Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 7 June 2024

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FIRST VIEW:   Wild Cosmos


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 FIRST VIEW:   Wild Cosmos

Wild Cosmos. Durban 7 May 2024 Picture by Trevor Jones

The 2024 South African citrus season is again with us and during this week the first container vessel carrying refrigerated citrus from this country, MSC Houston,  is due in Philadelphia, USA.  Meanwhile citrus exports are already underway to Europe, the Middle East and Far East, with a good season anticipated for 2024, subject to no further objections from certain parts of Europe.

The reefer ship shown here entering the port of Durban on 7 May, is Wild Cosmos (IMO 9181132).  After loading citrus at the fruit terminal, the reefer vessel sailed seven days later on 14 May for Yokohama, Japan where she is due to arrive on Monday 3 June 2024.

Prior to entering the Durban port Wild Cosmos spent just over a day at the outer anchorage. The vessel has a length of 150 metres and beam of 22m and a deadweight of 10,097 tons. She was built in 1998 and currently flies the Bahamas flag.

Picture is by Trevor Jones

Africa Ports & Ships


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World Ocean Day 2024: Environmental concerns prompting nearly half of consumers to switch diets

World Shipping Day 2024

Africa Ports & Ships

Growing concern for state of the ocean

Nearly half of shoppers who are changing what they eat are doing so because of concerns about the environment according to a new global survey by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), released ahead of the UN’s World Oceans Day on Saturday (8 June).

Consumers are more conscious than ever about how their food choices impact the planet.

Researchers surveyed over 27,000 people across 23 countries, including South Africa, and asked them if their diets were changing. Of the more than 22,000 people who said yes, 43% of them said it was down to environmental reasons, alongside health and price.

From a global snapshot, the biggest change was in red meat, like beef and lamb, with 39% of all shoppers surveyed cutting their consumption over the past two years. 37% said they were eating more vegetables and 11% said they were eating more fish. Looking forward, 27% of respondents said they would eat more seafood in future if they knew it wasn’t causing harm to the ocean.

Locally, anxiety about the state of the world’s oceans among seafood consumers is on the rise, with 93% of South Africans saying they were worried, up from 89% two years ago. Optimism about the possibility of saving the ocean from irreversible harm has dropped significantly.

Just 50% of South African seafood consumers said they believe in 20 years-time we will have saved the oceans from irreparable damage from humans, down from 61% two years ago.

Top of local consumers’ environmental concerns was climate change (55% put this in their top three), but other major issues were pollution in rivers and streams (53%), extreme weather events (41%) and the health of the ocean (35%).

Despite the often gloomy outlook, greater awareness of conservation and recent record-breaking weather events, can also be motivating, with 64% saying they feel an increased desire to protect the marine environment.

In terms of possible solutions, the survey showed the South African public has a good understanding of the role of sustainable fishing: 59% of seafood consumers said they associated it with ensuring that endangered or vulnerable species are better protected. In addition, 60% of respondents recognised that it includes maintaining healthy, thriving fish populations, both of which are key components of the MSC Fisheries Standard.

Michael Marriott, MSC Program Director for Africa, the Middle East and South Asia said: “The results of the survey show a growing public concern about the state of our ocean.

“Protecting it, and the diversity of life within it is vital for the health of the planet. We need to redouble our collective efforts to tackle overfishing and the enormous threat it poses,” he said.

“Incentivising positive change, through recognising and rewarding sustainable fishers is vital for progress. By ensuring fishing practises are sustainable we can guarantee more life in the ocean as well as protecting a valuable food resource for this, and future generations.”

The findings of the research, commissioned by the MSC and carried out by GlobeScan, a global insight and advisory consultancy, are being released ahead of World Oceans Day, designated 8 June by the United Nations in 2008 to raise awareness of the impact of human actions on the ocean, and to bring people together to improve the sustainable management of the world’s oceans.

Caroline Holme, Executive Director at GlobeScan, said: “These results mirror our broader findings in our annual healthy and sustainable living study and the public’s perception of the challenges that the world faces. Even amid a cost-of-living crisis, environmental issues are of major concern to consumers.”

MSC certified fisheries have made more than 400 fishing practice improvements in the last three years, including to protect endangered marine species and vulnerable habitats. Fishers certified to MSC’s global, science-based fisheries standard, are required to manage fish stocks sustainably and minimize impacts on the wider marine environment.

The ocean covers over 70% of the planet and produces at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen. It is home to most of earth’s biodiversity and is the main source of protein for more than a billion people around the world.

Added 7 June 2024


Did you know? 5 ways sustainable fishing gives us more on World Oceans Day

Africa Ports & Ships

Did You Know?

This week we celebrate our shared Ocean. But our ocean is under pressure. Over a third of global fish stocks are overfished. World Ocean Day is our moment to show how sustainable fishing contributes to protecting our ocean.

1.] More life in the ocean

Patagonian toothfish, Icelandic cod and Cantabrian anchovy have all seen stocks rebound in recent years and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced that four commercial tuna species were recovering as a result of governments enforcing more sustainable fishing quotas and successfully combatting illegal fishing. MSC certified fisheries have made more than 400 fishing practice improvements in the last three years.

2.] More choice

There are more than 20,000 MSC labelled products available in more than 100 countries – something for every taste and budget. The blue MSC label can be found on a wide range of products from supermarket fish fingers and McDonalds Filet-o-Fish to fresh scallops and luxury sushi.

3.] More fish on the plate

It is estimated that 16 million tonnes more in catch could be generated every year if all wild-capture fisheries used sustainable practices. The MSC’s own analysis suggests that this would meet the protein needs of 72 million more people around the world every year.

4.] More discovery

The MSC has awarded over $5million (£4million) to projects that help us understand and improve what’s going on under the surface of the ocean. From reducing the bycatch of turtles in the waters of Reunion, to aiding the recovery of Mexican red urchins after overfishing, the Ocean Stewardship Fund provides grants for fishery improvements and funds important research into bycatch reduction, protecting marine habitats, and the effects of climate change. MSC commits 5% of annual royalties from certified product sales to the fund and combines these with third-party donations.

5.] More for local economies

Fishing sustainably ensures the future of stocks so that the practice can remain a viable livelihood for millions of people. Almost 38 million people are employed in fisheries worldwide, according to the UN FAO’s latest data from 2020. Seafood accounts for more than US $151 billion in international trade per year.

Together, we can spread the word and help people understand how much more sustainable fishing means. Learn more: World Ocean Day 2024 | Marine Stewardship Council ( The Marine Stewardship Council is an international non-profit organisation which sets globally recognised, science-based standards for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability. The MSC ecolabel and certification program recognises and rewards sustainable fishing practices and is helping create a more sustainable seafood market. It is the only wild-capture fisheries certification and ecolabelling program that meets best practice requirements set by both the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) and ISEAL, the global membership association for sustainability standards. For more information visit

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Port & Shipping News and Advisories

The container ship Santa Rita on voyage 241S SAECS service is running late due to heavy congestion in Europe Picture: TNPA

Africa Ports & Ships

It just got more expensive – PSS for SA & Mauritius

An announcement by French container carrier CMA CGM issued this week said that a Peak Season Surcharge (PSS) will apply for containers moved from China to South Africa and Mauritius will apply as from Sunday 16 June 2024 loading date and until further notice.

“In a continued effort to provide reliable and efficient service, CMA CGM informs its customers of the following Peak Season Surcharge:
PSS – From China to South Africa & Mauritius

– Origin range: From China, Taiwan area, Hong Kong & Macau SAR
– Destination range: To South Africa & Mauritius
– Cargo: all
– Amount: USD 2,000 per container

CMA CGM’s associated basic freights are available here.

Nigerian Ports – indefinite strike called off

On Friday 31 May 2024 the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) declared an indefinite nationwide strike in Nigeria commencing on Monday, June 3, 2024.

This action came after negotiations for a new national minimum wage broke down, and the government was reported to have demonstrated unwillingness to address issues raised by organised labour, including recent electricity tariff hikes and demands for a living wage. The strikers declared they will continue pressing for their demands, and it will continue until a new minimum wage is in place.

Following urgent talks on Monday this week the strike was called off while new discussions were to take place each day until Friday 7 June seeking a solution. There are conflicting reports as to whether a resolution has now been reached.

A.P. Møller – Mærsk A/S – Increasing 2024 full-year guidance

On the back of continued strong container market demand and the disruption caused by the ongoing crisis in the Red Sea, A.P. Møller-Mærsk (APMM) says it now also sees signs of further port congestions, especially in Asia and the Middle East, and additional increase in container freight rates.

APMM says that trading conditions remain subject to higher than normal volatility given the unpredictability of the Red Sea situation and the lack of clarity of future supply and demand.

Maersk Iraq Import Situation

Maersk advises that the Iraq feeder, AS CLEMENTINA, will undergo repairs in Jebel Ali, with an anticipated three weeks of missing sailings for the Iraq service. On that basis Maersk has stopped booking acceptance from South Africa to Umm Qasr until the situation improves.

Cargo that is currently en route will be reviewed and impacted customers will be contacted by Maersk.

MSC LORENA – Cape Town Double call & Port swap

MSC has advised of a change in rotation involving the vessel MSC Lorena due to delays preceding her South Africa rotation.

Her revised rotation as follows with dates, subject to change:

Cape Town (import call – terminal MPT) – ETA 8 June
Durban – ETA 14 June
Port Elizabeth – ETA 18 June
Cape Town (export call- terminal TBC) – ETA 22 June

Extreme Weather Conditions on SA coast – delays

Maersk advises that due to extreme weather conditions around the South African coast and especially around Algoa Bay, the vessels mentioned below will have sought shelter away from bad weather for safety reasons. As a result delays on them should be expected.

Maersk Newark – Cape Town (currently at anchor outside)
Maersk Vilnius – Port Elizabeth (currently at anchor outside)
Maersk Incheon – Ngqura

Maersk Safari Service Rotation FEA-SAF

Maersk advises that in light of the operational difficulties seen at Durban port, the Safari Service Far East to South Africa and Mauritius has been subject to an accumulation of delays. “Even slight disruption can cause a ripple effect and lead to substantial setbacks,” Maersk said.

