By Coastal Reporter
WITH its Strategic Plan outlining the focus areas of infrastructural development of Namibian roads, the Roads Authority announced the commencement and continuation of several road maintenance and upgrading projects earlier this year, which will play a major role in the linking of trade routes.
Amongst these, is the progression of the coastal road upgrades. The first phase has commenced, which includes the tarring and upgrading into a double-lane highway of the C28, which becomes Main Road 44, also known as the ‘Dune Road’ between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.
The second phase, which will include the upgrading of the B2 road (known as the Coastal Road) between the two towns, will also become a double carriageway. The total distance of both phases is about 100 kilometres. The Dune Road will mainly cater for heavy transport leading from the port of Walvis Bay.
Work has already commenced on the 403-kilometre Henties Bay, Uis, Khorixas and Kamanjab connection, an upgrade to tar standard. Phase one of this project should be completed by 2018. The upgrade of the two plus one lane between Karibib and Swakopmund is currently in the design stage.
Furthermore, these developments and maintenance strategies remain necessary, as current and future requirements and anticipated growth of freights are determined. Cargo volumes are expected to increase once the Port of Walvis Bay expansion project is completed in 2018 and both road and rail infrastructure should be ready to handle such freight. The results of these project initiatives will be the seamless delivery of integrated freight solutions, holding long-term and positive effects to the consumers and economies at large.
As comparisons are drawn between the road infrastructure of Namibia and the rest of Africa, the country’s advancements geared towards becoming Africa’s logistics hub seem more accurate. The realisation to avail modern and well-developed road infrastructure has been instrumental for driving the economic growth of our country and as such, the integration of transportation modes such the ports, roads and railway lines continue to promote developmental initiatives through freight movements.
Ensuring the country’s road infrastructure remains on par with the rest of the world, a high premium on the country’s transport and logistics pillars.
Additionally, in a continuous bid to better cater for current needs and to create more trade possibilities, Namport has several infrastructure development projects underway. With 40 HA of new land and an added 600m of quay length, the New Container Terminal is expected to accommodate 750 000 TEU capacity per annum upon completion.
As the existing Container Terminal will become multi-purpose terminal with deep water berths, the New Terminal will include a Cruise Terminal and house Namport’s first ship-to-shore (STS) cranes expected to further improve ship turnaround time. The project, which commenced in May 2014 and expected to draw to a close in 2018, is valued to be USD 226 million.
The development of the SADC Gateway is also underway of which Phase 1 is being implemented by the Ministry of Mines and Energy. This project commenced January 2015 and the Gateway will serve as the entrance channel and turning basin to the new port. With completion of this phase in 2018, the Port of Walvis Bay will be able to import liquid bulk products for the entire SADC region.
Namport’s approach to influence radical change in the country’s economy, has contributed to the competitiveness of the SADC region’s trade through efficient, reliable and cost-effective supply of the port services; from offering appropriate storage and handling facilities for all types of products to minimising the impact of port operations.
This multifunctional port covers 150 hectares of land area, including three dry ports for Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia and houses eight commercial berths. It also offers one small craft harbour, one Tanker berth at -10.4m CD water depth and 45 000dwt, one 2 000-tonne Syncrolift dry-docking facility and floating dry docks with a maximum of 15 000-tonne capacity.
The Trans Kalahari Corridor links the Port of Walvis Bay to Gaborone and Gauteng in South Africa. From here, this Corridor links with the Maputo Corridor on the east coast of Southern Africa.
The Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi-Development Corridor accesses the landlocked countries such the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Trans-Cunene Corridor extends through northern Namibia into southern Angola and the Trans-Oranje Corridor links the Port of Luderitz with the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.
From the 144 countries assessed on road infrastructure quality and other related indicators, Namibia’s roads were found to be the best in Africa by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
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