Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 11 August 2023

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Week commencing 31 July 2023.  Click on headline to go direct to story : use the BACK key to return.    Pages viewed in the previous week Sunday to Saturday: 65,173


FIRST VIEW:   Maersk Danube 


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FIRST VIEW:  Maersk Danube

Maersk Danube. Port of Durban. Picture by Trevor Jones
Maersk Danube. Port of Durban. Picture by Trevor Jones

Sailing from Durban earlier in July was MAERSK DANUBE (IMO 9694579).  The 255 metre long by 37.3m wide ship was built in 2014 at the Hanjin Subic Shipyard of Olongapo in the Philippines and has a deadweight tonnage of 65,223 tons.

The ship’s container capacity is a useful 5,400 TEU.  From Durban she sailed to the the Arabian Gulf and from there to Indian ports.  Maersk Danube is operated by Maersk and is flagged in Singapore.

Pictures:  Trevor Jones



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The Port of Dar es Salaam, attracting Ugandan business with incentives.  Picture: TPA

Dar es Salaam offers Uganda shippers 30 days free storage

Africa Ports & Ships

The Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam, ever willing to attract more traffic from its landlocked neighbours, is offering Ugandan shippers an incentive of 30 days free storage on imports.

Nile Post in Uganda reports that this is among several incentives to the Ugandan shippers as they recover from the slump brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and global conflicts.

The announcement was made at the FIATA-RAME 2023* conference just concluded in Kampala, Uganda’s capital.

During the conference Tanzania Port Authority (TPA) pledged to support the shippers and logistics service providers in building resilience in their operations and assisting in adapting to the new trends and disruptions in international trade.

“TPA has a dedicated Ugandan shed, which is available for shippers to use at any given time as both a consolidation and deconsolidation centre, especially for imports,” said Yesaya Masangya, TPA Marketing Manager.

Mr Masangya said exports of up to 3,500 metric tonnes are also allowed in this shed for consolidation purposes. “The 30 days will give shippers a more realistic import planning as well as comply to the requirements of various stakeholders,” he said.

Masangya described the biggest concern for global trade as being the restrictions and trade measures among trade partners, an aspect that “constitutes” into non tariff barriers.

“TPA is mandated to provide a seamless gateway to global economies as well as offer efficient cargo handling services. The core functions of the Authority are combined with facilitation and partnerships in order to provide an efficient and reliable service to the customers,” he said.

Lona Stafford, TPA Uganda Country Representative, described TPA as a continuing improvement programme – an aspect that has helped it become a more efficient and reliable trade partner.

“Services in our ports are now 24/7; security for the cargo, assets, vessels and community has been enhanced; shippers can now pay port charges online through the TPA Electronic Payment Portal (Tepp) using both VISA and MasterCard. Our Liaison Office in Uganda has helped play a coordination role between TPA, the customers and users – an aspect that has brought port services closer to the customers,” she said.

Uganda forms an important strategic transit market to Tanzania Ports Authority, which is serviced through a multimodal system, involving the rail – lake network from the Port of Dar es Salaam to Port Mwanza on lake Victoria and then by ship to Port Bell and Jinja in Uganda.

Capacity on Lake Victoria has been enhanced. The vessel UMOJA, which is undergoing rehabilitation will resume its operations in August 2023. Umoja will then supplement the vessel KAAWA, which is currently making over eight voyages each month to provide more than 15,000 tonnes capacity a month for both imports and exports.

This route cuts transit time and cost between Dar es Salaam and Uganda by over 20% and 40% respectively compared with road transport, says TPA.

According to Mwanza’s port manager, Ferdinand Nyathi, the port at Mwanza is undergoing a lot of redevelopment in order to transform it into a modern port.

“TPA is working closely with the Government of Tanzania and other stakeholders to streamline the activities of various port stakeholders with the aim of attaining a seamless flow of information and cargo from the port to the final destinations,” he said.

Arnold Tarimo, TPA Marketing Officer explained that port operations involves multiple regulators and partners, each with a different standard and in most cases independent systems.

“One of the remedies to this is the establishment of TPA’s Bandari Tower – One Stop Centre that offers a 360- degrees service to customers as it is home to over 35 port stakeholders, all under one roof which saves customers time and cost.”

* FIATA-RAME – International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA), which hosted the 2023 Region Africa and Middle East (RAME)

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WHARF TALK: multi-purpose, offshore towage, anchor handling, and support vessel SD GRACE

SD Grace in Cape Town harbour. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

For tug enthusiasts, the year thus far has been a good one. There have been a good number of newbuild Damen harbour tugs making their way from the shipyard to their new operational homes. In fact there have been more than half a dozen up to now, and nearly all en route for established harbour authorities, or well-known international tug operating companies.

Added to that, there have been a number of offshore anchor handling tugs, large and small, making their way with something in tow, and a few smaller anchor handling tugs popping in for maintenance requirements. Plus the small workhorse oceanic tugs, not necessarily associated with the offshore industry, but towing a barge, or a pontoon, or a dredger, for a marine construction project somewhere on this planet.

One of the tug variants that, until now, have been rare visitors at any time, and none this year thus far, are the hybrid tugs designed to act as both anchor handlers, as well as operating as harbour berthing tugs. Except that these harbours are located, often, hundreds of miles offshore, and are attached to offshore FPSO, FSO, FNLG and SBM assets. The job of these tugs is to protect the main asset, and keep her in place, plus act as a berthing tug for the shuttle tanker, or LNG tanker, that arrives to collect a cargo from the main asset.

On 8th August, at 14h00 in the early afternoon, the multi-purpose, offshore towage, anchor handling, and support vessel SD GRACE (IMO 9704908) arrived off Cape Town, after an oceanic crossing from Sembawang in Singapore. She entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock, and going alongside the Landing Wall. Such an arrival is always a sign that her call is for some technical assistance, plus an uplift of fresh stores and bunkers.

SD Grace. Cape Town, 8 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2018 by PT. United Sindo Perkasa Shipyard, at Batam in Indonesia, ‘SD Grace’ is 50 metres in length and has a deadweight of 742 tons. She is powered by two MAN-B&W 9L27/38 nine cylinder four stroke main engines producing 4,466 bhp (3,285 kW) each, and providing power to two, Kort nozzled, Rolls-Royce azimuth propulsion units, and giving her a free, intervention, sea speed of 14 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three Caterpillar C18 generators providing 425 kW each, and a single Caterpillar C4.4 emergency generator providing 95 kW. For added manoeuvrability she has two Rolls-Royce, bow, transverse thrusters providing 350 kW each. Her propulsion units, together with her two bow thrusters gives ‘SD Grace’ a dynamic positioning classification of DP2, which is controlled by a Rolls-Royce Kongsberg K-Pos DP21 system.

As described, ‘SD Grace’ is very much a multi-purpose vessel. For her anchor handling operations, she has a deck area of 250 m2 available, and for her firefighting, and salvage, requirements she is classed as FiFi2, and is equipped with two fire monitors each capable of pumping water and foam at a rate of 3,600 m3/hour each.

For her towing requirements she has a bollard pull of 120 tons, and is fitted with two stern towing winches, with each drum holding 1000 metres of 76mm towing wire, plus an additional storage drum of a further 1000 metres of 76mm towing wire. For her escort, and berthing duties, she has a bow towing winch, with a drum holding 300 metres of 76mm towing wire.

SD Grace. Cape Town, 8 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She has accommodation for up to 38 persons, and is owned, operated, and managed by Kotug International BV, of Rotterdam in Holland. The casual marine observer may be aware that Kotug is one of the world’s larger harbour tug companies, operating in harbours worldwide, and with a large worldwide, offshore operation of specialised tugs, such as ‘SD Grace’, used for infield support of oil and gas industry FPSO, FSO, FLNG and SBM assets.

Her contract work, prior to her voyage across from Singapore, was in support of the Western Australian, offshore, Ichthys LNG field, operated by the INPEX oil and gas company. This field produces both LNG and Condensate, with the LNG piped to Darwin, and the Condensate being stored in the ‘Ichthys Venturer’ FPSO. All of her 1,120,000 barrels of stored Condensate is transferred to shuttle tankers, with the role of ‘SD Grace’ being to protect the FPSO, and provide berthing assistance to the tankers coming alongside the FPSO, to allow for the transfer of the Condensate cargo.

For the nomenclature fan, the ‘SD’ in the name of ‘SD Grace’ is merely an identifier for her owners, Kotug, and potential charterers, to show that this is a ‘Stern Drive’ tug. Kotug operate a fleet of bespoke Rotor Tugs, which use three azimuth units, and these all have the prefix of ‘RT’ in their name to differentiate them from the ‘SD’ fleet.

