In light of recent industry developments, which include road, rail and sea upgrades, Namibia's logistics and economic aspirations are well on track to being realised.
Several industry projects are at varying stages of progression, which shows the Namibian Government’s commitment to developing the sector to better position itself as a viable transport link to the region. The brand new container terminal commissioned at the Port of Walvis Bay earlier this month offers increased capacity and enhanced efficiency for cargo throughput. The creation of dry ports for the landlocked countries of Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia in the port further aids Africa’s vision of stronger linkages with neighbouring countries.
Priority projects related to the road infrastructure are additionally enjoying attention. The on-going construction of the road between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund aims to ease the flow of traffic between the coastal towns, which impacts on travel time and improves safety on the route. The road link between Walvis Bay and Botswana is being upgraded with current construction carried out on the Windhoek-Okahandja dual carriage highway, as well as the work on the Western Bypass link to the Hosea Kutako airport road. There are another five road upgrades planned on the Walvis Bay corridors, which are crucial links to neighbouring countries.
Maintenance on the Namibian Railway network has commenced with the upgrade of the Walvis Bay to Tsumeb section of the railway line. The Government plans to further extend the railway network, building rail infrastructure that will link to the neighbouring countries of Botswana and Zambia in the foreseeable future. The realisation of this infrastructure will see an easing of heavy cargo on the road system and furthermore lower landside transport costs into the region.
As the implementing agency of the country's Logistics Master Plan, which seeks to transform Namibia into a regional transit hub, the Walvis Bay Corridor Group's core focus area remains to sustain the momentum gained thus far.
According to the Group's Acting CEO Mr. Clive Smith, these developments are defined programs under the Namibia Logistics Hub Project. "The successful implementation of these projects would attract a host of opportunities such as the imminent exports of manganese through the port of Lüderitz to the international markets", he says.
According to the Namibia State of Logistics Report for 2018, which was launched earlier this year, the logistics industry has the potential to contribute 4.6% to Namibia’s GDP, if properly realised.
As economic infrastructure projects such as roads, ports, and rail remain crucial for regional and continental integration, Mr. Smith explains that the recent major infrastructure development and programs under the Logistics Hub Project give credence to the potential of Namibia to enhance regional trade and to greatly contribute towards the Africa Free Trade Agreement implementation.
"WBCG remains close to these developments and continues to advocate for priority transport infrastructure that is supported by a robust supply chain network, conducive policies, and regulations and a core focus on trade facilitation to ease the movement of goods and people. We are proud of these developments and excited to continue to promote, market and manage our Corridors for safe, efficient and cost-effective transport services", Mr. Smith says.
SOURCE: Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG)