Our journey started on 28 February 1994, when Walvis Bay was reintegrated into Namibia and the Namibian Ports Authority Act was passed. The Act placed the Port of Walvis Bay’s assets, management and staff back under Namibia’s jurisdiction. Since then, Namport, under the auspices of the Ministry of Works and Transport, has been tasked with managing, operating and developing Namibia’s ports. The Port of Lüderitz and the lighthouse situated at Diaz Point was officially transferred to Namport on 15 March 1995.
Some highlights of our journey and the tremendous growth we experienced during the past 21 years are captured below.
1994: Announcement of the promulgation of the Namibian Ports Authority Act, 1994 (Act 2 of 1994) in the Government Gazette (No. 810), dated 28 February 1994. Signed by the President on 25 February 1994, the Act provides “for the establishment of the Namibian Ports Authority to undertake the management and control of ports and lighthouses in Namibia and the provision of facilities and services related thereto; and to provide for matters incidental thereto.”
1995: Extension of the cold storage agreement, which serves to enhance the Port of Walvis Bay’s service to the fishing industry. Official transfer of the Port of Lüderitz and the lighthouse situated at Diaz Point to Namport.
1996: Signing of the Ten-year Strategic Port Development Plan to align the Port of Walvis Bay as a regional port. Acquisition of Blue Ocean building in Walvis Bay and Seaflower land and buildings in Lüderitz, as well as the Lüderitz boatyard. Successful exportation of a record single consignment of 36,000 tonnes of bulk salt.
1997: Acquisition of Namport’s first mobile crane for the Port of Walvis Bay, substantially improving container handling capabilities. Completion of new headquarters building valued at N$80 million.
1999: Signing of an agreement with Danida (Danish International Development Assistance) for the manufacture and delivery of a tug named Cormorant, the fifth tug in Namport’s fleet. Approval of the Namport Regional Trade Plan, resulting in the establishment of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG), tasked with promoting the utilisation of Namibia’s transport corridors.
2000: Increased container handling capacity through the commissioning of a dedicated container terminal at the Port of Walvis Bay. Deepening of berths 1 to 3, the approach channel and the turning basin to -12.8 metres. Pelican Point and Diaz Point Lighthouses fully automated.
2002: Establishment of the Marine Pollution Combating Centre. Completion of the Lüderitz Waterfront Project.
2003: Planning for the syncrolift expansion, valued at N$272 million.
2004: Celebrating 10 years of operation. Establishment of a direct containerisation route between South America and Namibia boosts Namport’s Hub Port Strategy.
2005: Investment of N$65 million to ensure that the floating dock operation can commence the following year under a public-private partnership agreement with Elgin Brown and Hamer Namibia (Pty) Ltd, operating as EBH Namibia (Namdock).
2006: Commissioning of the first floating dock with 8,000 metric tonnes lifting capacity. Establishment of two subsidiary companies: Lüderitz Boatyard (Pty) Ltd and Namport Property Holdings (Pty) Ltd.
2007: Inauguration of the Namport Social Investment Fund (NSIF).
2008: Commissioning of the second floating dock by EBH Namibia.
2009: Appointment of a new CEO, Bisey /Uirab. National and regional co-operation is firmly cemented, as Namport enters into leases of land for the establishment of dry ports for the Governments of Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Signing of Memorandum of Understanding between Namport and various entities, among others Transnet, Lüderitz Town Council, Karas Regional Council, Lüderitz Waterfront Development, TransNamib and the Namibian Competition Commission. Welcoming of the Sedneth 701 as the first oil rig to come alongside at berth 8 of Port of Walvis Bay.
2010: Signing of a co-operation agreement with the Namibia Police for the establishment of a Namibian Police Force Unit in the Port of Walvis Bay.
2011: Completion the Port of Walvis Bay’s Port Optimisation project, which includes increasing the water depth at berths 1 to 3 and the entrance channel from -12.8 metres to -14.0 chart datum, to gear up for container business demands. Increase of the capacity at the container terminal from 250,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) to 355,000 TEUs, making it possible to accommodate two 4,500 TEU vessels (or two 250 metre LOA vessels) simultaneously. In June 2011, launch of the Maersk WAFMAX service in Walvis Bay, with the biggest container vessel, the Maersk Conakry, visiting the Port of Walvis Bay.
2013: Commissioning by EBH Namibia of the third floating dock (Namdock III) with lifting capacity of 15,000 metric tonnes, leading to a 50 percent increase in capacity. After 40 years in operation, major rehabilitation of the syncrolift platform undertaken, putting the lift out of commission for four months.
2014: Commencement of the New Container Terminal project on 40 hectares of reclaimed land at the Port of Walvis Bay. Application for the extension of Namport’s port limits and title to the land area at Angra Point, north of the Port of Lüderitz, with the aim of developing a deep-water port.
Signing ceremony of the bilateral agreement between Namibia and Botswana for the construction of the Trans-Kalahari Railway Line Project, which will facilitate the transport of coal exports from Botswana. Launch by the CMA CGM Group, a French container transportation and shipping company, of the improvement of its Asian-Africa service that will deploy 12 vessels of 5,700 TEUs to Namibia, with the first vessel, the ER Canada, visiting the Port of Walvis Bay.
2015: Commencement of the new port rail network project at the Port of Lüderitz, and preparatory work done for the establishment of a new cold storage facility at this port.
Construction of Phase 1 of the Port of Walvis Bay SADC Gateway (Petroleum Liquid Bulk Terminal) commenced; a project of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, this terminal will be managed by Namport on completion.