Archives For October 2014

[Picture: Alastair Wiper / Wired]

[Picture: Alastair Wiper / Wired]

Shipping lines such as Maersk may no longer be operating the world’s largest vessels, as new 24,000 TEU ships are said to traverse the waters soon.

David Tozer, container segment manager at Lloyd’s Register, said: “12 years ago researchers were looking at Malaccamaxes, 18,000 TEU vessels named after the Malacca Strait. People thought that this was absolutely crazy. But since then things have developed to the extent that we’ll soon see ships of 24,000 TEU. The volumes are there, so it’s going to happen.”

China Shipping Container Lines are said to be looking into 24,000 TEU vessels in order to bolster its fleet, according to Shipping Watch.

To read Port Technology’s piece on mega-ships not being the only solution, click here

David Tozer said: “We’re experiencing among our customers that the biggest carriers in front are working seriously with the giant ships and are looking into the future. They need to understand what the future is going to look like, and they need to take control and become part of it.”

Tozer went on to discuss the challenges of these larger vessels, stating: “Our job is to help people. We’ve studied the structural topics and we’ve looked into which problems these giant ships bring. First of all, there’s an insurance and safety issue where the two things are tied together.”

To take a tour of Maersk’s biggest vessel, click here

In addition to safety issues, larger vessels will carry global challenges, especially for the draft of the Suez Canal.

A process is currently underway in Germany to dredge the Elbe to make room for the new ultra-large vessels that are already sailing the world’s seas. Source: Port Technology

Advertisements

manufacturing-gear-wheelsThe roll-out of special economic zones is under way, with the first two in KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State to be proclaimed shortly, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Wednesday.

The Dube trade port and the Tshiame industrial development zone in Harrismith would both be transformed into special economic zones as soon as the regulatory framework had been established, which the minister said would take place within the next 100 days.

The regulations and guidelines would be finalised. The special economics zones board would be established, as would a one-stop-shop for fast-tracked support to investors.

The Dube trade port industrial development zone will specialise in high-value, niche agricultural and horticultural products, as well as manufacturing and value-addition for the automotive, electronics and clothing industries.

The Tshiame industrial development zone at Maluti-a-Phofung near Harrismith in the Free State will focus on automotive, clothing and agro-processing activities.

The Department of Trade and Industry is evaluating the feasibility of special economic zones focusing on the beneficiation and value-addition of platinum in Limpopo and North West. These zones would be used to encourage investors in beneficiation to locate their plants close to the mineral deposits.

Opportunities to partner with international producers of fuel cells are available, and have the potential for South Africa to become an established hub for the production of fuel-cell components. The Dti opines that this would be a very significant development because fuel cells are new technology used for back-up power generation in telecommunication masts, base-load power generation in rural areas, and fuel-cell passenger vehicles. The technology is fast becoming the subject of intense international competition for investment and is also a technology well suited to South Africa’s comparative advantage in platinum mineral resources.

The department is also assessing the feasibility of a solar industrial development zone in Upington in the Northern Cape.

The Saldanha Bay industrial development zone was well positioned to become a hub for oil, gas and marine repair, engineering and logistics. An application to operate as a Customs Control Area to service the West and East African offshore oil and gas industry is being finalised. To date 18 companies, nine local and nine foreign, have signed nonbinding expressions of interest.

The Coega, Richards Bay and East London industrial development zones had together generated R3.4bn in investments and created more than 67,000 direct and indirect jobs. A number of new investments worth several billion rand were also under negotiation. Source: BDlive.co.za

The Herald - Surge in new car imports between ZIM-RSAThere is a drastic increase in motor vehicle imports through Beitbridge border post as dealers are rushing to buy cars before the proposed 20 percent customs duty increase on imported motor vehicles comes into effect on November 1.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced recently the Government intendeds to increase duty of motor vehicles which he said contributed 10 percent of the import bill in the first half of this year.

