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Regional imports set to boost volumes at Namibian ports

Tuesday, 09 October 2018 | 00:00

Namibia’s Port of Walvis Bay will be handling an additional 50,000 tonnes of goods destined for Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as manganese from mines in the Northern Cape to the Port of Lüderitz.

The Namibian Port Authority (Namport) has earmarked R4.2 billion for regional development, R3.3 billion of which would be dedicated to Namibian companies to benefit by contracting them on major development projects.

This was revealed to The Southern Times by Namport’s Senior Commercial Manager, Tino !Hanabeb, last week.

With the new container terminal to be commissioned in 2019, Namport would be able to handle more cargo and also increase the container capacity at the port from 400,000 TEUs to 750,000 TEUs per annum.

On average, between 2,000 and 2,250 vessels visit the ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz every year, with container vessels accounting for the largest number of visits.

The new terminal development makes provision for a dedicated cruise vessel berth, which will be able to accommodate larger passenger vessels.

Passenger vessels were only allowed 10 hours at the port have in the past because they were competing with normal business, but this is to change as a passenger terminal has been developed that would allow a vessel to stay up to 36 hours or three days.

In addition, !Hanabeb said Namport is to develop a waterfront and marina at the port of Walvis Bay, which will be a great attraction to visitors and residents.

The Namport’s new container terminal was supposed to be completed this year, but completion had to be postponed to 2019 due to unique geotechnical conditions discovered below the seabed at the project site. These could have affected the long-term settlement on the pavement and its effect on the deep foundations.

The difficult geotechnical conditions arose primarily due to a 25m thick diatomaceous silt layer of dead organic matter uncommon worldwide that starts at approximately 20m below the seabed.

As a result, nearly six months were spent doing additional geotechnical investigations and research on the silt layer.

Namport is connected with good shipping services that provide an option for shippers from Europe and North America to supply bulk, containerised and break-bulk shipments such as abnormal loads to neighbouring countries in the Southern African region in the shortest possible time.

The heavy-lift port facilities remove the requirements for road permits or abnormal clearances between the quayside and the storage yard which streamlines the process for customers.

It has also become an important node in Southern Africa, as mineral export volumes through the port from landlocked countries have increased.

Namibia has granted t three SADC landlocked countries, namely Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana, dry ports to allow them access to the sea to transport their goods.

Zimbabwe received its dry port in 2009 at the Walvis Bay harbour, while the Zambia’s dry port facility has been operational for almost seven years now.

The Botswana dry port was completed in 2014 and is now fully operational and handles both break-bulk and containerised cargo.
Source: Southern Times

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