By Hilary Mare
IN line with Namibia’s transport and logistics sector expansion, Government intends to offer the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) a dry port soon.
Earlier this year Namibia had agreed to look into the request by DRC for a dry port facility at Walvis Bay.
“Currently Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia have dry ports that are operational and DRC will be offered a dry port soon,” Alpheus !Naruseb, Minister of Works and Transport however revealed last week.
More and more landlocked countries within southern Africa are looking towards Walvis Bay as an ideal harbour for their import and export needs.
The main network of corridors (the west-east Trans-Kalahari and south-north Trans-Caprivi) have been a major contribution to Walvis Bay being promoted as ideally situated for – especially landlocked countries in southern Africa – import and export needs.
As Namibia has a small market and industrial base, NamPort is making efforts to attract business from neighbouring landlocked countries to export and import through Walvis Bay in order to put the facility to maximum use.
The CEO of Namibia Ports Authority Bisey Uirab earlier this year expressed his satisfaction about progress made by Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe to develop their dry port facilities at Walvis Bay.
The Government in 2009 donated land to its landlocked neighbours to construct dry ports, but the land has been lying idle for many years.
But after a long delay, Uirab said there have been some activities on the construction sites with some facilities being already completed.
Zambia’s port has been completed and it’s up and running already while Botswana is also on the verge of completing theirs. Zimbabwe meanwhile has also done a bit and has laid some ground work too.
Zambia has completed developing its port measuring 27 430 square metres at the cost of US$3 million, while Botswana used US$4 million to develop its 36 200 square metres facility.
Zimbabwe has put aside US$1.5 million to develop the 19 000 square metres of land.
“The delay has affected NamPort in many ways that we want all the terminals at the port to be full. Once all the dry port facilities are completed, they will give us enough capacity to handle large volumes of cargo which will further enhance the dream of being a logistics hub a reality,” he said.
The Namibian Ports Authority is at the same time working on expanding the Walvis Bay port. The authority will look to commission a new container terminal in 2018.
The port has seen tremendous growth over the years. In 1994 it was mainly a fishing port handling about 20 000 containers per annum. This figure has grown to about 350 000 containers per annum and is expected to reach one million containers per annum with the expansion project underway.
“Namibia offers a lot of benefits. This is because of its strategic location (gateway to SADC), reliability of Walvis Bay corridor, high safety and security, competitive turnaround times, enhanced economies of scale, investor friendly environment (incentives), flexibility to deliver investor needs and access to 300 million consumers,” the minister added.
The goods traded within the SADC region using the NamPort facilities is building materials, electrical equipment, frozen fish, machinery, petroleum products, plastic, ship spares, spare parts, copper, zinc, wooden products, vehicles, and chemicals.
Suffice to say, the cargo handled during the 2015/16 financial year at the ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz amounted to 6,1 million tonnes which is an increase of three percent from cargo volumes handled in the prior financial year.
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