“The situation in Durban is driven by a number of factors, including local congestion in terminals and adverse weather conditions, and while Maersk is doing all in its power to combat the circumstances for customers, a decision has been made to blank the SAN FERNANDO 425S in an attempt to recover the schedule.”

SAECS South Africa-Europe

The container vessel SANTA RITA voyage 241S is reported running late due to heavy congestion in Europe, and is now expected at Ngqura on 15 June, weather permitting.

Terminal Changes

The container ship CAPE MOSS will call at the Port Elizabeth Container Terminal instead of Ngqura Container Terminal.

The container ship MSC ROSARIA V.421N will berth at the Cape Town Container Terminal. The ship is currently in Durban.

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Saudi Arabia takes 92-year Saudi Logistics City lease in Djibouti Free Zone

Africa Ports & Ships

Saudi Arabia has entered into a lengthy contract with Djibouti’s Free Zone authorities to establish the Saudi Logistics City in the free zone of the Djibouti port.

The 92-year contract will see the logistics city covering an area of 120,000 square metres during the first phase, which will result in the development of various facilities and warehouses.

Included will be a permanent exhibition and an area dedicated to Saudi industries. This initiative is a result of mutual efforts between Saudi investors and Djibouti authorities.

Gateway to Africa:

Djibouti Port has become a crucial gateway to Africa, facilitating economic and commercial exchanges both within the continent and globally.

The Saudi Logistics City will be used for providing improved access to all African countries for Saudi products and exports.

During the visit by the Saudi delegation to participate in the signing ceremony, some 300 stakeholders, including ministers, officials and business owners attended a Saudi-Djibouti Business Forum to explore investment opportunities in Djibouti’s free zone, with an emphasis on renewable energy, tourism, agriculture, and technology sectors.

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Ain Sokhna port new container terminal to open in 2025

Africa Ports & Ships

The new container terminal under development at Egypt’s Ain Sokhna port by an international consortium headed by China’s Hutchison Ports, will commence operations in 2025.

Other members of the consortium with Hutchison Ports are COSCO Shipping and CMA CGM.

That’s according to Mohamed Khalil, manager of the port development, in an interview with Chinese news agency, Xinhua.

He said the terminal will have a quayside length of 2,600 metres and cover an area of 1.6 million square metres, and will be Egypt’s largest container terminal once completed.

Ain Sokhna is situated on the western coast of the Gulf of Suez, approximately 43 kilometers south of the city of Suez in Egypt, in the northern reaches of the Red Sea.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that Ain Sokhna had an ancient Egyptian port and settlement in this area. This port traded in valuable resources including turquoise and copper from the mining regions of the Sinai Peninsula.

The ancient port (close to today’s site) was about 120 kilometres from Memphis, the capital of Egypt from around 3,100 BC until about the first century AD. Memphis was the home of a number of pharaohs, including one of the best known, King Tutankhamen.

Container ships with a length of up to 400 metres, i.e. the largest in current existence, will be able to berth at the new terminal.

“The terminal was handed over to the international consortium in January after the completion of the infrastructure work carried out by Egyptian companies,” said Khalil. source: Xinhua, with input by Africa Ports & Ships.

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WHARF TALK: MR2 class product tanker – DEE4 NERIUM

Dee4 Nerium. Cape Town, 2 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

Of course, over the past number of months, all of those vessels calling in to Durban and Cape Town, for bunkers only, are not all necessarily arriving as a result of diversions from the Red Sea based on Houthi idiocy. Although there are some arrivals that are on the cusp of one or the other, that is undertaking a normal Cape sea routing, or taking a diverted Cape sea routing. In these cases, it is not entirely clear and obvious if they are one, or the other.

On 2nd June, at 11:00 in the morning, the MR2 class product tanker ‘Dee4 Nerium’ (IMO 9929821) arrived off Cape Town, apparently in ballast from Dumai in Indonesia. She entered Cape Town harbour, and proceeded into the Duncan Dock, but did not go to one of the tanker discharge berths, but instead went alongside the Landing Wall. Her arrival at this berth indicated that she had called for bunkers, or possibly for shoreside engineering support.

What was certain with the berth that she was taken to, was that she had not arrived to join the stream of product tankers delivering much needed fuel supplies. Built in 2022 by Hyundai Mipo shipyard at Ulsan in South Korea, ‘Dee4 Nerium’ is 183 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 49,990 tons. She is powered by a single HHI MAN-B&W 6G50ME-C9.6 six cylinder, two stroke, main engine producing 9,630 bhp (7,180 kW), to drive a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three Hyundai Himsen 5H21/32 generators providing 800 kW each. For added manoeuvrability she has a bow transverse thruster. She has 12 cargo tanks with a cargo carrying capacity of 53,320 m3, all of which are coated with Phenolic Epoxy. She has 12 cargo pumps, with each pump being capable of pumping at a rate of 600 m3/hour.

Dee4 Nerium. Cape Town, 2 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Originally ordered by the French shipping company, Société d’Armement et de Transport, of Bordeaux, who are better known by their acronym SOCATRA, ‘Dee4 Nerium’ was purchased off the stocks from SOCATRA, by her current owners, for a cost of US$40 million (ZAR748.67 million). A lesser known fact for the casual maritime observer is that SOCATRA are now the only French shipowner engaged in the international transport of fuel products.

Despite their extensive oil and gas operations around the world, most folk are not aware that the great French oil major, Total Energy, have withdrawn from shipowning, and now only operate tankers, time chartered from other owners. They maintain a core chartered fleet of 47 vessels, and in 2021 Total chartered nearly 2,700 vessels, to transport 120 million tons of crude oil, and petroleum products, around the world.

One of seven sisterships ‘Dee4 Nerium’ is nominally owned by H4 Nerium SA, but falls under the full ownership of Dee4 Capital Partners ApS, of Copenhagen in Denmark, whose corporate logo is displayed on her funnel, and is operated by Helikon Shipping (Hellas) Incorporated, of Athens in Greece. She is managed by Synergy Maritime Pvt. Ltd., of Chennai in India, and she is on charter to Stena Bulk, of Gothenburg in Sweden.

The port of Dumai, where the current voyage of ‘Dee4 Nerium’ began, is located on the Indonesian island of Sumatra at 01°41’ North 101°28’ East. The port is mainly an oil terminal, and is the location of the Dumai oil refinery, operated by the Indonesian State owned oil company, PT Pertamina. The refinery was commissioned in 1971, and processes 170,000 barrels per day, most of which comes from domestic Indonesian oilfields. The main products of the refinery are Diesel, Petroleum and Avtur JET fuel.

Dee4 Nerium. Cape Town, 2 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

On 1st April 2023, the Dumai refinery was rocked by a series of explosions, followed by a fire. The explosions were severe enough to have injured nine refinery personnel, and damaged nearby houses and a mosque. It caused the shutdown of four of the refinery units, due to the damage caused by the explosions and fire. To show what can be done when you put your mind to it, the first two units had been fully repaired and put back into full operation on 14th April, and the final two units had been fully repaired and placed back into full operation on 21st April. That is a period of just three weeks.

However, as ‘Dee4 Nerium’ appeared to arrive in Cape Town in a condition of ballast, it is likely that her call at Dumai was for discharge purposes. Prior to her call at Dumai, she had arrived at the Malaysian oil terminal port of Pasir Gudang, on 10th May, and which sits just to the north of Singapore Island, located at 01°30’ North 103°56’ East. After just 30 hours she sailed for Dumai on 11th May, where she arrived on 13th May. After just 37 hours alongside she sailed for Cape Town on 15th May. The times of 30 hours, and 37 hours, are the full loading, and discharge, times that can only be dreamed about in any South African oil terminal.

Her call at Cape Town was also complete after 30 hours alongside, although no cargo work had been undertaken. At 17:00 in the afternoon of 3rd May, with all of her requirements in Cape Town completed, ‘Dee4 Nerium’ departed from the Mother City, with her AIS indicating that her next destination was to be the port of Huelva in Spain.

The port of Huelva is located in the Spanish province of Andalucía, which is outside the Mediterranean Sea, and close to the southern border with Portugal. The port has a large petrochemical industry, located at 37°15’ North 006°57’ West, and is served by no less than 15 berths which service the local LNG (1), Acid (5), Ammonia (1), and Oil (8) export markets, plus an offshore SBM for Crude Oil imports.

Dee4 Nerium. Cape Town, 2 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The port is the location of the La Rabida oil refinery, which is operated by the Spanish oil company CEPSA, and was commissioned in 1967. It processes 210,000 barrels per day with a major output of Petroleum, Diesel, and Kerosene, plus a growing output of Biofuel. Asphalt and LPG are also produced at the refinery, and the refinery processes also produce an electrical generating output of 150 MW of power.

For the nomenclature aficionado, all of the Dee4 Capital Partners ApS fleet are named after flowers or trees. Nerium is a flower, which is better known in South Africa as the Oleander. It is found in gardens throughout the country. Strangely, despite its popularity, Oleander is classed as an invasive alien species in South Africa, and is officially listed as a weed.

Many Capetonians will be well aware of the flowering Oleander shrub, as it lines the central reservation of the latter half of the M3 highway, in the Southern Suburbs, leading down from Wynberg Hill towards Silvermine. It is also often placed at the head of many of the lines of vines, in the abundant Winelands of the Western Cape, as the colourful flowers of the Oleander are used as an attractant for the important pollinators of the grape crop.

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Crime doesn’t pay – 49 years for TFR cable theft

Africa Ports & Ships

If ever the expression ‘crime doesn’t pay’ needed proof, the Thabazimbi Regional Court has just provided the necessary proof. For those who are caught, that is.

Four men have been sentenced in the Thabazimbi Regional Court on 31 May 2024 to 49 years each for various charges related to the theft of essential infrastructure from the railway line between Northam and Dwaalboom in Limpopo.

Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) says it welcomes their arrest and conviction.

The accused are Chama Nelson, aged 31, Chakaraya Artwell (31), Mathongo Blessing (35) and Marindire Ophius (32). They were sentenced as follows:

1. Count 1: Tampering, damaging or destroying essential infrastructure – 30 years direct imprisonment
2. Count 2: Theft of ferrous or non-ferrous metals – 15 years direct imprisonment
3. Count 3: Failure to use a port of entry – two years direct imprisonment
4. Count 4: Entering the republic without a valid passport – two years direct imprisonment.