SD Grace. Cape Town, 8 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The company itself has a long history, founded as it was in Holland, back in 1911. In 1919, the owner, Antonie Kooren*, purchased his first tug and, for the first time, the white ‘K’ symbol appeared on a tug funnel, to identify the company owner. Over the next century, the company developed, merged, and expanded, worldwide. In 1988 this resulted in the expanded company being renamed Kotug International BV. At this point the fleetwide red hull, with a blue funnel and the white ‘K’ was adopted fleetwide.

The casual marine observer, and tug enthusiast, may recall that back in September 2011 the sistership of ‘SD Grace’ arrived in Cape Town, after a similar voyage across from the Singapore region. Requiring some major local engineering intervention to fix a major onboard problem, ‘SD Honour’ departed to Port Gentil, in Gabon, where she had been contracted to undertake a short contract, for the Perenco oil and gas company, to set up a new FPSO operation there.

SD Grace. Cape Town, 8 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

From Gabon, ‘SD Honour’ moved to undertake a long term contract for ExxonMobil in the South American nation of Guyana. The charter was to protect two new FPSO assets, named ‘Liza Destiny’, and ‘Liza Unity’, in the offshore Liza oilfield, and assist with berthing of shuttle tankers arriving for cargo offtake of the stored 1,600,000 barrels of oil from each of the two FPSOs. This made ‘SD Honour’ the third Kotug International tug in operation on this field.

ExxonMobil have also developed an adjacent oilfield in Guyana waters, called the Payara field, and a new FPSO, ‘Prosperity’, arrived in April to take up station on the field. Hook up of the FPSO, capable of storing 2 million barrels of oil, is scheduled for completion for the end of this month, and ‘Prosperity’ may be ready to begin storage of oil from September onwards.

After just 36 hours alongside at the Landing Wall, ‘SD Grace’ was ready to sail for her next assignment. At 2000 in the early evening, she sailed from Cape Town, and with her AIS displaying that her destination was none other than Georgetown, the capital city of Guyana. It is almost a certainty that she is off to join her sistership, ‘SD Honour’, and become the fourth Kotug International tug to begin duties, for ExxonMobil, at one of the two Liza FPSO stations, or possibly on the new Payara FPSO station.

Video on Kotug and its founder

* Readers are referred in Africa Ports & Ships to the video ‘The Legacy of Kotug’ on the ‘father’ of the Dutch tug company, which we featured recently HERE

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Added 11 August 2023


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Xeneta Container Update: Spot rates rally on key Far East trade lanes after latest GRI moves

Xeneta Contain4er Rates Update

Africa Ports & Ships

Spot rates for containerized ocean freight have climbed across three leading Far East export corridors after the latest round of General Rate Increases (GRIs) from carriers.

The news, revealed by Oslo’s Xeneta, provides welcome relief for a segment that has been “up against the ropes” for much of 2023, fighting against declining demand and volumes, married to escalating overcapacity and continuing economic uncertainty. Spot rates are now back above long-term contracted rates on all three routes, giving shippers, freight forwarders and carriers much to ponder ahead of upcoming, peak season contract tenders.

Fighting for control

“We’ve grown accustomed to witnessing a protracted downward trajectory for ocean freight rates since last summer,” comments Peter Sand, Chief Analyst, Xeneta; “with spot rates falling below contracted rates on key routes as carriers fight for volumes in a climate defined by weak demand.

“GRIs have been deployed time and time again by the carriers to try and ‘right the ship’, arresting declines and allowing them to regain a sense of control. However, as we’ve seen across the majority of lanes this year, that’s failed to have the desired impact… until now.”

Steady increase

Xeneta’s real-time data, crowd-sourced from leading global shippers, shows that August’s GRIs have helped rates rally on the crucial Far East to US West Coast, Far East to North Europe, and Far East to Mediterranean corridors.

Peter Sand, Xeneta chief analyst

The Far East to North Europe trade lane has experienced the most dramatic short-term climb (from the end of July), rising USD 500 from a spot rate that has been sub-USD 1500 per FEU since early May. This amounts to a 39.6% hike. This has also pushed the spread between this route and the more expensive Far East to Mediterranean lane down to just USD 670 – the closest it’s been this year.

Meanwhile, the Far East to US West Coast corridor has enjoyed a somewhat steadier rise with more impactful GRIs over recent months. Market average spot rates here have climbed by 51.5% since the end of June, increasing by USD 470 from 1 July to 1 August.

Peak timing

Sand comments: “With many carriers looking for GRI-driven increases in the range of USD 1000 per FEU, these ‘bumps’ fall far short but, given the recent industry context, will no doubt be welcomed by carriers nonetheless.

“It’s also important to note that the climbs come ahead of peak season and a new wave of contract tendering. Of course, whether the increases hold in an atmosphere of weak fundamentals remains to be seen – they certainly haven’t done so earlier this year, but then we haven’t seen climbs as pronounced as this either.”

Certain uncertainty

Sand concludes that much will hinge on whether these short-term boosts translate into lasting gains and how that plays into the next set of GRIs in September.

“One thing’s for sure,” he notes, “many of the shippers who have been taking advantage of the weak short-term market and delaying signing new long-term contracts will be eyeing developments nervously. Have they left it ‘too late’ to negotiate? Has the market bottomed out before a rebound? Or is this simply a false dawn for carriers?

“Time, and analysis of the latest data, will tell.”

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Added 11 August 2023


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Cable ship Léon Thévenin needed in two place at once

The Cape Town-based cable ship Léon Thévenin. Picture: Orange Marine

Africa Ports & Ships

If you have been experiencing slow or dodgy internet connectivity since Sunday, don’t blame it necessarily on your service provider. It is probably a result of a rock fall avalanche in the Congo Canyon opposite the mouth the Congo River, where breaks in the West Afican Cable System (WACS) have occurred.

And it may take a month or longer to have the breaks repaired.

The rock fall on Sunday damaged the WACS as well as the South Atlantic 3 (SAT-3) submarine cables, which connect South and southern Africa with areas north of the equator.

SAT-3 was the first to go, followed that evening by WACS.

Léon Thévenin cable ship

Ordinarily the cable ship LÉON THÉVENIN, based out of Cape Town, would have hastened to the scene. Unfortunately she has, for the previous 10-days, been taking a leisurely path up the east coast to Mombasa to attend to another repair job on the Kenya coast, where she arrived this week.

Léon Thévenin departed Cape Town for Mombasa on 27 July 2023.

According to reports it may be a month or more before the cable repair ship will be able to reach the mouth of the Congo River.

Telkom’s networks division Openserve has confirmed the breaks but describes the impact on its operations as ‘minimal’, saying that internet traffic was automatically re-routed, “due to our investment in other international cable capacity.”

The estimated time of arrival for Léon Thévenin to reach the Congo mouth is within the first three weeks of September.

Longest recorded sediment avalanche

The avalanche (turbidity current) that resulted in the cable breaks has been described by scientists as the longest sediment avalanche yet measured in action.

Yet as large as it was it might have gone unrecorded except for the two cable breaks.

However, the BBC reports the canyon as being lined along its length with instruments capable of measuring current and sediment velocities.

One of the reasons for this is the great depth of the canyon facing the huge outflow of one of the world’s greatest rivers.

It is not the first time that the submarine tele cables have broken across the Congo Canyon. They broke in January 2020 and were repaired in a few weeks. There have been other breaks since then too, as further sediment fell downslope.

One of the causes of the turbidity current is the immense volume of water from the Congo River. In December 2019 the river was in flood, with 70,000 cubic metres of water per second passing Kinshasa and depositing large volumes of sediment off the coast at the head of the Congo Canyon.

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Added 10 August 2023


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WHARF TALK: handysize bulk carrier – CHARISMA.GR

The handysize bulk carrier Charisma.GR manoeuvring in Cape Town harbour. Picture: Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Occasionally, a vessel arrives in port and everything about her appearance, and her movements, do not make immediate sense. Bulk cargoes are not usually loaded at one South African port, for potential discharge at another South African port. So it is not often, if ever, that a fully laden bulk carrier arrives in Cape Town, from Richards Bay, where she first loaded a bulk mineral cargo, and goes to a working non-ore berth. Then actually does not discharge any of her cargo, but actually loads a small amount of additional breakbulk cargo instead, and then sails for the USA one day later, and to a port not known for the import of bulk mineral cargo.

On 4th August, the handysize bulk carrier CHARISMA.GR (IMO 9834856) arrived off Cape Town, from Richards Bay, and immediately entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock and going alongside A berth. She was fully laden, down to her marks, so an expectation that she would be discharging seemed likely. Except that she did not begin discharging, but rather started to load cargo. It was all rather confusing, and to add to that confusion, some websites refer to her as a bulk carrier, whilst others refer to her as a general cargo vessel.

