Botswana, Zimbabwe dry ports still in starting blocks
27 January 2014
Years after the government offered landlocked neighbours to set up dry port facilities at Walvis Bay, only the Zambian facility is operational.
This was confirmed by the Manager of Corporate Communications at NamPort, Liz Sibindi, in an interview, in which she said Botswana had started developing its dry port while Zimbabwe is yet to develop its facility.
"The responsibility is with the respective governments to develop their facilities hence NamPort would not want to speculate on the reasons for delays," Sibindi said.
She said the dry ports will enable the land locked countries to facilitate and handle their cargo through NamPort.
"This in turn increases the volumes that are carried on the corridors. It´s a way of promoting trade relations within the Southern African Development Community thereby making NamPort the preferred gateway. The long term goal is to establish a cargo clearing one-stop facility at the dry ports for efficient customs clearance and border crossing," she said.
Statistics provided to The Namibian showed that apart from the neighbouring SADSC countries, cargo going through Walvis Bay comes from other countries that include Nigeria, Kenya and Congo Brazzaville.
Goods imported through Walvis Bay include frozen chicken, furniture, meat, ammunition, sugar and rice.
Late last year, China Harbour Engineering Company was awarded the contract to expand the container terminal at the port of Walvis Bay at a cost of N$3 billion.
The project will be funded by a loan from the African Development Bank with the governmen t providing a sovereign guarantee of N$250 million.
The port has seen tremendous growth over the years. In 1994 it was mainly a fishing port handling about 20 000 containers per annum. This figure has grown to about 350 000 containers per annum and is expected to reach one million containers per annum with the expansion project underway.
As Namibia has a small market and industrial base, NamPort is making efforts to attract business from neighbouring landlocked countries to export and import through Walvis Bay in order to put the facility to maximum use.
Original article by Chamwe Kaira