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Divergent performance of the transport sector

by Senior Writer Jemima Beukes



The land transport sub-sector has displayed a slow performance in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the previous quarter; Bank of Namibia’s June 2012 quarterly bulletin has revealed.
The decline in the first quarter was mainly attributed to the delivery of low volumes of imported copper concentrate and fuel.
Total rail and road cargo volumes decreased by 9.5% to 589.695tonnes. The rail cargo declined by 11.5% to 460 631tonnes, quarter-on-quarter during the first quarter of 2012, as stated in the quarterly bulletin.
The road cargo volumes also weakened slightly by 1.9% to 129 064 tonnes quarter-on-quarter over the same period due to low cargo volumes of zinc concentrate and sulphuric acid delivered.
The corresponding quarter of 2011 showed a decrease in the land transportation compared to its preceding quarter. The rail and road cargo also decreased by 3.5% and 24.5%.
“The decline was caused by low cargo volumes compared to cargo volumes recorded in the previous quarter. Furthermore, the first quarter of 2011 was compounded by a heavy rainfall experience during the quarter, causing a lot of damage to both railway lines and roads,” states the June 2011 BoN bulletin.
On the other hand, total cargo volumes for rail and road have been rising marginally on a yearly basis by 1.9% from 578 571 tonnes in the 1st quarter of 2012 compared to the corresponding quarter of 2011.
Contrasting the land transport sub-sector, the water transported improved too during the 1st quarter of 2012 compared to the preceding quarter.
According to the quarterly June 2011 BoN bulletin, the total cargo volumes via Walvis Bay and Lüderitz harbours rose by 3.9 % to 1.6 million tonnes. However, the increase was only driven by landed cargo whilst the shipped and transhipped cargo volumes declined over the same period.
“Total landed cargo increased by 16.4% to 892 173 tonnes on a quarterly basis during the first quarter of 2012. The increase was partly attributed to imported coal and wheat. Shipped cargo volumes decreased by 10.5% to 37 4081 tonnes quarter-on-quarter during the first quarter of 2012; this was due to slowed export activities owing to seasonality during January of each year,” as pointed out in BoN quarterly bulletin of June 2012.
On a yearly basis from the 1st quarter of 2011 to the 1st quarter 2012, the landed cargo rose significantly by 20.3% from 74 1811tonnes recorded over the corresponding quarter of 2011.
In the same yearly review, slowed export activities, especially the decreased exportation of fish and fish products, manganese, salt and fluorspar caused the low performance of  shipped cargo. It declined by 7.4% from 404 112 tonnes.
All in all, the transportation sector has recorded a subdued performance in the first quarter of 2012, however, on a yearly basis, their performance has slightly improved.
The Namibian Statistics Agency 2012 stated that the transport and communication sector recorded a growth of 3.2% in real value added in 2011 compared to a growth of 2.3% recorded in 2010.