In a separate incident on 29 May 2024, quick action by TFR’s private security, TFR itself and the South African Police Services resulted in the recovery of contact wire stolen from Perdekop, Mpumalanga. That crime is still under investigation.

Shawn Johnson, TFR General Manager Forensics and Security, said TFR is glad that collaborative efforts between themselves and other strategic and operational stakeholders are bearing fruit.

“The joint efforts are a testimony that Outcomes Based Security is working,” he said.

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ONE’s latest newbuild ONE Recommendation makes maiden call at Durban

ONE Recommendation at DCT2 in Durban harbour, May 2024. Picture: TPT

Africa Ports & Ships

Ocean Network Express’ (ONE) latest container ship called at the Durban Container Terminal Pier 2 during May on its maiden voyage to South Africa.

ONE Recommendation (IMO 9952713) is the third vessel in this class to make their maiden calls at the South African port, following earlier visits by ONE Readiness (built 2023) and ONE Reassurance (built 2024).

ONE Readiness will call again at Ngqura on Thursday 6 June and Reassurance  also at Ngqura on 28 June. The latter ship’s next port of call after Ngqura is Cartagena in Colombia.

These vessels have a length of 272 metres and width of 43m and a container capacity of 7,000 TEU. ONE also operates a fourth similar ship, ONE Recognition, built 2024.

A more complete view of a sister ship, ONE Reassurance, seen here in Cape Town on 29 February this year. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The newest ship of this type in the fleet, the 59,150-dwt ONE Recommendation arrived in Durban from the ports of Qingdao (China, 3 April 2024), Shanghai (China, 4-7 April), Ningbo (China, 8-10 April), Singapore (15-17 April), Durban (10-26 May 2024).

After completing her cargo working for South Africa, the ship is now heading back to Singapore where she is expected on 12 June 2024.

While in Durban ONE Recommendation discharged 2,578 import containers and loaded 2,600 containers for export, including citrus refrigerated boxes.

According to Transnet Port Terminals (TPT), the visit to Durban is a boost to Transnet’s recovery objectives. TPT said that improved operating and cost efficiency as well as global competitiveness of the local port terminal network are among critical elements of Transnet’s Recovery Plan.

The primary focus is the recovery of volumes from key operations and operating divisions across the organisation, the terminal operator said.

“The terminal boasts dedicated employees who continue to work around the clock to ensure the terminal is always open for business” said Durban Terminals Managing Executive, Earle Peters.

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World Bank publishes Port Rankings for 2023 – poor showing by SA ports

Africa Ports & Ships

Regional Disruptions Drive Changes in Global Container Port Performance Ranking

Global maritime shifts impact container port performance; large Asian ports continue to excel

The newest global Container Port Performance Index (CPPI) reveals that East and Southeast Asian ports excelled in 2023, accounting for 13 of the top 20 places.

The four South African container ports continue to feature as among the worst performing in the world, with Cape Town registering right at the bottom of the lists, 405th out of 405.

Ngqura was ranked second from last at 494 position, Durban at 399 and Port Elizabeth at 391. Other regional rankings include Walvis Bay at 382 and Maputo at 317.

Developed by the World Bank and S&P Global Market Intelligence, the fourth edition of CPPI is based on the biggest dataset ever: more than 182,000 vessel calls, 238.2 million moves, and about 381 million twenty-foot equivalents (TEUs) for the full calendar year of 2023.

More than 80% of merchandise trade is transported by sea, so the resilience, efficiency, and overall performance of ports is crucial to global markets and economic development.

Regional disruptions impacted port performance everywhere, according to the new report.

“While the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath eased further in 2023, container shipping continues to be an unpredictable and volatile sector,” said Martin Humphreys, Lead Transport Economist at the World Bank.

“Major ports need to invest in resilience, new technology, and green infrastructure to ensure the stability of global markets and the sustainability of the shipping industry.”

There are 57 new ports in the CPPI 2023, including Muuga Harbour in Estonia and Port of Al Duqm in Oman, as well as several notable movers. One of the major Indian ports, Visakhapatnam Port, made it into the top 20. Despite its relatively low ranking, Dar es Salaam Port in Tanzania managed to shave ship arrival times by 57%.

“There is a greater awareness and focus on resilience and efficiency of maritime gateways and greater understanding of negative impact of port delays on economic development,” said Turloch Mooney, Head of Port Intelligence & Analytics at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

“The highly interconnected nature of container shipping means the negative effect of poor performance in a port can extend beyond that port’s hinterland and disrupt entire schedules. This increases the cost of imports and exports, reduces competitiveness and hinders economic growth and poverty reduction.”

Looking at the top-performing ports, China’s Yangshan Port earned the top spot for the second consecutive year, while Oman’s Port of Salalah retained the number two position. The port of Cartagena in Colombia ascended to 3rd place. Tanger-Mediterranean of Morocco, the top ranking African port, held steady in 4th, and Tanjung Pelepas Port in Malaysia rounded out the top 5.

The CPPI ranks 405 global container ports by efficiency, focusing on the duration of port stay for container vessels. Its primary aim is to identify areas for enhancement for the benefit of multiple stakeholders in the global trading system and supply chains, from ports to shipping lines, national governments, and consumers.

The full index can be found HERE.

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WHARF TALK: anchor handling & oceangoing tug – ALP DEFENDER

The Anchor Handling and Oceangoing Tug ‘Alp Defender’ which called at Cape Town port on 2 June 2024. Picture: Ulstein

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

That’s the thing about the X-Bow vessel. It’s a Marmite thing. You either love them, or you hate them. To some casual maritime observers, a traditional ship’s bow has to have some flare and, preferably, a bulbous bow.

These purists, if pushed, may even stretch to accepting the modern trend of having a straight bluff bow, as long as there is a hint of a bulb at its base. To the more radical thinkers, both of those concepts are simply old-fashioned. That is because, to them, you simply can’t beat an X-Bow in terms of naval architecture, and the logic behind the design.

On 2nd June, at 10:00 in the morning, the large Anchor Handling and Oceangoing Tug ‘Alp Defender’ (IMO 9737242) arrived off Cape Town, from Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. She entered Cape Town harbour, proceeding into the Duncan Dock, going alongside the Landing Wall. Such an arrival hinted at a call for bunkers, stores and fresh provisions.

ALP Defender. Cape Town, 2 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Whilst her arrival was almost certainly for reasons of having a bunker uplift, her arrival was not because of the normal reason that such vessels arrive off Cape Town, that is towing a large oil and gas industry assert, such as an FPSO, and leaving it offshore with a towing mate whilst she slipped into port for her bunker uplift. As with so many vessels over the last few months, there was the strong possibility that ‘Alp Defender’ was yet another diverted vessel, heading from Europe to Asia, and having to forego the transit of the Suez Canal due to the Houthi menace.

Built in 2017 by Niigata Shipbuilding at Niigata in Japan, ’Alp Defender’ is 89 metres in length, on a beam of 22 metres, and with a deadweight of 4,250 tons. She is powered by no less than four MaK 9M32C nine cylinder, four stroke, main engines, each producing 6,100 bhp (4,500 kW), giving a total of 24,400 bhp (18,000 kW) to drive two, nozzled, Berg BCP1330F controllable pitch propellers which give her a service speed of 13 knots, or allow for a fast intervention, emergency tasking, transit speed of 19 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three Caterpillar C32 generators providing 940 kW each, and one Caterpillar C9 emergency generator providing 200 kW. For added manoeuvrability ‘Alp Defender’ has two high performance Becker rudders for each propeller, and she has two Berg BTT625, bow transverse thrusters providing 1,500 kW each, and two Berg BTT419, transverse stern thrusters providing 1,050 kW each. Her thruster fit gives her a Dynamic Positioning classification of DP2.

ALP Defender. Cape Town, 2 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

One of four sisterships, ‘Alp Defender was the second of the quartet to be completed. As is traditional with her owners naming policy, she was named after a position on a football team, with her sisterships receiving the names ‘ALP Striker’, ‘ALP Sweeper’, and ALP Keeper’. She is an SX157 ‘Future’ class vessel, and was designed by Ulstein Design and Solutions AS, of Ulsteinvik in Norway. It is this Ulstein pedigree, and design, that has given her, and her three sisterships, the famous Ulstein X-Bow.

The Ulstein X-Bow, which is the inverted bow concept, redefined marine engineering when the bow concept was introduced in 2005, with the first X-Bow equipped vessel launch coming in 2006. Since then, there have been over 100 X-Bow vessels built, ranging from Anchor Handlers like ‘Alp Defender’, to many types of offshore vessel, private mega yachts, and even expeditionary passenger ships, which are ideally suited to passages across the tempestuous waters of the Drake Passage when heading to, and from, the Antarctic Peninsula.

ALP Defender. Cape Town, 2 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

The technical aspect of the X-Bow, is that when comparing fore ship volumes with more conventional, bulbous bow shapes, the X-Bow has more displacement volume, starting from the waterline. So instead of just rising on the waves, and then dropping with colossal force, the X-Bow is able to distribute the force more evenly across its surface.

Thus the X-Bow enables the vessel to remain more stable during poor weather conditions, which gives increased comfort for crews and passengers. Because its wave piercing properties are smoother, an X-Bow vessel also uses less fuel to get through the waves, which results in better overall fuel efficiency.

The design of ‘Alp Defender’ was specifically to enable her to tow very large structures, mainly for the oil and gas industry, such as oil rigs and FPSO/FLNG units. On top of her towing abilities, the anchor handling capacity of ‘Alp Defender’ also enables her to assist with the installation, and hook-up operation, of the structure that she has towed into position.

ALP Defender. Cape Town, 2 June 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

For that reason, she has an immense bollard pull of 306 tons, a full 100 tons greater than the late, but great, ‘S.A. John Ross’, aka ‘S.A. Amandla’. Her aft working deck provides an area of 550 m2, and capable of holding 2,400 tons, to conduct her anchor handling operations, and for towing operations she has two Rolls Royce towing winches, each loaded with 2,000 metres of 86mm towing wire, with a third reel storing a further 2,000 metres of 86mm towing wire, for salvage and rescue operations she has a firefighting classification of FiFi2.

