Walvis Bay rail upgrade ready to service new container terminal

Namport-rail-upgradeThe Namibian Ports Authority has completed the upgrade of all railway infrastructure at the Port of Walvis Bay at a cost of N$20M (US$1.3M)

The work was included in Namports maintenance programme in 2010, but is now part of wider plans to upgrade facilities at Walvis Bay in preparation for the completion of the new container terminal.

A total of 4.5kms of track inside the port and the section of railway running from the city into the port have been replaced using material that can cope with heavier loads.

A spokesperson for Namport said: “Although the project was of relatively low value, its execution was complex as we had to ensure minimum operational interruption to the track, which is in daily use.”

The new container terminal is being constructed on 40-ha of reclaimed land and will add 700,000 TEU of annual handling capacity to the existing 350,000 TEU. Walvis Bay is already attracting bigger ships and recently handled its biggest ever container vessel the CMA CGM DANUBE, a 112,580 dwt vessel with a nominal intake of 9200 TEU.

A statement from Namports read: “The visit of CMA CGM DANUBE complements our port expansion project, which accommodates greater carrying capacity. Following the completion of the port expansion project vessels such as this will be accommodated at the new container terminal.”

The Walvis Bay Corridor Group, which was set up to promote the use of the port among neighbouring states, is keen to improve ancillary infrastructure at Walvis Bay to make the most of the new terminal.

Namport manager for corporate communication Taná Pesat said: “The benefits are our safe and secure corridors to and from landlocked SADC markets. The frequency of direct ship calls and flexibility of doing business with ease.”

However, the plot of land at the port given to Zimbabwe in 2009 for the construction of a dedicated dry port has still not been developed. Source: World Cargo News

Major trade route now reaches Katanga

Port of Walvis Bay – Namibian transport corridor

A new regional trade route reaching from the Katanga Province in the Congo all the way to Walvis Bay as point of entry, is on the radar of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group following an agreement between Namibia and the DRC. Development of this major link started its first tentative steps recently when the Corridor Group opened an office in Lubumbashi, on the border of the DRC and Zambia.The Corridor Group said earlier this week it had launched an office in Lubumbashi, DRC, to create a strong business presence in the mineral-rich Katanga Province.

The Walvis Bay Corridor Group Lubumbashi office was officially opened by the Governor of the Katanga Province, Hon. Moïse Katumbi Chapwe, supported by the Namibian Ambassador, Mr Ringo Abed, Corridor Chairman Mr Bisey Uirab, and Corridor Group CEO, Mr Johny Smith.

The need for landlocked countries to gain access through an alternative trade route to and from sea was recognised, where neigbouring countries and beyond could benefit from access to the Port of Walvis Bay that offers importers and exporters reduced time and cost savings, high reliability, and cargo security. The Katanga Province offers a market of more than 2 million consumers and with the fast expanding mineral rich DRC there is also a need from the DRC Government for the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Corridor to extend further towards other Provinces in the DRC. Walvis Bay is surely growing as an alternative trade route for Southern DRC in that various commodities are being moved via the Port of Walvis Bay such as copper, frozen products, machinery & equipment and consumables.

The office in Lubumbashi, DRC is now the third branch office of the WBCG beyond Namibia, with the other branch offices in Lusaka, Zambia since 2005 and Johannesburg, South Africa in operation since 2008. The Walvis Bay Corridor Group is currently hosting the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor Technical Committee, which is a Public Private Partnership between the government departments responsible for transport of the DRC, Namibia and Zambia to address the bottlenecks that impede the flow of traffic along this trade route using the Port of Walvis Bay. Source: Economist (Namibia)