He proposed an increase in customs duty on single cab of a payload more than 800kgs from 20% to 40%, buses of carrying capacity of 26 passengers and above from 0% to 40%, double cab trucks from 40% to 60%, and passenger motor vehicles of engine capacity below 1500cc from 25% to 40%.

Customs duty for vehicles with engines above 1500cc has not been changed from 86 percent inclusive of VAT and Surtax. The development has raised anxiety among most Zimbabweans who are now rushing to buy second hand cars from Japan some of which come through South Africa.

Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) is processing an average of 170 car imports at the border post per day since the beginning of October. Prior to the announcement Zimra used to process between 60 and 70 car imports per day. ZIMRA officers at the border said in separate interview yesterday that they were battling to clear the vehicles at Manica Transit Shed where 300 new cars arrive per day.

“We used to get 100 to 150 cars per day , but now the number has doubled and is ever increasing,” said one of the officers.

A sales manager at Wright Cars on the South African border, Mr Clemence Mabidi said the demand of cars with small engines such as Nissan March, Honda Fit, Toyota Vitz, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Raum and Fun Cargo had increased.

“We used to sell around 20 cars per day but now the number has increased to 40 and we have a backlog in deliveries to Zimbabwe.

“We are now hiring other car carriers to take the vehicles across the border,” he said.

Mr Mabidi said even the small car dealers who used to sell between 5 and 10 cars per day were now selling up to 20 vehicles. Some dealers have also reduced prices while others are increasing the prices because of the demand. A modest vehicle costs between $2500 and $3000 at these dealerships. Source: The Herald

WindwardShipping activity across the world’s oceans is the lifeblood of the global economy, transporting billions of tons of goods annually and facilitating global commodity flows of oil, coal, grains and metals. Vessel activity is also of critical importance to Intelligence and Security agencies worldwide, as criminal and terrorist activity has become increasingly global and borderless.

And yet, the oceans remain one of the last ‘wild west’ frontiers, with limited visibility on what ships are actually doing once they leave port. AIS data, the most widely used data on ship activity worldwide, underlies decisions from Finance to Intelligence, but the data is unreliable and increasingly manipulated by the very ships it seeks to track.

And this trend is growing, fast, with little-understood and far-reaching implications worldwide.

AIS data, used routinely by decision makers across industries, is widely perceived as a reliable source of information on ship activity worldwide. Massive financial investments and critical operational decisions are based on this data.

New research from Windward reveals that AIS data has critical vulnerabilities when used to track ships, an ‘off label’ use of the system. The data is increasingly manipulated by ships that seek to conceal their identity, location or destination for economic gain or to sail under the security radar.

Manipulation practices are varied, according to Windward’s research, and range from Identity Fraud, to Obscuring Destinations, ‘Going Dark,’ Manipulating GPS, and ‘Spoofing’ AIS. Ships that manipulate AIS undermine not only their own data, but the entire maritime global picture — once some of the data is corrupt, all data is suspect.

If this kind of manipulation is occurring on ships, consider the impact of ‘cargoes/substances’ on board ‘ghost ships’. You can find the Windward Research paper “Analysis of the Magnitude and Implications of Growing Data Manipulation at Sea” as well as a poignant infographic on their website, by clicking the hyperlinks. Source: Windward.eu

Related article

Ms Nompumelelo Mboweni works as an Airfreight Import Controller at Bidvest Panalpina Logistics in Johannesburg [TT Club]

Ms Nompumelelo Mboweni works as an Airfreight Import Controller at Bidvest Panalpina Logistics in Johannesburg [TT Club]

The 2014 Young International Freight Forwarder of the Year (YIFFY) Award has been presented to South African forwarder Fortunate Nompumelelo Mboweni at the FIATA Annual Congress in Istanbul.

