced data from leading shippers worldwide, average long-term contracted rates dropped by 13.3% in January. This is now the fifth month in a row of falling prices on the index, with, Xeneta warns, little sign of change ahead in what looks set to be a challenging year for carriers.

Shippers in the driving seat

January’s decline marks a significant change in tempo from December’s 0.1% dip in prices, but, as Xeneta CEO Patrik Berglund explains, it wasn’t entirely unexpected.

“Global demand has fallen away, congestion has eased, equipment is available, and the macro-economic and geopolitical situations are, to say the least, complex,” he states. “As a result of those market fundamentals, spot prices have collapsed, spiralling downwards since late summer 2022. However, the carriers have managed to protect long-term rates from the worst impacts, until now.

“With the dawn of 2023 many of the contracts negotiated last year have expired. Shippers, well aware of market dynamics turning in their favour, have reacted, pushing carriers for major rates reductions. What we’re seeing now is the effect of that, as new contracts enter validity. And, for the carriers, worse is set to come.”

Overcapacity looms large

Berglund notes that May last year saw the XSI®’s largest monthly increase in a ‘super-hot’ market, with a climb of 30.1%. US import rates soared a staggering 65%. With contracts negotiated then set to expire at the end of April, upcoming falls could again rewrite the record books.

“January has been difficult for the carriers and there’s a real danger of some horrific times on the horizon,” he comments. “With the market looking so depressed, overcapacity seems certain to loom large throughout the year. The only hope of protecting rates is removing capacity at a pace that mirrors demand, or rather the lack of it. It’s been a golden age for carriers since the pandemic wreaked havoc on global supply chains, but the tide has well and truly turned.”

Fronthaul falls

All six of the XSI®’s regional sub-indexes posted drops in January, some of which are the largest on record.

Patrik Berglund, Xeneta CEO

January’s largest fall was recorded on the Far East export subindex, with this major fronthaul corridor losing 18.1% of its value (41% up year-on-year). The backhaul proved more resilient, posting a 3.2% fall on the import benchmark – although this is still the sub-index with the smallest year-on-year increase, up 25.7%.

In Europe, the import benchmark saw a 9.6% drop, with Xeneta notes, some even larger declines associated with the trade from the Far East. The average valid long-term rate from the Far East to North Europe fell by 17%, with those from the Far East to the Mediterranean slipping by 15%. However, despite these sharp falls the previous strength of the market means rates remain 40.9% up year-on-year. The XSI® for exports also sits strong, despite a 5.2% fall this month, up a commanding 83% against January 2022.

The story is similar in the US across January, with the import subindex declining 15.8% from December. The export benchmark performed better in the soft market, with “only” a 1.3% month-on-month drop.

Historic heights

“From a short-term perspective these figures are steeped in a sense of doom and gloom for the carrier community, but that’s far from the whole story,” Berglund concludes. “If we look back to this time last year, the Global XSI is currently a remarkable 52.7% up. But if we cast our vision a little further back still – to January 2020, before the pandemic – then we can see an increase for long-term contract rates of a genuinely staggering 216.4%. I don’t think anyone could have predicted that scale of change.

“So, yes, rates are dropping, but they have been climbing for a very long time. So, it’s not panic stations just yet… But it might be in the months to come.”

To learn more, please visit

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 1 February 2023


News continues below

MoU signed for railway linking Niger and Nigeria

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by the governments of Nigeria and Niger for the construction of a railway line between the two countries.

The railway will commence from Kano State in Nigeria and end at Maradi in Niger.

Signing the MoU were Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo and his counterpart from Niger, Alma Oumarou.

It is hoped the railway will help achieve the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which both countries have signed and endorsed.

Sambo said he was aware that people have blood relationships across borders. “The project will expand the historical and cultural relationship between the people of Nigeria and those of the Niger Republic,” he said.

“The project is also very important in enhancing inter-nation and continental trade.”

The Nigerian transportation minister said a technical committee would be set up within seven days in accordance with Article 3 of the MoU.

The nomination of members and inauguration of the technical committee would be concluded by the first week of February 2023, he added.

Once this has been completed the technical committee will take charge in facilitating and implementing the project, he said.

Niger’s minister Oumarou said the establishment of a railway linking the two countries will strengthen cultural ties while also creating employment.

The railway at Niamey

Controversial plan

Construction of this line is not without some controversy. The railway is said to be for the delivery of crude oil from Niger Republic to a Nigerian refinery being built at Mashi in Katsina State. The private-sector refinery is being facilitated, it was reported, by Niger.

Other contentious issues relate to questions being asked as to why the Nigerian Government is anxious to build this railway when other railways within Nigeria are receiving poor funding for their rehabilitation and maintenance.

Niger has only a single railway, extending between Niamey and Dosso, some 130km to the southeast. This was built between 2014 and 2016 by the French Bolloré company, with the intention of connecting Niamey to the Benin rail network and thus to the coast.

This never materialised owing to litigation between different competing bodies and the connection with the Benin system remains unfinished, while the section within Niger has become damaged and distorted by summer heat and other interferences.

In 2012 a multi-national railway was proposed which would connect Benin, Niger, Burkino Faso and the Ivory Coast along a lengthy loop line, which Africa Ports & Ships reported on at the time.

Like other ambitious schemes for the region this never materialised, leaving Niger dependent on road transport to its neighbour’s borders.

Whether the Nigeria – Niger railway now being reported ever happens only time will tell.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 1 February 2023


News continues below

MoU signé pour le chemin de fer reliant le Niger et le Nigeria

Un protocole d’accord a été signé par les gouvernements du Nigeria et du Niger pour la construction d’une ligne de chemin de fer entre les deux pays.

Le chemin de fer partira de l’État de Kano au Nigéria et se terminera à Maradi au Niger.

Le protocole d’accord a été signé par le ministre nigérian des transports, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, et son homologue nigérien, Alma Oumarou.

On espère que le chemin de fer contribuera à atteindre les objectifs de l’Accord de libre-échange continental africain (AfCFTA) que les deux pays ont signé et approuvé.

Sambo a déclaré qu’il était conscient que les gens avaient des relations de sang au-delà des frontières. “Le projet élargira les relations historiques et culturelles entre le peuple nigérian et celui de la République du Niger”, a-t-il déclaré.

“Le projet est également très important pour améliorer le commerce international et continental.”

Le ministre nigérian des transports a déclaré qu’un comité technique serait mis en place dans les sept jours conformément à l’article 3 du protocole d’accord.

La nomination des membres et l’inauguration du comité technique seront conclues d’ici la première semaine de février 2023, a-t-il ajouté.

Une fois cela terminé, le comité technique se chargera de faciliter et de mettre en œuvre le projet, a-t-il déclaré.

Le ministre nigérien Oumarou a déclaré que la mise en place d’un chemin de fer reliant les deux pays renforcera les liens culturels tout en créant des emplois.

Le chemin de fer à Niamey

Plan controversé

La construction de cette ligne n’est pas sans controverse. Le chemin de fer serait destiné à la livraison de pétrole brut de la République du Niger à une raffinerie nigériane en cours de construction à Mashi dans l’État de Katsina. La raffinerie du secteur privé est facilitée, a-t-on rapporté, par le Niger.

D’autres questions litigieuses concernent les questions posées sur les raisons pour lesquelles le gouvernement nigérian est impatient de construire ce chemin de fer alors que d’autres chemins de fer au Nigeria reçoivent un financement insuffisant pour leur réhabilitation et leur entretien.

Le Niger n’a qu’un seul chemin de fer, s’étendant entre Niamey et Dosso, à environ 130 km au sud-est. Celui-ci a été construit entre 2014 et 2016 par la société française Bolloré, avec l’intention de relier Niamey au réseau ferroviaire béninois et donc à la côte.

Cela ne s’est jamais concrétisé en raison de litiges entre différents organismes concurrents et la connexion avec le système béninois reste inachevée, tandis que la section à l’intérieur du Niger a été endommagée et déformée par la chaleur estivale et d’autres interférences.

En 2012, un chemin de fer multinational a été proposé qui relierait le Bénin, le Niger, le Burkina Faso et la Côte d’Ivoire le long d’une longue ligne en boucle, qui Afrique</ i> Ports & Navires signalés à l’époque.