UPDATE: (11 August 2023)

The reason for the call of the bulk carrier CHARISMA.GR in Cape Town recently, which in itself was unusual for a bulk carrier, has been explained. The ship loaded a full deck cargo of the locally built Robertson & Caine catamarans, which also explains the induced call at Port Everglades, which is close to the US sales office of Robertson & Caine in the USA. Now it all makes sense!

Charisma.GR. Cape Town, 4 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2019 by Saiki Heavy Industries at Onomichi in Japan, ‘’ is 180 metres in length and has a deadweight of 37,295 tons. She is powered by a single Makita MAN-B&W 6S46ME-B8.5 six cylinder two stroke main engine producing 9,569 bhp (7,038 kW), driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots. Her auxiliary machinery includes a total of four generators providing a maximum onboard power output of 1,880 kW. She has a single Miura composite vertical boiler. She has a \???????????????

She has five holds, with a cargo carrying capacity of 47,342 m3, and with each hatch having electro-hydraulic folding hatch covers. The holds have a deck strength of 30 tons/m2, and are served by four hydraulic cranes, each capable of lifting 30 tons. She also carries four 12 m3 Guven, dual scoop, remote-controlled grabs.

Interestingly, the owners of ‘’ have very explicit rules, which apply to the charterers, and governing the use of both the vessel cranes, and the vessel grabs. The instructions state;
“The grabs are not suitable for, a) cargoes with granules of diameter more than 10mm and hardness more than 400 brines and, b) handling of very fine powder cargoes such as soda ash and alumina. The vessel cranes and grabs are to be operated only by qualified shore personnel, employed and paid by the charterers, at the charterers entire risk, responsibility and expense.

Charisma.GR. Cape Town, 4 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The vessel grabs are the property of the owner, and charterers are not allowed to use them, unless otherwise agreed. In the case that the charterers use the vessel grabs, they are to give the Master a full description of the cargo with both its actual, and correct, properties, including density, so as to allow the grabs to be adjusted as necessary. The simultaneous use of more than one crane, per cargo hold, is not allowed.”

The second built of three sisterships, ‘’ is nominally owned by the Sealand Marine Corporation, of Majuro in the Marshall Islands. She is operated by M Maritime Group, of Athens, and whose houseflag she proudly displays on her funnel. She is managed by TMA Bulk GmbH, of Hamburg, and her charterers are none other than MACS Maritime Carrier Shipping GmbH, also of Hamburg. Knowing the identity of her charterers gives a glimmer of sense into her arrival at Cape Town.

Prior to her arrival at Richards Bay, back in late July, ‘’ had discharged her previous cargo at Massewa in Eritrea, and then called into Mombasa in Kenya, on her voyage south. She arrived at the Richards Bay anchorage at 0700 in the morning of the 21st July. At this point, she appears to have come under a voyage charter agreement with MACS. It is not often in the past, if ever, that it can be said that MACS operated a handysize bulk carrier on any of their services.

Charisma.GR. Cape Town, 4 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

She entered Richards Bay at 23H00 in the late evening of 24th July, and went alongside berth 707 to begin loading. After one week alongside, she was ready to sail at midday on 31st July, bound for Cape Town. A look at the MACS voyage schedules for their GAL (Gulf Africa Line) Service, which links South Africa with the Gulf of Mexico ports of the USA, would show that ‘’ has been scheduled, under voyage number 233113, to operate a single service from Richards Bay, via Cape Town, to New Orleans in the US Gulf State of Louisiana.

Clearly MACS had been given a large bulk cargo to transport to the US Gulf, and their usual breakbulk container vessels on the service were not suitable, or large enough, to fulfill the carriage agreement. So bringing in a handysize bulk carrier to load the vast majority of the bulk cargo in Richards Bay became necessary.

That her loaded cargo is predominantly a bulk cargo, probably a mineral cargo, is borne out by the fact that her destination on the US gulf coast is not exactly New Orleans, but the port of Chalmette which lies just six nautical miles to the southeast of New Orleans, at 29°56’ North 089°57’ West, on the Mississippi River. The port of Chalmette is actually merely a single, midstream, deep draft, dolphin berth known as the Associated Bulk Terminals, or the Chalmette Slip.

Charisma.GR. Cape Town, 4 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The Chalmette Slip lies at Mississippi River Mile Marker 89.5, which as it indicates is located 89.5 nautical miles up the Mississippi River, from the point at which the river begins. The point at the river mouth, at which one considers that the Mississippi River Mile Marker 0 exists, is known as the Head of Passes. This point lies within the delta of the Mississippi River, known as the Birds Foot, and is where the three passes, from which the river can be entered, converge.

The three passes are the Pass a Loutre (East), South Pass (Central), and Southwest Pass (West). It is Southwest Pass that is the major channel used as the entrance to the Mississippi River, and has been so since 1853. The start of the Southwest Pass is 20 nautical miles below the Head of Passes, and is the point at which the US Army Corps of Engineers maintains a shipping channel, with a depth of 13.7 m), from the entrance to the Southwest Pass, all the way up to the city of Baton Rouge, which is the furthest inland deepwater port, and which lies 234 nautical miles up the Mississippi River, and is the point which is the furthest navigable point for oceangoing ships.

Charisma.GR. Cape Town, 4 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Most casual marine observers will be well aware that MACS Maritime Carrier Shipping operates two scheduled liner services from South African ports, utilising a fleet of extremely good looking vessels. The first, and main one of these schedules, is the normal MACS Schedule, to Northwest Continent ports in Europe. The second one is the GAL (Gulf Africa Line) service to US Gulf of Mexico ports. The discharge ports of the GAL service are generally Houston (Texas), Brownsville (Texas), and New Orleans (Louisiana). Other gulf ports are served on inducement.

MACS have been operating since 1970 as MACS Maritime Carrier Shipping GmbH, of Hamburg, and in 1979 they opened their successful MACS schedule between South Africa and Europe. In 2004 they opened their GAL service to the USA, originally using a company known as Galborg Pte. Ltd., of Singapore. In 2016, Galborg was renamed MACS Maritime Carrier Shipping Pte. Ltd.

This is not the first time that ‘’ has called into Southern African ports this year. In March, whilst not engaged on services for MACS, she completed a voyage where she made a 7 day call at Richards Bay, followed by a 9 day call at Walvis Bay in Namibia. She followed this up with calls at the two East African ports of Massawa in Eritrea, and Mombasa in Kenya.

Charisma.GR. Cape Town, 4 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

After just over one day alongside A berth, which is the normal MACS loading berth in Cape Town, ‘’ was ready to sail, and at 14h00 in the early afternoon of 5th August, she departed from Cape Town, but her AIS was not showing either Chalmette, or New Orleans, as her destination port. Instead, it showed Port Everglades, in Florida.

Presumably, her loaded cargo included an inducement parcel for this destination. Port Everglades is not known for the import of mineral cargoes, so the presumption is that she loaded some breakbulk cargo, during her short stay in Cape Town, which is destined for this Floridian port, with an ETA given as 1st September. Her original, published, MACS schedule had ‘’ as arriving on 30th August in New Orleans, rather than Chalmette. It is no wonder that her arrival in Cape Town was so confusing.

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Added 10 August 2023


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Dual loading at PE Car Terminal increases handling rate by 14%

Cars being loaded using the side and rear ramps on this Höegh Autoliners vessel. Picture TPT

Africa Ports & Ships

Port Elizabeth Car Terminal has increased its handling rate significantly by using a dual ramp operation.

Previously the terminal loaded vehicles into berthed vehicle carriers by using the larger stern ramp only.

The majority of car carriers have a side ramp as well.

After undertaking a trial with the cooperation of Höegh Autoliners, the terminal at Port Elizabeth harbour has been able to increase the number of units per hour (uph) beyond the target set of 200 uph.
As a result of this success the terminal has begun applying dual loading on all vessel carrier calls.

Terminal Manager Chuma Butshingi called the results pleasing, saying the terminal is constantly improving productivity.

In 2022, as reported here in Africa Ports & Ships, a team from Transnet Port Terminals, who operate the three car terminals, visited Thailand on a benchmarking exercise that exposed them to improved ways of managing the operation.

In the calendar year 2022 the Port Elizabeth Car Terminal handled a total of 145,868 motor units. The Port of East London handled 91,536 units, and the Port of Durban handled 592,655 units.

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Added 10 August 2023


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Fishing trawler Dijaanda shipwrecked on Mossel Bay coast – four dead, one seafarer missing

The rocky shoreline near Gouritz River mouth. Picture: NSRI

Africa Ports & Ships

An urgent search and rescue operation took place off the Southern Cape coast of South Africa on early Tuesday morning after a partial May Day signal was received.

The search and rescue effort was triggered by the distress signal received from the vessel DIJAANDA, which was later discovered to have run aground in the Gouritzmond area.

According to reports by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), the incident began at 01h50 on Tuesday when a partial distress call was transmitted by an unidentified fishing vessel, believed to be in the Gouritzmond region.