Each year at the FIATA Annual Congress the achievements of young freight forwarders from around the world are celebrated via an awards programme. TT Club is proud to have sponsored this award, now in its sixteenth year, since its foundation. The process of awarding the honour of Young Freight Forwarder of the Year (YIFFY) began earlier this year when entrants from all over the world submitted papers about a wide variety of transport and logistics projects.

These ranged from the transportation of tunnel drilling equipment to Bolivia to the delivery of a catamaran in Indonesia and from a project moving radioactive isotopes from South Africa to Namibia to the expedited deployment of a Disaster Assistance Response Team in the Philippines.

From this bewildering, yet highly professional array, the YIFFY Steering Committee selected a shortlist of four regional finalists. These four young professionals were then invited to attend the 2014 FIATA World Congress this week in Istanbul, Turkey to make a presentation on their dissertation topic.

The four regional finalists who proudly represented the future of the international freight forwarding industry in Istanbul were –

Africa/Middle East: Miss Fortunate Nompumelelo Mboweni, South Africa
Americas: Mr Douglas Whitlock, Canada
Asia-Pacific: Mr Saiful Ridhwan Bin Zulkifli, Singapore
Europe: Mr Christian Hensen, Germany

Following a comprehensive judging process, Ms Fortunate Nompumelelo Mboweni from South Africa was announced as the 2014 Young Freight Forwarder of the Year at the FIATA Congress’ opening ceremony on 13 October. Ms Nompumelelo Mboweni works as an Airfreight Import Controller at Bidvest Panalpina Logistics in Johannesburg. Andrew Kemp, TT Club’s Regional Director for Europe congratulated her and presented the award.

“I have been honoured as TT Club’s representative to be part of the selection process, and I personally was engrossed by the finalists’ presentations, which showed a considerable depth of understanding of their individual projects. I have to say all four finalists performed with flying colours at the recent final presentations; it was certainly a difficult decision to pick an overall winner. However, Fortunate prevailed and deservedly takes this year’s award,” said Kemp.

The award is presented in recognition of forwarding excellence and was established by FIATA with the support of TT Club to encourage the development of quality training in the industry and to reward young talent with additional valuable training opportunities. The TT Club has been a sponsor of the award since its inception and remains firmly committed to the importance of individual training and development within the global freight forwarding community. Source: TT Club

-Dinesh Sharma, senior research manager at Drewry Maritime Advisors, says that global container throughput would rise between 5% and 5.5% a year up to the end of the decade. Speaking at a Ports & Terminals seminar in London, he cited ports in Africa and northern China as registering the strongest growth.

In his outlook, Sharma projected a 2020 global throughput volume of at least 1 billion TEU, up from 623 million TEU in 2013, with Asia accounting for 65% (650 million TEU) and transhipment traffic 32% (320 million TEU) of the total. This, he explained would compare with shares of 56% and 22.5% (140 million TEU), respectively, in 2013.

Within Asia, Sharma argued that China would become increasingly significant over the next seven years, citing that the country’s share of global container-handling activity would rise from 30% in 2013 to 40% in 2014. In 2000, China’s ports processed just 16% of a world total of 235 million TEU, a figure that reveals the spectacular growth that has occurred in the Asian country since it joined the World Trade Organisation in November 2001.
In a further assessment of the future, Sharma said the percentage of empty boxes handled would not change and would remain at about the 20% (200 million TEU) level in 2020.
Other interesting facts presented by the analyst showed that 22,000 TEU-sized ships would be in operation in 2020, the world population of super post panamax cranes would number over 2,000 units, compared with 1,160 units in service in 2013, and that the leading four global terminal operating companies would control an estimated 41% of all containers handled. Source: World Cargo News

China-Overseas-FDIFollowing the financial crisis that hit Asia in the late 1990s, the Chinese government introduced its ‘Going Out’ or ‘Going Global’ strategy. The country had been open to inward FDI for a number of years at this stage, and the time had come to promote Chinese companies globally.