Comme d’autres projets ambitieux pour la région, cela ne s’est jamais concrétisé, laissant le Niger dépendant du transport routier jusqu’aux frontières de son voisin.

Seul le temps nous dira si le chemin de fer Nigeria – Niger actuellement signalé se produit.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 1 February 2023


News continues below

French Naval frigate FS Nivôse calls at Durban

FS Nivôse in Durban at an earlier time. Picture: Terry Hutson

The French Navy patrol frigate, FS NIVOSE F732, based at Port des Galets, Réunion in the Indian Ocean, has arrived in Durban for a routine call.

The frigate, which is a regular visitor to the port and to Cape Town, is heading on patrol to the French Antarctic Territories and islands in the Southern Ocean.

The purpose of the patrol is to demonstrate French sovereignty over the dependencies of the Indian Ocean, including Kerguelen and the Crozet group, St Paul and Amsterdam islands.

Other French territorial interests include several islands and groups in the Mozambique Channel, including Europa Island and Mayotte in the Comores.

During her cruise in the Southern Ocean FS Nivôse is likely to visit South Africa’s Marion and Prince Edward Islands without going ashore.

FS Nivôse, as with her sister frigate FS Floréal (F730), was built at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard with Nivôse being laid down on 16 January 1991. Interestingly, the frigates were built to commercial standards and using modular methods, which reduced both time and cost.

The frigate was launched on 10 August 1991 and received her commission into the French Navy on 16 October 1992 and following the installation of her weapons systems the frigate sailed for Port des Galets, Réunion. Since then she has on occasion entered into naval exercises with the South African Navy but mostly her regular visits are for R&R.


Class: Floréal-class frigate
Displacement: 2,600t or 3,000t full load
Length: 93.5m
Beam: 14m
Draught 4.3m
4 × SEMT Pielstick 6 PA6 L280 BPC diesel engines, producing 6,580 kW (8,820 hp) and driving 2 shafts, plus a 203 kW (272 hp) bow thruster.

FS Nivôse has a speed of 20 knots and a range of 9,000 nautical miles at 15 knots.

The frigate has a complement of 90 in addition to embarking 24 marines as necessary.

FS Nivôse will depart from Durban on Saturday, 4 February 2023.

SA Armed Forces Day, Richards Bay

Naval vessels from the South African, Russian and Chinese Navies will be alongside at Richards Bay as part of the annual Armed Forces Day celebrations, timed to coincide with the anniversary of the sinking of the troopship ss Mendi in 1917.

The three navies will be taking part in Exercise Mosi II and will include the frigate SAS Mendi and inshore patrol vessel SAS King Sekhukhune, the Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov and three Chinese Navy vessels – one thought to be a destroyer, one a frigate and the third a support vessel.

The SANDF reports the ships will be open to the public between 09h00 and 15h00 from 16 to 19 February 2023.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 1 February 2023


News continues below

Latest problem to hamstring Durban port operations – a broken down tug fleet

The former Durban tug UMBILO in the port entrance channel 19 April 2018. Picture: Trevor Jones

The Port of Durban is hamstrung with a tug shortage – at one stage only two of the necessary fleet of five in service at any one time were available.

This follows a series of breakdowns on its tugs in the past week.

The port ought to have available a fleet of at least eight tugs, of which five should be in service at any given time. But lately this has not been possible and this week reached the point where only two were in service.

Transnet says it is putting in place mitigation plans to improve marine craft availability in the port.

According to Transnet the average availability of tugs as at 27 January (Friday) was three.

Now Transnet is drafting in a tug from the port of Ngqura, the INDLAZI, which will arrive in Durban today (Tuesday 31 January). Indlazi was originally a Richards Bay vessel, later transferred to the Eastern Cape port.

This, it says will increase the number of available tugs at Durban to four.

One tug is currently in dry dock completing a Hull Certification. Once completed – expected to be tomorrow (Wednesday, 1 February 2023), she will rejoin the available fleet and increase the total number of available tugs available to five which should enable the port to adequately service vessels berthing at the port.

That’s provided another doesn’t break down. There are no ‘spares’ available as there would normally be if the available fleet numbered eight.

Transnet says that “in the medium-term and to create spare capacity; tugs Palmiet, Pholela and Umsunduzi – all older tugs which are currently getting an overhaul on their propulsion units – are expected to be back in operation by the end of April 2023.”

Until recently the tug named Palmiet, built in 2000, was working at the Port of Cape Town, despite being intended as a Durban tug. Likewise a sister tug of the same vintage named Enseleni.

It’s possible to identify where a tug was originally built for by its name – Durban tugs are all named for local KZN rivers.

An interesting picture – the Richards Bay (intended) tug USIBA helping launch the Durban tug UMBILO – 22 (on the floating Sandock) August 2017. Both tugs are now at Cape Town. Picture: Terry Hutson

That’s why it is curious to find the modern tug UMBILO at work in the Port of Cape Town. Also a tug named USIBA which was built for the Port of Richards Bay but diverted to Cape Town on her completion. Richards Bay lost out.

Perhaps there’s a pattern here.

Transnet now says it is in the process of acquiring two second-hand tugs, with a maximum age of five years. These can be expected to be delivered by August 2023 – seven months away.

Ironically (or is that yet another irony), there an unfinished but almost completed tug in two pieces at the Sandock Austral shipyard at Durban’s Bayhead – the subject of a financial dispute between the shipyard and Transnet that goes back years even before the uncompleted tug was built.

The tug, number nine in a series of 9 tugs built on contract by Sandock Austral for the TNPA, became a pawn in the dispute over rent. Now she remains in two sections – a hull and separate upper superstructure awaiting assembly. The other eight tugs of that order all went into service at various ports – including Umbilo intended for Durban and USIBA for Richards Bay but both diverted to Cape Town.

– trh

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 31 January 2023


News continues below

WHARF TALK: Neo-Panamax container vessel – MSC ATHENS

The neo-panamax container ship MSC Athens enters port at Cape Town, January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

The great fleet of the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is one of the largest, owned, container vessel fleets in the world. Yet despite the size of the fleet, and the number of owned vessels, there is still a requirement by MSC to charter in vessels to ensure that their equally large route schedule is maintained. This includes MSC vessels running on South African routes.

On 21st January at 18h00, the Neo-Panamax container vessel MSC ATHENS (IMO 9618305) arrived off Cape Town harbour from Ngqura and, as virtually every single container vessel that currently arrives at Cape Town, despite running to any fixed and published schedule, had to go to anchor in the Table Bay anchorage to wait, along with seven other container vessels, for a berth to become available at the Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT).

MSC Athens, Cape Town January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

After a wait of almost four days, ‘MSC Athens’ finally entered Cape Town harbour at 16h00 on 25th January, and proceeded into the Ben Schoeman Dock to go alongside berth 604 at the CTCT. Despite the delays waiting for a berth, container operations did not begin on ‘MSC Athens’ until 02h43 on the 26th January, nearly a full 11 hours after coming alongside to begin her offloading, and loading, operations.

The current, and recurrent, issues with the CTCT are having a major effect on all of the container service operators. There has been a recent occasion where Transnet shut the container port to all arriving container trucks, as they could not process them into CTCT. An attempt to try and phase trucks into CTCT using a ‘holding’ area became a shambles.

MSC Athens, Cape Town January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Not even time, and temperature, sensitive reefer containers were spared, and even those trucks carrying them were sent out of the CTCT by the port authorities, which meant that the driver then having to find suitable landside power connections, in order to protect the contents of the reefer container. It doesn’t paint a reassuring picture.

The issues arising from this seemingly never ending inefficient saga has meant that MSC has taken the decision to drop Cape Town from its southbound leg of its busy Europe to South Africa scheduled container service (NWC-SA). As a result of increasing delays along the South African coast, and at Cape Town in particular, MSC has revised the port rotation on its NWC-SA service with no additional ports added.

MSC Athens, Cape Town January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The double call at Cape Town, i.e. Southbound and Northbound, has been dropped in order to enhance schedule reliability. The revised NWC-SA port rotation started on 9th January. The new rotation now being Rotterdam- London- Antwerp- Hamburg- Le Havre- Sines- Las Palmas- Ngqura- Durban- Cape Town- Las Palmas- Rotterdam. This has had an effect on the schedule of ‘MSC Athens’ which is one of the 12 MSC vessels currently employed on the NWC-SA service.

