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 06 Aug 2019

WALVIS BAY - China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) says the construction of the Namibia Ports Authority (Namport) container expansion project was the most challenging project ever undertaken by the company.

CHEC vice-president Li Yi, whose company scooped the N$4.2 billion contract for the construction of the new container expansion project on 40 hectares of reclaimed land, said on Friday that CHEC participated in more than 100 projects in 90 countries so far.

“However I must say that this project was one of the most challenging of all.  We were faced with the rarest diatomaceous soil for the first time in the world - a soft soil with less than one millimetre particles size,” Yi said.

The company however managed to overcome the challenging job, accomplished with an international team of over 100 experts.

According to Yi, the hydrogen sulphide gas from the ocean floor was also an obstacle for CHEC during the dredging process, but they managed to pool resources and contained the toxic gas to a globally acceptable standard.

Apart from that, Yi said that at least N$1.2 billion dollars were spent in Namibia during the construction of the N$4.2 billion container terminal, excluding the N$200 million that was set aside to assist small and medium enterprise development by engaging local enterprises in providing goods and services.  
The company also employed over 2000 people during the construction of the terminal and gave to Namibians full scholarships to study engineering at some of the leading universities, while more than 800 Namibians benefited from skills transfer during work on the project.

Yi says that he believes that the project will change the way Namibia does business and will take the country to greater heights.

Namibia is considered as one of the best African countries to do business with and this project will further cement this assertion, he said.

Namibia’s Vision 2030 aims to catapult Namibia into an industrialised realm of the world is a grand blueprint.  

Hence this project will be a critical element in cementing Walvis Bay as the gateway port to southern Africa and will serve to unlock huge trading opportunities between the rest of the world and Africa, positioning Namibian as the ideal throughput enabler.

In order to achieve this, Namibia needs to further upgrade its rail and rod network, road and water infrastructure, said the Chinese executive.

Also speaking at the commissioning, Ambassador of China to Namibia, Zhang Yiming said that new container terminal bears the common expectations of the people and the governments of the two countries. 

“It is an important achievement for economic cooperation between the two countries. It also reflects the profound friendship between our people. On behalf of the Chinese government I would like to congratulate the Namibian government for a project well executed,” he said.

SOURCE: New Era - Eveline de Klerk