While Africa considers itself as a significant destination for China FDI, the numbers indicate that Chinese projects and investment is significantly smaller than it’s investments in other parts of the western world. To see exactly where the money is going, visit this link – Where is China Investing?

The government aimed to increase investment, promote its Chinese brand of companies and improve the country’s free market. The policy became one of the government’s ‘four modernisations’ and encompassed a range of schemes to assist outward FDI, such as using currency reserves to support foreign investment, offering tax rebates to investors and encouraging Chinese embassies globally to offer more and better financial assistance.

The result has been a boom in Chinese outward FDI. Between January 2009 and December 2013, greenfield investment monitor fDi Markets recorded a total of $161.03bn in Chinese outward FDI, creating almost 300,000 jobs across the world. During this period, in terms of investment projects, China was the ninth largest source country for FDI, peaking in 2011 with 429 projects. In terms of both capital expenditure and job creation, China was ranked seventh globally. Source: FDI Magazine

e-invoicingUS Bank, part of the fifth-largest commercial bank in the United States, is launching a payment solution in Europe aimed at the freight industry that it said will allow shippers to hold on to cash longer while accelerating payments to carriers.

The bank’s subsidiary, Elavon Freight Payment, claimed it was the first solution of its kind for the freight industry in Europe. In addition to allowing shippers to hold onto their money longer while accelerating payment to their carriers, it claimed the solution “offers carriers a cost-effective alternative to factoring and other financing options commonly used in Europe today”.

It said the new trade finance capability joined a suite of recent enhancements to Elavon Freight Payment that reflect Europe’s diverse business, legal and regulatory environments. “The offering provides an automated solution for some of Europe’s most labour-intensive freight-payment processing needs, including VAT support and consolidated invoice processing”, the company said. Customers can choose German, French, or English-language platforms.

“As a financial institution, Elavon Freight Payment is uniquely positioned to offer this efficient method of improving cash flow for both shippers and carriers,” said Rick Erickson, global director of Freight Payment Solutions for US Bank. “We’re excited to expand our industry-leading capabilities to a wider range of customers.”

A division of US Bank’s Corporate Payments business, Elavon Freight Payment claims to give users greater visibility into their global transport spend “and more complete, timely data with which to make business decisions”. In addition to improving processing efficiencies for European shipping operations, it said the expanded system reduces costs by automating manual processing and optimizing cash flow. Source: Lloydsloadinglist.com

Also view the following article – US bank launches e-invoice base freight payment trade finance service (www.eeiplatform.com)

Aussie Customs & Border Charges ReviewThere are only three weeks left to put in a submission to a government review which puts customs and border charges – worth $3 billion to border agencies – under the microscope.

The Joint Review of Border Fees, Charges and Taxes will look at ways to streamline and improve existing borders fees, charges and taxes. This includes visa application charges, passenger movement charges (the old departure tax) and Department of Agriculture fees levied on imports, such as container chargers and import declaration charges.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says it costs $6 billion each year to administer Australia’s borders.

“We must ensure that border fees and charges do not provide a disincentive to trade and travel that adds value to our economy,” he said.

Cost recovery, both now and in the future, is also an important focus of the review, as is charting the outcome of recent changes to visa application charges.

The review is being led by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and will be conducted jointly with the Department of Agriculture.

Some other fees and charges are outside the scope of the review: the Goods and Services Tax (GST), export fees, Customs Duty (including refunds, Tariff Concessions, Drawbacks) and fees and charges recovered by the Department of Agriculture such as inspections, treatments and export certification.

The Department of Agriculture is currently completing its own review into cost recovery. The inquiry was announced by Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison in September and the closing date for submissions is October 31.

