Namibia’s Walvis Bay Port is increasingly becoming the port of choice for import export, both nationally and internationally. The port’s popularity hasn’t increased overnight but, rather seems to be based on the concerted efforts of the Namibian Government and the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG).
The WBCG recently announced an increase of 54% in the movement of commodities through the port in the last financial year. The percentage translates into 682,333 tonnes of cargo that was moved, signifying an increase of 240,000 tonnes.
The Story Behind the Port’s Popularity
The Walvis Bay Port is ideally located between Europe, Southern African and the Americas, making it a natural gateway for goods. According to Africa Business News, container vessels can now be off loaded within 12 to 15 hours, bulk vessels take 24 to 48 hours and the turnaround time for break bulk is 20 hours or less. The nation’s political stability also increases the port’s desirability.
Aside from the upgrades to the port over the past few years, rendering it world class, no port can function if the country’s internal infrastructure isn’t good. Much of the success the WBCG has reported recently has to do with the upgrading, maintenance, and safety of Namibia’s main transport routes.
Johnny Smith, CEO of the WBCG, told Engineering News that, “We have established alternative transport routes to a number of landlocked neighbouring countries, by reducing costs, border transit times and improving safety and security measures along the routes”.
Walvis Bay Corridors: The Big Three
A report by All Africa indicates that a record 20,000 second-hand vehicles were moved via the Walvis Bay Corridors in 2012, contributing N$150 million to the Namibian economy.
The Trans Kalahari Corridor
This route connects the port to Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, Gauteng (the financial heartland of South Africa) and Zimbabwe. The corridor currently allows for 48 hours transits to and from Gauteng. According to Engineering News massive improvements have been made to the route in the past six years, and 8 000 to 12 000 tonnes are now transported via it per month.
Trans-Caprivi Corridor (Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Corridor)
According to the Namibian Trade Directory this corridor provides the shortest route between the Namibian ports (those in both Lüderitz and Walvis Bay) and Zambia, the Southern DRC as well as Zimbabwe.
The Trans-Cunene Corridor links the Walvis Bay Port to Southern Angola and has reported 29% growth in the past year.
According to the Southern Times, Namibia has offered dry port facilities to Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe in an attempt to boost their use of the port.
Based on the port’s growing success it’s a fair prediction that use of the port and its transport corridors will increase, offering a better trading solution to, and from, Namibia’s landlocked neighbours.
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