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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

SeaIntel Produces Port Overview Africa Second Half Report – 2015

Highlights:

  • Congestion and berthing delays down compared to first half of 2015
  • Consistent overall improvements in average reliability on both Europe and
    Asian trades into African ports between July and December in SeaIntel’s
    Global Liner Performance Report, compared with the first six months of 2015.
  • Significant escalation by carriers in cascading larger tonnage into Africa trades
  • Lines commence sailing around Africa on some East-West trades trading off
    lower bunker prices versus Panama and Suez passage fees
  • Port expansions planned for Lagos, Durban, Lamu and Bagamoyo delayed or
    on hold
  • Senior Management of Port Authorities of Kenya and Tanzania replaced;
    tender for second container terminal in Mombasa suspended

Antwerp & Copenhagen, 22nd February 2016

The owners of the portal www.portoverview.com* have produced their second analytical report that measures African port incidents and analyses trends, new developments and carrier shipping performance statistics on the main African trades with Asia and Europe. The main incidents have been analysed for the second half of 2015 together with an overview of developments over the last eight months.

The report has analysed incidents during the period and concluded that the global economic slowdown has negatively impacted carriers in terms of lower vessel utilization, but has benefited shippers, forwarders and traders still carrying cargo to and from Africa in terms of much lower rates and less delays due to berthing congestion. The absorption of the Delmas brand into CMA-CGM as of March 1st, the disappearance of a number of Asian carriers from key Africa trades and the consolidation of Safmarine representation in a number of countries outside Africa and India will mean less brand choice for cargo owners, importers and forwarders. However, cascading of ever-larger vessels into Africa trades will continue to offer shippers additional space on board vessels as the major carriers and alliances are forced to absorb the latest newbuild ultra large container ships.

SeaIntel reports consistent overall improvements in average schedule reliability on both Europe and Asian trades into African ports between July and December in their Global Liner Performance Report, compared with the first six months of 2015. Average on-time arrival within +/- 1 day of schedule is significantly up in both directions, with some Africa – Europe services experiencing anything up to a 22% jump in reliability.

A recent analysis from SeaIntel shows that since the end of October 2015, 115 vessels deployed on the Asia-USEC trade and Asia-North Europe services have made the back-haul trip back to Asia by sailing South of Africa rather than through the Suez and Panama canals, which had been their routing on the head haul. Three of these vessels were deployed on Asia-North Europe services, while the remaining 112 were deployed on Asia-USEC.

The eventual possibility of these vessels making calls in deep water ports such asDurban, Coega or even the new transhipment hub in Lomé cannot be discarded,should the current economic situation persist.

Some African ports have already seen significantly larger vessels than “usual” berth alongside. In addition to the post-panamax tonnage from MSC which now regularly calls at the Lomé terminal in Togo, Mombasa and Dar Es Salaam to the East have already started handling 6,000 TEU capacity vessels, with Walvis Bay and Pointe Noire as well as Lome receiving 9-10,000 TEU vessels from CMA-CGM.

In the second half of 2015, PortOverview.com has had the fewest reports of major incidents in West African ports since it began monitoring in October 2013. Congestion has remained an issue on the landside in terms of customs clearance, evacuation from and entry into the terminals by road and rail at virtually every port. However plateauing or lower volumes have meant vessel congestion is down overall.

A new multi-purpose facility in Matadi from a consortium which includes the terminal operator ICTSI is under construction and will be receiving its first vessel in June.

In Southern Africa, the dig-out port project planned for Durban has now been put on permanent hold with TNPA chief executive Richard Vallihu stating last December that main investments would be directed at deepening the existing berths at Durban and extending facilities there and at Richards Bay. South African ports will face the possibilities of congestion following the disastrous drought which will mean that the country will need to import over 10 million tonnes of assorted grains over the next 18 months.

Following elections in Tanzania in October, the entire management board of the Tanzania Ports Authority were ousted by the new government in December. This followed an impromptu visit by officials to the port of Dar Es Salaam in November that led to eventual discovery of tax evasion on a significant number of containers which were cleared without customs duties. In Kenya, the tender process to operate the second terminal currently under construction in Mombasa took several twists and turns, culminating in the recent sacking of the main management board of the K enya Ports Authority and the suspension of the tendering process. Start-ups for both mega-port developments in Lamu in Kenya as well as Bagamoyo in Tanzania have been delayed.

Further North, Djibouti to the East and Tanger-Med to the West have continued to consolidate their leading positions in their respective regions with new services and carriers calling at their terminals, whilst in Egypt a five-mile canal extension will be built this year to improve connectivity with the Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT) in Port Said. To further improve road access to trucks serving Port Said, the trial reopening of Al Salam bridge in one direction (from Sinai) connecting the northern Sinai Peninsula with the rest of the country under military supervision was announced in mid-January this year by the authorities. Major investments are set to take place in Algeria and Tunisia to develop mega-ports to rival their Mediterranean neighbours.

The one-off opportunity to evaluate this bi-annual report is available from Appropriate Communications and SeaIntel Maritime Analysis upon request. PortOverview.com is a free-to-subscribe portal monitoring the status of African container ports, road and rail connectivity and liner services to and from Africa.

Press release dated February 22 2016

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