An industry consultation paper , available on Australian Customs website tells you more about the review. Recommendations to the government should be finalised by April 2015. Source: GovernmentNews.co.au

Kasumbalesa1Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) border post with Zambia, one of Africa’s busiest land frontiers, went high-tech, with a web-based customs system that was meant to improve efficiency and eradicate corruption. It’s not quite working to plan. As officials struggle to get to grips with the new system and DRC’s decrepit phone network groans under the weight of data, the Kasumbalesa border post 300 km (200 miles) north of Lusaka has almost ground to a halt, according to drivers and freight operators. The result is a tailback of trucks stretching at least 20 km into Zambia and a spike in prices in Lubumbashi, impoverished DRC’s second city, which has lost its one proper road link to the outside. The bottleneck is bad even by African standards but it throws into stark relief the problems governments face as they try to remove the numerous bureaucratic and physical barriers to intra-regional trade across the poorest continent.

The Kasumbalesa blockage is being felt 100 km away in Lubumbashi, a bustling mining city of several million who rely on the 450 trucks a day that normally pass through the border laden with everything from biscuits to cement to paraffin. Shop owners are stockpiling and prices of staples such as casava powder – known locally as fufu – have gone up 50 percent in three weeks. “This has already had a big effect. It is causing lots of problems for the population,” Lubumbashi resident Charles Pitchou said.

Kasumbalesa – at the heart of the relatively prosperous and developed Copperbelt – was meant to be an example of how to do it properly, a frontier handed over to a private firm to make customs run like clockwork.

In one of the first public-private partnerships on African borders, an Israeli-run firm called Baran Trade and Investments won a 20-year concession in 2009 to build a “one-stop” customs post and operate it for 20 years. (Makes one wonder why the countries have a Customs authority in the first place?) With $5 million of Baran’s own money and a $20 million loan from the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the Zambia Border Crossing Company (ZBCC), as the subsidiary was known, had a streamlined Kasumbalesa up and running in 2011. Local media reports suggested much-reduced crossing times. However, Lusaka canceled ZBCC’s contract in late 2011 when President Rupiah Banda lost an election and his successor, Michael Sata, ordered investigations into a slew of state deals struck by his predecessor. TheBaran deal never went out to public tender and the fees charged to trucks – $19 per axle – were too high. It also said giving control of the border to an outside concessionaire was a threat to national security and that the reduction in waiting times was not as dramatic as the firm said. Baran’s chief executive, contacted via ZBCC’s website, did not respond to requests for comment.

With Baran gone, the state-run border posts muddled through until September, when DRC upgraded its systems from ‘Sydonia++’, a set-up widely used in the 1990s, to a web-based successor called ‘Sydonia World’, freight operators and regional trade experts said. Although UNCTAD was pushing use of ‘Sydonia World’ as far back as 2002, the data burden was too much for DRC’s computer networks, which crashed.

“The system is very good but if you don’t have a decent Internet connection, it doesn’t work,” said Mike Fitzmaurice, a South African logistics consultant and editor of online trade journal Freight Into Africa. National government spokesman Lambert Mende said a vice finance minister had been despatched from Kinshasa, 1,500 km away, to resolve the problem.

Zambia too is pulling out the stops to get the border moving again in a region important to its economy. “We need to have a normal flow of goods and services because this affects the entire region,” deputy trade minister Miles Sampa told Reuters. One stop-gap solution has been to scan documents in low-resolution black-and-white, rather than full color, to ease the data burden. But even if the two sides iron out the immediate snafu, the fiasco has provided another example of the dream of a seamless, integrated African border crossing falling short of reality.

Zimbabwe and Zambia upgraded their Chirundu border to a one-stop frontier in 2009 but crossing times have only dropped from 38 hours before to 35 now, according to Fitzmaurice, who compiles weekly records on delays. By contrast, customs clearance within the 114-year-old Southern African Customs Union (SACU) – South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland – can be as little as 30 minutes. “Once you go north of SACU, into Zimbabwe, Zambia, wherever, there’s no such thing as a ‘good’ border post,” Fitzmaurice said. “The concept behind all these systems is good but the implementation just falls down every time.” Source: Lusaka Voice