To avoid further delays at Cape Town, due to the current severe congestion at CTCT, MSC has now launched a new container feeder service, connecting Ngqura and Cape Town. The service, known as the ‘Shosholoza Feeder Service’ began on 23rd January, utilising the ‘MSC Anusha III’ which has a container carrying capacity of 3,583 TEU.

MSC Athens, Cape Town January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

It would appear that most southbound, Cape Town bound, containers on the NWC-SA service will now be offloaded at Ngqura, and the feeder vessel will be responsible for moving them back up the coast to their rightful destination, thus not placing more delays into the schedule of vessels like ‘MSC Athens’.

Built in 2013 by Sungdong Shipbuilding at Tongyoung in South Korea, ‘MSC Athens’ is 300 metres in length, with a deadweight of 110,853 tons. She is powered by a single HHI MAN-B&W 9S90ME-C8.2 9 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 54,812 bhp (47,430 kW), driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 22 knots. For added manoeuvrability, she has a single, transverse bow thruster providing 3,000 kW.

MSC Athens, Cape Town January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her auxiliary machinery includes two MAN-B&W 9L32/40 generators providing 4,640 kW, two MAN-B&W 8L32/40 generators providing 4,117 kW, and a MAN D2842LE201 emergency generator providing 500 kW. She has a single Alfa Laval Aalborg CHR exhaust gas boiler, and a single Alfa Laval Aalborg CHO oil fired boiler. The casual observer will notice that ‘MSC Athens’ has been retrofitted with a clunking great scrubber unit, fitted to the starboard side of the existing funnel, which gives her an unbalanced profile when viewed, especially, from astern.

Both owned, and managed, by Costamare Shipping Company SA, of Athens, ‘MSC Athens’ is operated by the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), of Geneva in Switzerland. She is one of eleven sisterships, all built to the order of Costamare, and on delivery in March 2013, was immediately placed on 10 year time charter with MSC, which has subsequently been extended to run to January 2026.

Whilst the funnel of ‘MSC Athens’ flies the well-known MSC houseflag, and her hull proudly displays that she is one of the MSC fleet, the casual observer will note that the houseflag of Costamare is prominently displayed on her bridge wing ends, and also on the front of her bow.

MSC Athens, Cape Town January 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

By having a scrubber unit fitted, ‘MSC Athens’ shows herself to be an eco-efficient vessel, and this is further confirmed by the fact that she was the first of the Costamare sisterships to be fitted with a TIMON flap rudder. The rudder, which has an area of 54 m2, is provided with Asymmetric Rudder Technology (ART), which is a rudder design developed to improve propeller flow around the rudder.

The TIMON design modifies the rudder profile, both above and below the centreline of the propeller. This counters the effects of the rotation of the propeller slipstream. This expands the cavitation-free rudder angle, reduces drag, increases speed, and improves fuel consumption. The reduced rudder cavitation also gives an extended life span to the rudder itself, as well as the propeller shaft bearing systems. The additional bonus to all of these improvements is low vibration, and reduced noise levels.

Container work on ‘MSC Athens’ was completed by 15h00 on 28th January, according to the CTCT schedule, despite Transnet also announcing that the CTCT had become wind bound at 12h50 on the same day. With her amended departure promulgated by MSC to be 29th January, ‘MSC Athens’ was still on her CTCT berth as the 30th January ticked round. When she does eventually sail, she will be bound for Las Palmas, in the Canary Islands, on the first call of the new northbound port rotation of her NWC-SA service.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 31 January 2023


News continues below

IN CONVERSATION: Copper transformed way the world works before: it’s about to do so again

Duncan Money, Leiden University and Robrecht Declercq, Ghent University

Copper is all around us. The metal is both ever-present and invisible in our world. Copper makes reading the words on this screen possible. And the global spread of artificial light, electric power and telecommunications all required ever-increasing quantities of copper.

Where does all of this copper come from? How was it produced, distributed, controlled, and sold on an ever-increasing scale? These are some of the questions addressed in a recently published book, Born with a Copper Spoon: A Global History of Copper.

The book is a global study of a metal that has transformed the globe. Contributors to the book cover North America, Latin America, Europe, Central Africa, the Middle East, East Asia and Oceania and stretch from the early nineteenth to the early twenty-first centuries.

Why are these important questions? Because of the ubiquity of copper and the fact that the world’s collective rehab from fossil fuels may cause a renewed addiction to a new mineral-based economy. Electrification, the pillar of the green transition, requires huge amounts of copper. Projections expect a doubling of copper consumption by 2035 in order to reach zero-emission energy goals. Faced with the enormous task of electrification, the share of the global energy sector will increase to 40% of total copper consumption in the next two decades.

They are also important questions because countries that have an abundance of copper have failed to benefit from it. Zambia is a case in point. It produces 6% of the world’s copper but is still one of the poorest countries in the world.

Born with a Copper Spoon requires us to think differently about our material lives and the energies we use, by looking at the places where our minerals are actually produced and the way in which the production and distribution of these minerals are organised.

Will the next world of copper finally evolve as the long-anticipated resource blessing, or is a new global scramble, in which states and companies seek to secure access to the precious metal, going to determine otherwise? Copper became associated with the idea of a resource curse for many people. Zambia’s first president, Kenneth Kaunda, once remarked that his country was “paying the price for having been born with a copper spoon in our mouths”.

He knew too well that the abundance of copper had caused Zambia a host of problems.

Worlds of copper

Our book looks at different “worlds of copper” that have arisen over the last century and a half. The term “world of copper” was first coined by British historians Chris Evans and Olivia Saunders to describe a globally integrated production system that connected the smelters of South Wales to copper mines across the globe between 1830 and 1870.

We see this as the first world of copper. This world was then supplanted by a second world of copper centred on the US. This involved the rise and dominance of American mining companies as huge integrated enterprises controlling the production, processing and distribution of the commodity. “From mine to consumer” was the slogan of the notorious American copper mining company Anaconda, active in Montana and Chile. Underpinning the American world of copper was control over the production chain through the use of new business organisations and technologies.

Technological changes in mining and processing that were quite literally ground-breaking allowed for ever-greater quantities of copper to be mined and processed. Open pit extraction was first developed in North America and soon spread to Latin America and Central Africa, with often comprehensively destructive environmental consequences. Many of these pits are still being mined today.

The American world of copper denotes both the power of American companies and the model of controlling copper chains that is eagerly copied by non-American copper companies. This patterns becomes global: it is applied in Japan, the European empires that control the Copperbelt as well as in Latin America.

In the mid-twentieth century, the American world of copper disintegrated during decolonisation in the face of resource nationalism and a shifting geography of production. A wave of nationalisations by new states brought about a postcolonial world of copper, built around state power, economic sovereignty and state-level international co-operation. Developing states saw copper as their ticket to economic development and modernity. The dream of the red metal was however short-lived.

This postcolonial world of copper collapsed in the 1990s after a long slump in the industry. Multinational private companies reasserted themselves over the industry, but the US and European companies never regained their once dominant position.

Each copper world was marked by several defining features – underlying institutions, organisations, labour practices – and produced by global connections and interactions. Identifying and understanding consecutive worlds of copper is crucial to how we understand the development of the global copper industry.

Our current energy transition could herald a new copper world. Renewed demand for copper will likely intensify mining activity in DR Congo, Zambia and other parts of the African continent and could place states in a stronger bargaining position.

The need to think differently

Copper’s status as a global industry has waxed and waned. The history of the metal is not a story of steadily increasing and depending global connections as we move towards the present. It is also a history of disconnections and efforts to de-couple regions from the global economy.

Our book is a contribution to global history and the story of copper is necessarily a global one as extracting, refining, buying, shipping and consuming the metal takes place around the world. Global history is about more than connections, however.

Our book is also about periods of deglobalisation and attempts to sever connections, especially in the mid-twentieth century when a bitter contest over ownership of mineral resources briefly threatened a major realignment of the world economy. In 1967, several of the world’s largest copper producers (Congo, Chile, Peru and Zambia) met in Lusaka to establish a copper cartel that would control the industry and turn an abundance of natural resources into national economic growth.

