GROOTFONTEIN'S TransNamib train station was on Wednesday promoted to a logistics hub for Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from the Walvis Bay harbour.
A logistics forum held at Grootfontein on Wednesday and attended by executives from TransNamib, the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, the Namibia Ports Authority, fuel transporters and courier services, also unanimously agreed with the decision to load and offload goods from Namibia or the DRC and Zambia at Grootfontein, and to distribute them to different destinations.
At the event, TransNamib's chief executive officer, Johny Smith, said the idea to convert the Grootfontein train station to a logistics hub was first discussed with some key business stakeholders from the DRC and Zambia, where it was endorsed as an ideal model.
Smith said the business model has many advantages since it largely cuts the transport distance from Lubumbashi in the DRC and Lusaka, Zambia, where volumes of copper products are loaded onto trucks via the B8, B1 and B2 trunk roads to Walvis Bay, and then shipped for export to Western markets.
Smith said at the moment, trucks from the DRC, Zambia or Namibia travel about 2 500 kilometres from the Walvis Bay harbour to Lubumbashi. Therefore, with the introduction of the Grootfontein hub, these trucks will now travel a distance of about 1 400 kilometres.
He added that the goods from the Walvis Bay harbour to Zambia or the DRC will be transported by trains from the harbour to Grootfontein, where they will be off-loaded, and immediately loaded onto trucks to the destined areas in the DRC or Zambia.
Smith said one cargo train from the Walvis Bay harbour will be able to load fuel commodities and goods of 30 trucks at once. TransNamib is prepared to dedicate four trains a week for this business idea.
SOURCE: The Namibian