She is capable of operating almost anywhere on the planet, and she has an ice classification of ICE 1B, which allows her to navigate in first year Baltic Sea ice thickness of 0.6 metres. Her fuel capacity is an impressive 3,500 tons which allows her to complete non-stop trans-oceanic towing voyages across the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans whilst maintaining her full service speed continuously, and without the need to make any port calls for bunkers.

With accommodation provided for 35 persons, ‘Alp Defender’ is owned, operated and managed by Alp Maritime Services BV, of Rotterdam in Holland. Her voyage through Cape Town is thought to be because she is heading to China to pick up a newly converted FPSO, possibly for towing back to Brazil. Her voyage from Europe to China would have normally been made through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea, but the risks from the Houthis will have put that plan into File 13 and, instead, she would have to make the passage via the Cape sea route.

ALP Defender X-Bow hull, prior to launching. Picture: Teekay

Just over three weeks ago, on 8th May, two of the fleet mates of ‘Alp Defender’, the oceanic tugs ‘Alp Guard’ and ‘Alp Keeper’, departed from the port of Zhoushan in China, with the FPSO ‘Maria Quitéria’, bound for Brazil, and installation in the Jubarte Field, in the North Campos Basin. As with most tows of FPSO assets from the Asian shipyards to Brazil there is the strong possibility that the small fleet will call off Cape Town for bunkers, before embarking on the long crossing of the South Atlantic Ocean to reach the east coast of Brazil.

After just thirty hours alongside, sufficient to complete her bunker uplift, stores, and fresh provisions uptake, ‘Alp Defender’ sailed from Cape Town at 16:00 in the afternoon of 3rd June. Her AIS indicated that her next stop was to be Zhoushan in China, where it is assumed her next tow is awaiting her arrival. She may even be heading to rendezvous with the ‘Alp Guard’ and ‘Alp Keeper’ to join them in towing FPSO ‘Maria Quitéria’ back to Brazil during a South Atlantic winter. If so, we may yet see her again in the near future, calling in for bunkers at Cape Town.

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Wind Propulsion Technology: Opportunities and challenges – Low Carbon GIA Roundtable explores

Picture: IMO ©.

Edited by Paul Ridgway
Africa Ports & Ships

The use of wind as an energy source for accelerating shipping’s decarbonisation and the opportunities and challenges associated with wind propulsion technology (WPT) adoption were the focus of the inaugural Wind Propulsion Technology roundtable held at IMO HQ in London on 30 May. The event was hosted by the Global Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping (Low Carbon GIA)(1).

IMO Strategy

Wind is a renewable, zero-emission energy source that ships can use to assist propulsion. It is expected to play a key role in the future maritime energy mix, enabling the shipping industry to meet the levels of ambition set out in the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy.

Rotors and sails

Various technologies which can harness wind power have been developed, for example: kites, rigid wings, rotors, soft sails, suction wings and so forth. These are increasingly being installed on cargo ships. However, large-scale adoption of WPT is yet to be realized, and barriers to uptake, particularly in developing countries, need to be better understood.

Broad participation

Supported by the technical assistance from the International Windship Association (IWSA), the roundtable convened ship owners, charterers, technology providers, classification societies, and research institutions, alongside members of the Low Carbon GIA with first-hand and practical experience in WPT projects.

Furthermore, the roundtable discussed the various stages of a typical WPT project, from assessing feasibility and accessing finance, to design, installation and operation, and shared lessons learned and best practices for future WPT projects.

The need

Key insights from the roundtable included the need for:

* Strong industry collaboration to share experiences and best practices from WPT projects.

* Standardized assessment and transparent reporting of WPT performance.

* Greater stakeholder awareness across the board on the opportunities and challenges presented by WPT.

* The consideration of longer payback periods which generally disadvantage capital-intensive emission reduction technologies.

* Broader and consistent consideration of wind as an energy source in the development of policy and regulatory frameworks.

As part of the Low Carbon’s GIA’s WPT initiative, additional roundtables will be held to examine each aspect of WPT adoption in depth, with help from industry experts. The information gathered during the roundtables will ultimately lead to the development of a practical guide on WPT implementation.

The Low Carbon GIA is a public-private partnership established under the framework of IMO GreenVoyage2050, a technical cooperation programme supporting developing countries in the implementation of the IMO GHG Strategy.

It is understood that the Low Carbon GIA aims to bring together maritime industry leaders to support an energy efficient and low carbon maritime transport system, through identifying and developing innovative solutions to address common barriers to the uptake and implementation of energy efficiency technologies, operational best practices and alternative low- and zero-carbon fuels.

Could the use of wind propulsion feature in Africa’s waters? Who knows?

Added 4 June 2024


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Port congestion, increased freight rates, Red Sea diversions and vessel blankings

Africa Ports & Ships

It’s a bleak picture painted by Vincent Clerc, Maersk chief executive officer. That’s if you are a cargo owner. Maersk foresees ongoing port congestion – and here Clerc’s not speaking specifically of South Africa, although it could apply.

He is referring more globally to further port congestion, especially in Asia and the Middle East, as well as additional resultant increases in container freight rates.

He also refers to the disruptions caused by the ongoing crisis in the Red Sea as another exacerbating factor, bringing about ripple effects on global supply chains.

He says this development is gradually building up and is expected to contribute to a stronger financial performance in the second half of 2024.

Maersk Stadelhorn, arriving in Durban harbour, June 2019. Picture by Keith Betts

Based on this development, Maersk upgrades its 2024 full-year guidance and now expects an underlying EBITDA of USD 7 to 9bn and EBIT of USD 1 to 3bn (previously USD 4 to 6bn and USD -2 to 0bn, respectively), and free cash flow of at least USD 1bn (previously at least USD -2bn).

Clerc says that in the past month, the container transport market has entered a new phase driven by these disruptions and the ripple effects on global supply chains.

While demand for container transport remains strong, supply has been negatively impacted by missed sailings, longer routes, equipment shortages, and delays leading to increased congestion across several key ports in Asia and the Middle East.

This demand and supply imbalance has had an immediate and profound impact on freight rates.

[Yet another example of how port congestion contributes heavily to higher prices that will be borne by cargo owners, and ultimately the general public.]

After a stable first quarter, price increases gained momentum during April and May across many regions. “The ongoing threats to commercial vessels in the Red Sea and growing supply chain bottlenecks indicate that this situation won’t improve soon,” said Clerc.

“More capacity than expected will be needed to resolve these issues and stabilise the global supply chain. This has led us to reassess the outlook for the remainder of the year and upgrade our financial guidance.”

Vessel blankings

Meanwhile, Maersk and MSC are experiencing significant delays in their shared vessel schedules due to severe terminal congestion in Mediterranean and Asian ports.

Both companies announced on Monday 3 June that the delays at various ports were impacting their ability to maintain regular schedules. As a result, both Maersk and MSC will introduce several blank voyages in the coming weeks, starting with MSC Amelia on Maersk’s AE11 service (MSC – ‘Jade’ service), departing from Qingdao on 1 July 2024, and MSC Mirjam on Maersk’s AE15 service (MSC – ‘Tiger’ service), departing from Busan on 2 July 2024.

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Adani Ports signs 30-year concession to operate Dar es Salaam Container Terminal 2

Africa Ports & Ships

Adani International Ports Holdings (AIPH), a wholly owned subsidiary of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ), has signed a 30-year concession agreement with the Tanzania Ports Authority in which it will manage and operate Container Terminal 2 (CT2) at the Dar es Salaam Port, Tanzania.

Dar es Salaam Port is a gateway port to a number of inland neighbouring countries with a well-connected network of roadways and railways. An additional standard gauge railway (SGR) is currently under construction as far as Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika.

CT2, with four berths No’s 8-11, has an annual cargo handling capacity of 1 million TEUs and managed 0.82 million TEUs of containers in 2023. This is estimated to be 83% of Tanzania’s total container volumes.

A new company, East Africa Gateway Limited (EAGL), has been formed as a joint venture of AIPH, AD Ports Group and East Harbour Terminals Limited (EHTL). APSEZ will be the controlling shareholder and will consolidate EAGL on its books.

EAGL has signed a Share Purchase Agreement for the acquisition of a 95% stake in Tanzania International Container Terminal Services Limited (TICTS) from Hutchison Port Holdings Limited (and its affiliate Hutchison Port Investments Limited) and Harbours Investment Limited for an amount of USD 39.5 million.

TICTS currently owns all the port handling equipment and employs the manpower. Adani will operate CT2 through TICTS.

“The signing of the concession for Container Terminal 2 at Dar es Salaam Port is in line with APSEZ’s ambition of becoming one of the largest port operators globally by 2030,” said Mr Karan Adani, APSEZ managing director.

“We are confident that with our expertise and network in ports and logistics, we will be able to enhance trade volumes and economic cooperation between our ports and East Africa.

“We will strive to transform Dar es Salaam Port into a world class port.”

This development follows a MoU signed on 4 August 2022, which highlighted strategic joint investments in rail, maritime services, port operations, digital services, an industrial zone, and the establishment of maritime academies in Tanzania.

In late 2023 DP World signed a controversial agreement with the Tanzania government and the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) for the lease and operation of berths 4-7 in the Dar es Salaam port and for the joint operation of berths 0-3.

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WHARF TALK: Security Guard Mother Ship – MARKAB

The Security Guard Mother Ship ‘Markab’ (IMO 7605691) arrived off Cape Town from Gibraltar on 30 May. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

The continued idiocy of the Houthi menace continues, whereby they ‘big themselves up’ by pretending that they are sophisticated operators, by saying they target only those vessels connected with Israel, or those nations that have targeted them to denude them of their Iranian provided missile arsenal. Of course, the reality is far from what the Houthis portray.

They have targeted, and hit, Russian owned vessels, who are supposed to be their friends, and the Chinese government has warned Iran to stop the Houthis hitting their vessels, with the majority of Chinese shipowners no longer using the Suez route, and diverting around the Cape sea route. Many vessels from the Gulf, and the Northern sub-continent, are now transiting the Gulf of Aden area further out to sea, to get outside the range of any missile looking for a target. However, moving further out into the Gulf of Aden, and Gulf of Oman, brings with it other risks.

The criminal armed gangs, euphemistically called pirates, whose activities have been severely curtailed due to Western Naval forces sent to the region for that very reason, have seen an opportunity to take advantage of the confusion brought about by the Houthi idiocy. These lowlife thugs have once more started to prowl the Gulf of Aden, and the Gulf of Oman, looking for easy pickings, in the hope they can be boarded, and taken back to Somali waters to be used for ransom purposes. Somali piracy is nothing other than a criminal extortion operation.

