Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 11 July 2020

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

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Seafarers Sunday banner flying in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news



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Front Page: MSC SASHA


The Saturday masthead is of Port Harcourt




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MSC Sasha arriving at Durban. Picture: Keith Betts, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
MSC Sasha. Picture: Keith Betts

Making a statement with her almost full cargo of boxes is the container ship MSC SASHA (IMO 9720500), arriving in the Durban entrance channel with harbour tug UMKHOMAZI to assist her if necessary. The 109,520-dwt ship, built in 2016, has a length of 300 metres with the width of 48 metres and a container capacity of 9,400 TEU. MSC Sasha is registered in Madeira and flies the flag of Portugal. The photographer is Keith Betts



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SCG Longdijk. Picture: Flying Focus, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
SCG Longdijk. Picture: Flying Focus

Means fast global 4G-LTE internet connection for crews

Shipping Company Groningen (SCG) has contracted offshore internet services provider Castor Marine to install its Global 4G Connectivity package on all 30 of its vessels. With this, the coasters will have a fast, global 4G-LTE internet connection for its crews.

On its fleet, SCG offers its personnel a Crew Welfare Zone with free internet within the 12-mile (4G) zone. To realise this, SCG wanted a plug&play, cost-efficient system that is always operational and doesn’t interfere with the crew’s activities.

Read the rest of this report in our Trade News section by CLICKING HERE


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Employment support schemes

Illustration kindly provided by BIFA ©Featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Illustration kindly provided by BIFA ©

Freight association welcomes further government investment

The British International Freight Association (BIFA), the trade association that represents UK freight forwarding and logistics companies, says that it welcomes the package of measures unveiled by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 8 July to scale up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships.

Director General, Robert Keen commented: “While our members are currently rightly focused on significant business continuity issues, we welcome the additional funding.

“We are ready to help any of our members that are willing to capitalise on the funding being made available to either recruit apprentices; make traineeships available; or increase training for existing employees.”

Importance of training

As one of the largest providers of freight forwarding and Customs-related training courses, BIFA is currently delivering those courses via video conferencing, due to the Covid-19 crisis preventing face-to-face training.

Carl Hobbis, BIFA’s Training Development Manager, said: “Having been actively involved in the creation of an International Freight Forwarding Specialist apprenticeship, BIFA has committed to promote its availability since it was introduced in 2018.

“We will continue to encourage employers and potential entrants to consider this apprenticeship as a route into the industry.

“There is a dedicated area of the BIFA website – apprentices.bifa.org – that can help both employers and potential recruits to better understand apprenticeship opportunities in the freight forwarding industry.”

Keen added: “We will also be reminding our members, than in addition to the finance announced today, last month the government made available an additional £50 million to accelerate growth of the UK’s customs intermediary sector via training, with applications for the new funding being open since the start of this month.”


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

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Victor Borges, Lloyd’s Register’s expert voice on FPSO maintenance optimisation, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Victor Borges, Lloyd’s Register’s expert voice on FPSO maintenance optimisation

Operators could save £15 million per asset by leveraging technology to identify unnecessary maintenance, according to new findings by Lloyd’s Register

Lloyd’s Register (LR), the specialist energy consultancy, this week released new findings revealing as much as 40% of maintenance work carried out by Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel operators is unnecessary. By reducing these unwarranted manhours, operators could save on average almost £600,000 per asset each year, which is equivalent to £15m over an assets’ life.

By applying a risk-based maintenance approach using…


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Vernon Buxton recalls the time of Union-Castle

Appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The 28,700gt EDINBURGH CASTLE glides into Durban in the 1960s, being fussed along by one of the tugs that were such a staple sight in that major harbour for so many years.

One of the greatest tragedies in the annals of maritime travel and transport was the demise in 1977 of the 1900-founded weekly Union-Castle Line passenger service between South Africa and Britain. It ended an unparalleled sea-travel era…and I was at T-Jetty in Durban harbour on the very day, 77 years later, when the curtain  came down on ‘The Golden Era of Sea Travel’…read all about it below…

You had to be around in those earlier years to fully comprehend what an incredible service the historic passenger line offered as a means of getting from Durban to Southampton and back. There was the main west coast route in the Atlantic Ocean, or a Suez Canal course that included the Indian Ocean, that included interesting ports of call.

I’m about to feast on the joy that Union-Castle ships brought me and to wallow in the nostalgia and romance of travel that imbued my soul between the 1950s and.70s. I invite you to share in even a touch of my bliss-filled recollections.

Appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

You can see it down there, the weekly Union-Castle vessel (which I can’t identify) berthed at the Ocean Terminal at Durban’s T-Jetty, which was an exceptional facility for the mailships, but later became all but unusable. The N-Shed in the foreground has been for too many years a ‘temporary’ terminal for cruise liners, especially the MSC ships that are seasonally homeported in Durban. A brand new terminal is on the way at the Durban harbour mouth…read on…..

I clearly remember from an early age being attracted to ships, mainly passenger vessels, but I’ve always had an aesthetic eye on cargo ships too. The earlier ones were  really beautiful. There were no cruise liners in those days, when ships were mainly a means of getting from Point A to Point B, albeit in considerable comfort and a very high standard of services. It simply wasn’t all cheap n’ nasty like it is today.

During our 1950s visits to Durban (from Southern Rhodesia, as it was known until 1964) I always thrilled to the sight of the weekly Union-Castle Line vessel, with its red and black funnel and lavender-coloured hull entering or sailing from the port of Natal.

In later years, when I lived in Durban, I was at the harbour mouth every Wednesday at 5pm to see the Union-Castle Royal Mail Ship sail. These ships would spend a day each in East London and Port Elizabeth and three days in Cape Town. Then off they would go, with calls at Las Palmas or Madeira. Each vessel would gently glide passed me quietly as I stood at The Point – with a crushing yearning to be aboard…

The journey to England took up to two weeks and later, with the introduction with more powerful engines, the faster mailboats covered the route in 11-13 days. The ‘mail ships’ were the bearers of vast volumes of letters and parcels being cross-exchanged between South Africa and Britain. The cargo component, of course, required longer turnaround times at various ports of call and thus afforded the British crew a breather, also allowing ample time for victualling and repainting, which was undertaken with unfailing regularity in any of the South African ports…certainly until fortunes began to wane after the mid-1960s.

Appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

One of my earliest Durban recollections was of the 20,109gt WINCHESTER CASTLE, notable for its square-shaped fo’c’sle. She was the personification of maritime aesthetics and I craved to sail on her. (Michael Johnson of Ballito and his family were with us on one of those 1950s Durban forays – do you recall being on the wharf with me, Mike? We stayed at the Majestic Hotel, remember? It’s now a Garden Court, next to the historic Balmoral Hotel on the Marine Parade.)

The Union-Castle Line operated between Europe and Africa from 1900 to 1997. Two smaller cargo vessels were on the route for another year.

 Many of the line’s vessels were requisitioned for service as troop or hospital ships in the First World War and eight were sunk by mines or German U-boats. Many vessels were again requisitioned in the Second World War. Three – DUNNOTTAR CASTLE, CARNARVON CASTLE (both of which I well remember) and DUNVEGAN CASTLE (not in my recall) became armed merchant cruisers. PRETORIA CASTLE (1939) was also first requisitioned as an armed merchant cruiser, but later served as an escort carrier.

After WW2, Union-Castle made good use of its three ships converted to troop transports to carry the vast number of emigrants seeking new lives in East and South Africa.

Appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

A grand vessel was the 1930s-built WARWICK CASTLE (20,445gt). As you can see, the earlier vessels gave considerable preference to cargo space, with deep holds fore and aft. In between these cargo spaces, however, there was more than enough room for splendid passenger accommodations and services. The WARWICK (if you say ‘war-wick’ you’re a philistine!!!) was a beauty, don’t you agree?

Appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

By 1961 I could no longer resist a Union-Castle voyage and had occasion to take a two-night sailing from Beira to Durban on the 17,029gt BRAEMAR CASTLE. The journey required two nights prior on a steam train from Salisbury, via Umtali (now Mutare), which included a daytime run through the vast, expansive game-filled Gorongoza Game Reserve…eat your heart out! I adored that tiny taste of Union-Castle, she being one of three identical liners built in 1951-52 for the east Africa service; the others being RHODESIA CASTLE and KENYA CASTLE. My palate for ocean sailing was a touch more than assuaged. Here’s an Internet image of BRAEMAR taking on bunkers at Aden, one of her many exotic calls on the Suez route. If only I’d chosen the east coast route when my chance came.

What a loss when it all ended. How utterly special was this rather smart way of traversing the Atlantic and Indian oceans. The cuisine and accommodations were entirely acceptable – if not en suite – and there was adequate fun and distraction, with daily deck quoits and in the evenings ‘Bingo’ sessions and usually a 5-piece dance band for ‘fox-trotting’ the night away.

Moreover, everyone made the effort to dress appropriately…oh yes, jacket-and-tie for the gentlemen, if you please, and long dresses were expected of spouses; cocktail dresses were not done, my dear!

That, of course, was before the American Boeing 707 erupted onto the scene (first flight, 1957) and began to blow all the passenger lines apart, save for the Cunard Line, which had fortuitously built a new trans-Atlantic liner, the QUEEN ELIZABETH 2, with a touch of ‘cruise liner’ adding to her overall appeal…and the overall survival of the brand name Cunard.

Appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Another 1930s-built masterpiece was the 27,000gt CAPE TOWN CASTLE, seen departing the beautiful city after which she was named. Across the decades since its inception, the Union-Castle Line boasted almost 50 vessels in its fleet, a feat accomplished by no other passenger-carrying line. The ships were all British-built and manned, which begs the question: ‘What the hell happened to British ship-building after the QUEEN ELIZABETH 2?’ It’s a national disgrace, really, when you consider how the French, Germans, Italians and Finns have flourished in the fields of maritime technological and engineering magnificence. Contemporary cruise liners are truly the product of genius, if lacking the romance of bygone days!

 In the late 1960s sea passengers discovered the kick of overnighting across the Atlantic or out to the colonies in a four-engine jet. Yes, progress is progress and the sad fact was that passenger ships had indeed lost their lustre and so many well-known shipping lines hit the wall in a deadly progression. My friend David Vincent in Durban (he’s still there, with a pulse, hi David) and I caught the tail-end of that trend when we crossed the Atlantic on the penultimate voyage of RMS QUEEN ELIZABETH between Southampton and New York in 1968. She returned to Southampton one last time and that was it for one very famous ocean liner. Scenes of her later on fire in Hong Kong harbour gutted me.

Appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

The slim and sleek 28,705gt PRETORIA CASTLE was later bought by the South African consortium Safmarine and became the SA ORANJE. She was the first Union-Castle ship to be completed after the war and she and her identical sister EDINBURGH CASTLE sailed on the mail run to Cape Town from 1948. Say what you like, today’s cruise liners can’t hold a candle to those classic vessels. The main feature, which you can see in all these pictures, was the Promenade Deck, where gaily-cushioned loungers were lined up from end to end, allowing passengers to see who’s who aboard, sip gin and tonic or opt for hot bouillon at 11am, while watching expansive sea vistas sweep by…and marvelling at the flying fish in Equatorial waters. There were two classes on all Union-Castle vessels, but Safmarine opted for one class only, which was a most agreeable arrangement for passengers, decidedly this passenger included.

Appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Though I now regret not opting for the east coast service via Mombasa et al, my ongoing desire for a longer voyage was satiated in 1966 by a Durban to Southampton run on the SA VAAL, the former TRANSVAAL CASTLE. This 32,697gt gem had only just been acquired by Safmarine and though – gone was the lavender hull – this one-class vessel was simply perfect in every way. One is not discerning as a 24-year-old, but how can I forget dinner with six choices of soup (three hot, three cold), multiple hors d’oeuvres, four roast choices and a dozen or more puddings, all served in a white-gloved, table d’hote-style. Goodness gracious me, these days you have to serve yourself from a lack-lustre buffet spread? (oh, the horror, the horror…and if you think I’m being pretentious, I am guilty as charged! Standards are standards, friends.)

 The SA VAAL voyage took 18 days, with a stop at Las Palmas, before rounding the alluring Isle of Wight and then graciously gliding up the fabled Solent towards historic Southampton. I had difficultly facing reality again when made it up to London by train, phew, one had to make decisions!


Appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Picture: Trevor Jones

The pride of the Union-Castle fleet was the 37,640gt flagship WINDSOR CASTLE. You travelled in First or Tourist class (snobs called it ‘steerage’), according to your means, but everyone hailed the experience on the west Africa run. In 1977 I was The Natal Mercury reporter assigned, along with the accompanying photographer, Terry Haywood, to do a colour piece on the final sailing of the WINDSOR from Durban…thus signalling the lamentable termination of one of the grandest ocean services that ever existed, the likes of which can never be repeated.

Appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news 

When I arrived at the Ocean Terminal, colourful bunting ‘cried’ in a mild summer breeze and clouds of bright streamers floated down from the ship, whilst brass bands rendered heart-tugging pieces…the crew on deck joining in with ‘We’ll Meet Again…’. Two familiar high-stacked Durban tugs nudged the large vessel away from the crowded wharf for one last time and WINDSOR CASTLE ever-so-gently slipped away towards the harbour mouth with three farewell hornnn…hornnn…hornnns! I had a lump and half in my throat as a giant slice of maritime history and romance made its way graciously across the Bar (a dangerous sandbank in shallow water), swung gently to starboard and then, with a big puff of black smoke from her large red and black stack, the WINDSOR accelerated as she charted her farewell course beyond the famous Bluff… thus ending the ‘Golden Era of Sea Travel’…forever. (I just pinked a tear writing this.)

Appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

1977 marked the end of the large mail ships, but the smaller GOOD HOPE CASTLE and her sister, SOUTHAMPTON CASTLE (pictured) signalled the true end of the Union-Castle mail ship service a year later. These two 10,558gt vessels, capable of attaining a speed of 27 knots, were actually very fast cargo vessels, with accommodation for just 12 passengers (who actually found them very unstable in rough seas. I’d have loved them.) They were both sold in 1978. Farewell, goodbye, cheerio, totsiens…till we never meet again…end of story…end of an era! How I crave one of these voyages as I press ‘send’.

 Appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

A deliciously eccentric arm of my own family, meanwhile, had in the 1950s built their own version of a Union-Castle ship in the Johannesburg suburb of Buccleuch, still called Buccleuch, named after the estate of the Duke of Buccleuch in Scotland. The family owned most of the land in that area north of Johannesburg CBD. The ship was the BUCCLEUCH CASTLE, constructed as a tea room out in the bush. It was that very remoteness that proved to be the obstacle to success and the Chapman-Gibsons – ‘Skipper’ and Aunt Girlie – lost money on that venture. The ship became all sorts of things in later years and today there is not a shred of evidence of its existence. My cousin Guy Macleod and I recently went searching for the site of the lavender-hulled, brick-built ship and saw only ankle-high grass. The top of that funnel roughly marks the spot where the Gautrain flashes by in both directions daily.

 Appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

And now – 43 years after Union-Castle days – this is the brand new Ocean Cruise Terminal now taking shape very close to the harbour mouth in Durban. It will provide a luxury base for world-cruise callers, but especially for the MSC Cruises group that homeports ships here during the summer cruise season. It will be a great new asset for good old Durbs! Should have been done years ago.

I shall ‘sail away’ now, with this amusing anecdote relating to the snooty days of trans-Atlantic sea travel. Nancy Astor was a close friend of Maud ‘Emerald’, Cunard, wife of Cunard Line founder, Samuel Cunard.

Nancy, Viscountess Astor (left), was ‘orfen’ invited – with an almost indecent regularity – as Emerald, Lady Cunard’s companion (travelling el freebie, ‘naturaleh dah-ling’) ‘accraws’ The Pond, mainly aboard Samuel’s RMS QUEEN MARY or RMS QUEEN ELIZABETH. They were both frightful snobs. One afternoon, during the essential white-gloved tea interlude in the liner’s Queen’s Room, Nancy turns to Emerald and asks: “Ai’ve been ‘invaited’ to dine at the Captain’s table tonight…have you, dear?”

Appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news









There’s a lethal hesitancy as Emerald most elegantly licks the cream from a tiny cake off her impeccably well-manicured fingers. “My deah,” she replies, directing a withering look at her bemused friend’s face: “They know vereh well here to not dare to ‘invaite’ me to the Captain’s table…I would not be seen dead dining with the crew!”

Perish the thought, dining with the crew! 😊 As much as I regret that Union-Castle is now all but forgotten, I’m somewhat satiated by being the beneficiary of such incredible experience and memories – and I deeply hope you also had a chance to sail away on one of those revered vessels that were so representative of the ‘good old days’. If you didn’t, you’ve no idea what you’ve missed.

Vernon Buxton


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Seafarers Sea Sunday 2020 banner, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

As an internet first, the international Mission to Seafarers (MtS) will be holding its annual Sea Sunday celebrations online this year – this Sunday, 12 July – making the service available to seafarers all around the world.

It also means that others who would like to take part in the service of dedication and thanks to seafarers, can now do so, online. There are perhaps some blessings to take from the COVID-19 pandemic after all.

This year’s service will take place via the Mission’s YouTube channel and website and is an opportunity to focus on the world’s seafarers and let them know that they are celebrated and valued.

Revd Canon Andrew Wright, secretary general of the mission will be joined by chaplains and seafarers from around the world including a message from the charity’s president, Princess Anne.

It is widely recognised that life at sea is challenging and unpredictable, but the last couple of months have magnified the challenges faced by seafarers. With welfare services scaled back in line with social distancing regulations, feelings of loneliness and isolation have also been exacerbated.

“This Sea Sunday is special,” said Canon Wright. “We are enabling all seafarers, and those connected to the community, to come together as an extended Mission to Seafarers’ family. From London to Lagos and Manila to Melbourne, we believe there is power when we come together as a global community. We are united in gratitude, especially in recognition of the heroic work of seafarers, and in hope for the future.”

Please visit: https://www.missiontoseafarers.org/sea-sunday

See also the banner near the top of this page for the local South African Durban Seafarers Sea Sunday Service, being held online on the FaceBook page at 11h00 on Sunday 12 July 2020.


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Jillian Carson-Jackson, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Jillian Carson-Jackson

Focus on three challenges

The newly elected President of The Nautical Institute, Jillian Carson-Jackson has vowed to help the Institute and the wider maritime community meet three important challenges – those of diversity and inclusion, branch engagement and managing the impact of technology.

Speaking at the Nautical Institute Annual General Meeting on 2 July she announced a pledge from the Institute on diversity and inclusion saying: “There has been a concerted effort over the past years to raise visibility of not just women, but the overall role of diversity and inclusion in maritime. The pledge of the Institute, as a global body for maritime professionals, is to show its commitment to encourage, support and celebrate a diverse and inclusive maritime industry.”

Championing the Institute’s worldwide network of branches Ms Carson-Jackson described her own branch, The Nautical Institute South East Australia branch, as her professional family, sounding board and reality check. She commented: “Nautical Institute branches provide a focus to engage with other maritime professionals and to think global while acting local. They offer a forum to gather ideas, share experiences, develop best practice and influence the activity of the Institute and beyond.”

