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

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Botswana Dry Port to Become Operational This Week

Workers putting the final touches to the entrance to the Botswana dry port. [Photo - Floris Stenkamp]

Workers putting the final touches to the entrance to the Botswana dry port. [Photo – Floris Stenkamp]

The Botswana dry port in Walvis Bay is expected to be operational this week, Botswana Railways’ Commercial Manager Mthulusi Lotshe said last week. The dry port will cost N$60 million.

The Botswana dry port is constructed on land owned by NamPort. The facility would be used exclusively by Botswana Railways for handling both containerised and non-containerised cargoes for import and export to, or originating from this eastern neighbouring country.

Lotshe made the announcement during the Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC) information session hosted by the Trans-Kalahari Corridor secretariat in Windhoek.

He said the objective of the dry port is to consolidate maritime goods into inter modal and long distance transport flows.

“The other objectives of the dry port include improving cargo processing through coordinated operations; facilitating collection and distribution of local, regional and international transport; and integrating Botswana and the Southern African Development Community region with the Walvis Bay port,” Lotshe said.

He said the port aims to strengthen multi-modal solutions and create opportunities for new services, as well as reduce total transport and logistics costs and journey time. Source: The Namibian

Massive SADC Gateway port for Namibia

An aerial view of the port of Walvis Bay. NamPort is seeking a green light from Cabinet to spend over N$3 billion on the expansion of the harbour (Namibian Sun)

An aerial view of the port of Walvis Bay. NamPort is seeking a green light from Cabinet to spend over N$3 billion on the expansion of the harbour (Namibian Sun)

NamPort has recently commenced a massive N$3 billion construction project to build a new container terminal, but plans even more extravagant expansion in the years to come, according to its executive for marketing and strategic business development, Christian Faure. He expanded on the planned multi-billion dollar Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Gateway Terminal envisioned for the area between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay this week.

“The SADC Gateway terminal is still in the concept phases,” stressed Faure. “This development was considered the long term plan for the Port of Walvis Bay’s expansion, but plans have been brought forward mainly due to the construction of the new fuel tanker berth facility and the Trans-Kalahari railway line initiative for the export of coal from Botswana. This development is not to be confused with the new container terminal currently under construction at the port,” he said.

Already NamPort has completed pre-feasibility studies and is currently busy with geo-technical evaluations to determine the structure of the ground in the area to be dug out, he said. NamPort is also positively engaging the Municipality of Walvis Bay on the land itself, and other role players that may be impacted, he said. “This is a massive development and to put it into perspective, the current port is 105 hectares in size. The SADC Gateway port is 10 times that with a size of 1 330 hectares. The new container terminal will add 40 hectares,” said Faure.

With Namibia’s reach to more than 300 million potential consumers in the SADC region, the port of Walvis Bay is ideally positioned as the preferred route to emerging markets in Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Faure explained that several mega projects have surfaced in the last few years that will not be feasible without the SADC Gateway terminal, including the Trans-Kalahari Railway Line, Botswana coal exports through Namibia, mega logistics parks planned in NDP4, the budding crude oil industry, large scale local mining product exports, as well as magnetite, iron ore and coal exports from Namibia.

The SADC Gateway Port project (also sometimes called the North Port) will extend the existing harbour to the north of Walvis Bay between Bird Island and Kuisebmond. It will cover a total for 1330 hectares of port land with 10 000 meters of quay walls and jetties providing at least 30 large berths. The new port will also feature world class ship and rig repair yards, and oil and gas supply base, more than 100 million tons worth of under cover dry bulk terminal, a car import terminal and a passenger terminal, he explained.

