Namibian Port Authority (NamPort) has handled over 6 million tonnes in shipment in the ended financial year, Chief Executive Officer Bisey Uirab, told The Villager’s sister publication Prime Focus Magazine in an recent interview.
NamPort is currently undergoing developments that will allow container storage to increase from a capacity of 350 000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU’s) per annum to 750 000 per annum, and in the financial year 2014/15 the port handled 6,150,387 tonnes of cargo.
“The growth in ship sizes and growing level of ship specialization such as bulk carriers car carries and containerships allows shipping lines to better achieve economies of scale. The new terminal development will allow us to accommodate larger vessels with increased number of containers”, Uirab said.
The port’s additional capacity with the introduction of new container holding technologies and process efficiencies will allow for the port to eliminate port congestion and improve supply chain efficiency, Uirab told Prime Focus. This year, Standard Bank of Namibia has availed a N$670 million dollar financial agreement to Namibia Energy Fund (NEF) through state-owned Development Bank of Namibia to bank-roll the constructional work done at the oil storage facility in Walvis Bay. The storage facility will have a capacity of 75 000 cubic meters and stocking capacity of up to 90 days came at a time when calls to import cheaper fuel from Angola and Nigeria are growing louder.
The current oil tanker berth is over 50 years old and outlive its design life as it now poses a fire and environment hazard to the entire port of Walvis Bay. The new project will provide a new 6.4kilomtre entrance channel and turning basin circle for 60 000 deadweight tonnage (DWT) shipping vessels to enter and depart the new Southern African Development Community (SADC) gateway port. It will be the anchor project of the New SADC Gateway Port, and upon completion of the project the New SADC Gateway Port will have a depth of 16.5 metres and be amongst the top five ports in Southern Africa.
The facility will be operated by National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (storage and pipelines) NamPort (petroleum jetty).
Walvis Bay is experiencing several developmental activities that are supposed to establish trade links between Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and other SADC countries.
Amongst those is the construction of the Sesheke-Mulobezi-Kaoma-Copperbelt road, a joint project between Namibia and Zambia, which is expected to pump N$7.8b revenue into the local economy on an annual basis
The Port of Walvisbay is one of Africa’s most efficient and best equipped, with the capacity to handle more than 8 million tonnes of cargo and it is linked to Namibia’s air, rail, and road network, thus placed to service landlocked countries in southern Africa, especially through the arteries of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group.
As Walvis Bay, through its port, will be seen as the SADC gateway, Namport’ N$1.5 billion-dollar bulk fuel storage facility called North Port is underway, aimed at servicing landlocked Southern African countries.
The North Port being built on 1 330 hectares of land at a cost of N$30 billion is aimed at positioning Namibia as a key import and export hub for the country’s eastern neighbours, landlocked Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The development of the new port facilities is in line with SADC’s goals of heightening infrastructure development to smoothen the flow of goods and services across the region.
Namibia hopes to invest in much larger port facilities to service a market of more than 300 million in the wider SADC region and this will position Walvis Bay as an import and export hub.
(The full interview is in the forthcoming edition)