On the subject of technology, Ms Carson-Jackson cautioned that in a fast-changing environment: “it may be difficult to see beyond the tools to the people. As we see the increase in technology in our industry, our challenge is to consider the changing skill sets and competencies required for maritime professionals in an increasingly digital and autonomous environment.”

Jillian Carson-Jackson, FNI, FRIN commenced her career in the Canadian Coast Guard, graduating from the Canadian Coast Guard College as a navigation officer. With over three decades in the industry, Jillian has worked both afloat and ashore in the CCG, including ten years as an instructor at the CCGC. Following an active role at IALA in the development of VTS Training, she moved to France to work with IALA as Technical Coordination Manager. She then moved to Australia to work with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) as Manager of Vessel Traffic and Pilotage Services.

In 2016 Jillian left AMSA to set up her own consultancy, focusing on maritime technical advice and education. In May 2020 Jillian was appointed a Director of GlobalMET. Jillian represents The Nautical Institute at IALA as chair of the Emerging Digital Technologies Working Group (ENAV Committee) and the Personnel and Training Working Group (VTS Committee).

For more information readers are invited to contact Martin Fothergill, Marketing and Communications Manager, The Nautical Institute by the link here: mgf@nautinst.org

About The Nautical Institute

The Nautical Institute is an international professional body for qualified seafarers and others with an interest in nautical matters.

It provides a wide range of services to enhance the professional standing and knowledge of members who are drawn from all sectors of the maritime world.

Founded in 1972, it has nearly 50 branches worldwide and some 7,000 members in 120 countries.

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Coastal shipping in Mozambique, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Mozambique coastal shipping, which is to be boosted by an added emphasis on cabotage shipping, will handle an estimated…


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Eight employees of a private construction company working on the multi-billion dollar gas project in Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado, were killed in late June by gunmen dressed in military clothing.

Although the killing took place on 27 June, the news was only released on Sunday, 5 July 2020.

The firm involved in employing the eight is…


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A rosewood tree, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
A rosewood tree (Pterocarpus erinaceus) 

CMA CGM has introduced tighter procedures for transporting protected species and has created a black list of shippers involved in the collapse of biodiversity.

Calling it a landmark decision and a responsible choice to protect biodiversity, the shipping company has suspended all timber exports from the Gambia following suspicions of illicit rosewood trafficking.

Tighter procedures and creation of a black list of shippers

“The CMA CGM Group is reinforcing its procedures for shipping protected species, the trade in which is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES),” the group said in a statement.

“As part of these tighter procedures, shippers must expressly state whether a species is covered by the CITES convention and, where appropriate, provide the requisite export permit whenever any animal or plant goods are carried.

“In parallel, the CMA CGM Group will draw up a black list of exporters suspected to be involved in illicit trafficking. We are also enhancing the training of our sales agents around the world and tightening up our ‘know-your-customer’ audit procedures, in coordination with the CMA CGM Academy and the CITES.”

Banjul scene, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Banjul scene

Suspension of all timber exports from the Gambia

After a BBC television programme exposed the illicit trade in The Gambia, CMA CGM said it had been provided with several reasons to suspect that undeclared rosewood may have been part of cargo shipments from the Gambia. As a result the Group decided to halt its timber exports from the country until further notice.

Rosewood is a protected species, and trade in it is regulated by the CITES. This highly sought-after wood is felled illegally in the region and then exported under various different guises. This illicit trade is heavily implicated in the deforestation of West Africa.

“With these measures, the CMA CGM Group is again demonstrating its leadership within the shipping industry in the protection of the environment. This decision, which is part of the strengthening of the Group’s CSR policy, illustrates CMA CGM’s resolve to help conserve global biodiversity and not to further imperil our planet’s future,” a spokesman said for CMA CGM.

A recent BBC programme uncovered evidence that China imported more than 300,000 tonnes of West African rosewood (Pterocarpus erinaceus) from The Gambia since President Adama Barrow came to power in 2017.

Rosewood is prized for its colour and durability and is widely used for furniture in Asia and in particular China where it is used primarily for antique-style furniture. It is also known as Hongmu or ‘red wood’.

Rosewood ready for export, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Container of Rosewood ready for export


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Trucking in Langeberg Road outside the Durban Container Terminal, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Trucking in Langeberg Road outside the Durban Container Terminal

The ongoing truck drivers strike currently underway this week has affected productivity at South Africa’s port terminals, it is being reported.

Truckers have kept many of their vehicles off the road during this unofficial strike action to ensure the safety of their drivers.

The strike is again over the alleged employment of foreign drivers by local trucking companies. At least two trucks, one of them only a few weeks old, were stopped at a road block and destroyed by arsonists this week.

Other attacks on trucks have been reported from Motherwell in the Port Elizabeth area, and around Ermelo and Piet Retief in Mpumalanga near the KwaZulu-Natal border.

In addition, concern is being expressed among importers and exporters using the ports of Durban and Cape Town at what they say is a rising number of COVID-19 cases among port terminal workers.

According to Mitchell Brooke, logistics manager at the Citrus Growers’ Association, “All terminals’ productivity are well below norm at the moment.”

It is reported that the Durban container terminal is down to fourteen gangs, from 18 gangs normally.


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The container ship MOL Presence at Valencia. Picture by: Manuel Hernandez Lafuente courtesy Shipspotting and featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The container ship MOL Presence at Valencia. Picture by: Manuel Hernandez Lafuente courtesy Shipspotting

Container ships on the South Africa – Europe leg of the SAECS service will again call at the port of Cape Town on the outward export leg.

This follows a significant improvement in recent days due to increased resources and the Cape Town Container Terminal now running at 75% of its capacity.

With berthing delays…


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Recent military action by Mozambian military scored successes against the local Islamic terror group, but hasn't put a stop to insurgency across the region, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Recent military action by Mozambian military scored successes against the local Islamic terror group, but hasn’t put a stop to insurgency across the region

According to an AIM report, the international terrorist organisation known as ‘Islamic State‘ or DAESH, has issued a threat of extending its activities into South Africa should this country become involved in supporting the Mozambique authorities in its fight against Islamist insurgents in northern Mozambique.

The insurgents operating in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province apparently go by the name Ansar Al-Sunna which means Supporters of the Tradition. This is the first time that some sense of identity is being displayed by the terrorists who have raided towns and villagers near the oil and gas projects underway in the Rovuma region, with an estimated 700 local people executed and a number of Mozambique and Russian military personnel killed or injured.