The casual maritime observer cannot have not noticed that there are many vessels sailing to, and from, these troubled waters whose AIS do not transmit a destination, but rather they send out a warning to any Pirate tempted to ‘have a go’ at them as they pass through the area. The AIS invariably states ‘Armed Guards Onboard’, which is normally sufficient to allow them to transit the region safely. However, YouTube is full of videos showing the grim end met by some of those pirates who are not worried about any vessel having ‘Armed Guards Onboard’.

It is obvious, that due to the many laws that various countries uphold, in respect of merchant vessels having arms and ammunition onboard, and that some voyages are very long with just a few days spent in the danger zones, that Security Guards aboard a vessel cannot be there for the duration of the voyage, and it makes more sense that they would both board, and depart, a vessel just before entering, and shortly after departing, from an area that needs them to be on board to protect the vessel.

Markab. Cape Town 31 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

For that you have to have a number of Security Guard Mother Ships, patrolling the region rather like the Pilot Vessels of old, and that meets up with vessels, at predetermined points, that require the services of some of their security guards, but just for a few days. The recent history of diverts of every shape and size, arriving into Durban and Cape Town, as they work their way around the Cape, rather than heading through the Southern Red Sea, means that it would be only a matter of time before a Security Guard Mother Ship also turned up.

On 30th May, at 14:00 in the afternoon, the Security Guard Mother Ship ‘Markab’ (IMO 7605691) arrived off Cape Town, from Gibraltar, and entered Cape Town harbour. She proceeded into the Duncan Dock, and went alongside the outer Eastern Mole berth, which meant that she was here purely for logistical purposes, of uplifting bunkers, loading stores, or taking on fresh provisions.

Built in 1978 by A. Vuijk & Zonens Scheepswerven BV at Capelle aan der Ijssel in Holland, ‘Markab’ is 59 metres in length and has a gross registered tonnage of 871 tons. She is a diesel electric vessel and is powered by three Stork Werkspoor DRO 216K generators providing 467 kW each, which provide power to a Smit Holec motor providing 1,060 kW, and which drives a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 12 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three generators providing 180 kW each, a single Perkins generator providing 220 kW, and a single DAF DU825 emergency generator providing 90 kW. Her onboard water making plant is capable of producing 12 tons of fresh water per day. For added manoeuvrability she has a single LIPS transverse thruster providing 304 kW.

One of three sisterships, collectively known as the ‘M’ Class, ‘Markab’ was built as a Pilot Tender operating for the Maas Pilots of Rotterdam, under the ownership of Nederlands Loodswezen BV, of the Hook of Holland. As built she had full onboard accommodation for 49 persons, including for 18 pilots, who covered the Rotterdam-Rijnmond pilotage area. Rotterdam is the largest port complex in Europe, and employs 220 pilots, who move 56,000 vessels per year throughout the port complex.

Markab. Cape Town 31 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

For offshore pilotage purposes, the modern era of placing pilots onboard vessels, or picking them up from vessels arriving from, or departing to, the English Channel is now often completed by helicopter, with a major pilotage helicopter base operating from Pistoolhaven, at the entrance to the Europoort of Rotterdam, as well as by fast Pilot Launches. As such, the three Pilot tenders were retired in 2012, and sold on for further service in 2013.

She was converted for use as a Security Guard Mother Ship for operations in those regions where Piracy was rampant. Her conversion from Pilot Tender included her helideck being converted for use as additional accommodation, offices and workshops. Her internal accommodation was converted to allow for up to 110 security guards to be carried, with additional liferaft launchers fitted to allow for this huge increase in onboard personnel. All three of the ex Pilot Tenders now operate for the same owner as Security Guard Mother Ships.

For her personnel changes at sea, ‘Markab’ has two large pilot launches, mounted on heave compensated davits, plus a Fast Rescue Craft (FRC). She has an impressive endurance of 44 days, over a range of 6,500 nautical miles. She is normally based in the Gulf of Oman, and holds normal station at 25° North. One unusual permanent member of her crew, which is almost unique for a merchant vessel, is that she has an onboard armourer, whose job it is to maintain, service, and repair any guns and weaponry that is carried as part of the work of ‘Markab’.

Owned by Ambrey Ltd., of Hereford in Herefordshire in the UK, ‘Markab’ is operated by Ambrey Markab Ltd., also of Hereford, and is managed by Ambrey Markab Management Ltd., also of Hereford. Whilst not necessarily connected, Hereford is the home of one of the world’s greatest special forces military regiments, the 22nd Special Air Services Regiment, better known simple as the SAS, and for a Maritime Security shipowner and operator to be located nearby is probably quite handy.

Markab. Cape Town 31 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Ambrey was established in 2010 to provide marine security services, utilising well trained, and reliable, security guards. The security guards provided by Ambrey would be fully armed and contracted to shipowners for service onboard merchant vessels in areas of the world where piracy was prolific. Ambrey operate no less than nine owned security guard mother ships, with a further six on charter, and employ over 450 marine security guards and mother ship personnel, operating in the Middle East, West Africa, East Africa, and North Africa.

The voyage to Cape Town of ‘Markab’ from Gibraltar took a leisurely 31 days, at an average speed of 7.6 knots, and covered a distance of 5,298 nautical miles. To indicate her diversion from the Red Sea, her voyage to Gibraltar had started from Suez, after she exited the Suez Canal. Her stop in Gibraltar was swift, only 6 hours, which indicates a bunker stop, and possibly a crew change stopover, before she headed south to Cape Town, and where a similar stopover appears to be underway, due to the length of her current stay in the Mother City.

On departure from Cape Town, ‘Markab’ is scheduled to call at Victoria, in the Seychelles, before once more returning to her operational area in the Gulf of Oman. Whilst on station, her normal base port in the region is Djibouti. Her last three months will have seen her circumnavigate the continent of Africa, all thanks to the Houthis. For the nomenclature aficionado, ‘Markab’ is derived from the Arabic verb ‘To Ride’, which is very appropriate.

Added 3 June 2024


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DP World & Mawani commence work on Jeddah port logistics park

Image of how the logistic park will be located next to the Jeddah Islamic Port. Picture: DP World

Africa Ports & Ships

Image of how the logistic park will be located next to the Jeddah Islamic Port. Picture: DP World
DP World has begun construction of the multi-million dollar 415,000 m2 Jeddah Logistic Park – the biggest integrated logistics park in the Kingdom.

Located alongside DP World’s South Container Terminal, the new facility adds to DP World’s US$ 800 million investment in port modernisation in Jeddah to provide unprecedented efficiency for trade in the Red Sea region.

The park will include grade-A warehouse space with bonded and unbonded zones, as well as dry, chilled and cold storage facilities.

Image of how the logistic park will be located next to the Jeddah Islamic Port. Picture: DP World

The 415,000 m2 greenfield facility will feature 185,000 m2 of warehousing space and a sprawling multi-purpose storage yard, making it the largest integrated logistics park in the Kingdom.

It will have the capacity for more than 390,000 pallet positions, offering customers an efficient platform for the seamless flow of goods to and from Jeddah.

Established in 2022 as part of a 30-year concession, Jeddah Logistics Park will be developed in two phases with a planned opening in Q2 2025. The facility will have a rooftop solar plant on the warehouse that will generate 20MW of renewable energy, contributing to its sustainable design.

“Saudi Arabia has always been a deeply important market for DP World and this milestone represents our ongoing commitment to the Kingdom,” said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World.

He pointed out that the Jeddah Islamic Port logistic park is strategically located on the vital Asia-Europe shipping route. The logistic park will provide world-class multimodal connectivity and market access for DP World’s customers while supporting the ambitious aims of Saudi Vision 2030.

“This investment marks a significant step as we mark 25 years of operations in Jeddah and underscores our enduring commitment to facilitating the flow of trade.” Bin Sulayem said.

The collaboration between the Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) and DP World also includes the management of the South Container Terminal through a separate 30-year concession signed in 2020.

The container terminal is currently in the final phase of a comprehensive modernisation project, scheduled for completion in Q4 2024, which will see the handling capacity being ramped up to five million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

Altogether, the two DP World projects represent a combined investment of close to $1 billion.

The groundbreaking for the Jeddah Logistic Park follows on the heels of the opening of freight forwarding offices in Dammam, Jeddah and Riyadh, expanding the logistics footprint of DP World and strengthening end-to-end supply chains in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and beyond.

Added 3 June 2024


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Containers lost at sea: WSC welcomes new IMO regulations

WSC applauds new IMO amendment

Africa Ports & Ships

The World Shipping Council (WSC) says it welcomes the recent adoption of amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) by the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 108).

Starting January 1, 2026, these amendments will require mandatory reporting of all containers lost at sea, setting a new standard for maritime safety and environmental protection.

“The new regulations, specifically amending SOLAS Chapter V Regulations 31 and 32, mark a significant advancement in maritime safety and environmental protection,” says says Lars Kjaer, SVP Safety & Security for WSC.

“By ensuring prompt and detailed reporting of lost and drifting containers, these amendments will enhance navigational safety, facilitate swift response actions, and mitigate potential environmental hazards,” he said.

Key Provisions

Regulation 31 – Reporting by the Master of the Ship:

* The Master of a ship involved in the loss of containers must immediately and thoroughly report specific details to nearby ships, the nearest coastal state, and the flag State.
* The flag State will then pass this information to the IMO via a new module in the Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS).
* Masters of ships that observe drifting containers must report it to nearby ships and the nearest coastal state.

Regulation 32 – Reporting Details:

* Reports of containers lost at sea must be made ASAP, with updates as more information becomes available.
* A final count of lost containers must be confirmed after a thorough inspection.
* Mandatory details include the position of the lost containers, the total number lost, and if any contained dangerous goods. Additional descriptive info is required if possible.
* Masters can also share voluntary details about the cargo, sea conditions, and more.

For Drifting Containers Observed:

* Reports must include the position and total number of containers spotted drifting.
* Additional voluntary details similar to those for lost containers can be provided if available.

In anticipation of the introduction of mandatory reporting requirements, WSC has since 2008 gathered information from its members on the number of containers lost at sea.

