THE Port of Walvis Bay is about to position itself as a competitive player in the international logistic market with the official inauguration of the new container terminal that will establish the facility as a world class express hub that will unlock Southern Africa’s trade potential with the rest of the world.
President Hage Geingob is set to officially open the new world class container terminal that has been under construction for the past six years on land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean. The event is expected to be attended by hundreds of people ranging from Cabinet Ministers to the diplomatic corps serving in Namibia.
At a special event on the eve of the official inauguration the acting Chief Executive Officer of the Namibian Ports Authority, Kavin Harry, brought local and International media houses up to speed with details of the latest developments with regard o the state of the art National Asset, set to increase container throughput by 750,000 Twenty-foot container Equivalent Units (TEU’s).
“The inauguration of the New Container Terminal at the Port of Walvis Bay and the investment made therein represents the advent of a new era for the Port city of Walvis Bay, Namibia and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region at large,” Harry said.
Giving a brief history of the project Harry described it as the construction of the enormous and strategic national asset at a total cost of N$4billion. He said funding for the project was granted by the African Development Bank (AfDB), having secured a sovereign guaranteed loan in the amount of N$2.9bn in 2013. In addition, the AfDB advanced about N$2.3 million to the Namibian Government to support and encourage companies to invest in the infrastructure and systems required to provide port users with a wider range of value added freight and logistics services.
“I must underline that critical to the overall roll out of this project, was the simultaneous development of a new railway line and road linked to the existing national infrastructure, that ultimately connects the Ports of Walvis Bay with our land-locked counterparts in the SADC Region, through various logistics corridors, which comprises the Trans-Kalahari, Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Developmental Corridor and the Trans-Cunene Corridors.”
According to Harry the new facility will not only provide increased container handling capacity in the Port of Walvis Bay, but will also increase the port’s bulk and break-bulk handling capacity by freeing up the existing container terminal to become a multi-purpose terminal. He was of the opinion that state of the art infrastructure is of critical importance, particularly because Namport’s vision has always been to transform the Port of Walvis Bay, into a Regional Cargo Processing Centre.
“It is therefore pertinent that while other regional ports are investing heavily in developing and upgrading their port handing facilities, that as a nation we too develop ahead of demand, so that we can maintain the edge ahead over competitors in capturing the region’s emerging business opportunities especially within the hinterland.”
Harry said the need for strong collaboration amongst the players within the Namibian transport and logistics community and an unwavering commitment to the Namibia logistics hub initiative should be viewed as a matter of priority, to see Walvis Bay elevated to the statuses of the likes of Singapore and Dubai in the foreseeable future.