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 05 Aug 2019

By Calviniah Kgautlhe

Walvis Bay — Trade volumes are expected to increase along the Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC) after commissioning of a new container terminal in Walvis Bay, Namibia.

TKC chief executive officer, Mr Leslie Mpofu, said this in an interview during tour of the mega marine facility.

He said the container terminal would not only benefit Namibia but the SADC region as a whole.

The economic trade volumes were bound to increase, therefore trade between countries would grow.

The development, he said, positioned Namibia as a logistics hub and such logistic activities had spill off advantages to the region.

"Botswana has been trying to position herself as a transport hub and this will also increase activities coming to Botswana or going to the market," he said.

Mr Mpofu said the new container terminal would play an integral role in boosting inter regional trade by linking up Africa to enable countries to trade with one another.

He said the new container terminal would link up the transport corridors to increase efficiencies.

Such corridors, Mr Mpofu said, were the Trans Kalahari Corridor, Trans Kunene Corridor, which runs from Walvis Bay towards Angola, the Walvis Bay Ndola, Lumbashi Corridor also going through Zambia to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"All these corridors are trying to link up Africa, we don't compete, we complement each other," he said.

The new development in Namibia would also substantively contribute to the Trans Africa Highway since it helped in terms of connecting Africa to the sea ports.

The Trans Africa Highway, which runs from Morocco coming down to Abidjan, Sierra Leone, Namibia to Cape Town. Another highway runs from the cape, coming down to Tanzania and Botswana.

Mr Mpofu said development of road and railway infrastructure connectivity to all highways would connect Africa to the sea ports.

Furthermore, he said, Botswana has a dry port positioned in Walvis Bay, which has been operating for more than three years, "now that we have this new container terminal Botswana must optimise on this as the country needs trade to move through the dry port and therefore quite critical as a route".

As for South Africa, he said, the new container terminal was also important for South Africa since the country had a lot of trade moving on the TKC, "about 70 per cent of the cargo that moves along the TKC is South Africa".

Recently, he said, Zimbabwe inaugurated its Dry Port in Walvis Bay and this was also likely to increase trade volumes where there was going to be even more trade added by Zimbabwe.

Furthermore, he said the small businesses would not be left behind since the new container terminal brought about the high efficiencies that would create a conducive trade environment for small medium and micro enterprises (SMME).

"The small businesses are still growing so they cannot afford to go to a port where their products would spend about a week without being ferried to the destinations because the more they stayed in a port the more cost they paid.

So the new container terminal would ensure that SMME cargo stayed for only two days or even less and they would go to the market, hence the money they pay gets reduced," he explained.

The tourism sector in the region would also get a boost as the new container terminal would accommodate bigger passenger vessels or ships which would carry tourists who move from one port to another.

Acting high commissioner, Ms Taboka Matlhabaphiri, noted that more economic opportunities would be provided by the new container terminal to diversify access to markets for Botswana to export and import its products from overseas.

She said the new container terminal was designed to accommodate future development projects such as the Trans Kalahari Railway line.

The project was between Botswana and Namibia hence the two governments would work expeditiously to implement the project to harness the benefits.

She noted that industrial companies could even procure raw materials to use for their industries using the new trade facility.

The development of the new container terminal in Walvis Bay give Botswana companies and investors the opportunity to be able to use Botswana's Dry Port for purposes of logistics and cargo handling services. - Source : BOPA

SOURCE: All Africa