WINDHOEK - TransNamib Holdings Ltd, and Botswana Railways (BR) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Gaborone, Botswana, which will culminate in the development and operation of a container terminal in Gobabis. The MoU, signed at the end of November between the two railway operators, signals the beginning of a fruitful and beneficial relationship to develop and enhance trade between the two countries. The MoU was signed by TransNamib CEO, Johny Smith, and his Motswana counterpart, Leonard Musa Makwinja.
“The future of railways offers many opportunities”, said Smith during the signing ceremony at the end of November.
The cooperation is also expected to facilitate in opening import and export opportunities, and to unlock value on the TransKalahari route–even though the two countries are not completely linked by rail yet.
Furthermore, this MoU serves as a short to medium-term partnership to connect the two rail companies via a rail and road intermodal service between Namibia and Botswana. The intermodal linkage from Walvis Bay to Gobabis will, therefore, reduce the road transportation return trip with about 1 200 km.
The alternative is that goods can be moved from the Port of Walvis Bay to Gobabis by rail in order to more conveniently serve markets, including Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
This agreement serves as impetus, and it should bring back life into rail again, hoping that this serves as a starting point to assists the two Governments to develop the Trans Kalahari Railway (TKR) project.
The MoU incorporates collaboration in the areas of Business Development and Marketing, Benchmarking and Operational Excellence, Business Process Reengineering and Systems Maps, Train Plan Automatisation and Signalling Systems, Level Crossings and Siding Connectivity, and Human Capital related Learnings and Growth.
The Trans Kalahari Corridor has been identified to hold potential to unlock significant commerce and trade opportunities for Namibia. The Trans Kalahari Corridor is tripartite trans-boundary Corridor Management Institution, which was established with a political and economic vision to pursue or contribute towards deeper regional integration programmes of SADC and SACU. This is to be achieved by linking the port of Walvis Bay to the port of Maputo on the east coast of Africa.
The TKC connects highways of Namibia, commencing at the Port of Walvis Bay through Kanye and Lobatse in Botswana, to South Africa mainly to the industrial heartland of the greater Gauteng.