Trade Ocean Director Flies High

Trade Ocean is very proud of our Marketing Director, Michelle Kirov, who’s been elected as chairperson of the WBPUA (Walvis Bay Port Users Association).

The WBPUA represents the users of the port of Walvis Bay, and strives to achieve competitiveness in relation to other neighbouring ports. “The association’s members negotiate with the port, government and private sector to ensure that the rights of members are maintained and enhanced at all times,” says Michelle, who’s also been a member of the board before her election. “They further provide and arrange opportunities for members to meet from time to time to consider matters of interest.”

As chairperson Michelle will have the privilege to become a member of the Board of Directors for the Walvis Bay Corridor Group. “I will need to coordinate and guide the committee and members of the association in achieving its aims and objectives, as well as facilitate proper communication between the port authorities and other relevant government institutions,” she says.

For Trade Ocean, Michelle’s new position demonstrates that our management operate amongst the leaders in our industry. And it certainly gives our company valuable exposure, putting us on the map!

A ‘Nutty’ African Safari…

Trade Ocean’s Johann Swiegelaar and Sherika Perumal recently travelled to Zimbabwe to meet with all the role players connected with the export of Macadamia nuts. This followed Trade Ocean closing the deal on the project in November last year.

True to our African continent, it has been clear from the start that this job will be challenging and interesting.

After a successful meeting with our client and the cartage operators, a service level agreement was closed and the first load of 34 tons of nuts has already crossed Beit Bridge border post en route to Durban.

The challenges are not so much the availability of equipment or customs procedures, but rather that infrastructure is not desirable with roads being in poor disrepair and mobile reception weak at best. The farm that we’re dealing with still works with an open telephone exchange system and a live operator!

Harare is a typical third world capital – the roads are shocking and even the hotels, as good as they may be advertised, are truly shabby. The people however, are hospitable and generous, laugh a lot and poke fun at their own expense…

The nut exports project is now ongoing and it will take a lot of patience and time to ensure that our client in Australia enjoys the levels of service that Trade Ocean is known for.

Tracking Progress

The transport industry is closely monitoring the progress of the proposed high-speed railway project between Johannesburg and Durban. Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has confirmed that the much awaited project is ready to be presented for Cabinet approval. Once given the green light, a feasibility study on the viability of the rail link will follow.

The first proposal for high-speed rails in South Africa was conceptualised in 2005, with the Department of Transport throwing their weight behind the revitalisation of the country’s rail industry to unlock economic development and job creation. The department also sees rail as a key to their plans of moving South Africa’s current emphasis on road transport to rail. In September last year, his plan was again included in the National Transport Master Plan (Natmap) 2010 – 2050.

There have been concerns about the cost and engineering difficulties of the project, with costs expected to exceed R750 billion, but government has indicated they will be looking into possible alternative funding sources.

After announcing the project’s government presentation, Minister Ndebele added that the Department of Transport will probably call for expressions of interest on the Durban-Johannesburg high-speed rail route in July 2011. The minister stressed the fact that all construction tenders procedures for this project will follow a strict, inclusive and transparent evaluation process.

Caught Out

Trade Ocean Ships’ Agent Regan Fredericks was “caught out” living the company’s brand values and was crowned Brand Master for February.

Regan has really proved himself, particularly in the absence of director Gunnar Engbers who was travelling in the East on business. In spite of a heavy operational workload, Regan never hesitated to jump in and assist, whether on operational or administrative issues. In so doing, he lived our brand values by involving himself and having the confidence to take ownership of aspects beyond his job description, delivering a quality and accurate performance.

Our congratulations and appreciation to Regan for flying the Trade Ocean flag with such disctinction!!

Towing The Distance

Trade Ocean does not shy away from a challenge. That is why we were not at all fazed when the opportunity presented itself to handle the recent tug and tow of the Salvage Champion and Discovery II.

The project entailed eight river barges and two deck houses (total barge length 122 meters and GRT 9119) that were loaded in Shanghai. The trip from China to Cape Town took 50 days, streaming at about 7 knots.

Its final destination is Rotterdam in the Netherlands with the estimated time of arrival 4 March.

According to the Master, the crew was extremely relieved that they did not experience any heavy seas around the Cape of Good Hope – just a week earlier the weather had been very bad with strong winds.

“The towing route displays how long and extensive this journey has been and there is still a long way to go. We are really proud to be part of this successful project,” says Regan Fredericks who represented Trade Ocean on this challenging and interesting job.

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