That’s an ambition that still needs to be fulfilled.The Conversation

Duncan Money, Researcher, Leiden University and Robrecht Declercq, Postdoctoral Researcher , Ghent University

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

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 31 January 2023


News continues below

Kenya’s new Lake Victoria ship, Uhuru II, to be launched in May

Uhuru II under early construction in Kisumu. Picture: KSL

A new ferry under construction at Kisumu on Kenya’s Lake Victoria shores is nearing completion and will be officially launched in May this year.

The new ship, named UHURU II, is being built locally at the Kenya Shipyard Limited (KSL) in Kisumu with input from Dutch shipbuilder Damen.

Kenya marine authorities have expectations that the launching of the new vessel will assist with the revitalisation of marine activities on Lake Victoria.

Uhuru II will be launched at a ceremony in the presence of President William Ruto and other dignitaries.

The 1800-dwt vessel will enter service along with the older UHURU which underwent a refurbishment after a period of neglect and disuse which has permitted to vessel to return to service.

The older Uhuru was built in 1966 at the Yarrow yard in Scotland and had a capacity of 1,260 tonnes and has been successful in shipping fuel products from Kisumu to Port Bell in Uganda.

In related news, the Kenyan authorities have announced that the Kenya Coast Guard have increased their patrols on the lake in order to improve security.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 31 January 2023


News continues below

Large ammonia-fuelled bulk carrier development by MOL and Mitsui

Computer generated image of the 210,000 dwt ammonia-fuelled bulk carrier. Picture: MOL & Mitsui

Edited by Paul Ridgway

ClassNK issues AiP

It was reported from Tokyo on 27 January that ClassNK had issued an Approval in Principle (AiP) for a large ammonia-fuelled 210,000 dwt bulk carrier jointly developed by Mitsui OSK Lines, Ltd (MOL) and Mitsui & Co Ltd.

Ammonia is expected to be used as a ship fuel for decarbonisation since it does not emit CO2 when burned. Meanwhile, adequate safety measures are imperative as it has been pointed out that ammonia is toxic to humans and corrosive to materials.

ClassNK has been involved in projects aiming for zero-emission ships using ammonia fuel in terms of safety assessment, and has issued its ‘Guidelines for Ships Using Alternative Fuels’ as a necessary standard to minimize the risks related to ammonia-fuelled ships for the ships, crews, and environment by stipulating requirements for installation, controls, and safety devices.

MOL and Mitsui have jointly determined the size and specifications for the vessel, and its design has been entrusted to Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co Ltd.

ClassNK carried out the review of this jointly developed design in line with Part C of its guidelines and issued the AiP on verifying conformity to the prescribed requirements. In addition, risk assessment (HAZID) will be conducted to confirm that no unacceptable risks exist at the basic design stage and to identify items to be considered in the detailed design, it is understood.

It is further reported that ClassNK will continue to support those companies as the certification body and will strive to provide appropriate standards for ammonia-fuelled ships through the expertise gained from the collaboration.

About Approval in Principle (AiP)

At the initial stage of designing or before the specific target ship to be implemented is decided, the design is examined based on the existing regulations such as international conventions and ship classification rules, and an Approval in Principle (AiP) is issued as proof of conformity with requirements. It also prevents rework of regulatory aspects in the post-process, shortens the examination time at the time of class registration, and can be used as a technical basis for external appeal of the design status.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 31 January 2023


News continues below

Trademark Africa expands into West Africa


TradeMark East Africa, one of the world’s leading Aid for Trade organisations, has rebranded to TradeMark Africa (TMA) ( and simultaneously officially launched its West Africa operations.

Founded in 2010 in Kenya, this marks TradeMark Africa expansion from its previous core operational area of East Africa and the Horn, to also support countries in West and Southern Africa. TradeMark Africa now has a presence in fourteen countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA): Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somaliland, Djibouti, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, and Ghana.

TradeMark Africa has to date made cumulative investments of over $1.3 billion in East Africa and the Horn, to reduce the time and costs of trading across borders, and to improve export competitiveness of African businesses. These have among other results slashed the time for traders to cross borders – by 70% on average; and for businesses to receive certification – often from many days to a number of hours. Its programmes have contributed to a 16.5% reduction in the total time it takes to transport a container on the Northern Corridor from Kenya’s Mombasa Port to Bujumbura, Burundi.

African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

As part of the pivot to West Africa, TradeMark Africa will support the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), based in Accra, Ghana, to realise its vision of integrating the $3.4 trillion African market.

TradeMark Africa will also work with regional economic communities (RECs) such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to boost regional economic integration and accelerate trade. Further, it will work with Member States to ensure Governments and businesses benefit practically from the opportunities presented by these shifts – in particular along the Lagos-Abidjan corridor. The successful implementation of the AfCFTA is predicted to boost incomes in Africa by $450 billion by 2030.

At the same time, TradeMark Africa announced that its new strategy will build on and scale up on its core strengths, to focus on facilitating development of digital and green trade corridors, to position Africa as a partner of choice for global off takers; as well as promoting inclusive trade that drives down poverty levels and ensures that vulnerable groups are more integrated in trading systems.

“As a leading Aid-for-Trade (AfT) Programme, a continental approach gives TMA an important opportunity to expand its impactful programming progressively, while supporting the aspirations of AfCFTA to unleash the immense impact that free trade in high value products, exists in Africa,” said TradeMark Africa’s Board Chairman, Amb. Erastus Mwencha.

“Our key aim remains trade facilitation, just like we have always done in the last 12 years in the East and Horn of Africa region, where we were founded and have had great milestones in our programmes.”

TradeMark Africa’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. David Beer remarked, “We believe that combining a regional and national approach has always been part of our comparative advantage. With our expanded scope, we are excited now to harness the critical continental dimension to drive faster growth in trade volumes, and to support linkages between regions. TMA’s focus on reducing the barriers to trade and improving business competitiveness will also be a core element of tackling the trade challenges of the future, as we pivot towards creating green trade corridors and enhancing regional food security.”

Some of TradeMark Africa successes in the last 12 years include the construction and operationalisation of 15 One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) across East Africa, which have reduced the time taken to cross select borders by up to 89% in some cases.

Moreover, TradeMark Africa has supported the implementation of 60 Single Window Information for Trade (SWIFT) Systems in multiple Government agencies, thus reducing the time and cost of acquiring trade documents, designed the Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System (RECTS) on the Northern Corridor in East Africa, which ensures safety of cargo, and operationalised programmes like Standards, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS), and reduction of Non-Tariff Barrier (NTBs). It has also supported over 200,000 women cross-border traders and small and medium enterprises.

Background to Trademark Africa

TradeMark Africa is an Aid-for-Trade organisation that was established in 2010, with the aim of growing prosperity through increased trade. TMA operates on a not-for-profit basis and is funded by the development agencies of: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, France, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom and United States of America. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also provides support.

TMA has worked closely with regional intergovernmental organisations, including the African Union (AU), African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, East Africa Community (EAC), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU), national governments, the private sector and civil society organisations.

The first two phases of TMA (2010-2024) have contributed to substantial gains in Eastern Africa’s trade and regional integration in terms of decreased cargo transit times, improved border efficiency, and reduced barriers to trade. TMA’s renewed focus on digitalisation, green corridors, food security and inclusion will deliver large-scale impact in job creation, poverty reduction and enhanced economic welfare. Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. Operations and offices: EAC Secretariat, Arusha, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somaliland, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

More information is available at

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 31 January 2023


News continues below

Trademark Africa s’étend en Afrique de l’Ouest


TradeMark East Africa, l’une des principales organisations mondiales d’aide au commerce, a changé de nom pour devenir TradeMark Africa (TMA) ( et a simultanément lancé officiellement ses opérations en Afrique de l’Ouest.

Fondée en 2010 au Kenya, cela marque l’expansion de TradeMark Africa à partir de son ancienne zone opérationnelle principale d’Afrique de l’Est et de la Corne, pour soutenir également les pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest et du Sud. TradeMark Africa est désormais présent dans quatorze pays d’Afrique subsaharienne (ASS) : Kenya, Ouganda, Tanzanie, Rwanda, Burundi, République démocratique du Congo (RDC), Soudan du Sud, Éthiopie, Somaliland, Djibouti, Malawi, Zambie, Mozambique et Ghana.

