By: Nghiinomewa Erastus
The Namibian Port Authority has reported that major commodities that are being sent to the world from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) members through the port are raw materials.
The port authority revealed in its May 2022 Quayside Bulletin.
“According to the statistics, major commodities exported from SADC countries through Namibia are currently copper, manganese ore, and wooden products (timber),” the Namibian Port Authority (Namport) wrote in its bulletin.
However, according to the import statistics, SADC member countries import mostly finished goods.
“Major commodities imported to Namibia destined to SADC Countries are frozen poultry, vehicles, machinery, spare parts, tyres, chemicals for mining use, electrical goods and electrical equipment,” the bulletin read.
The picture is also vividly depicted by Namibia’s trade statistics on the export, which stubbornly fails to diversify away from raw uranium, copper blisters, diamonds, frozen fish and gold.
The five products/export commodities jointly accounted for 63.8 per cent of total exports last month, and every other month in the past, they have accounted for more than 50 per cent of the country’s exports.
WB PORT BENEFITING FROM CROSS-BORDER CARGO
Various SADC countries are utilising the country port as an entrance and exit from their economies to the rest of the world.
Cross-border statistics from the Port Authority show that cross-border volumes increased by 10 per cent from 1,464 million gross tonnages during the 2020/2021 financial year to 1,607 million gross tonnages during the 2021/2022 financial year.
At least 48 per cent of the volumes are from South Africa, 23 per cent from Zambia, 15 per cent from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zimbabwe and Botswana, six per cent each, two per cent from Angola and one per cent from Malawi.
The benefits do not only end at Walvis Bay and for Namport only. The port efficiency enables activities within the transport and logistics beyond the border.
The Namibian Ports also handle an assortment of cross-border cargo imports and exports via four main trade corridors; Trans-Kalahari Corridor, Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Corridor, Trans- Cunene Corridor and Trans-Oranje Corridor.
These corridors connect the Ports to the respective SADC markets, namely Zambia, DRC, Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Angola.
“This performance is a testimony of an aggressive approach to developing the ports as the preferred SADC gateways,” the bulletin read.
Total year-on-year cargo handled at the amounted to 6.5 million tons, indicating an increase of 6 per cent. Vessel visits also increased by 289 vessels or 22 per cent.
According to the Port Authority, the increase in vessel calls was predominantly due to an increase in petroleum vessels, Namibian and foreign fishing vessels, foreign tugs, and research vessels.
This increase was mainly due to increased containerised commodities such as copper, charcoal, frozen fish, marble, frozen poultry, sugar, chemicals, scrap steel and wooden products.
The top five commodities that utilised Namibia’s logistical services in April 2022 were precious stones (diamonds), with a share of 26.8 per cent of total re-exports mostly destined to South Africa, Belgium, and Botswana.
Following in the second place was petroleum oils, with a share of 12.1 per cent of the total re-exports. They were primarily destined for Botswana, South Africa and Zambia.
Copper blisters accounted for 10.5 per cent of all commodities re-exported and mainly were destined for the Netherlands and United Kingdom (UK).
Printed matter accounted for 5.9 per cent, mostly destined for South Africa, the UK and Kenya.
Other meats and edible meat offal are among the top five, which were mostly re-exported and accounted for 4.9 per cent, with DRC, Zimbabwe and Botswana taking the lead as the destinations.
Namibia’s trade with Africa is mostly skewed to South Africa for basic needs import in exchange for supply (mostly) of live cattle and gold.
With Botswana, Namibia sends its diamonds there, and sometimes imports live cattle there. Zambia provides Namibia with mostly the same thing as the DRC.
Namibia’s trade activities with the African region for April 2022, when compared to the previous month, decreased by a notable N$192 million, according to the country’s trade statistics.
The trade balance, however, picked up from a deficit of N$850 million recorded in the previous month to a worsened deficit of N$1.2 billion.
This was due to a decrease in exports by N$255 million while imports increased only by N$63 million as Namibia continues to offer less beyond live cattle, diamonds and gold to South Africa