By Maria Kandjungu
CHINA Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) says that the construction of the Walvis Bay Terminal port is in the final stages of completion.
In a media release issued this week, Project Manager for CHEC, Yuanfei Feng, the construction that started in May 2014 is currently at 85% completion, with commissioning envisaged for 2019.
CHEC, a company that specialise in marine engineering, was in 2013 awarded the tender to construct a 400,000 square meter “island in the sea” that will serve as a Walvis Bay port’s Container Terminal at the harbour.
Upon completion the terminal will be able to host 750,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TUE) per annum, up from the current 300,000 TEU capacity, making this one of the largest container terminals on the African continent. Port expansion project aimed to further entrench this noble positioning and with it came the project.
Feng added that CHEC has tried to ensure that the project holds value for local economic development, since starting operations in 2014.
The project that saw CHEC employing over 2300 local people during the construction phase has contributed significantly to local economic development through wages that allowed workers to pay for services such as housing and amenities; spending in local shops; ensuring their families are taken care of.
He further emphasizes that CHEC made use of local suppliers and contractors as much as it could. “In fact, our contract stipulated that 31.8% of the total contract value must be spent locally. And this is something that we can proudly say, we have achieved through the procurement of bulk goods such as cement and fuel; services such as vessel repairs, design, insurance and customs clearance; construction services such as the camp, the substation, railway, control room, office and workshop; and consultancy services such as Human Resources and Public Relations.”
He adds that, CHEC also strongly believes in skills transfer at all its projects worldwide and for this project, they provided theoretical, practical and on-site job training opportunities to over 600 local employees in various areas such as professional skills; health, safety and environment (SHE) training and the like.
“In addition, we have awarded two full scholarships to deserving students to study marine engineering at one of China’s top universities. These scholarships cover all tuition cost, living expenses (including accommodation and a living stipend) and twice-yearly return air tickets to Namibia to visit with family. Our hope is that when done, these two students, who stand out as beacons of hope for their families, will return home to Namibia and impart that knowledge in the local market,” Feng said.
Feng maintained that CHEC as an international marine engineering company, fully understands the importance of health, safety and environment in its operations and therefore will never compromise on the safety of employees, and sub-contractor, and will continue to ensure the protection of the environments in which the company operates.
In addition, regular drills and training updates are provided to employees to ensure they stay updated on safety issues. “Finally, regular environmental assessments are conducted to ensure that CHEC stays within the prescribed international and national legal requirements and also to ensure that no harm comes to those in the proximity of our operations.”
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