À ce jour, TradeMark Africa a réalisé des investissements cumulés de plus de 1,3 milliard de dollars en Afrique de l’Est et dans la Corne, afin de réduire le temps et les coûts des échanges transfrontaliers et d’améliorer la compétitivité à l’exportation des entreprises africaines. Celles-ci ont, entre autres, réduit le temps nécessaire aux commerçants pour franchir les frontières – de 70 % en moyenne ; et pour les entreprises de recevoir la certification – souvent de plusieurs jours à plusieurs heures. Ses programmes ont contribué à une réduction de 16,5 % du temps total nécessaire pour transporter un conteneur sur le Corridor Nord du port de Mombasa au Kenya à Bujumbura, au Burundi.

Zone de libre-échange continentale africaine (AfCFTA)

Dans le cadre du pivot vers l’Afrique de l’Ouest, TradeMark Africa soutiendra le Secrétariat de la Zone de libre-échange continentale africaine (AfCFTA), basé à Accra, au Ghana, pour réaliser sa vision d’intégrer le marché africain de 3,4 billions de dollars.

TradeMark Africa travaillera également avec les communautés économiques régionales (CER) telles que la Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CEDEAO), pour stimuler l’intégration économique régionale et accélérer le commerce. En outre, il travaillera avec les États membres pour s’assurer que les gouvernements et les entreprises bénéficient pratiquement des opportunités présentées par ces changements – en particulier le long du corridor Lagos-Abidjan. La mise en œuvre réussie de l’AfCFTA devrait augmenter les revenus en Afrique de 450 milliards de dollars d’ici 2030.

Dans le même temps, TradeMark Africa a annoncé que sa nouvelle stratégie s’appuiera sur ses principaux atouts et les développera, pour se concentrer sur la facilitation du développement de corridors commerciaux numériques et verts, afin de positionner l’Afrique comme un partenaire de choix pour les acheteurs mondiaux ; ainsi que la promotion d’un commerce inclusif qui fait baisser les niveaux de pauvreté et garantit que les groupes vulnérables sont mieux intégrés dans les systèmes commerciaux.

“En tant que programme d’aide pour le commerce (AfT) de premier plan, une approche continentale donne à TMA une occasion importante d’étendre progressivement sa programmation percutante, tout en soutenant les aspirations de l’AfCFTA à libérer l’immense impact que le libre-échange des produits de grande valeur existe dans Afrique », a déclaré le président du conseil d’administration de TradeMark Africa, Amb. Eraste Mwencha.

“Notre objectif principal reste la facilitation des échanges, tout comme nous l’avons toujours fait au cours des 12 dernières années dans la région de l’Est et de la Corne de l’Afrique, où nous avons été fondés et avons franchi d’importantes étapes dans nos programmes.”

Le directeur général de TradeMark Africa, M. David Beer, a déclaré : « Nous pensons que la combinaison d’une approche régionale et nationale a toujours fait partie de notre avantage comparatif. Avec notre champ d’action élargi, nous sommes maintenant ravis d’exploiter la dimension continentale essentielle pour accélérer la croissance L’accent mis par la TMA sur la réduction des obstacles au commerce et l’amélioration de la compétitivité des entreprises sera également un élément essentiel pour relever les défis commerciaux de l’avenir, alors que nous nous orientons vers la création de corridors commerciaux verts et l’amélioration de l’alimentation régionale Sécurité.”

Certains des succès de TradeMark Africa au cours des 12 dernières années incluent la construction et l’opérationnalisation de 15 postes frontières à guichet unique (OSBP) à travers l’Afrique de l’Est, qui ont réduit le temps nécessaire pour traverser certaines frontières jusqu’à 89 % dans certains cas.

En outre, TradeMark Africa a soutenu la mise en œuvre de 60 systèmes de guichet unique d’information pour le commerce (SWIFT) dans plusieurs agences gouvernementales, réduisant ainsi le temps et le coût d’acquisition des documents commerciaux, conçu le système régional de suivi électronique du fret (RECTS) sur le Corridor Nord en Afrique de l’Est, qui assure la sécurité du fret, et a opérationnalisé des programmes tels que les normes sanitaires et phytosanitaires (SPS) et la réduction des barrières non tarifaires (BNT). Il a également soutenu plus de 200 000 femmes commerçantes transfrontalières et petites et moyennes entreprises.

Contexte de Trademark Africa

TradeMark Africa est une organisation d’Aide pour le commerce qui a été créée en 2010, dans le but d’accroître la prospérité grâce à l’augmentation du commerce. TMA fonctionne sur une base à but non lucratif et est financée par les agences de développement de : Belgique, Canada, Danemark, Union européenne, France, Finlande, Irlande, Pays-Bas, Norvège, Royaume-Uni et États-Unis d’Amérique. La Fondation Bill et Melinda Gates apporte également son soutien.

La TMA a travaillé en étroite collaboration avec des organisations intergouvernementales régionales, notamment Union africaine (UA), Secrétariat de la Zone de libre-échange continentale africaine (AfCFTA), Communauté de l’Afrique de l’Est (EAC), Autorité intergouvernementale pour le développement (IGAD), Marché commun de l’Afrique orientale et australe (COMESA), Union douanière d’Afrique australe (SACU), les gouvernements nationaux, le secteur privé et les organisations de la société civile.

Les deux premières phases de la TMA (2010-2024) ont contribué à des gains substantiels dans le commerce et l’intégration régionale de l’Afrique de l’Est en termes de réduction des temps de transit des marchandises, d’amélioration de l’efficacité des frontières et de réduction des obstacles au commerce. L’accent renouvelé de TMA sur la numérisation, les couloirs verts, la sécurité alimentaire et l’inclusion aura un impact à grande échelle sur la création d’emplois, la réduction de la pauvreté et l’amélioration du bien-être économique. Siège social à Nairobi, Kenya. Opérations et bureaux : Secrétariat de l’EAC, Arusha, Burundi, République démocratique du Congo, Djibouti, Éthiopie, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somaliland, Soudan du Sud, Tanzanie, Ouganda et Zambie.

Plus d’informations sont disponibles sur

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 31 January 2023


News continues below

Transnet approaches market for lease of Durban-Johannesburg Container Corridor

Container train at King’s Rest marshalling yard, near the Durban Container Terminal.   Picture: Transnet

Transnet has been a collection of surprises in recent months, for all sorts of reasons. On Friday evening 27 January they produced another with a call for interested parties to take over the operation and maintenance of the Container Corridor running between the port city of Durban and Gauteng, for a period of 20 years.

This is effectively a call for the line to be concessioned, a highly significant development for South Africa, its railway and its port, and is a welcome indication that Transnet is appealing to the private enterprise in South Africa (and from elsewhere?) to come to the rescue and help resuscitate what is otherwise a fast failing trade corridor.

Transnet’s notification follows:

Transnet SOC Ltd, as part of its partnerships strategy, has decided to engage the market to invest in and grow Transnet Freight Rail’s (TFR) freight containerised business, which is the backbone of the manufacturing sector in the country.

To this end, Transnet will issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to the market to identify parties interested in entering into an Operating Lease with TFR for the operation and maintenance of the Container Corridor (the line between Johannesburg and Durban) for a
period of 20 years.

The Container Corridor rail mainline is a fully electrified double-tracked rail line running from Booth in KwaZulu-Natal to Union in Gauteng. While the mainline is 670km in route length, the double line and various major marshalling yards and enabling rail lines
takes the total track length of the Container Corridor to 1 621km.

The Operating Lease will provide for the required investment in the rehabilitation, upgrade and maintenance of the rail network and rolling stock assets, as well as the operations of the Container Corridor, which includes the Bayhead Back of Port Terminal and defined Inland Terminals of City Deep, Kascon and Bayhead.

The involvement of the private sector is intended to result in a significant shift of containers from road to rail, and increased operational reliability and efficiency.