Published regularly in the Containers Lost at Sea Report and submitted to the IMO, the report has been an important source of information for all efforts to increase container and cargo safety. The ‘Containers Lost at Sea Report – 2024 Update’ will be published in the coming weeks, providing data for 2023.

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TNPA appoints Amulet/LTM Energy Groups Consortium as preferred bidder for Richards Bay solar plant

Port of Richards Bay, looking towards the harbour entrance. Picture: TNPA

Africa Ports & Ships

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has appointed Amulet Group Consortium, consisting of Amulet Group and LTM Energy Group, as the preferred bidder to construct and operate its first 20 MW solar photovoltaics (PV) plant at the Port of Richards Bay.

TNPA says the construction of the plant is part of its commitment to decarbonise its port operations under its Renewable Energy Purchase programme.

Within this programme, TNPA plans to install an estimated 100 MW of renewable energy that will be implemented cumulatively across its South Africa’s eight commercial seaports.

In line with South Africa’s commitment to find ways to transition to a net-zero emission economy by 2050, Transnet has committed to low carbon transition of its operations in order to offset the effects of climate change.

The appointment of Amulet Group Consortium follows a Request for Proposals procurement process which TNPA embarked on in May 2023.

The Consortium will be responsible for designing, constructing, testing, commissioning, operating and maintaining a 20 MW solar PV Plant with a battery energy system at the Port of Richards Bay for seven years.

“The introduction of a renewable energy solution in the port system will enable the reduction of carbon emissions and greenhouse gas emissions from coal-generated electricity. It will further provide a cost-effective and reliable energy supply to the port and its users,” said Moshe Motlohi, TNPA Managing Executive for the Eastern Region ports.

Amulet Group Consortium consists of Amulet Group and LTM Energy Group, bringing in solid skills and experience obtained primarily According to TNPA the design and construction of the solar PV plant will commence in June 2024 and it will be operational by 31 May 2026.

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First South African citrus fruit arrives in Philadelphia this week

Africa Ports & Ships

The first shipment of South African citrus fruit for the 2024 season will be arriving this week at the Port of Philadelphia in the USA on the container ship, MSC Houston.

Approximately 120 reefer containers were loaded by Summer Citrus on this vessel. Most of this cargo consists of Clementines with further shipments of Navel Oranges and Star Ruby Grapefruit to follow.

These weekly shipments to the USA will continue through to the end of October.

According to Suhanra Conradie, CEO, Summer Citrus from South Africa, their current shipping plan indicates that they will have a conventional vessel the one week, and a MSC vessel the other week.

She said they were still in the process of finalising the Maersk vessels into Philadelphia, as well as the arrivals into Savannah.

The marketing group has been shipping citrus into the USA market for 25 years.

Conradie said it is important that they recognise the hard work and commitment of the service providers who have been part of Summer Citrus’ continued success story.

“We are serving one of the world’s most demanding markets, and adapting to the current state of the supply chain on any given day is a key factor of our business model. We have gained much momentum with our collaborative approach and intend to keep it going in 2024.”

During Conradie’s visit to Houston for Viva Fresh in April, she sat down with Patrick Kelly, known as one of the world’s leading experts in produce and supply chain, to discuss the planning process for a sophisticated program like Summer Citrus from South Africa.

Their meeting was combined with footage of Summer Citrus’ first 2024 fruit that was loaded for the US market on the MSC Houston.

Watch part of that meeting via YouTube here:

Summer Citrus provides updates on its season with shipping, supply chain, and production dates via its trade newsletter, which Conradie said is meant to be shared.

“Any stakeholder seeking to stay in close contact with our program is invited to subscribe.”

For more information, contact Suhanra Conradie at or go to

Added 3 June 2024


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WHARF TALK: MR2 class products tanker – ORIENTAL DIAMOND

The MR2 class products tanker Oriental Tanker arriving in Durban on an earlier occasion, accompanied into port by two Durban harbour tugs. Picture is by FleetMon / Michael Thom

Pictures by ‘Dockrat’
Story by Jay Gates

There are some visits to South African shores that are of vessels that you would not immediately, if at all, associate with being part of the fleet of one of the world’s powerhouse maritime corporations. It is sometimes not well known amongst casual maritime observers, or even obvious, that such a maritime corporation even operates vessels of that ilk.

Equally, if the vessel is on a multiple port call itinerary around the South African coast, the meanderings of the said vessel around the coast sometimes makes no sense to the casual maritime observer, and suggests that the cargo may be unsold on arrival, or speculative, or at least not assigned to a particular discharge port by the cargo owner.

As far back as 3rd May, at 09:00 in the morning, the MR2 class product tanker ‘Oriental Diamond’ (IMO 9399868) arrived off Cape Town, from Chennai in India, the second such arrival in recent days. She entered Cape Town harbour, and proceeded into the Duncan Dock, going alongside the inner Eastern Mole berth to begin her discharge.

Oriental Diamond. Cape Town, 16 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Built in 2008 by SPP Shipbuilding at Sacheon in South Korea, ‘Oriental Diamond’ is 183 metres in length and has a deadweight of 50,781 tons. She is powered by a single Doosan MAN-B&W 6S50MC-C six cylinder, two stroke, main engine producing 10,960 bhp (8,061 kW), and driving a fixed pitch propeller for a service speed of 14 knots.

Her auxiliary machinery includes three Doosan MAN-B&W 6L23/30H generators providing 970 kW each, and a single Cummins 6CTA-8.3-(D)M emergency generator providing 163 kW. She has a single Alfa Laval Aalborg Mission XW exhaust gas boiler, and a single Alfa Laval Aalborg OL oil fired boiler.

With twelve cargo tanks, having a cargo carrying capacity of 52,129 m3, ‘Oriental Diamond’ is capable of transporting six grades of fuel products at any one time, For loading and discharging operations, she is equipped with twelve cargo pumps, and with each pump having a pumping capacity of 600 m3/hour.

She is one of two sisterships, and she is nominally owned by Diamond Shipping SA. She is operated by HMM Co. Ltd., of Seoul in South Korea, and she is managed by HMM Ocean Service Co. Ltd., of Busan in South Korea. To the casual maritime observer who studies maritime history, the acronym HMM is a recent decision by the company board to rebrand what was previously known as Hyundai Merchant Marine.

Oriental Diamond. Cape Town, 16 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

HMM are South Korea’s largest shipping company, majority owned by Korea Development Bank, and Korea Ocean Business Corporation, and were originally founded in 1976. Whilst they are more better known as a container shipping company, with operations to South Africa, and actually are the eighth largest container shipping company in the world, they have operations in every segment of the maritime market.

The HMM fleet operates not only in the container segment, but also includes bulk shipping, multipurpose carriers, car and truck carriers, and tankers. In April 2024, the board of HMM announced that they intend to double the current HMM fleet size up to 240 vessels by 2030. However despite operating tankers from the outset in 1976, the current HMM tanker fleet is extremely modest, with a single LNG tanker, eight VLCC crude oil tankers, and just three MR2 product tankers.

One would be hard pressed to identify ‘Oriental Diamond’ as an HMM vessel, as her name does not follow the HMM nomenclature policy, as with their container vessel fleet, by having ‘HMM’ as the prefix to the name, and the ‘Oriental’ prefix is more akin to a name from the Orient Overseas Line stable of the late C.Y. Tung, of Hong Kong. Her funnel colours are also not that of HMM, but is simply an overall blue, with no distinguishing markings, or features.

Oriental Diamond. Cape Town, 16 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Back in Cape Town, and after just over two and a half days discharging, ‘Oriental Diamond’ was ready to sail. Such a short discharge period in her first port was a good indication that she was embarking on a multiple discharge port itinerary. At 01:00 in the early morning of 6th May, ‘Oriental Diamond’ sailed from Cape Town, but did not go far, as she went straight to the Table Bay anchorage, and went to anchor for the next eight days.

More than one later at 09:00 in the morning of 14th May, she raised her anchor and got underway. Except that her voyage was a short one, as she again entered Cape Town harbour, proceeded straight back into the Duncan Dock, and begin her second discharge in the port. It is not immediately clear why she could simply continue to discharge in Cape Town after her initial call on 3rd May. In the past one excuse given was that there was no capacity on the shoreside storage tanks.

After a further three days alongside in Cape Town, she was ready to sail for a second time, and at 11:00 on 17th May, she sailed out of Cape Town, and headed for Port Elizabeth where, after a slow two day voyage, she arrived on 19 May, at 11:00 in the morning to begin her discharge at the single tanker berth in the port.

Oriental Diamond. Cape Town, 16 May 2024. Picture by ‘Dockrat’

Just under 36 hours later, at 22:00 in the late evening of 20th May, ‘Oriental Diamond’ had completed her discharge in the Windy City, and sailed for East London. After a leisurely thirteen hour sail along the Eastern Cape shore, ‘Oriental Pioneer’ arrived in East London at 13:00 on the afternoon of 21st May. Just under three days later , her complete coastal discharge was complete, and at 09:00 in the morning of 24th May, she sailed for Duqm, in Oman, where she would load a new cargo.

The interesting thing about her enforced eight day wait in the Table Bay Anchorage, is that had circumstances been that she could continue to discharge in Cape Town for a single period, which is the norm just about anywhere else on the planet, before sailing to Port Elizabeth and East London, it would have meant that her time of the South African coast would have been one week shorter.

As we were all taught, time is money, and one has to ask if the enforced ‘hold’ in Cape Town has resulted in higher priced being paid for the cargo that ‘Oriental Diamond’ arrived with. Her time spent on the coast was exactly three weeks when, without an eight day hiatus, she actually only required two weeks to complete her discharge at all three ports. One does wonder if better forward planning, and a change in the itinerary, would have achieved that fortnight result.

She did not call in at Durban on this occasion, but this was not her first arrival in South Africa, as she has previously visited South African ports, including Durban, where she was captured entering the port, and proceeding down the entrance channel alongside the Bluff, and heading towards the Island View oil terminal, accompanied by two Durban harbour tugs.

Added 2 June 2024


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Operation ATALANTA conducts first ever multi-agency exercise with Kenya

IMO Kenya USALAMA-BAHARINI ’24 Exercise. Picture:

Edited by Paul Ridgway
Africa Ports & Ships

According to the IMO news service and EUNAVFOR, Kenyan authorities have completed a multi-agency exercise aimed at boosting maritime security capabilities and coordination to combat illicit activities at sea – the first of its kind in the country.