The SADC Gateway Port will also feature a liquid bulk terminal for very large crude carriers, dry ports and backup storage areas, break bulk terminals, small boat marinas and a new high capacity rail, road, pipeline and conveyor link to the area behind Dune 7. Source: Informate, Namibia

Comesa chips in with $1,4m for ZIM dry port in Nambia

Walvis Bay - making headway (www.transportworldafrica.co.za)

Walvis Bay – making headway (www.transportworldafrica.co.za)

The Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa has agreed to avail US$1,4 million for phase one of the construction of the country’s Walvis Bay dry port. The government of Namibia in September 2009 granted Zimbabwe 19 000 square metres of land to construct its own dry port that is expected to boost the country’s trade. The project is being spearheaded by the Road Motor Services, a subsidiary of the National Railways of Zimbabwe.

In an interview, RMS managing director Mr Cosmos Mutakaya said the Ministry of Industry and Commerce last month held a consultative meeting with Comesa to strategise on how to fund the project.

“Comesa is looking at funding projects with a regional integration element that countries within the Southern African Development Community would benefit from. In the last meeting we held, Comesa indicated their willingness to finance the first phase of the facility which will cost US$1,4 million,” he said.

He said all the relevant documentation had been submitted and they are now waiting for a response from Comesa.

Mr Mutakaya said construction of the dry port would be done in two phases. The first phase involves the civil works which includes construction of the drive-in weighbridge, storage shades, palisade fencing as well as installation of electric catwalks. Phase two involves the putting up of administration blocks. He said once phase one is completed, then the dry port operations will start.

“We are now waiting for the unlocking of funds from Treasury and Comesa for us to start construction. The Namibian contractor, Namport, will also start working on the port once the funds are made available. According to the contractor, phase one of the project is going to take five working months to complete,” Mr Mutakaya said.

He said the project, which was supposed to have been completed by May this year, had been stalled by the lack of funding.

An official at the Namibian desk office in the Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed that operations at the port had stopped for a while due to a lack of funding. “Government has been facing challenges in making payments to the Walvis Bay Corridors Group, responsible for the construction at the port and operations had to be stopped for some time pending clearance of some outstanding fees by Government,” he said.

Trade for Zimbabwe via Walvis Bay has increased for the past few years and a large percentage of commodities are transported along this corridor. Zimbabwe’s trade volumes through the Port of Walvis Bay have grown significantly to more than 2 500 tonnes per month.

In a related development, the Namibian Ports Authority is also working on expanding Walvis Bay port and recently secured a US$338 million loan from the African Development Bank to finance the construction of a new container terminal at Port of Walvis Bay. The Namibian government also received US$1,5 million for logistics and capacity building complementing the port project loan. Source: The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Walvis Bay Container Terminal – AfDB and Namibia sign loan agreement

NamPort ExpansionThe African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and Namibia on Friday, November 8, 2013 signed a ZAR 2.9 billion (US $338 million) sovereign guaranteed loan to the Nambian Ports Authority (Namport) to finance the construction of the new container terminal at Port of Walvis Bay and a UA 1.0 million grant (US $1.5 million) to the Government of Namibia for logistics and capacity building complementing the port project loan. The project was approved by the AfDB Group in July 2013.

The project is expected to enable Namport to triple the container-handling capacity at the Port of Walvis Bay from 350,000 TEUs to 1,050,000 TEUs per annum. It will also finance the purchase of up-to-date port equipment and the training of pilots and operators for the new terminal. The grant component will fund the preparation of the National Logistics Master Plan study, technical support and capacity-building for the Walvis Bay Corridor Group and training of freight forwarders.

According to the AfDB Director of Transport and ICT, Amadou Oumarou: “Through this project which potentially serves up to seven major economies in the SADC region, the Bank is assisting in the diversification and distribution of port facilities on the southwest coast of Africa, and provides the much-needed alternative for the region’s landlocked countries.”

The project will stimulate the development and upgrade of multimodal transport corridors linking the port to the hinterland while improving the country’s transport and logistics chains. It will also boost competition among the ports and transport corridors in the region with the ripple effect on reductions in transportation costs and increased economic growth.