The RFQ released is not intended to, and will not, impose any legal obligation on Transnet. Transnet has prepared this RFQ for the sole purpose of providing general information about the Container Corridor and to assist interested parties in determining whether to respond to the RFQ. The RFQ will be made available on the Transnet website and the National Treasury e-tender portal.

Shortlisted respondents from the RFQ process may be invited to submit proposals to Transnet through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process. End of quote.

In other related news, Transnet Freight Rail has given until 20 March for interested parties to respond to a tender issued that calls for original equipment manufactirers (OEMs) to take over the repair and rehabilitation of approximately 160 Chinese-manufacturered locomotives that are out of service. This is mainly a result of a lack of spare parts that Transnet is unable to source, which relates to the legal dispute between Transnet and the Chinese locomotive manufacturer.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 30 January 2023


News continues below

WHARF TALK: MR2 product tanker – STI MAGISTER

The product tanker STI Magister entering the port at Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Over the past three years, as a result of the shutdown of oil refineries, and the woeful response to national refining capacity, South Africa has seen a continuous stream of fuel product tankers, arriving from all four corners of the globe, and sometimes bringing in fuel products for more than one harbour around the coast.

Whilst it is not considered rare for the delivery to include calls at three different ports, what is rare is for two of those calls being the same harbour, split by the second discharge port. What is also rare, and not a statistic to cheer about, is that it took the best part of a month to complete those three discharges, and had the vessel itself actually spending more time waiting at anchor, outside all three ports, waiting for a berth to become available, than it did lying on her berth.

Over one month ago, on 27th December 2022, the MR2 product tanker STI MAGISTER (IMO 9833541) arrived off Cape Town, from a voyage that originated from the Jurong Island refinery at Singapore, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and going alongside one of the tanker basin berths to begin her post-Christmas discharge.

STI Magister, Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

It could not have been a major parcel of fuel products, as by 21h00 on 28th December, just 36 hours later, ‘STI Magister’ was ready to sail from Cape Town. However, she didn’t actually go anywhere, as she merely proceeding out of the harbour and went straight to anchor in the Table Bay anchorage. She remained there for more than eight full days, and on 6th January she weighed anchor and sailed out of Table Bay, now heading for Ngqura in the Eastern Cape.

Just under two days later, at 03h00 on 8th January, she arrived in Algoa Bay, and went straight to the Port Elizabeth anchorage, where she remained for more than six days. Finally, on 14th January ‘STI Magister’ once more weighed anchor and entered Ngqura harbour to continue with her discharge. As with her first port of discharge, she was only alongside in Ngqura for just over one day, and on 15th January at 13h00 she sailed from Ngqura, with her next destination set for Cape Town, again.

STI Magister, Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

After rounding Cape Agulhas for the third time in the same trip, and on her second northbound rounding of the southern tip of the African continent, ‘STI Magister’ arrived back off Cape Town harbour at 08h00 on the 17th January. Once more, she entered the Duncan Dock, and went alongside her familiar tanker basin berth to commence discharging of her fuel products. Her discharge was again on the short side, and after just over three days alongside she was ready to sail once more.

On 20th January at 14h00, she sailed from Cape Town harbour yet again and, lo and behold, just as before she proceeded straight to the Table Bay anchorage where she settled in for yet another week swinging on the pick. Finally, at 12h00 on 27th January, a full month after she had first arrived at Cape Town, she raised her anchor for the final time, and sailed out of the Table Bay anchorage.

STI Magister, Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her course was set north from South African waters, and her new destination now was broadcast on her AIS as Lomé, in the West African country of Togo. One can only assume, that after less than a full six days alongside discharging in the three South African ports, that ‘STI Magister’ still had a parcel of fuel products to deliver, as Lomé is not a harbour known for having an oil refinery, nor one providing oil storage facilities, or acting as a fuel export terminal.

However, that said, on the same day that she sailed from Cape Town, on the 27th January, AIS showed there were no less than 32 tankers sitting at anchor in the Lomé Anchorage. As they will not all be waiting to offload at the single tanker berth of Lome harbour, one quickly comes to the conclusion that Lomé is another holding anchorage, similar to Fujairah and Singapore, for tankers awaiting orders to proceed to a loading terminal, presumably elsewhere in West Africa.

STI Magister, Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2019 by the Hyundai Vinashin shipyard at Ninh Hoa in Vietnam, ‘STI Magister’ is 183 metres in length and has a deadweight of 47,499 tons. She is powered by an HHI MAN-B&W 6G50ME-C9.5 6 cylinder 2 stroke main engine producing 9,762 bhp (7,180 kW), to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14.5 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three HHI MAN-B&W 6L23/30H generators providing 900 kW each, and a Cummins emergency generator. She has a single Alfa Laval Aalborg OC-TCi exhaust gas boiler, and a single Alfa Laval Aalborg OL oil fired boiler. She has 12 cargo tanks, with a cargo carrying capacity of 54,112 m3.

STI Magister, Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’ 

One look at the size of her funnel tells the casual observer that ‘STI Magister’ is fitted with an exhaust gas scrubber unit. The scrubber was fitted as built in the shipyard, and is not a retrofitted unit. The aft part of her funnel carries the houseflag of her operating owners, which is Scorpio Tankers Incorporated, of Monaco, hence the STI prefix of her name.

One of 14 sisterships, ‘STI Magister’ is owned by Xiang T30 SG International Ship Lease Pte. Ltd., of Singapore. The owning company is merely a one ship leasing company, part of the Chinese state owned Bank of Communications. She is operated by Scorpio Commercial Management, of Monaco, a division of Scorpio Tankers Incorporated (STI), and is managed by Scorpio Marine Management India Pvt., Ltd., of Mumbai in India. She is utilised within the in-house Scorpio MR Tanker Pool (SMRP).

Scorpio Tankers Incorporated (STI) operate a fleet of 113 product tankers, and claim to be the largest operator of wholly owned, finance leased (as with STI Magister) or bareboat chartered tankers. STI have a very serious eco-friendly policy and, of the STI fleet, 86 of them are fitted with exhaust gas scrubber units, either as built, or retrofitted. The STI fleet age averages only 7 years old, and 90% of the fleet was built in either Korean shipyards, or Korean owned shipyards, as ‘STI Magister’ was, along with all of her sisterships.

STI Magister, Cape Town. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

All of the sisterships were taken under an 8 year bareboat lease. The leasehold interests in these vessels were acquired as part of a deal with their previous operators, Trafigura Maritime Logistics Pte. Ltd., of Singapore. Scorpio Tankers Incorporated (STI) assumed the value of the finance lease arrangement of approximately US$668 million (ZAR11.49 billion) at the time.

This is not the first call of ‘STI Magister’ into Southern African waters in the last year, as she also called into Durban back in July 2022, and she also delivered fuel products to Toamasina, in Madagascar, back in September 2022.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 30 January 2023


News continues below

Hamburg Süd loses its identity as Maersk consolidates brands

Monte Olivia in Durban in November 2009 – brand to disappear. Picture: Trevor Jones

A.P. Moller-Maersk is to consolidate its brands into one, including Hamburg Süd which was acquired in 2017, and former American brand Sealand. Both companies will now lose their identities much as did Safmarine under the same ownership.

Maersk acquired control of Sealand in 1999, a company founded in 1960 by containerisation pioneer, Malcolm McLean. Maersk dropped the brand once previously but returned it to service in 2015.

On Friday last week Maersk said it was seeking ways to “bring ease, agility, and resilience” to customers’ supply chain by expanding its offering and integrating options.

“We aim to unify our brands and our structure in a way that better reflect the reality of our customers. We are convinced that this will allow us to better respond to your logistical needs on a daily basis,” said Maersk.

The result is that Maersk intends moving towards a singular unified brand by integrating Hamburg Süd and Sealand, “among others”.

An in-depth review will be conducted before deciding the future of each brand in different geographies.

“We believe that by integrating these into the Maersk brand, we will be able to ease your logistical difficulties, whilst also offering you more variety, ease, and connectivity than ever before, all under one roof,” Maersk told customers.

“At the same time, please rest assured that Maersk will continue to adhere and respect all contracts and agreements that are in place – including contract confidentiality – so customers can be assured that your information continues to remain safe and secure.”