Joint search

After receiving the alert from Telkom Maritime Radio Services saying they suspected the distress signal to have come from the Gouritz area, the NSRI Mossel Bay dispatched a vehicle to search the shore line, assisted by another vehicle from the Mossel Bay Fire & Rescue Services, each taking a different direction from the Gouritz River mouth.

Out at sea the fishing vessel Vuna Elisa had also picked up the partial distress signal and hastened to the suspected search area.

For those onshore, no cell phone signals or radio communications could be obtained in either direction.

At about 03h00 the NSRI rescue vehicle crew, 5 kilometres west of Gouritz River Mouth, discovered a local fishing trawler washed up on rocks, where the skipper of the casualty vessel, named Dijaanda, was discovered among the rocks in shallow surf. The skipper explained he had been conducting CPR on the body of one of his six crewmen who he found among the rocks but that area had since become covered by the high tide.

Call for help

Another crewman could be heard shouting for help from the badly damaged fishing vessel that was being battered by heavy waves.

An NSRI rescue swimmer was able to rescue this man from the wrecked fishing vessel despite the rough seas.

Both he and the skipper were treated for hypothermia.

A radio message was transmitted by the fishing boat searching offshore to inform Telkom Maritime Radio Services of the wrecked vessel’s location and to direct additional rescue services and resources to the scene.

Meanwhile, an NSRI member drove 3 kilometres to reach a cellphone signal to also raise the alarm and request additional rescue services and resources.

During the subsequent search four bodies were recovered from the surf line. The trawler had a crew of seven and one man remained missing.

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Added 9 August 2023


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The UK’s National Risk Register

UK National Risk Register

Edited by Paul Ridgway

A nation state in exercising its responsibilities towards its people and the wider global community has to create and maintain a register of the likely horrors or risks that will come its away in time.

As the years have gone by and advances in science and technology have increased the risk of catastrophe increased too. For example, our forefathers in say the 1940s would never have had to consider cybercrime although telephones could and were tapped and business codes broken. From the earliest times nations have had to prepare to confront the personification of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Death (or Plague), Famine, War, Conquest.

Growing risks

Along with other states the UK is facing an ever-changing and growing set of risks. Even in the three years since its last National Risk Register was published in 2020, the world has seen the barbaric invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the wide-ranging and long-lasting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the increasing impact of climate change on day-to-day lives.

Furthermore, technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) are transforming the world – bringing with them opportunities but also risks.

Ministerial comment

In his foreword to the National Risk Register the Rt Hon Oliver Dowden MP Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for the Cabinet Office wrote: “This country has overcome countless challenges before, but I am determined to build on our national resilience so that we are prepared for whatever the future holds.

“To do that, we need to be more open than ever about the risks we face. Government cannot tackle these challenges alone; due to our increasingly complex and interconnected world, all of society needs to work together to strengthen our defences and build a more resilient nation…This document reflects our sophisticated understanding of the risk landscape following events such as Covid-19.

The 192-page document is available by this link HERE

Nine risk themes

The risks that meet the threshold for inclusion in the National Risk Register would have a substantial impact on the UK’s safety, security and/or critical systems at a national level. The Register includes information approaching two hundred risks, within nine risk themes as here: (i) accidents and system failures; (ii) conflict and instability; (iii) cyber; (iv) geographic and diplomatic; (v) human, animal and plant health; (vi) natural and environmental hazards; (vii) societal; (viii) state threats and (ix) terrorism.

Of maritime interest

Of these a representative selection enables an appreciation of topics of interest to the maritime community, with page numbers where they are to be found in the document:

* Terrorism (page 31)
* International terrorist attack (page 32)
* Malicious maritime incident (page 36)
* Conventional attack: fuel supply infrastructure (page 52)
* Cyber attack: fuel supply infrastructure (page 53)
* Disruption to global oil trade routes (page 67)
* Large passenger vessel accident (page 77)
* Major maritime pollution incident (page 79)
* Incident (grounding/sinking) of a vessel blocking a major port (page 81)
* Accident involving high-consequence dangerous goods (page 83)
* Loss of Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) services (page 91)
* Simultaneous loss of all fixed and mobile forms of communication (page 93)
* Severe space weather (page 142)

The material here is based on text and an illustration that are Cabinet Office Crown Copyright 2023 ©. Reproduced here with due acknowledgement under UK Open Government Licence v3.0

Comment: How many African nations have similar risk register assessments especially pertaining to the maritime sector? AP&S

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Hapag-Lloyd and DB Schenker to decarbonise supply chains


Hapag-Lloyd & DB Schenker in agreement to decarbonization supply chains. Picture Hapag-Lloyd

Africa Ports & Ships

Hapag-Lloyd and DB Schenker have entered into a partnership for the purpose of decarbonising supply chains. Following the launch of ‘Ship Green’ in May, logistics provider DB Schenker selected Hapag-Lloyd’s sustainable transport solution as part of its sustainability initiatives.

The agreement signed is for emission-reduced container transports with a waste- and residue-based biofuel. By end of 2023, DB Schenker plans to claim approximately 3,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions avoidance. This is based on at least 1,000 tonnes of pure biofuel.

“We are excited about this new partnership with DB Schenker as we share the common goal of making logistics more sustainable,” said Henrik Schilling, Managing Director Global Commercial Development at Hapag-Lloyd.

He said collaborations like these set a clear signal in the industry and are another example of a step-by-step approach to further decarbonise supply chains.

Thorsten Meincke, Global Board Member for Air & Ocean Freight at DB Schenker, said he is very pleased that together with Hapag-Lloyd they are setting another example for sustainability in their industry.

“This partnership further enlarges our global biofuel offer in ocean freight. With this commitment we are one step closer to our goal of becoming carbon-neutral,” he said.

Hapag-Lloyd’s recently launched Ship Green product offers its customers emission-reduced ocean transports. Based on biofuel, customers of Hapag-Lloyd are able to add Ship Green as an additional service to their existing bookings – thereby avoiding CO2e emissions.

Using the so-called ‘Book & Claim’ chain of custody, Hapag-Lloyd can attribute avoided emissions to all ocean-leg transports, regardless of the vessel and route used. Ship Green is available for all shipments containing standard, hardtop or tank equipment.

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TNPA & CSIR (ACCESS) to collaborate over wind impact at Cape Town port

The Port of Cape Town, subject of a detailed study on wind effect.  TNPA

Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the CSIR-hosted programme, ACCESS (The Alliance for Collaboration on Climate and Earth Systems Science) and other research institutions.

The reason? The MoU is to establish a series of research projects aimed at understanding the impact of extreme wind disruption to operations for the integrated maritime transport logistics chain at the Port of Cape Town (PoCT).

The Port of Cape Town has lost on average 1200 hours per year of operational time due to extreme wind disruption in the past few years. Extreme wind gusts can result in terminal equipment becoming unsafe to operate, thereby impacting on terminal operations.

This sometimes leads to congestion both in the port and outside the port, resulting in vessels at anchorage for extended periods.

Several industries, including the time-sensitive fruit industry, are severely impacted by wind disruptions in the port. Container shipping lines frequently skip their Cape Town calls to avoid scheduling delays.

Climate specialists at the University of the Witwatersrand are studying the seasonal climate patterns that result in extreme winds to establish trends and whether the wind is intensifying with time, and how the wind patterns in the Cape Peninsula and the port are likely to change because of climate change.

Researchers at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of Cape Town are examining the current and future economic impact of these disruptions on specific value chains in order to estimate the financial losses and assess the required investment into adaptation measures to deal with the problem.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the University of Cape Town are focusing on feasible engineering and operational adaptations to address the challenge.

Cape Town Container Terminal, severely impacted by high winds.   TNPA

Advocate Phyllis Difeto, TNPA Managing Executive for Western Region ports, who signed the MoA, says that the TNPA appreciated the increasing risk of environmental challenges to port operations and that unless these were carefully understood and managed, they could add a burden to the management of the ports.

“Climate change presents a growing challenge to shipping and ports as it impacts the state of both land and sea operations,” she said.

CSIR senior researcher and ACCESS Director Dr Neville Sweijd says extreme weather is really the way in which climate change manifests. He explains that these extreme events, which occur in South Africa and everywhere else, are projected to intensify as global warming and climate change manifests further, and this is how people will experience it in their lives and work.

“The extreme wind problem in the Port of Cape Town is a classic example. It is not a new problem, but potentially a worsening one, and so it will increasingly have an impact on lives and livelihoods all around the Western Cape, especially for those people involved in the fruit export industry,” says Sweijd.

Sweijd explains that the project seeks to produce solutions that can be used to adapt to and manage the extreme wind impacts. “We cannot turn the wind off, but we can learn to better work with it,” he adds.

Stakeholders representing exporters and importers, freight management, and producer associations, met in June 2023 at a workshop to outline and scope precisely how businesses were impacted by port disruptions.