The exercise USALAMA BAHARINI ’24 was jointly organized by EUNAVFOR ATALANTA, the IMO and the State Department for Shipping and Maritime Affairs of the Republic of Kenya.

Conducted in Mombasa, Kenya from 20 to 24 May, the initiative is part of the European Union’s support for the Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC-JA).

Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct

The DCoC-JA is a regional initiative to combat piracy, armed robbery against ships and other illicit maritime activities in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. It builds on the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC), which was first adopted under the auspices of IMO in 2009 to tackle piracy and armed robbery against ships.

The goal of the USALAMA BAHARINI ’24 exercise was to improve capabilities for maritime security and enhance information sharing, coordination, and interoperability.

Around 120 representatives from agencies within Kenya’s National Maritime Security Committee participated, including the country’s navy, coast guard service and maritime and ports authorities, along with partners such as IMO, Go Blue*, the EU Delegation to Kenya and the Embassy of Spain in Kenya.

Practical drills

The programme included both legal seminars and practical drills at sea. These covered a range of activities from port exercises and using the IORIS platform (Indian Ocean Regional Information Sharing) to conducting Search and Rescue (SAR) missions, maritime interdiction operations and Special Operations. Simulations involving helicopters, high speed boats and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) allowed participants to apply protocols and best practices to real-life scenarios.

Special attention was given to the topic of legal finishing or prosecution of pirates, given the ongoing maritime security challenges in the Red Sea and resurgence of piracy in the region.

All activities were tailored to meet Kenya’s maritime interests and to support the country in fulfilling its international and regional obligations.

Kenya Navy vessel approaches Atalanta flagship ITS Martinengo (F596). From 20 to 24 May, Operation ATALANTA conducted a joint multi-agency exercise for the first time with Kenya. Picture: EUNAVFOR

Broad representation

Agencies of the Kenya National Maritime Security Committee that attended the exercise included Kenya Coast Guard Service, Kenya Maritime Authority, Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Navy, Attorney General’s Office, Office of Director of Public Prosecutions, National Intelligence Service, National Police Service, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Fisheries Services, Kenya Revenue Authority, Directorate of Immigration Services and the Kenya Forest Service.

Go Blue*, a partnership between the EU and the Government of Kenya to advance the Blue Economy Agenda through Coastal Development. Connecting People, Cities and the Ocean: Innovative Land-Sea Planning and Management for a Sustainable and Resilient Kenyan Coast.

Under the umbrella of the Blue Economy, the overall objective of the programme is to unlock the potential of sea-land opportunities in coastal urban centres for sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth with employment impact, while conserving and sustainably using the coastal and marine environment as well as promoting effective and integrated maritime governance.

Added 2 June 2024


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Nigeria’s Lekki Port acquires two additional harbour tugs

Africa Ports & Ships

The National Ports Authority of Nigeria has responded to increasing traffic at the newport of Lekki by introducing two additional harbour tugs, named Bama (IMO 9970909) and Iragbiji (IMO 9970882).

Two Lekki Port ASD tugs, names not known. Picture: Business and Education

Both tugs have a bollard pull of 80 tons and entered service earlier this year with ownership retained by Damen Workboats in the Netherlands and on charter or lease to the NPA. This needs to be clarified and confirmed. They are registered in St Vincent and Grenadines.

The need for additional tugs has arisen because of increasing port traffic, partly due to the Dangote refinery.

The two ASD tugs, which arrived in Lekki on 6 May, have been awaiting deployment at Lekki. They were built at the Damen Shipyard after it was realised that the existing tug fleet was inadequate due to consistently increasing traffic at the port.

The port is consistently receiving container ships of 14,000 TEU capacity in addition to other types including tankers for the refinery.

In 2023 the NPA took possession of two 80-ton bollard pull ASD tugs, Da-Opukuro and Maikoko. These are registered in Nigeria, but the ownership of Da-Opukuro is shown as Switzerland.

Added 2 June 2024


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CTF 150’s HMS Diamond intercepts 2.4 tonnes of hashish in Arabian Sea

HMS Diamond D34, shortly to be relieved by a sister ship, HMS Duncan D37. Picture Royal Navy, MoD

Africa Ports & Ships

The Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond D34, which is currently operating in support of the Command Task Force (CTF) 150, in the north-western Indian Ocean, has intercepted and seized 2,382 kgs of hashish from a dhow sailing at sea on 23 May 2024.

Acting on CTF 150’s intelligence, HMS Diamond launched its embarked Wildcat helicopter to intercept the dhow, which was boarded by a team comprised of the ship’s company and a Royal Marine boarding team. Once on board the dhow the boarding team began a search which uncovered the 2.382 tons of hashish.

This seizure was the first interdiction for the Royal Navy ship while supporting CMF, coming only two days into their mission with CTF 150.

HMS Diamond has been on forward deployment since December 2024 in the lower Red Sea and Gulf of Aden assisting merchant vessels sailing the risky waters opposite the Houthi-held section of Yemen. During her time on this duty HMS Diamond shot down nine drones and one missile launched by Houthis at cargo ships.

HMS Duncan, the sixth and final Type 45 destroyer in the Royal Navy, sailed last week from Portsmouth on forward deployment to the Red Sea. Picture Royal Navy, MoD

The ship is shortly to be relieved by another Type 45 destroyer, HMS Duncan, which has sailed from Portsmouth in the UK on forward deployment to the Red Sea.

HMS Duncan is armed similarly to HMS Diamond, with the same potent Sea Viper missile system and equipped with the same radar systems able to detect distant threats with immense accuracy.

CTF 150 is one of five task forces under Combined Maritime Forces, a 44-nation naval partnership that is the the world’s largest.

CTF 150’s mission is to deter and disrupt the ability of non-state actors to move weapons, drugs and other illicit substances in the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman.

Vice Adm. George Wikoff, commander of Combined Maritime Forces, said he was extremely proud of the work of CTF 150 and HMS Diamond in preventing these drugs from reaching their final destination.

“This interdiction demonstrates the value of multinational efforts within CMF to prevent and disrupt criminal and terrorist organisations at sea,” he said.

Added 2 June 2024


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Hapag-Lloyd resumes sea service to Ukraine

Hapag-Lloyd’s 1100-TEU Canberra Express, not necessarily the same vessel operating the Constanta-Chernomorsk feeder service but of a similar size. Picture by Hapag-Lloyd

Africa Ports & Ships

German container shipping firm Hapag-Lloyd commenced a shuttle service by sea to Ukraine last week (27 May 2024).

The shuttle service is operating between the Romanian port of Constanta to the Ukraine port of Chernomorsk with vessel departures from the Ukrainian port every five days.

The service operates between the Fishport terminal in Chernomorsk and the DP World terminal in Constanta. A reefer service is available with each sailing.

The vessel in use has a container capacity of 1100 TEUs and primarily carries agricultural products such as sunflower oil and grain.

According to a Hapag-Lloyd spokesman quoted by the German News Service, the shipping company never stopped offering freight services to Ukraine, but made use of land routes following Russia’s full-scale invasion of the country in February 2022 and the subsequent blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.

Since last August Kyiv has taken the initiative of designating an inshore corridor for the safe passage of merchant ships from Ukrainian ports.

Although Russia has repeatedly attacked harbour facilities with missiles and drones, the Ukrainian military has been able to keep Russian naval ships at a safe distance with naval drones and anti-ship missiles.

Ukraine officials said that in the last five months of 2023 they were able to export almost 15 million tonnes of goods via the Black Sea, using the inshore corridor.

This is still well below the pre-war volumes, when Ukraine exported over 100 million tonnes via its ports during 2021.

Added 2 June 2024


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Positive cruise season spells future growth for SA tourism market

MSC Musica which returns to cruising in South African waters during the coming summer season. Picture: Keith Betts

Africa Ports & Ships

As the final cruise ship of the 2023/2024 cruising season, Oceania Cruises’ Insignia, sailed away from Durban this week, MSC Cruises looks back on their own Southern Africa cruise season as having ended “on a high note”.

MSC Splendida arrived in Durban in late November 2023, the largest cruise ship to homeport for the summer months. Capable of accommodating up to 4,363 passengers, MSC Splendida was possibly a little on the ‘too big’ size for the largely unsophisticated South African market.

Nevertheless, throughout the summer MSC Splendida took just under 121,000 passengers of short and longer ocean voyages out of Durban and Cape Town. Despite this record number of passengers, Splendida will not be returning for the coming summer season between November 2023 and end March 2025.

In her place will come a firm favourite locally, the 2,679-passenger MSC Opera, which has recently undergone a refurbishment and which will take up cruising to Mozambique destinations, as well as Namibia and to Mauritius and Reunion out in the Indian Ocean.

“The current trends are looking positive,” says Ross Volk, managing director of MSC Cruises South Africa.

“In fact, South Africans are increasingly seeing cruising as the best value proposition for holidaying because it is an all-inclusive price for a unique experience,” he says.

Volk points out that South Africa is one of MSC Cruises’ Top-10 markets by volume. In addition, he says, MSC Cruises is seeing a large increase in passengers coming from across Africa and even overseas to cruise from South Africa.

Come November, MSC Musica will run four routes from South African ports. The Durban-to-Mozambique route is the most popular with local tourists, while the Cape Town-to-Walvis Bay route is particularly popular with overseas cruisers. The other two routes are Durban-to-Mauritius and Durban-to-Cape Town.

Perhaps a hint as to the reason to replace Splendida with the smaller MSC Musica comes with the statement from the local office that the ship offers more flexibility in accommodating the multiple entertainment options that the South African market prefers. Themed cruises, says MSC, are unique to South Africa and are a major drawcard.

“Cruising is not just great value, it’s also increasingly being seen as a way to experience destinations in a new way, to get under the skin of the locals, so to speak,” Volk says. “This emphasis on experience is particularly a mark of Generation X and Millennials, who are turning towards cruising in greater numbers.”

“Providing goods and services to the cruising market is one huge job creator, but the quest for deeper experiences that reflect local cultures also opens up vast new opportunities for individuals and communities,” Volk says.

He adds that the expected growth in cruising numbers has the potential to shift the dial on South Africa’s stubborn unemployment figures by providing entrepreneurs with greater scope.