Svitzer, APM Terminals & Maersk Container Industry

The changes will not affect the so-called non-integrated brands, APM Terminals, Maersk Container Industry (MCI), Svitzer, Maersk Supply Service (MSS), Maersk Training, and Maersk Line Limited (MLL), which will continue to operate under their existing brand names.

These changes were announced within a month since Vincent Clerc took over the office as Maersk’s new CEO, in place of Soren Skou who had been in that role since 2016.

The announcement also came within days of Maersk saying it will discontinue the 2M Alliance with Mediterranean Shipping Company on its expiry in 2025, although it is thought that MSC may have initiated that decision.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 30 January 2023


News continues below

IMO Symposium: The Maritime Single Window 2024

The assembled delegates at the IMO Symposium: The Maritime Single Window 2024. Pictures: IMO

Edited by Paul Ridgway

IMO’s Facilitation Committee has adopted amendments to the Facilitation (FAL) Convention which will make the single window for data exchange mandatory in ports around the world, marking a significant step in the acceleration of digitalization in shipping.

The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2024.

An IMO event known as Maritime Single Window 2024 – A window of opportunities was organised by IMO at its HQ in London on 18 and 19 January 2023 with IAPH and BIMCO and with the support of IPCSA.

This event brought together institutions, governments, port authorities, industry associations, shipowners, and those involved in the industry from around the world to discuss the benefits and opportunities for maritime trade arising from the application of the Maritime Single Window, the MSW. It is notable that Africa was represented.

A programme of the event is AVAILABLE HERE

Speakers’ executive biographies are to be FOUND HERE
An introductory video to MSW is DOWNLOADABLE HERE

Secretary-General’s opening remarks

IMO S-G, Kitack Lim

In his opening remarks to the event IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said:

“Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, I am very pleased to welcome you all to the Symposium on Maritime Single Window 2024 – A window of opportunities, jointly organized by IMO, IAPH and BIMCO, with the support of the International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA).

“We have speakers and participants here, in the IMO Headquarters in London, and are also joined remotely by colleagues from all around the world.

“Most of you will be aware that IMO’s Facilitation Committee adopted last year amendments to the FAL Convention which will make the establishment of maritime single windows compulsory for ports around the world from 1 January 2024.

“The previous set of amendments to the FAL Convention, adopted in 2016, had already introduced the obligation to establish an electronic exchange of relevant information between ships and ports.

“However, the new obligation of establishing single windows in ports is a significant step towards accelerating digitalization in maritime trade.

“Today’s Symposium will showcase how the application of maritime single windows presents an opportunity for all stakeholders in shipping and a necessary step forward.

“It is part of our imperative to highlight these opportunities, as we are now one year away from the new requirement.

“Over the next two days, we will be hearing from over 40 distinguished speakers across six panels, sharing their experience and perspectives of how maritime single windows can set us on track to accelerate the digitalization and decarbonisation aspirations of international shipping.

“Our panellists will cover how maritime single windows fit in with national digitalization strategies and the greening of shipping objectives. Panellists will also highlight a pragmatic approach to implementing maritime single windows as well as discussing possible architectures of maritime single windows to suit Member States’ trade facilitation objectives.

Delegates successfully spoke by remote means from Angola and Namibia

“Further light will be shed on the concept of interoperability: understanding how to apply industry standards to harmonize electronic data exchanges; port call data requirements and data quality, as well as strategic partnerships and available resources.

“IMO and the shipping community stand ready to embark on strategic partnerships and the provision of resources to interested Member States to find tangible solutions as we voyage together towards the forthcoming new obligations under the FAL Convention.

“I would like to thank all our speakers, moderators and participants, both here at IMO and remotely, for their dedication and conviction to support the facilitation of trade and the development and application of maritime single windows to accelerate digitalization.

“Now it only remains for me to wish you an inspiring event with takeaways that can assist you and your teams in the journey to create a single window environment for maritime transport.”

Delegates successfully spoke by remote means from Angola and Namibia.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 30 January 2023


News continues below

Anglo American loads first LNG dual-fuelled vessel in chartered fleet


Emissions cut by up to 35%

Anglo American said last week that its newly launched LNG dual-fuelled Capesize+ vessel, the UBUNTU HARMONY (IMO 9936666), has loaded its first cargo of iron ore from its Kumba operations in South Africa. The cargo was loaded at Saldanha Bay.

The vessel is the first of ten LNG dual-fuelled new-build ships that Anglo American will introduce to its chartered fleet during the course of 2023 and 2024, delivering an estimated 35% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to ships fuelled by conventional marine oil fuel.

Ubuntu Harmony and Ubuntu Equality were built by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding for owner U-Ming Marine. Another two are due for delivery during 2023 and will be named Ubuntu Integrity and Ubuntu Loyalty when joining the Anglo American fleet.

Each ship is 299.80 metres in length, 47.5 metres wide, 24.70 metres deep, and have a design draft of 18.25 metres and a loaded speed of 14 knots. They are and will be on charter for ten years each.

The use of LNG will also lead to a significant reduction of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter from vessel exhausts, while new technology also eliminates the release of unburnt methane.

Ubuntu fleet a key component

According to Anglo American, the Ubuntu fleet is a key component of its ambition to achieve carbon-neutrality for its controlled ocean freight by 2040 – with an interim target to reduce emissions from these activities by 30% by 2030.

This is all part of Anglo American’s wider ambition to halve Scope 3 emissions by 2040.

“We are proud to see the Ubuntu Harmony begin its voyage transporting future-enabling products from our mines to our customers around the world,” said Peter Whitcutt, CEO of Anglo American’s Marketing business.


“This milestone cements our vision to be a leader in low carbon shipping, a natural extension of our commitment to achieve carbon neutrality across our operations by 2040.”

Nolitha Fakude, Group Director of Anglo American for South Africa, said the metals and minerals provide by Anglo American play an important role in helping key industries decarbonise.

“Transporting them in a sustainable way is a key part of this effort and the introduction of the Ubuntu fleet – named after the Zulu word meaning ‘humanity to others’ – helps us accelerate our transition to sustainable ocean freight.”

Anglo American has established a comprehensive framework of initiatives for the decarbonisation of its maritime activities, including energy saving devices fitted to existing vessels, the use of voyage optimisation software, and a focus on exploring, trialling and adopting alternative, sustainable fuel options – such as LNG, sustainable biofuel, green methanol and ammonia, and – further down the line – hydrogen.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 30 January 2023


News continues below

IN CONVERSATION: Deep sea reefs are spectacular and barely-explored – they must be conserved

Nekton, Author provided

Paris Stefanoudis, University of Oxford

Sunlit coral reefs are perhaps the most famous marine habitat and many people will have snorkelled over or dived down to one at some point. Home to a quarter of all known ocean life, these “rainforests of the ocean” have been at the forefront of marine research for decades and been featured in documentaries like Blue Planet and animations such as Finding Nemo.

However, reefs and corals do not stop where the sunlight becomes scarce. Largely hidden from the masses lie great expanses of deep reefs, which collectively have a larger geographic footprint than their shallower counterparts.

Sandwiched between shallow reefs and the deep-sea, reefs between 30 and 300 metres to this day receive relatively little scientific attention, considered too deep for shallow-water reef biologists and too shallow for deep-sea researchers. Combined with the costs and challenging logistics of studying them, and due to the widespread impression that they face few threats by simply being deep, despite evidence to the contrary, deep reefs remain notably underexplored.

Lots of pictures of seafloor animals
Reef zones in Bermuda with representative seafloor organisms. As you go deeper, species change from light-dependent hard corals to sponges and ‘octocorals’ (wire corals, sea fans, whip corals). Modified from Stefanoudis et al. 2019, Author provided

Luckily, recent advances have allowed us to learn more about these unique ecosystems. Specialised scuba equipment, known as technical diving, can get you down to 150 metres, and remotely-operated or autonomous vehicles, or even small manned submersibles, can go even deeper.

As we go deeper and less light penetrates the water, hard corals and other light-dependent organisms that dominate the shallows become less abundant. They’re replaced by other photosynthetic groups such as fleshy algae, until they too get replaced by sponges, soft corals and sea fans.