The MoA between TNPA and the research consortium will provide access to valuable data sources required for the study. The team will work closely with TNPA and the port stakeholders over the next two years to find optimal ways of addressing the challenge.

“Strategic partnerships are critical for a successful and integrated maritime transport logistics chain, and the TNPA continues to collaborate and partner with all stakeholders to optimise the value proposition of the port and the Western Region,” said Difeto.

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WHARF TALK: Damen new-build tug – E-EIGHT

The Damen-built (Sharjah) tug E-Eight that arrived in South Africa. Picture: Freek Feilzer/MarineTraffic

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

For the serious tug enthusiast, South Africa with its well-developed port infrastructure, its world class ship repair and maintenance industry, and its geographical position lying on the crossroads of all of the major oceanic sea routes of the Southern Hemisphere, means that tugs of all descriptions, and persuasions, are to be seen at some point or another in a local port.

The casual marine observer, who has a penchant for tugs, is relatively spoilt in South Africa, as not only is an iconic, if elderly, ocean salvage tug based on the South African coast, but the more modern versions of ocean salvage tugs are regular visitors to Durban and, especially, Cape Town as they are taking their charges, mostly oil and gas industry related, from one location to another. Sadly, their charges are always left offshore as they take turns to come in for bunkers.

Then there are the smaller workhorse ocean towing tugs, normally with their smaller barges and pontoons, which they usually bring them with them, when entering port for bunkers and stores, to give the tug observers an increased thrill. And of course, every South African major port has a small fleet of Transnet harbour tugs to look out for.

In the case of Cape Town, there is a shipyard whose owners specialise in the building of small ocean towing, and harbour, tugs. Many of these tugs are built elsewhere than Cape Town, but if the delivery voyage is to anywhere in West Africa, then the chances are the tug enthusiast will get to see it here. The local shipyard engineers are able to give support to these delivery newbuilds, and iron out any snags that popped up as the tug made its way to its new owners.

On 29th July, at 14h00 in the early afternoon, the small tug ‘E-Eight’ (IMO 9962366) arrived off Cape Town, from East London, and entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Ben Schoeman Dock, and going to the far end of the dock, before entering the Elliott Basin, which is the small basin used by the Damen Shipyard in Cape Town as a wet dock for local newbuilds, and other Damen products, visiting or otherwise, and that require Damen engineering cover.

E-Eight. Cape Ton 7 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

As a Damen designed tug, known as a 2811 ASD tug, it was decided back in 2017 when it was introduced, that the Damen Song Cam shipyard, at Haiphong in Vietnam, was the chosen site for where this particular type of tug would be build and completed. In more recent years, some 2811 ASD tugs have been completed at the Damen Albwardy shipyard, at Sharjah in the UAE.

Am extremely recent newbuild, being commissioned only in June 2023, ‘E-Eight’ is 28 metres in length, with a beam of 11 metres, hence the 2811 in her design classification, and she has a gross registered tonnage of 299 tons. For propulsion, she is designed with an azimuth stern drive, hence the ASD in her design classification. So Damen designs are quite easy to decipher once you know what the designations are referring to.

She is powered by two Caterpillar 3512C TA HD/D twelve cylinder four stroke main engines producing 5,102 bhp (3,804 kW), which drive two Rolls-Royce US205 azimuth stern thrusters, giving her a free running, intervention, sea speed of 13 knots. She has compliant IMO Tier III exhaust emissions with a NOx reduction system fitted. Her auxiliary machinery includes two Caterpillar C4.4 TA generators providing 86 kW each.

For her combined towage, or harbour berthing, duties ‘E-Eight’ has an ahead bollard pull of 60 tons, and an astern bollard pull of 55 tons. She is fully fitted for firefighting with a FiFi1 classification, and has two monitors capable of delivering water and foam at 1,200 m2/hour. She has accommodation for up to seven crew, with living space noise levels being low, in line with her Bureau Veritas (BV) classification.

E-Eight. Cape Ton 7 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Nominally owned by E-Eight Shipping, of Limassol in Cyprus, ‘E-Eight’ is owned and managed by EMAR Offshore Services BV, of Raamsdonksveer in Holland. As is evident by her name, her operating company, whose logo is displayed on her funnel casing, have a very simple naming convention for their fleet of service vessels. The casual marine observer would not be far off the mark if they guessed that the next vessel to enter the EMAR fleet will be called ‘E-Nine’.

The Damen Shipyards Group is Dutch owned, and as a Dutch company it is no surprise that they have opted for Damen products in their fleet, with no less than eight of the fleet of fourteen vessels being Damen designs, with five of them being Damen tugs, and four of these being 2811 ASD tugs.

The majority of the work that EMAR Offshore Services BV conducts is in support of the offshore mining, offshore construction, and offshore oil and gas industries. The fleet of tugs utilised are used for offshore Single Point Mooring (SPM), Floating Production and Storage Offshore (FPSO), and offshore oil terminal berthing and unberthing operations with shuttle tankers. They are also active in the support of coastal construction projects, and nearshore equipment supply.

E-Eight. Cape Ton 7 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

They are becoming well established as a leading marine services operator in the West African region. So much so that EMAR Offshore Services BV have a regional office, in Takoradi in Ghana, to enable them to focus on West Africa. The decision to build up their 2811 ASD tug fleet was to allow them to expand in West Africa with development of their harbour operations, and project towing operations. They also operate fast crew boats, and intervention vessels, in the Angolan offshore oil and gas industry.

The delivery voyage, to new owners, of most Damen tug newbuilds, from their shipyards in either Vietnam, or the UAE, always takes in a number of intermediate calls for bunkers and stores. The route of ‘E-Eight’ was to be no different from most similar Damen tug deliveries, and that have called in at South African ports, en route to their new home, although time in port was slightly longer than the normal one day for required uplifts.

The voyage of ‘E-Eight’ began after she was completed, and made ready, by the Damen Albwardy shipyard at Sharjah in the UAE, where she sailed on 2nd July. Her first call was only two days later, on 4th July, when she arrived at Muscat on Oman. She sailed three days later on 7th July, bound for Victoria in the Seychelles, where she arrived on 17th July. After one day alongside she sailed from Victoria on 18th July, and in a surprise stop, she arrived at East London on 29th July. Here, she spent over four days, before sailing on 2nd August, bound for Cape Town.

E-Eight. Cape Ton 7 August 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Her arrival in Cape Town follows that of virtually every other Damen product that is heading for either South America, or West Africa. Having a shipyard in Cape Town, with engineers, technicians, and other support staff, is a complete boon for a Damen built vessel that is embarked on a long, oceanic, delivery voyage. Most Damen newbuilds spend the most days in the port having their en route problems sorted out by Damen staff, or final fitting of necessary equipment needed for their new role, or simple role training for impending crew.

One forgets that the Damen Shipyards Group is not only a prolific builder of specialised vessels such as tugs, workboats and dredgers, but that the group operates no less than 32 shipbuilding and repair yards worldwide, including South Africa. These yards employ over 9,000 people, and through them Damen has delivered more than 5,000 vessels to more than 100 countries.

E-Eight making a surprise call at East London before heading to Cape Town. Picture by Deon van Heerden/MarineTraffic

One of the benefits of Damen’s shipbuilding focus is that they standardise their designs, utilise modular construction, and that they build vessels on speculation for stock, which means that they always have vessels immediately available. This leads to short delivery times for the new prospective shipowner, enabling them to begin new contracts, or expand existing ones, at extremely short notice, and it also maintains a low ‘total cost of ownership’.

Whilst details have yet to emerge from the owners, it is thought that once ‘E-Eight’ has completed her turnaround by Damen in Cape Town, that she will almost certainly be sailing north to her new operating base somewhere in West Africa, which is where some of her other fleet 2811 ASD tugs are currently operating.

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Suez Canal Authority tug sinks after collision with tanker

Africa Ports & Ships

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) advises that one of its canal tug’s sank at the weekend after colliding with a tanker.

The accident occurred during a convoy of vessels moving south through the waterway. One of the tug crew died in the accident.

The 230-metre long, 55,368-dwt Hong Kong-flagged LNG tanker, CHINAGAS LEGEND (IMO 9847944) was undamaged in the collision and has subsequently gone to anchor at Port Said while an investigation into the accident takes place.

Convoys of ships moving through the canal have not been affected, the SCA reported, other than a short delay to convoys moving from the South on Saturday night, shortly after the collision.

The SCA has deployed buoys to mark the spot where the tugboat went down and efforts will commence for its recovery.

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Tanzanian ship to ease container logistics between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar

Africa Ports & Ships

Welcoming the arrival of the container ship MIREMBE JUDITH (IMO 9141900), Mrisho Mrisho, Personal Assistant, Director of the Tanzania Ports Authority, said the vessel will help ease the movement of containers between Dar es Salaam and Malindi port on Zanzibar island.