Oceania Cruises’ Insignia arrived in Durban for a scheduled two day stopover on Wednesday (29 May) but at short notice the vessel’s visit was cut by a day and the ship headed off to Cape Town. The reason, which is reported to have left some passengers disgruntled, was due to the adverse weather then approaching the southern Cape coast.

Added 30 May 2024


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Xeneta: Ocean freight container shipping market set to surpass Red Sea crisis peak and hit levels not seen since Covid-19 pandemic

Ocean freight container shipping spot rates are set to exceed the level seen at the height of the Red Sea crisis when the latest round of increases hit the market on 1 June, according to the latest data released by Xeneta today, Thursday.

Peter Sand, Xeneta’s Chief Analyst, said: “The ocean freight container shipping market has seen rapid and dramatic increases during May and that is set to continue with further growth in spot rates.


Peter Sand, Xeneta’s chief analyst

“On 1 June, spot rates will reach a level we haven’t seen since 2022 when the Covid-19 pandemic was still wreaking chaos across ocean freight supply chains.

“There is a cocktail of uncertainty and disruption across global ocean freight supply chains at present and this is fuelling the spot rate increases. However, it is the speed and magnitude of this recent spike that has taken the market by surprise – including the CEOs of the world’s biggest ocean freight liner companies.”

Market increases in numbers:

From the Far East to US West Coast, market average spot rates are expected to reach USD 5,170 per FEU on June 1, which would surpass the Red Sea crisis peak of USD 4,820 seen on 1 February. This is an increase of 57% during May and the highest spot rates have been on this trade for 640 days.

From the Far East to US East Coast, spot rates are expected to reach USD 6,250 per FEU on 1 June, only slightly shy of the Red Sea crisis peak of USD 6,260 and an increase of 50% since 29 April.

Spot rates are also set to exceed the Red Sea crisis peak on the Far East to North Europe trade, reaching USD 5,280 per FEU on 1 June compared to USD 4,839 on 16 February. This will be the highest rates have been on this trade for 596 days and an increase of 63% since 29 April.

It is a similar story on the Far East to Mediterranean trade where spot rates are expected to edge past the Red Sea crisis peak of USD 5,985 per FEU on 16 January to reach USD 6,175 on 1 June. This would be an increase of 46% during May and the highest rates have been on the trade for 610 days.

Factors behind the recent spike in ocean freight container spot rates

The latest data released by Xeneta – the ocean and freight rate benchmarking and intelligence platform – indicates the market is heavily impacted by a cocktail of factors including ongoing conflict in the Red Sea, port congestion and shippers deciding to frontload imports ahead of the traditional peak season in Q3.

Sand said: “Importers have learned lessons from the pandemic and the most straightforward way to protect supply chains is to ship as many of your goods as you can as quickly as possible. That is what we are seeing with some businesses telling us they are already shipping cargo for the Christmas period in May.

“The early arrival of peak season is adding to the cocktail of uncertainty in the market. Back at the start of 2024 you could point to the Red Sea crisis as the root cause of spot rate increases, this time around it is far more nuanced.

“Ocean freight carriers have tried to remedy the diversions in the Red Sea by increasing transshipments in the Western Mediterranean as well as in Asia, but this has led to severe port congestion in several hubs.

“Carriers have tried to re-align capacity from other major trades to cope with longer sailing distances around the Cape of Good Hope on services from the Far East to Europe and US East Coast, but this has contributed to rates increasing on trades such as the Transpacific, which do not transit the Suez Canal.

“Everywhere you look there are knock-on impacts and unintended consequences which only serves to fan the flames of uncertainty across the ocean freight container shipping industry.”

While the latest spot rate increases on 1 June is further bad news for shippers, Sand believes there is some cause for optimism.

“While average spot rates will increase again on 1 June, the growth is not as rapid as it was during May, which may hint towards a slight easing in the situation.

“This cannot come soon enough for shippers who are already having their cargo rolled, even for containers being moved on long term contracts signed only a matter of weeks ago.”

Sand said carriers will prioritize shippers paying the highest rates.

“That means cargo belonging to shippers paying lower rates on long term contracts is at risk of being left at the port. It happened during the Covid-19 pandemic and it is happening again now.

“We are also seeing freight forwarders being hit with new surcharges and being pushed onto premium services to have space guaranteed onboard ships. In such cases they have no other option than to pass these costs on directly to their shipper customers.

“Carriers will continue to push for higher and higher freight rates so the situation may get worse for shippers before it gets better.”

Added 31 May 2024


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ITF includes Gabon and Eswatini as Flags of Convenience

Africa Ports & Ships

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has added two new countries, both African, to its longstanding list of Flags of Convenience (FOC).

The two ship registries strongly associated with ‘dark fleet’ transportation – Gabon and Eswatini – are the latest additions to the ITF’s FOC list.

At the same time Tonga has been removed from the 76-year old list, bringing the total number of FOCs to 43.

Paddy Crumlin – “a short cut for shipowners to generate money without necessarily complying with best practice risk mitigation and due diligence through regulatory accountability.”

Paddy Crumlin, President of the ITF, described it as a toxic industry – referring to the registering of ships in countries where there is no regulation, no oversight and no accountability. It allows for exploitation and the abandonment of seafarers, he said.

“The aim is to provide a short cut for shipowners to generate money without necessarily complying with best practice risk mitigation and due diligence through regulatory accountability.”

According to the ITF, companies often register ships in low regulation countries to hide ownership, reduce tax obligations, employ cheap labour or skirt safety standards – with profound implications for seafarers working on those vessels.

It said that some 50 per cent of the world fleet is registered in FOC states.

The top three contributors – Panama, Liberia, and the Marshall Islands – alone account for over 40 per cent of the international fleet.

The ITF defines an FOC vessel as one flying the flag of a country other than its actual ownership. This practice occurs despite international law – the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea – stating that there must be a “genuine link” between the ship and the flag state.

“The whole flags of convenience system is complex on purpose,” said David Heindel, ITF’s Seafarers’ Section chairman.

“The reasons for registering ships under flags of convenience is to avoid tax, avoid safety regulations, and circumvent labour standards and human rights.

“A genuine link between the ship and its registry is so important to be able to identify who is the real owner. Flag registers should not be allowed to operate as businesses using lower standards than traditional national registers. Until that’s stopped, seafarers’ rights will continue to be abused with impunity.”

Both Gabon and Eswatini’s registries are believed to be involved in the growing, so-called ‘shadow’ or ‘dark fleets’ transporting sanctioned oil. Gabon’s registry has grown exponentially since international sanctions came into effect following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Added 30 May 2024


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Greek bulk carrier Laax struck by three Houthi missiles

Bulk carrier Laax, being assisted by the French Navy. Picture: Marine nationale / La Royale

Africa Ports & Ships

The Yemeni-based Houthis have struck again. This time the victim is a Greek-owned and operated bulk carrier sailing in the lower Red Sea on 28 May 2024.

Notices from several sources, including the US Central Command (Centcom), the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), and British security company Ambrey, report that the Marshall Islands-flagged bulker Laax (IMO 9512355) was sailing in ballast to the Iranian port of Imam Khomeini after discharging her cargo of about 60,000 tons of soya beans at the Turkish port of Ceyhan on 21 May.

As the vessel, built in 2012, passed 33 nautical miles north-west of the coffee port of Al Mukha (Mocka or Mocha), she came under attack, with three missiles striking the vessel.

Centcom advises the Laax was able to continue her voyage despite the missile strikes, and that there were no injuries on board. Centcom’s report said that a total of five missiles were launched from Yemen on that day, but without mentioning what happened to the other two.

British security firm Ambrey reported the incident adding the the bulker sustained some damage to one of the cargo holds and that the ship was taking on water and had developed a list.

United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) issued an advisory saying the “Master of an MV reports a further missile attack. The vessel has sustained further damage. The crew are safe, and the vessel is proceeding to their next port of call”.

Further reports from Greece say the bulker was sailing to a port nearby (possibly Djibouti) to assess the extent of the damage.

Added 29 May 2024


Bulker newbuilding values at 15-year high

Africa Ports & Ships

By Rebecca Galanopoulos Jones
Senior Content Analyst
Veson Nautical

Bulker newbuilding values are currently at a 15-year high, with increases across all sectors since the start of the year. This is due to a number of factors including strong market fundamentals and increased demand, high steel prices and shipyard costs.

Capesizes have seen the most impressive gains with values for newbuild vessels of 180,000-dwt up by c.5.45% from USD 66.09 million to USD 69.63 million.

However, the majority of orders in 2024 to date have been split equally between the Panamax and Supramax sectors, each accounting for c.35% of orders placed. With a price difference of just under USD 3 mil apart in value, it is unsurprising that a number of owners have opted for the larger Panamax sector.

Panamax Bulker newbuilding values for vessels of 82,000-dwt are currently at USD 40 million compared to USD 37.26 million for Supramaxes of 62,000-dwt.

High values have been supported by firm earnings, which have been moving upwards consistently since January. Panamax rates for one-year are currently at around 16,300 USD/Day, up by c.11%, year-on-year as disruption in both the Suez and Panama canals have increased tonne mile demand for the bulker sector, along with improving demand fundamentals from China.

Greek buyers have led Panamax newbuildings in 2024, accounting for c.45% of orders.

Notable new orders include 8 x Panamax bulkers of 82,000-dwt ordered by Laskaridis Maritime, scheduled to be built at Penglai Zhongbai Jinglu and Hengli Shipbuilding and delivered in 2026, VV value USD 286 million.

Whereas in the Supramax sector, it is the Chinese who have placed the majority of orders, with a share of c.35%. Notable new orders include 8 x Ultramax bulkers of 64,000-dwt, ordered by HuaXia Financial Leasing, scheduled to be built at New Dayang Shipbuilding and delivered between 2026-27, sold for USD 34 million each.


Added 29 May 2024



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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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Total cargo handled by tonnes during April 2024, including containers by weight

PORT April 2023 million tonnes
Richards Bay 7.377
Durban 4.884
Saldanha Bay 4.292
Cape Town 0.984
Port Elizabeth 0.782
Ngqura 1.058
Mossel Bay 0.984
East London 0.165
Total all ports during April 2023 19.574 million tonnes