The projected project outcomes include improvement in port efficiency and increase in cargo volumes by 70% in 2020 as a result of increased trade in the region. The benefits of the project will include among others, the stimulation of inter-regional trade and regional integration, private sector development, skills transfer and most importantly employment creation, leading to significant economic development and poverty reduction in Namibia, and the SADC region. Source: African Development Bank

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Namibia – Dry Port for Keetmashoop

Namibia Map (www.fao.org)

Namibia Map (www.fao.org)

Namibia – Plans by Governor of the Karas Region, Bernardus Swartbooi, to establish a dry port facility at Keetmanshoop have been hailed as a “brilliant idea” by experts who are in unison that the idea is overdue. (Maybe it is just plain common sense! Will be interesting to see how the Namibian Revenue Authority facilitate the inland movement of transit containers from Walvis Bay.)

Swartbooi presented his proposal to change the face of Keetmanshoop by making it the pivot of trade between Namibia, South Africa and possibly the rest of Africa at the Annual Logistic and Transport Workshop last week.

According to him the new venture, estimated at roughly N$10million, will see Keetmanshoop linked directly by sea, rail and road with Namibia’s capital Windhoek, Africa’s largest economy, South Africa, and the rest of the Southern African Development Community in the form of a central north-south transport corridor.

Keetmanshoop is the only town in Namibia with eight border posts and has a working relationship with the North Cape Province in South Africa.

Swartbooi said the second phase of this development will stream into the creation of a free trade zone on the eastern side of Keetmanshoop that will not only attract foreign investors but create a wealth of jobs that will significantly reduce the country’s unemployment statistics.

He also mentioned that with a free trade zone the region can eventually venture into light manufacturing that will bring about positive spin-offs for the region and the entire Namibia as a whole.

“We fight against a trend that the south was left out.. If you close down the Walvis Bay port today we will feel it later, but if Lüderitz port is to be closed today the effect will be felt within hours. There is no argument about our strategic location. No-one can compete against our land availability,” he enthused.

Twenty hectares of serviced land have so far been secured for the project that will include two weighbridges, offload facilities and accommodation facilities for truck drivers and recreation.

“We are looking at enhancing road safety and to cut down on driver fatigue,” he explained adding that key stakeholders have not yet been identified and anchor participants are being sought.. “We are looking at a private public equity where we can give someone a lease of ninety years,” he stated.

According to the Director for the Namibia German Centre for Logistics, Neville Mbai, Keetmanshoop as a regional hub is a brilliant idea and will not only serve as a buffer during labour strikes in South Afica, but will surely ease the burden on Walvis Bay port and corridors.

“It is absolutely brilliant. Kharas is adjacent to the great Gauteng region, the breadbasket of Southern Africa if not the whole of Africa. What we want to see is a shorter road from Johannesburg to Namibia. Look at the road infrastructure of Walvis Bay, if we are to add more that road will be in trouble,” he said adding that with Keetmanshoop providing a hub Namibia will no longer be severely impacted by labour strikes in South Africa, as goods can be stored to cater for the Namibian market.

“The idea must be to have a concentration of logistics hubs scattered across the country and with the port of Lüderitz and the quantity of fish production the region certainly is deserving of a hub,” he noted.

At least 1 600 trucks pass through Keetmanshoop on a monthly basis with 80 percent of Namibia’s goods being are transported through this route.

Operations Manager for Logistics Support Services Quintin Simon argues that this is indeed a positive idea and with Keetmanshoop located in the centre, distribution will become easier and faster. Source: www.newera.com

Ambitious Port Plan for Walvis Bay

 

Computer-generated imagery of what the Walvis Bay North Port will look like when built. Image courtesy Namport.

Computer-generated imagery of what the Walvis Bay North Port will look like when built. Image courtesy Namport.

Far from simply developing a new container terminal, Namport could be bringing forward plans to build an ambitious new port at Walvis Bay to accommodate an expected increase in container and other traffic in the near future.

Originally intended as a long-term proposal for the Port of Walvis Bay, the plans may have to be brought forward and, coupled with finance that could come from China, the Namibian port is set to become a real rival for business in the southern and central African region.