The 600-TEU Mirembe Judith was introduced to the coastal and island service by the PMM Group, which owns and operates an inland container depot at Dar es Salaam.

The vessel, built in 1996, has a length of 117 metres and width of 19 metres and a container capacity of 600 TEU.

Mr Mrisho said at a the weekend that the arrival of the Mirembe Judith will help facilitate the transportation of containers from the Dar es Salaam container terminal and their transportation to Malindi on Zanzibar island.

He said that with the growth in volumes of containers arriving at Dar es Salaam, it was important to have a ship dedicated to quickly transporting boxes out of the port and delivering them to Zanzibar.

He said there were an average of between 1,000 and 2,000 containers monthly arriving at Dar es Salaam for transshipment to Zanzibar.

As container traffic increased it was imperative for more container ships to be available to move this and other cargo.

“The coming of this vessel is a major step towards the right direction in serving the route,” he said.

The Director of Marketing and Public Relations at PMM Group of companies, Deogratius Chacha said their shipping line is committed to bring a reliable solution in maritime transport.

By the end of 2024 DMM expects to introduce another two ships, he said – one a dry bulk carrier and the other a tanker.

Chacha said that the rapid growth in international trade meant there is a growing demand for efficient, cost-effective freight transport solutions to meet the needs of a diverse range of customers.

According to Mr Mrisho, the port of Dar es Salaam has yet to reach its maximum potential of serving the central corridor. The port, he said, needs massive investments, especially with regards the installation of modern equipment in order to more efficiently handle the increasing cargo volumes.

The port, he said, is underserved by a limited number of available berths that are equipped with “crippled” equipment, despite Dar es Salaam being the country’s major gateway.

In the fiscal year 2022/2023 Dar es Salaam handled 22.27 million tonnes of cargo, an increase on the 18 million tonnes of the previous year.

Less than 10 million tonnes was transit cargo, with the balance being for the local market, he revealed.

The port at Dar es Salaam is crucial to neighbouring landlocked states for their imports as well as exports. While Uganda traffic was “meagre”, which he said was due to logistical challenges at the Lake Victoria port of Mwanza, Dar es Salaam handled 3.5 million tonnes of cargo destined for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), an increase on the 2,9 million tonnes of the 2021/2022 year.

These figures need to be scaled up, Mrisho said.

“When you consider the market share of Dar Port’s potential to handle cargo destined to the land linked countries as well as handling cargo from those countries destined to Asia, Europe and other markets, our port is punching below its weight, and this all is due to lack of investments,” he said.

Mrisho’s words may have alluded to the controversial talks between the government and the UAE’s DP World about the latter’s possible involvement in the management and financing of the port.

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TPT says Truck Booking System at Port of Richards Bay is having effect

For illustrative purposes only – thei was the scene of trucks collecting at the Richards Bay airfield outside town in February this year.  Picture: supplied

Africa Ports & Ships

According to Transnet Port Terminals, the recently introduced Truck Booking System is beginning to make a difference at the congested port and adjacent roads.

For some time the roads both inside and outside the port have come under severe pressure from the thousands of heavy bulk carrying lorries arriving with coal, manganese and other ores and minerals for export through the Richards Bay Terminals, operated by Transnet Port Terminals.


This is separate from the bulk coal terminal, Richards Bay Coal Terminal or RBCT, on the other side of the port which is operated by a private group and which receives export coal exclusively by rail.

TPT Video

Watch short TPT-produced video explaining the Truck Booking System and its effect:


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Namibe port begins export of pig iron from Cuando Cubango

Moçâmedes Railways (CFM) train carrying over 800 tons of pig iron for export through the port of Namibe. Picture: ANGOP

Africa Ports & Ships

The southern Angolan port of Namibe has begun exporting pig iron ingots delivered to the port by rail, Angop is reporting.

The pig iron is produced in Cuando Cubango, an inland province in southern Angola.

The first train of Moçâmedes Railways (CFM) carrying 867 tons of pig iron, produced in Cuando Cubango, departed the previous Saturday morning from Menongue for the commercial port of Namibe.

Railway map of Angola, showing the CFM line from the Namibe port to Memongue in Cuando Cubango province

It is understood the ingots were to be exported to several countries in Europe and Asia as well as to the United States.

According to Companhia Siderúrgica do Cuchi (CSC), the company producing the pig iron, the order is in the nature of an experimental one, with first production having taken place in May.

A spokesman for the company said the initial process saw production of between 150 and 200 tons a day but this will be ramped up to 300 tons day.

Though relatively small at this stage, it should be seen as a part of the diversification of Angola’s economy, the creation of employment with approximately 5,000 jobs created in the final stage, and support for the railway which will carry the product to the port as well as well as cargo handled by the harbour itself.

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WHARF TALK: Panamax MR2 Product Tanker KARDIANI

The Panamax MR2 Product Tanker Kardiani on berth at the Cape Town tanker basin. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

It has become very apparent, over the last few months, that the pattern of product tankers being chartered to being in fuel products into South Africa is one of multiple port discharge itineraries. Such discharge schedules are also not only including multiple ports, but are also being planned across ports in more than one country of Southern Africa.

After the closure of the two major refineries, in both Durban and Cape Town, almost two years ago, product tankers were normally arriving and discharging their whole load of multiple products in a single port. Occasionally, a double port discharge would be utilised, especially to the smaller ports on the South African coast.

More recently three, four and even five port itineraries are becoming the norm. Whilst cross border itineraries are not that regular, especially from Mozambique, the inclusion of Walvis Bay in Namibia, on a South African discharge programme is becoming very regular.

Of course, for those of a certain age who still have powers of recall, there was a time when Walvis Bay was actually a South African port, and not a part of Namibia. A short, potted, history of the area is that Walvis Bay, whilst known from the early days of the Portuguese explorers in the 15th century, was only formally annexed by the British in 1884, and was incorporated as part of the Cape Colony.

In 1910, with the formation of the Union of South Africa, Walvis Bay became a formal part of South Africa. It remained so until 1st March 1994 when sovereignty of Walvis Bay was formally transferred to Namibia, which itself had only gained its independence from South Africa in 1990. I recall visits to Walvis Bay in the 1980s, when the ubiquitous South African ‘Stasie Bloempot’ (Railway Police) officers guarded the dock gates, and patrolled the harbour complex.

On 28th January, at 13h00 in the early afternoon, the Panamax MR2 Product Tanker KARDIANI (IMO 9366263) arrived off Cape Town, from Fujairah in the UAE. She entered Cape Town harbour, and proceeded into the Duncan Dock, to go alongside in the Tanker Basin to begin her first discharge of her Southern African coastal itinerary.

Kardiani. Cape Town 29 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2008 by STX Shipbuilding at Jinhae in South Korea, ‘Kardiani’ is 183 metres in length and has a deadweight of 51,527 tons. She is powered by a single STX MAN-B&W 6S50MC-C six cylinder two stroke main engine producing 12,892 bhp (9,614 kW), and driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three MAN 6L23/30H generators providing 740 kW each, and a single Cummins 6CT-8.3-D(M) emergency generator providing 100 kW. She has a single Kangrim EM11DC12A1 exhaust gas boiler, and a single Kangrim MB0502AS18 oil fired boiler. She has 12 cargo tanks, and a cargo carrying capacity of 53,650 m3. For loading and discharge operations she has 12 cargo pumps, with each having a pumping capacity of 600 m3/hour.

One of three sisterships, ‘Kardiani’ is nominally owned by Magnolia Shiptrade SA, but carries the houseflag on her funnel of Astra Shipmanagement Incorporated, of Athens in Greece. She is operated within the MR Tanker Pool of the BW Group, of Hamilton in Bermuda, and she is managed by Executive Shipmanagement Pte. Ltd., of Singapore.

Kardiani. Cape Town 29 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Back in July 2020, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, ‘Kardiani’ was off Mangalore in India, when one of her crewmembers became ill with suspected Covid-19. The Indian Coast Guard conducted the medical evacuation from the vessel, using a medical boarding team, and the crewmember was transferred to Athena Hospital in Mangalore, where his condition was later reported as stable.

Back on 25th August 2017, the USA suffered the first major landfall by a major Category 4 Hurricane since 2005. Hurricane Harvey had crossed the Gulf of Mexico, being the eighth named storm of the 2017 Hurricane season, and made landfall on the coast of Texas, some 25 miles east of the major port of Corpus Christi. She then dumped more than 40 inches of rain (1,000 mm) in a four day period over South Texas, causing catastrophic flooding, and the deaths of 107 people.

Hurricane Harvey was recorded as the wettest tropical cyclone in US weather history, and caused damage of US$125 billion (ZAR2.31 TRILLION), which is a figure that is unimaginable, as it is greater than the total GDP for South Africa in 2022. It was another unwanted record of the Hurricane’s visit. All of the ports along the Texas and Louisiana coastlines were closed to traffic as the hurricane approached landfall.