In recent weeks reports have appeared that South Africa is considering providing military personnel and aid to Mozambique in that country’s fight with the terror groups. Although South Africa has madeno statement to this effect, the Islamic State’s ‘Al-Naba’ newsletter of 3 July 2020 has responded by saying that “Crusader States in Europe and America” are trying to persuade the South African government and its army to play a leading role in the war in the north of Mozambique.

The newsletter warns that South African involvement “will place it in a great financial, security and military predicament, and may result in prompting the soldiers of the Islamic State to open a fighting front inside its borders!- by the permission of God Almighty.”

The newsletter also refers to what it calls ‘Crusader oil companies’ which have billions of dollars invested in the country, warning that ‘the Crusaders are risking their investment.’

Referring to Mozambique, the newsletter says the country is ruled by ‘a tyrannical gang from the atheists of Communism.’ It accuses the so-called outside ‘Crusaders’ of having no other interest in the country except for its natural resources, adding that Russian and Chinese companies have ambitions of their own and are keen to gain a foothold.

“The Crusaders are at a loss, for they fear that their great intervention in this war will lead to the outcome that more of the Muslims in Mozambique and its environs will join the soldiers of the Caliphate, especially as the hostility to Islam and its people in all the states of the region is great and old, just as they fear that that will lead to the spread of the blazing fire of jihad that has begun to threaten to burn idolatry and the idolaters in this region that is important for them, because of what is in it from resources and opportunities.

“If the Crusaders reckon that they, in their support for the disbelieving government in Mozambique, will protect their investments and guarantee the continuation of their plunder of the resources of the region, they are delusional, as it won’t be too long before things become consolidated in favour of the soldiers of the Caliphate,” the newsletter continues.

This is one of the gas production facilities underway in northe4rn Mozambique, operated by a consortium headed by Total., featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
This is an impression of one of the gas production facilities underway in northern Mozambique, operated by a consortium now headed by Total.

If the raising of an Islamist insurgent group in Cabo Delgado was home-grown, as it has been thought until now, then clearly the international or wider terrorist groups are now becoming more involved and the danger of a greater incursion into the strategically important part of Mozambique is increasing rapidly.

Having suffered defeats in Iraq and Syria the well-funded Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIS/DAESH) has been looking elsewhere to become involved. With the emerging oil and gas developments, on which Mozambique will be forced to depend economically for years to come, this presents a familiar target for the international terror group.

They are clearly already involved in Mozambique. Would South Africa’s involvement in this conflict act as a trigger for an even wider spread of terror?

If you want to understand more about this Jihadist movement and its intentions, read this: Mozambique: Jihadist blueprint for terror state in Cabo Delgado – By Paul Fauvet


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The Afungi coastline of Cabo Delgado, facing offshore gas projects. Picture: Mozambique LNG, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Afungi coastline of Cabo Delgado, facing offshore gas projects. Picture: Mozambique LNG

Total, the French oil major said it has confidence in the ‘secure execution’ of the gas exploration project in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique. It is in this region that an Islamist terrorist group has appeared, which has been attacking and executing villagers and townspeople across several parts of the province, some of them close to the Total landside project of Area 1.

The terrorists, which appeared in northern Mozambique in October 2017 as a result, it is thought, of…


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UK Maritime Safety Week 2020 logo, appearing in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

From Southampton the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch Chief Inspector, Captain Andrew Moll, made a statement on 6 July at the start of this year’s Maritime Safety Week.

“As the Chief Inspector of the MAIB I am very pleased to be supporting Maritime Safety Week. At the Branch we are all too accustomed to seeing the aftermath of accidents, many of which have had tragic consequences. Our investigations aim…


Edited by Paul Ridgway


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The Peking restoration marks one of the most prestigious projects for Nippon Paint Marine, which coated all internal and external areas of the historic barque, Picture Flickr, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
The Peking restoration marks one of the most prestigious projects for Nippon Paint Marine, which coated all internal and external areas of the historic barque. Picture Flickr

Nippon Paint Marine has completed the extensive re-coating of the four-masted, steel-hulled PEKING, the 1911-built cargo ship which is coming to the end of a €32 million, three-year restoration project at Peters Werft GmbH, on the River Elbe, at Wewelsfleth, Germany.

The 115.5m long, full-rigged barque, one of the legendary Flying-P cargo sailing ships built by Blohm+Voss for the F.Laiesz shipping company, is scheduled to leave Peters Werft in August.

Commenting on the project, Olaf Riecken, Nippon Paint Marine, said: “This is a highly prestigious project; one of the most exciting projects I have ever been involved in. It was also one of the most challenging, as the original steel structure had to be kept wherever possible.

The rest of this report can be read in our TRADE NEWS section, available by CLICKING HERE



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Which navigation buoy white paper, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Anthony Parker, Aids to Navigation Manager, Africa, for Sealite United Kingdom reports on the methods employed to choose the appropriate buoy for service.

He encapsulates in a document the answers to the questions he has fielded in a decade of aids to navigation supply in Africa. He has now worked closely with the engineering team at Sealite to assemble an appropriate guide. This six-page document known as a White Paper with the title Benefits of Polyethylene Buoys in Harsh Conditions is available in English and French.

Sections concern:

* Benefits of twin keel design over traditional tail tube designed buoys.
This design feature provides natural stability on the deck of the service craft.

* Modular free-standing design.
Here are incorporated the principal components moulded from polyethylene and with all exposed structural elements manufactured from stainless steel.

* Polyethylene Buoys.
Sealite manufactures buoys using advanced rotational moulding equipment.

* Why use Virgin Polyethylene?
Float and tower components never require painting it is said.

* Surviving Harsh Climates.
Floating aids to navigation such as buoys need to survive in harsh conditions ranging from ice to tropical humidity.

* Closed-cell Polyurethane Foam.
Many Sealite products use closed-cell polyurethane foam in their construction.

* Eco Friendly.
There is an increased awareness of the need to protect the environment.

Sealite, has branches in Australia, the UK and the US. See also: www.sealite.com

Anthony Parker is available here: a.parker@sealite.com

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

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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A Durban-based 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter similar to that used in Tuesday's evacuation of a sick crewman on a passing bulker, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
A Durban-based 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter similar to that used in Tuesday’s evacuation of a sick crewman on a passing bulker

The NSRI Station 5 at Durban was called out on Tuesday morning to assist with the evacuation of a sick crewman on a passing bulk carrier who required urgent medical attention.

