PROJECTS slated to slot in with the regional logistics hub and development aspirations of Namibia with the port of Walvis Bay at the centre of it all by 2022, are slowly but surely taking tangible shape.
The last phase of the construction of a new double lane highway that runs behind the dune belt between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund is nearing completion while the rehabilitation of the railway line between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund and further into the hinterland has also commenced.
The railway and the highway will play a significant role in decongesting transport corridors that converge at the port of Walvis Bay.
Apart from the land-based transport infrastructure that is currently being enhanced, the new container terminal inside the country’s biggest port is already operating optimally. Cargo handling capabilities will be further enhanced once the oil terminal is finally commissioned.
The capabilities of the new oil terminal have already been tested and it is expected to be put into production later this year.
A parallel development is the establishment of privately owned container and fuel handling facilities in Walvis Bay and Usakos that will not only enhance investment in the logistics hub development but will also create thousands of new job opportunities.
One of the companies that intend to establish a giant container handling facility in the area behind the dune belt between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund has recently acquired more land to eventually build the project.
DP World, an Emirati state-owned port management company, toward the end of 2019 signed a joint venture deal with the Namibia Industrial Development Agency (Nida), Bigenkuumba Infrastructure Services, and Afrikuumba Development One to establish the !Nara Namib Free Economic Zone on 200 hectares of land. The conglomerate recently obtained an additional 158 hectares of land in addition to the 200 they already have to establish the project.
The project will enhance the capabilities of the port-based container terminal and will handle spillover of inbound and outbound containers.
The development of the dry container terminal is set to create up and downstream business opportunities and jobs across the agricultural, fishing, automotive, and mining industries.
Development of the first phase of 50 hectares of the free economic zone, has the potential to create 3 000 jobs and help attract investment of at least N$3.5 billion.
I all goes according to plan the free economic zone will eventually occupy 1 500 hectares and is expected to increase the investment potential to N$25 billion with an estimated 20 000 job opportunities.
Another project envisaged to enhance the logistics sector in Namibia is the establishment of a fuel and gas storage facility near Usakos right next to the Trans Kalahari Transport Corridor.
The Usakos Town Council announced during 2019 that it plans to create about 1 600 direct and indirect new employment opportunities with the establishment of the storage facility.
In this regard, the local authority signed a joint venture agreement with MDL International Trade to develop 35 hectares of land for the storage facility and at the time the deal represented an initial investment of N$700 million. When completed the investment value is set to amount to more than N$40 billion.
MDL International Trade with its headquarters in Windhoek started operations in Namibia in 1998 and provides integrated shipping and logistics solutions and support to the energy, mining, and infrastructure industry.
Once completed, the facility will have a storage capacity of more than 200 million litres and it will be used for the distribution of fuel and gas products to landlocked countries such as Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The project falls within the government’s strategic plan to align the country as a strategic logistics hub and gateway to other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries for trade by 2022.