The Hurricane force winds, heavy rainfall, and subsequent Storm Surge created massive damage to the infrastructure of all the ports in the area, including Corpus Christi, Houston, Galveston, Freeport and Texas City. It was not until 31st August, almost one week after the passing of Hurricane Harvey, that the port of Corpus Christi was able to reopen its Oil Terminal. The first vessel able to berth at the Citgo Oil Dock 1 in Corpus Christi harbour was ‘Kardiani’.

In her career thus far, ‘Kardiani’ has undergone no less than 47 Port State Inspections. Of this total, two have resulted in her detention. The most recent was in November 2021, in the Australian port of Brisbane. A total of five deficiencies were recorded against her, of which one resulted in a two day port detention, and that one major deficiency was ISM related.

Her first detention was back in March 2011, at the US port of Houston, and again resulted in a two day port detention. She had two deficiencies recorded against her, both of them major, with one being ISM related, and the other being recorded as down to failures in Deck Fire Protection.

Kardiani. Cape Town 29 July 2023. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Interestingly, later that year in June 2011, as they appear to be few and far between in the country, she underwent a Port State Inspection in South Africa. The inspection took place in Durban, and where no deficiencies were recorded.

On 30th July, at 13h00 in the early afternoon, and after exactly two days alongside in Cape Town discharging, ‘Kardiani’ was ready to depart, and she sailed from Cape Town, bound for Walvis Bay in Namibia. She arrived there at 20h00 in the evening of 1st August, and continued with her discharge for the next day and a half.

By 10h00, on the morning of 3rd August, she was again ready to sail, and she departed from Walvis Bay, bound once more back to a port in South Africa. Her next destination on her AIS was set for Port Elizabeth, where she is scheduled to arrive at 10h00 in the morning of Monday 7th August, which will be her third, and presumably her last, discharge port call on this voyage.

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SAECS Service advisory Update MOL Proficiency & Santa Cruz

MOL Proficiency.    Picture: MOL

Africa Ports & Ships

In the latest service update advisory for the South Africa Europe Container Service (SAECS) , the following has been advised by Ocean Network Express (ONE), using its own SRX Service Update acronym.

The advisory affects the vessels MOL Proficiency on voyages 233N/233S, and the SANTA CRUZ voyages 232N/233S. These vessels will, as a result of ongoing operational delays at certain ports, swap positions while in Europe.

SANTA CRUZ v.232N/233S: (below)

MOL PROFICIENCY v.233N/233S: (below)

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MSC Joins SEA-LNG as Latest Coalition Member

Dual-fuel MSC World Europa, innovator in alternate bio-LNG vessels, at Saint Nazaire, France where the ship was built at the at Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard.  Picture MSC

MSC’s membership will accelerate use of net zero fuels at scale

Africa Ports & Ships

SEA-LNG, the multi-sector industry coalition established to demonstrate the benefits of the LNG pathway as a route to shipping’s decarbonisation, says it welcomes Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) as its latest member.

MSC is the world’s largest container shipping company and in recent years has made investments in LNG-fuelled vessels in the different sectors it operates within.

In 2022 MSC saw its first five newbuilding dual-fuel LNG capable container vessels in operation. The company has committed to maintaining a modern fleet that will advance progress towards net zero decarbonisation by replacing conventional fuel vessels with dual-fuel capable vessels in the short term, including those fuelled by LNG.

In the cruise sector, the company has launched MSC World Europa and MSC Euribia, whose maiden voyages were powered by bio-LNG.

“We are committed to catalyzing the development, accessibility and uptake of net zero fuels and believe we have found another excellent partner to help continue to drive the industry in this direction,” said Bud Darr, Executive Vice President, Maritime Policy & Government Affairs MSC Group.

“We look forward to working with SEA-LNG to further assess and collaborate on the exciting long-term prospects of bio-LNG, and particularly renewable synthetic LNG, as mainstream marine fuel molecules.

He said that in alignment with MSC’s net zero commitments by 2050, they view fossil-based LNG as a fuel in transition, and fully expect bio and renewable synthetic LNG to be a key part of MSC’s longer-term multi-fuel strategy for deploying net zero fuels.

Darr added that as the world’s largest ocean carrier, MSC endeavours to be a steward of the world’s oceans and has invested substantially in ship design, cutting-edge technologies and digital applications to improve energy efficiency. The company continues to focus on improving energy efficiency and is taking actions today to properly support meeting its target of complete net decarbonization by 2050, he said.

Alternative fuels

MSC is actively exploring a range of alternative fuels and propulsion solutions that will help the business move even closer towards net zero, and the vessel operator sees cross-industry collaboration as crucial to scaling these solutions for the maritime industry.

MSC expects to operate its vessels on a range of fuel options in the future, particularly looking at those that might become available at scale within a small number of years. MSC is also an active partner and member of the Methane Abatement in Maritime Innovation Initiative (MAMII) and the Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel (SGMF).

Peter Keller, Chairman of SEA-LNG, commented that as one of the world’s leading shipping companies, MSC’s decision to work with their coalition of companies across the LNG value chain demonstrates its confidence in the LNG pathway as a viable solution for flexibly advancing shipping along its decarbonisation journey.

He further emphasized the advantages of LNG, stating: “LNG is available at scale for deep sea shipping today. Existing LNG infrastructure can accommodate bio-LNG and renewable synthetic LNG as they become increasingly accessible, lowering investment barriers.

“Waiting is not an option; the LNG pathway offers immediate decarbonisation benefits and a route to net-zero shipping.”

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Angola receives first tank landing craft from CMN; inaugurates refurbished Soyo naval base

The first tank landing craft for Angola

by Guy Martin

The Angolan Navy has taken delivery of the first of two new tank landing craft built by France’s CMN, five months after launch in Cherbourg.

CMN (Constructions Mecaniques de Normandie) launched the vessel RA 4 de Abril (ND15) at the end of February, after construction began in January 2022. It departed France on 22 June aboard the heavy load vessel MV Yacht Express, and arrived in Luanda on 19 July. It will be fully operational in 2024.

The second vessel will be delivered next year. The two vessels are being built on behalf of Privinvest under a follow-on to a 2016 contract by Privinvest for around 20 vessels destined for Angola (CMN has already delivered Ocean Eagle and HSI 32 vessels to Angola).

The 70 metre long tank landing craft (LCT) will be able to carry 200 tons of payload, including 260 soldiers in addition to the crew of 18. Up to three main battle tanks, or eight heavy or 30 light vehicles can be carried. Watertight bulkheads ensure survivability in the event of damage. A 5.25 metre boat can be launched by a crane. The foredeck provides space for up to 12 20 ft containers.

Each LCT will be powered by two diesel engines driving two fixed-pitch propellers and giving a speed of 16 knots and range of 2,200 nautical miles.

The LCTs are the largest vessels to be built by CMN since the corvette Baynunah (71 metres long), delivered to the United Arab Emirates in 2011.

In 2016, Privinvest announced it would establish a shipyard in Angola and supply several naval vessels under a 495 million euro deal. Privinvest has facilities and shipyards in a number of countries including France (CMN), Germany (German Naval Yards Kiel) and the Middle East.

The 2016 Angolan deal included three CMN HSI 32 patrol craft, which were delivered in 2019, and three Ocean Eagle 43 trimaran patrol boats, delivered around 2021/22.

Soyo Naval Base inaugurated

The arrival of the first LCT came after Angola’s President João Lourenço formally inaugurated the expanded Soyo naval base on 10 July, a date which marked the 47th anniversary of the Angolan Navy.

Upgrading the base, located at the mouth of the Congo River, cost $297.1 million. The contract was awarded to Portuguese company Mota-Engil Group in 2019, with financing guaranteed by the Portuguese government. Expansion work included dredging the access channel, constructing a new wharf and piers, and constructing new buildings. Soyo is now much larger than Luanda Naval Base and covers over 100 000 square metres, with a 330 metre long quay.

Marking the occasion on 10 July, Navy commander, Admiral Valentim António, said in recent years the service has been reinforced with ships and boats and that the arrival of larger combat vessels is expected soon. In addition to these naval platforms, modern maritime surveillance systems and various sensors will enable better planning and decision-making.

An Angolan Ocean Eagle patrol vessel

Two C295 aircraft are due to arrive later this year, equipped for maritime surveillance, and the first phase of the National Centre for Coordination of Maritime Surveillance will be completed in December in Luanda.

Angolan Ocean Eagle patrol boat

Angola has a 1,650 km long coastline and needs to defend it against external threats like piracy, illegal fishing and smuggling. It also needs to project its offshore oilfields.

Angola has turned to United Arab Emirates (UAE) shipyards for further expansion, in February revealing a billion euro contract with Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) for a fleet of 71 metre BR71 Mk II corvettes.