The bulker was deepsea opposite Durban when the crisis developed, resulting…


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Cable layer Etisalat, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS Trade News
Cable layer Etisalat

A quick response was a vital factor in winning an order to supply an Evac Evolution ballast water management system (BWMS) for a cable laying vessel based in the United Arab Emirates.

The system will be installed on Cable Ship ETISALAT which is operated by E-Marine PJSC, the specialists in telecommunications submarine cable installation, repair and maintenance who have headquarters in Dubai.

“When E-Marine contacted us, they said it was essential that the system was delivered to Dubai within four weeks so that it could be installed when the vessel was in drydock,” said Stevenson Varghese, Managing Director of Cathelco Middle East, who won the contract.

The Evac Evolution system is produced and developed by Cathelco who have been part of the Evac Group since 2018.

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


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CMA CGM AfricaTwo in Durban Harbour. and sliding down the Esplanade Channel and into the Maydon Channel beyond. Picture: Terry Hutson, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
CMA CGM AfricaTwo in Durban Harbour. and sliding down the Esplanade Channel and into the Maydon Channel beyond. Picture: Terry Hutson

French container carrier, CMA CGM has announced its intention of launching a new product called Round the Africa (RTA) service to add to and complement the current 31 CMA CGM services already operating to sub-Saharan Africa.

A bit of a misnomer, the service is unique in terms of providing a direct service from Asia to Senegal and Sierra Leone along with best transit times, as well as calls to other selected West African ports.

Dakar is reached weekly from Ningbo in 35 days, from Nansha in 32 days. Freetown (Sierra Leone) is reached in 35 days from Nansha. The service offer to Tema (Ghana) is improved with 3 weekly departures.

“Our exporters from West Africa will benefit of excellent transit time and direct service to China. Shanghai is reached in 29 days from Abidjan, 31 days from Tema, 36 days from Freetown and 39 days from Dakar,” says the line in a statement.

One is left to assume the Round Africa part comes from the ships returning to Asia via the Cape of Good Hope.

Round the Africa service rotation is as follows:

Shanghai – Ningbo – Nansha – Singapore – Malta – Tanger – Dakar – Freetown – Tema – Abidjan – Port Kelang – Shanghai.

The new service is to be fully operated by CMA CGM, with a fleet deployment of 11 vessels each of 4,200 TEU nominal capacity.

The launch date from Shanghai is 25 July 2020.


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Velile Dube, newly appointed TPT Chief Executive, featuring in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Velile Dube, newly appointed TPT Chief Executive

Velile Dube, who has been with Transnet Port Terminals in various capacities for a number of years, has been appointed the new Chief Executive of TPT.

His appointment is likely to be welcomed by many stakeholders for Transnet Port Terminals to again having someone in charge of the company who is well versed in port terminal operations .

We await the official statement to this effect, as well as those involving several other senior appointments to the Transnet Group – Khaya Ngema who becomes the Transnet Group Chief of People (an unusual title), and Andrew Shaw as Transnet Group Chief Strategy.


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They look expectantly for excitement down on the lower KZN South Coast, more so now that everyone is boxed up by some degree of lockdown paralysis.

Of course, the monotony of winter at the coast can be broken with sporadic visits by the otherwise elusive sardines, and the warm winter sun would ordinarily have brought out in their hundreds the bikini-clad beachlovers from Boksburg, Benoni and Springs, but that is during normal times and these days aren’t exactly normal, are they?

So when a ship is sighted on fire out on the far horizon in the gathering darkness of an early weekend evening, that’s real excitement, even for easy-going South Coasters.

The poor old duty room controllers at the local Port Edward National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) base, sitting down to another quiet evening of social distancing were startled out of their tea cups when the calls began coming in – “multiple eye-witness reports” – stating that not only was a ship on fire far out to sea, but there had been an explosion before the blaze lit up the darkening skyline.

Now any fire at sea is an important and urgent matter and is just what the NSRI trains for, and when it is accompanied with reports of an explosion, it takes on an even more serious and exciting character.

MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) in far-off Cape Town, Transnet National Ports Authority in not too distant Durban and Telkom Maritime Radio Services wherever they are, were all alerted, but strangely they couldn’t find sign of any ships in the immediate area.

Of course, they were all looking at the scene electronically, weren’t they, whereas those on the KZN South Coast could see whatever it was happening before their very eyes. So what really was taking place?

It was left to NSRI coastwatchers and NSRI shore crew to venture out and obtain visuals of what the eye-witnesses were reporting. It was then that it could be confirmed that the full moon rising over the horizon had created the impression of an explosion and a fire at sea.

Excitement over, but at least the Southcoasters have something new to chat about at the supermarket, especially now that the sardines have again disappeared.


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Port Adelaide, Australia, Berth 18. Bright future: Inchcape is looking to double its market share over the next five years., featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port Adelaide, Australia, Berth 18. Bright future: Inchcape is looking to double its market share over the next five years

Extract from an interview with ISS CEO Frank Olsen

Inchcape’s CEO acknowledges that owners may well get relevant information through local agents, but what they won’t get is a bigger picture.

For example, an agent may advise that crew changes are no longer permitted in port, but will they have reliable, up to date information on which other ports allow them? Will they be able to advise on and facilitate services at alternative ports, both regionally and worldwide, if their own home base is under lockdown?

Inchcape, of course, can.

In Olsen’s words: “We are a single entity, with people and vetted third party suppliers and representatives almost everywhere, covering the world of ports. We can offer full, live and comprehensive updates on any and all restrictions, so owners can plan voyages both effectively and efficiently – going through only one stakeholder as opposed to managing countless calls and emails with an army of local agents and suppliers.

“We make life safer, simpler and more profitable for our partners, full stop.”

A world of difference

Olsen’s “world of ports” phrasing is not accidental.

A vessel under repair in the UAE. Inchcape Shipping Services: feet on the ground in ports worldwide. Picture courtesy: Inchcape Shipping Services ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
A vessel under repair in the UAE. Inchcape Shipping Services: feet on the ground in ports worldwide. Picture courtesy: Inchcape Shipping Services ©

This month (July) sees Inchcape launch the latest iteration of its own World of Ports (WoP) – a digital service giving owners and operators access to a wealth of unique information to ensure safe, compatible and efficient port calls, worldwide.

WoP is built on proprietary data painstakingly gathered by ISS staff over the course of the last decade. Utilising a Google Maps interface, it gives users the ability to examine terminals right down to any individual berth, ensuring accurate details regarding parameters and restrictions, while integrated AIS feeds show exactly what is going on and where in terms of vessel movements for optimal arrivals and departure.