I have had the privilege of being inside a submersible a dozen times now, in which an acrylic hull gives you an almost 360 degree view of underwater life. The feeling is unique as you get to visit the depths of our ocean and observe its creatures – stuff you typically only see in documentaries – firsthand. Massive sea fans are a particularly amazing sight, often more than 2 metres across:

Submarine and sea fan
The author goes sea fan spotting in the Maldives. Nekton, Author provided

I have had several encounters with reef sharks, floating tube-like pyrosomes and bioluminescent comb-jellies, but the interactions I most enjoy are with the ever-curious potato groupers that will follow and hang around the submersible and even pose for photographs:

Man in sub points at fish
‘Fish whisperer’ Robert Carmichael of Global Sub Dive charms a grouper in the Seychelles.  Nekton, Author provided

Fish are more mobile than corals or sponges and so the fish species at at the topmost deep reefs are still mostly-familiar. However as you go deeper the fish gradually become more and more unique and adapted to the low-light, low-food conditions of deep reefs.

Notably, it is only a few years since scientists first described and categorised a new reef zone – the rariphotic or rare-light zone between around 150 metres and 300 metres in depth. The unique collection of seabed organisms and fish helped define this depth range as an entirely new reef ecosystem. Since we are only beginning to scratch the surface of deep reefs, many more exciting discoveries will follow in the coming years.

Deep reefs need targeted conservation

Deep reefs provide a plethora of essential services for people and the planet. They help protect coasts from waves and storms, they provide breeding grounds and protection for fish, and refuge for some organisms residing in much-imperilled shallow reefs. Natural medicinal products have also been discovered in deep reef species, including anti-tumor and anti-fungal compounds found in sponges collected from 125 metres deep in the Pacific island nation Palau.

Infographic of ways deep reefs provide value to humankind
Why deep reefs are worth saving.  Nekton, Author provided

The logistical and financial challenges of studying deep reefs means there is less data available than for shallow reefs, and deep reefs are rarely used to inform management and conservation activities. Though their unique biological communities warrant targeted conservation efforts, most deep and offshore reef habitats are still unprotected. The few that are protected are often included incidentally due to geopolitical boundaries and rarely explicitly included in management plans and designation targets.

How we can save deep reefs

I’m part of a team of 18 scientists from different organisations around the world who have recently developed a framework for conserving deep reefs in the Western Indian Ocean, home to some of the world’s least known deep reefs. Our framework includes practical recommendations, which we hope will enhance deep-reef stewardship throughout the region and could eventually be adopted globally.

Below are the our top five recommendations:

Protect: Highly protect 30% of ecosystems by 2030 (“30 by 30”), and include deep reefs in this target.

Conserve: Conserve deep reef ecosystems and their resources by specifically including them in fishery regulations, marine protected areas and marine spatial planning.

Manage: Extend current management efforts on shallow reefs to include deep reefs as these ecosystems are often connected.

Invest: Invest in foundational, fundamental and applied research on deep reef biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and provided services.

Collaborate: Develop national and international collaborations to survey and conserve deep reefs in national and international (High Seas) waters.The Conversation

Paris Stefanoudis, Senior Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Oxford

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

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 30 January 2023


News continues below

Aqaba Cruise Terminal opens

MSC Splendida, the cruise ship to inaugurate the new Aqaba Cruise Terminal.  Picture:  MSC

The development of a cruise terminal at Aqaba on the Red Sea (Gulf of Aqaba) is a joint venture between AD Ports Group and Aqaba Development Corporation, intended to bolster the coastal city’s position as a regional tourism centre and gateway for travellers visiting the Red Sea.

Aqaba at the northern head of the Gulf of Aqaba, is Jordan’s only coastal city. Among the attractions for cruise visitors arriving at Aqaba’s new cruise terminal is its proximity to the fabled Petra (134km) and to Wadi Rum (60km).

Chosen to inaugurate the new Aqaba Cruise Terminal was the cruise ship MSC SPLENDIDA, the same ship that will be home-based at Durban this coming summer in the place currently occupied by MSC Orchestra.

MSC Splendida arrived in Aqaba with over 2,000 passengers eager to enjoy the inspiring visit to Petra and others destinations, but also to help launch the first of five strategic mega-projects planned between AD Ports Group – a global facilitator of logistics, industry and trade – and Aqaba Development Corporation to advance the coastal city’s tourism, logistics and transport sectors.

No less than 50 plus cruise ships are scheduled to dock at the Aqaba Cruise Terminal over the next four months, bringing tens of thousands of visitors to the popular winter-sun destination.

In terms of the agreement with Aqaba Development Corporation, AD Ports Group will develop, manage and operate the new terminal, now a world-class facility for international cruise passengers looking to visit Jordan, specifically Aqaba, Petra and Wadi Rum, the latter being specifically day tours.

“The Aqaba Cruise Terminal not only offers an unprecedented opportunity to tap into the fast-growing cruise industry, but also enables us to share our longstanding expertise in operating leading-edge cruise terminals,” said Falah Mohammad Al Ahbabi, Chairman of AD Ports Group.

“This while supporting AD Ports Group’s international growth strategy by leveraging Aqaba’s pivotal location and vast potential as a regional hub on the Red Sea.”

The Aqaba Cruise Terminal comprises a 700-metre quay wall, passenger and luggage hall, indoor retail spaces, free Wi-Fi, prayer rooms and offices.

The ultra-modern facility acts as a one-stop-shop for multiple government stakeholders serving the cruise business, improving processes, procedures and services and making it an attractive destination for cruise lines.

This is achieved by increasing ship call opportunities and passenger volumes, while ultimately boosting the economy at large.

AD Ports has also four other strategic agreements planned between AD Ports Group and Aqaba Development Corporation. These are Marsa Zayed, a $10 billion redevelopment project in Aqaba, consisting of high-rise, hotels, retail, residential, entertainment and financial districts; the development and operation of an advanced Ports Community System; the Aqaba Multipurpose Port; and the development, management and operation of King Hussein International Airport.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter- it’s free
Added 30 January 2023


News continues below

Revamped Mombasa Cruise Terminal making a difference

Deutschland World Odyssey.  Picture: Vesselfinder

The recently revamped Port of Mombasa Cruise Terminal is set to make a difference to the arrival of cruise ships and their passengers in the Kenyan port.

The port’s cruise terminal had been unused for several years before its recent revamp, and now provides cruise ship passengers with a more pleasant and efficient welcome in the Kenya port.

One of the ships to have visited Mombasa recently and is making use of the terminal is the WORLD ODYSSEY, the latest cruise ship to have made use of the facility since its recent opening.

Kenya’s tourist authorities will hope that having an attractive and dedicated terminal for arriving cruise ships will act an an added incentive for cruise companies to add Mombasa to their list of destinations.

World Odyssey is not strictly speaking a ‘cruise ship’ in the normal sense and is currently operated by the ‘Semester at Sea’ organisation, a study-abroad programme that has been in operation since 1963 and is sponsored by an American university.

Various ships have operated with this programme over the years, the latest being the DEUTSCHLAND, a ship designed for and operated by Peter Deilmann Cruises from her launch in 1998 until 2015. As Deutschland she visited South Africa on several occasions, calling at local ports.

Now renamed as World Odyssey, she also visited Mombasa in November 2022.

Sign up for Africa Ports & Ships Newsletter – it’s free
Added 30 January 2023



in partnership with – APO

More News at



The past is a rich resource on which we can draw in order to make decisions for the future, but it does not dictate our choices. We should look back at the past and select what is good, and leave behind what is bad.


News continues below………

More Earlier News at



Request a Rate Card from


Port Louis – Indian Ocean gateway port

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

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

You can access this information, including the list of ports covered, by  CLICKING HERE remember to use your BACKSPACE to return to this page.

News continues below


QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

We publish news about the cruise industry here in the general news section.

Naval News

Similarly you can read our regular Naval News reports and stories here in the general news section.




For a Rate Card please contact us at

Don’t forget to send us your news and press releases for inclusion in the News Bulletins. Shipping related pictures submitted by readers are always welcome. Email to

Colour photographs and slides for sale of a variety of ships.
Thousands of items listed featuring famous passenger liners of the past to cruise ships of today, freighters, container vessels, tankers, bulkers, naval and research vessels.P O BOX 809, CAPE TOWN, 8000, SOUTH AFRICA