According to reports in The Namib Times the cabinet has discussed and in principle given the go-ahead to create a new harbour on the northern side of the existing port. It said the new harbour is part of Namport’s strategy of positioning Walvis Bay as the premier port in the region. The plans will require dredging of a deep entrance channel and excavating the land to clear space for the new deepwater basin along with 10 kilometres of quayside for ships to berth.

If it was necessary to have proof that this development has the potential of shaking up the southern African region, it came in the form of a warning given yesterday by Transnet Chief Executive Brian Molefe at a community briefing session in Durban, in which he said, while justifying the need for the Durban dig-out port to go ahead, that if it was delayed or not built then Durban would lose out to other African ports. As an example he cited Walvis Bay where he said ambitious plans to build a large container port had been given the go-ahead. Source: Ports.co.za

Namibia – Weak Rand Plays Havoc With Trade Balance

south-african-rand-zar-bearishThe continued weakening of the Rand and an increase in the volume of imports has seen Namibia’s trade deficit widen to N$17 billion, the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) has said.

The country’s import bill jumped 24% in 2012 to N$59 billion widening the trade deficit to N$17 billion compared to N$11 billion in 2011. Despite a fall in the share of some of the major imports to the total import bill, the value of imports still increased to N$59 billion compared to N$48 billion in the previous year.

Major imports for 2012 included mineral fuels, mineral oils, vehicles, boilers and machinery. Fuel dominated the list of imports with a share of 13% up from 9% in the previous year. Vehicles were in second place with a share of 11% (compared to 12% in 2011) of total imports. Boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances occupied third place with 9% a slight decline from 10% in 2011.

The Statistics Agency said an 80% increase in the value of oil imports (at N$7.8 billion) can be explained by a 14% depreciation of the Namibia Dollar/Rand against the US$ in the period under review since the 2012 average price of oil in US dollars was almost the same as in 2011. In addition, an increase in the volume of imports especially ships, boats and floating structures that recorded the strongest increase of almost 2100%, also contributed to the widening deficits.

South Africa remains Namibia’s most important trading partner with combined trade between the two countries amounting to N$48.6 billion in 2012. However, the direction of trade between the two countries remain skewed with Namibia importing N$41.6 billion worth of goods from South Africa, while exporting goods worth only N$7 billion to South Africa.

Analysts say while a weaker local currency boosts earnings of companies that sell their goods overseas, it adds to import costs, making food and fuel more expensive. With a relatively low industrial base, and a saturation in the mining sector, Namibia’s exports only grew marginally to N$42 billion up from N$37 billion in 2011. This growth is too small to have a meaningful impact on the widening trade deficit.

In 2013, the construction of the multi-billion dollar Husab Project, the Grove Mall and Square, Strand Hotel, the container terminal at Walvis Bay, and the Neckartal Dam is likely to put further pressure on the import bill worsening Namibia’s trade deficit even further. An estimated 80% of capital goods for these projects will be imported. Source: The Economist (Namibia)

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)

Record Freight Traffic for Walvis Bay Corridors

Walvis Bay CorridorsVolumes along all the Walvis Bay Corridors have hit a record high of more than 63,000 tonnes for the month of January 2012, reports Namib Times. The report describes this as a significant growth of cargo volumes along the TransKalahari, TransCaprivi and TransCunene Corridors respectively. From a mere ten trucks a day that left the Port of Walvis Bay seven years ago to other SADC countries, more than 1,000 vehicles are now entering or leaving the Port of Walvis Bay on a monthly basis.

Although some markets such as Zimbabwe, Zambia and DRC have experienced stronger growth than the other markets, a growth factor has been seen with all the Corridor markets for the past six months. The Botswana and Gauteng (South Africa) markets are growing slowly, with the variety of commodities being expanded along these corridors. Imports and exports for Malawi via Walvis Bay are also on the increase, as this market also offers an immense possibility of attracting commodities such as tobacco to be transported via the Namibian port. The Angolan market also showed an increase during the past 6 months as more types of commodities are being transported via Walvis Bay destined for Southern Angola. Source: Namib Times