Enriched port data – including environmental information, details of facilities and operational notes – is also included, with a client dashboard providing easy access, tailored information and vessel alerts.

Olsen continued: “It’s a constantly updated, single source solution where our customers can access information relating to over 4,600 ports, 15,000 terminals and 36,000 individual berths. There really is nothing else quite like it, and it simply wouldn’t be possible without our global network and dedicated local workforce. These people are essentially operating as our customers’ eyes, ears and intelligence on the ground, ensuring smooth operations and maximum business efficiency.

“We believe it’s going to be a game changer for the market – a very tangible demonstration of the added value we can deliver.”

Trusted partners

Despite the benefits of digital technology there is no replacement for the personal touch from expert people.

Olsen concluded by saying: “Ships Agency is still a people business and relationships are important. That is why, despite the obvious limitations of smaller local operations they still hold such a dominant market share.

“What we aim to show at Inchcape is that you can have all the benefits of dedicated local people, allied to a trusted global partner that can deliver real added value and competitive advantage. That extends across costs, governance, safety, intelligence, business efficiency, security and much, much more. The argument is that persuasive that we firmly believe a fundamental change is coming in terms of market division.”

Edited by Paul Ridgway



Naivasha dry inland port - road truckers get a reprieve, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Naivasha dry inland port – road truckers get a reprieve

The Kenya Government has backed down on an edict proclaimed earlier forcing cargo owners to rail freight between Mombasa and Nairobi and Naivasha.

The demand that rail be used was always highly controversial with owners of trucking companies complaining bitterly that they were being forced out of business. Then the Uganda president Yoweri Museveni stepped in and declared that Uganda truckers would not be forced to collect cargo at Naivasha.

Last week Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia told the Kenya parliament that regional governments have demanded additional developments at the Naivasha inland container depot (ICD) before the directive to collect cargo from the inland depot can be implemented.

He didn’t enlarge on what those additional requirements are.

The about turn will mean cross-border trucks will be able to continue collecting containers and freight at the port of Mombasa.

It is widely believed that the demand that all freight must be carried from Mombasa by rail was a ruse to increase revenue for the embattled Kenya Railways and the Kenya government, faced with a huge loan owed to the Chinese Exim Bank for the cost of building the railway but facing shortfalls in anticipated revenue.

The Chinese loan is now in question following the recent Appeal Court decision that the financing of the railway was illegal.

It is understood however that the directive to use the railway is only on hold, pending further consultations among the regional Heads of State.

Roadblocks to be removed

In another related matter, the Kenya government has taken the decision to have all roadblocks on the roads from the port of Mombasa removed. At the same time the number of COVID-19 testing centres will be increased.

The moves are aimed at facilitating the faster movement of cargo between the Mombasa port and the hinterland and neighbouring states.

The excessive number of police roadblocks on the roads inland has long been a controversial matter on account of the increase in delays and costs of trucking goods from the port.

The roadblocks have also been a source of corruption with bribery by officials adding to the already high cost of importing cargo.

Attempts have been made previously to remove the use of roadblocks within Kenya but such is the extent of the practice and the bribery taking place that all earlier efforts failed. When President Uhuru Kenyatta first came t power one of the first things he did was to order the dismantling of all roadblocks except for one.

This order was never carried out.


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One of Kenya Railway's SGR freight or goods trains Picture: KR, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
One of Kenya Railway’s SGR freight or goods trains Picture: KR

In a new development involving Kenya’s impressive yet controversial Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), connecting the port of Mombasa with Nairboi and Naivasha in the west, Kenya’s Court of Appeals has found in favour of the Law Society of Kenya that the contract to build the US$3.2 billion railway was illegal on the grounds of a public project having been awarded without going through a public competition.

In 2011 the contract to build the…

YouTube Video on the opening of the SGR [2:08]


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A photographic exercise during Dynamic Mongoose '17, USS Toledo leading the formation. Picture: FRAN CPO Christian Valverde. NATO ©,featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
A photographic exercise during Dynamic Mongoose ’17, USS Toledo leading the formation. Picture: FRAN CPO Christian Valverde. NATO ©

NATO exercise Dynamic Mongoose 17 commenced in the High North on 29 June to run to 8 July. Warships, submarines, as well as aircraft and personnel from six Allied nations converged off the coast of Iceland for Anti-Submarine warfare (ASW) and Anti-Surface warfare training.

Submarines from France, Germany, Norway, the UK and…

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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News & Views from Along the Coast


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SAS Durban resting on her shallow seabed on 1 July 2020, now awaiting a decision to her fate, picture: Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
SAS Durban resting on her shallow seabed on 1 July 2020, now awaiting a decision to her fate, picture: Trevor Jones

A Durban newspaper ran a news item this past week with the heading ‘Mystery at the Museum‘ – a play on the title of a popular television programme and describing the sudden and mysterious sinking of one of the prize exhibits at the Port Natal Maritime Museum, the former SA Navy minesweeper, SAS DURBAN.

The vessel recently returned to the museum following…

SAS Durban as a Navy ship, July 1978. Picture: Trevor Jones, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
SAS Durban as a Navy ship, July 1978. Picture: Trevor Jones


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Port of Durban and its container terminals, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Durban and its container terminals

It is a well-known fact that the Port of Durban or at least the landside of things in the Bayhead and Maydon Wharf areas, are often heavily congested.

Congestion: Much has been written of this, in the online pages of this publication and in other pages across the maritime and logistics spectrum. Many have been the solutions offered, by people present and those long departed. Yet still the problem continues and gets talked about and debated, often to the detriment of the port and the country, for this is the port that handles 60% of South Africa’s container traffic and more than a quarter of all its port business (27.38%) – and that’s measured against and including the mighty volumes of the bulk ports of Richards Bay and Saldanha.

In fact the Port of Durban handles more than all other ports with the exception of Richards Bay when measured by total volumes – 81.211 million tonnes of cargo of which containers’ contribution is 38.393 million tonnes.

We emphasise this in order to stress the importance of solutions to the congestion challenges. These go on for year after year despite the opinions of the experts, and still no answer as to how to overcome them. Still the lorries queue outside, not only container traffic but bulk vehicles that have travelled half the length of Africa to arrive at certainly Africa’s most important port, only to find themselves in a slow or unmoving traffic jam along the final stretch of roads leading to the port terminals.