The Combattante BR71 Mk II an advanced variant of the Baynunah class (BR 71 design) corvette developed by CMN, a part of Privinvest Shipbuilding Group. The vessel is designed for littoral warfare defence operations against air and surface threats, patrolling tasks, law enforcement and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

Written by defenceWeb and republished with permission. The original article can be found here.

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Renewed interest in extending East Africa’s Standard Gauge Railway

A container train arriving at Naivasha  Picture KR

Africa Ports & Ships

The Kenya government under President William Ruto says it wants to move ahead with extending the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Naivasha to the Uganda border at Malaba.

There it will meet up with the Uganda SGR that will continue on to Kampala.

The ambitious project stalled in 2017 when China declined to extend further funding.

According to reports, the governments of Kenya and Uganda have signed agreements aimed at finding a funding source to continue construction of the line from Naivasha to the border at Malaba, and from there into Uganda to Kampala, with further extensions via further phases to Uganda’s border towns with Rwanda in the south and South Sudan to the north.

According to the new plan, the two countries will jointly set about finding a funding source for the construction work. Once the line has been constructed it will be possible for goods to be moved by rail from the port at Mombasa initially to the Ugandan capital, and later to the border with Rwanda and South Sudan.

Metre gauge

In the meantime, Kenya intends completing improvements to the existing metre gauge railway from Naivasha to Malaba. This should be possible within the coming months, the reports say. In Uganda the same attention is being placed on refurbishing the metre gauge railway section from the border to Kampala.

“The two governments acknowledge the importance of synchronisation of the construction of the SGR section to achieve viability,” reads the joint communique.


The challenge lying ahead is with the financing. A request to China’s Eximbank earlier this year brought little reward in terms of funding further SGR extensions.

In 2019 Kenya was unsuccessful in raising the US$3.68 billion necessary to fund the third phase of its SGR project which was the extension of the SGR to Kisumu on Lake Victoria and then on to Malaba.

What Kenya did raise was $400 million to be used to upgrade the existing metre-gauge-railway as far as Malaba on the Uganda border.

Part of the problem with raising further SGR finance was a result of Uganda’s reluctance then to construct a SGR on its side of the border. The Chinese considered the prospects of an extension from Naivasha to Malaba as having little chance of success without the cooperation of Kenya’s neighbour.

Nore recent, say Kenyan authorities, interest in investing has been indicated by various financiers in Europe and the Middle East. A memorandum of Understanding was signed in January with Turkish firm Yapi Merkezi to built the SGR between Malaba and Kampala, where the cost was originally estimated at US$ 2.2 billion.

The Turkish company is also involved with sections of the standard gauge railway in Kenya’s southern neighbour, Tanzania.

According to the authorities involved with the latest Kenya-Uganda interest, Rwanda, Burundi, the DRC and South Sudan will be included in future. This is in terms of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects Initiative.

“The two governments recognise the importance of addressing challenges that would impact negatively on attracting financing for the sections and which would as well disadvantage Uganda and Kenya in terms of reaching Rwanda, South Sudan, DR Congo and Burundi,” the two governments said in a recent communique.

The respective sections of Kenya’s proposed and existing Standard Gauge Railway are:

Mombasa to Nairobi 609 km (complete)
Nairobi to Naivasha 120 km (complete)
Naivasha to Kisumu 267 km
Kisumu to Malaba 130 km
Nairobi to Moyale 700 km
Naivasha to Lokichar 460 km
Lamu to Lokichar to Nakodok 1,500 km

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Pictures: Pen & Sword Transport

Running the Gauntlet: Cargo Liners Under Fire 1939–1945

By Bernard Edwards

Published by Pen & Sword Transport, Barnsley, S71 1HN UK
ISBN: 978 1 39909 786 4
Pages 224; 16 monochrome illustrations
Price on application to the publisher

The British Merchant Navy dominated the world trade routes in the years leading up to the Second World War. The major players of the fleet were the cargo liners, faster and larger than the tramps and offering limited passenger accommodation. On the outbreak of war these cargo liners, armed, became crucial to the nation’s survival using their speed and skilled crews to evade enemy warships, raiders and U-boats.

When war came again to Europe in September 1939, Great Britain owned and operated a fleet of some 4,000 merchant ships, almost two thirds of the world’s commercial shipping.

All trades, from coastal waters to the deep oceans, were served, and it was a rare day when the Red Ensign was not in evidence in port or at sea. Prominent among these ships were the fast cargo carriers of the liner companies, who offered a regular, advertised service between specified ports: Blue Funnel, Clan Line (Cayzer, Irvine) and Ellerman City Line dominated the East and Far East trades, while Blue Star, Port Line and the New Zealand Shipping Company covered the meat trades with South America, Australia and New Zealand.

Other great names of the past whose ships feature in the book include the Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Company, the Ben Line, British India Line, T&J Harrison Limited and Union Castle Line. Of the latter there is mention of the loss of Richmond Castle torpedoed by U-176 750 miles east of Newfoundland. Fourteen of her crew in lifeboats including the Master, Captain Tom Goldstone, were to die of exposure.

This well-researched book of fifteen chapters describes some of the episodes of the war at sea. These range from the ‘gentlemanly’ approach of the German Kapitän Hans Langsdorf of Graf Spee who demanded British masters abandon ship before sinking them, to shipping support for the Dunkirk evacuation, through to the U-boat horrors with huge attendant losses. Then there is the action of the roaming German surface raiders such as Orion and Atlantis and long passages in lifeboats with numbers of the living dwindling by the day.

There are tales of terrible losses and suffering. One such was the loss of the New Zealand Shipping Company’s Turakina which was sunk after a running battle with the German raider Orion. Her Master and thirty-five crew were lost with only twenty-one surviving. Others were triumphs, for example Operation Substance when six fast cargo liners succeeded against all the odds in reaching besieged Malta with vital supplies. In Operation Pedestal, a similar convoy, nine out of a convoy of fourteen ships were lost. Other theatres are recalled by Edwards including the Normandy landings.

The common denominations in all these voyages recalled were the courage and skilled seamanship of the Merchant Navy crews. As Running The Gauntlet vividly illustrates, their contribution to victory cannot be overstated. It never ceases to amaze that there are still stories to be told of the heroism of the mercantile marine over two world wars and more than a century.

Bernard Edwards has been fortunate in being able to call upon eye-witness accounts and, as he says, there can be no better storyteller than one who was there.

Britain would do well to remember that an island nation without its own ships is a nation needing to consider its position on the world stage. If war should come again would the spirit within the seafarers rally to the call? Will other flags help?

The volume is supported by a conclusion, a list of books for further reading and an index. The latter lists more than 100 British, Empire and Allied merchant ships referred to in the text.

For more information of Pen and Sword’s titles readers are invited to see here:

Reviewed by Paul Ridgway

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Added 7 August 2023


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MSC Air Cargo has delivery of 2nd of 4 new Boeing 777-200 freighters

Atlas and MSC Air Cargo welcome new 777-200 freighter aircraft   Picture: MSC

Africa Ports & Ships

Atlas Air in late July took delivery of the 2nd of four new Boeing 777-200 freighters on behalf of its client, MSC Air Cargo Solution.

The new aircraft collected by Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, becomes part of Mediterranean Shipping Company’s expanding air cargo division in terms of a long-term aircraft, crew, maintenance, insurance (ACMI) agreement between the two companies.

The new aircraft will complement the existing weekly service for the world’s largest shipping company. Currently, MSC provides around-the-world service to airports such as Mexico City (NLU), Indianapolis (IND), Liege (LGG), Seoul (ICN) and Xiamen (XMN).

“Building on the successful launch of MSC’s Air Cargo Solution, we are very pleased to welcome this second 777 delivery as part of our long-term strategic partnership,” said Michael Steen, Chief Executive Officer, Atlas Air Worldwide.

“We expect our remaining two 777 aircraft to be delivered in the fourth quarter. We value the trust that MSC has in Atlas Air to support the expanding requirements of their global network.

Atlas was excited to leverage its expertise and industry-leading solutions, Steen said.

Jannie Davel, Senior Vice President Air Cargo at MSC, said the delivery of the second MSC branded aircraft represents another strategic component towards MSC’s offering that further connects trade lanes for its customers.

“In partnership with Atlas Air, we have built a solid foundation on which to expand our air cargo solution.”

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– Richard Bach



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Port Louis – Indian Ocean gateway port

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

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

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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Total cargo handled by tonnes during June 2023, including containers by weight

PORT June 2023 million tonnes
Richards Bay 7.747
Durban 8.160
Saldanha Bay 4.445
Cape Town 1.183
Port Elizabeth 1.358
Ngqura 1.636
Mossel Bay 0.119
East London 0.136
Total all ports 24.784 million tonnes
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