The current response by Transnet and others is to hold a series of virtual meetings made up of members of the Port of Durban Decongestion Task Team, seeking answers to what could not be answered before, of how to ‘mitigate congestion’.

The virtual task team acknowledges the challenges, which it says is located in three major focus areas. The first, it says, “is around understanding stakeholders outside of Transnet and devising interventions that they can also embrace, that will help them to better synchronise their port activities with other role players.

“The second is around improving Transnet efficiencies across all the operating divisions related to the port, while the third is around mega projects that will need to be undertaken to further minimise port and road congestion.”

Saying the no-one individually has the wisdom of dealing with this problem, the answer has been to establish a multi-party platform “through which we are harnessing the expertise and involvement of Transnet in collaboration with key role players.”

Who are these participants? According to Transnet they include the “National Ports Authority, Port Terminals and Freight Rail, eThekwini Municipality, the national Departments of Public Enterprises and Transport, KwaZulu-Natal provincial government including the provincial Departments of Transport and Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs, Durban Metro Police, SAPS, organised business through the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Moses Kotane Institute, the South African Association of Ship Operators and Agents (SAASOA), South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAF), representatives of the shipping lines, trucking fraternity, depot operators and other industry associations and bodies.”

Unfortunately that appears like a committee, and regrettably most of us are aware of what happens when a committee is put in charge.


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Port of Cape Town, reported to be catching upwith the backlogs, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Cape Town, reported to be catching upwith the backlogs

According to the Port of Cape Town it is ramping up operations and reducing shipping backlogs caused as a result of COVID-19 on the port’s human resources.

This had seen a significant number of…


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Port of Mossel Bay, best known as a fishing port but now assuming other roles, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Port of Mossel Bay, best known as a fishing port but now assuming other roles

The Port of Mossel Bay is reporting a steady flow of work at the port’s ship repair facility which is helping to create much-needed jobs in the region as the country battles widening job losses due to Covid-19 and the national lockdown.

In May Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA)…


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Semi submersible Drilling Rig Deepsea Stavanger, currently mobilising for South Africa, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Semi submersible Drilling Rig Deepsea Stavanger, currently mobilising for South Africa

The large semi-submersible oil drilling rig DEEPSEA STAVANGER has commenced its mobilisation for South Africa, reports Odfjell Drilling.

The rig, which drilled successfully on the Outeniqua Banks earlier in 2019 and struck a…


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BEST terminal at the Port of Barcelona. Illustrations reproduced by kind courtesy of BEST ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
BEST terminal at the Port of Barcelona. Illustrations reproduced by kind courtesy of BEST ©

Port of Barcelona

In the current context, marked by the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic, terminals are showing a considerable drop in overall port volumes. This is associated with a decline in economic activity, and with a large number of blank sailings due to shipping lines’ attempts to align capacity with existing demand.

However, the paradox is that despite the fact that calls and volume arriving at the Port of Barcelona’s BEST terminal have decreased, moves per call have significantly increased. This was reported from the port on 29 June.

During week 23 (1-7 June), BEST terminal welcomed the largest vessel to call at the Port of Barcelona, MSC SIXIN, with a capacity of almost 24,000 TEU.

Subsequently, similar ships from the 2M alliance (Maersk + MSC) have been arriving on a recurring basis on passage between the Far East and Europe, grouping together all the moves that a few weeks ago were made between different services of the same alliance and which were cancelled due to the exceptional situation currently experienced.

During May and June, BEST terminal saw how the number of moves per call had broken all existing records in the Port of Barcelona – starting with almost 8,000 moves in week 22, all move records broken to reach almost 8,500 moves in week 24.

This change in demand, with large cargo concentration peaks on large deep sea vessels and a smaller number of calls, directly impacts on the way terminals must approach the services they offer.

Marketing attraction

It was found that the way to put forward a valuable proposal to shipping lines with these types of calls, is to offer productivity per call that exceeds by far the average efficiency in container terminals. With this in mind, it is important to highlight the relevance of the important investments made by BEST, both in the number of cranes capable of operating these types of ship, and in the terminal operating system (TOS) at all levels.

This has made it possible to maintain, on a constant basis, productivity per crane between 35 and 45 moves per hour with a large number of equipment working simultaneously on the ships.

In these specific instances BEST has worked with up to seven cranes and on average more than five cranes operating constantly during each call, and with productivity levels above 35 moves per hour per crane (sometimes exceeding 42 moves per hour), far above the average for European terminals it is stated.

Productivity, frequently exceeding 200 moves per hour onboard the ship reduces call time at the port by several days, thus lowering the shipping lines’ port and operational costs.

Furthermore, time gained at BEST, enables shipping lines to cut steaming time to reach their next port of call, thus leading to significant fuel savings.

Finally, the terminal operates with equipment that, for the most part, does not use fossil fuels and applies energy regeneration technology, allowing BEST to reduce the environmental impact of traffic on its estate.

In short, BEST’s operational efficiency complements the Port of Barcelona’s strategic position, generating a competitive difference based on three fundamental pillars: Closer, Faster & Greener.

BEST terminal at the Port of Barcelona. Illustrations reproduced by kind courtesy of BEST ©, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news

Hutchison Ports BEST

This the first semi-automated terminal in the Hutchison Ports Group and the most technologically advanced port development project in Spain.

It is capable of serving many huge vessels simultaneously and has an eight-track rail facility, the biggest ondock railway terminal of any port in the Mediterranean, connecting it to traffic coming from and destined for Southern Europe.

Hutchison Ports BEST is a member of Hutchison Ports, the port and related services division of CK Hutchison Holdings Limited (CK Hutchison). Hutchison Ports is a world leading port investor, developer and operator with a network of port operations in 52 ports spanning 27 countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australasia.

Over the years, Hutchison Ports has expanded into other logistics and transport-related businesses, including cruise ship terminals, airport operations, distribution centres, rail services and ship repair facilities.

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

Edited by Paul Ridgway


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Kota Budi entering Durban harbour in 2014. Picture by Dave Leonard / courtesy Shipspotting, featured in Africa PORTS & SHIPS maritime news
Kota Budi entering Durban harbour in 2014. Picture by Dave Leonard / courtesy Shipspotting

Pirates have attacked and boarded a ship 153 nautical miles South-West of the port of Cotonou, kidnapping some of the crew in the process.

The report from Dryad Global indicates the attack took place on…


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Port Louis – Indian Ocean gateway port

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

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

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

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QM2 in Cape Town. Picture by Ian Shiffman

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

Naval News

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






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