THE Namibian Ports Authority is the in the process of shifting its focus on developing a new multipurpose terminal and supporting infrastructure to be able to handle non-containerised cargo in future.
In this regard Namport signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding with the Port of Dunkerque as well as the French Development Agency in Walvis Bay. The MoU amongst others avails a grant of N$10, 6 Million to Namport to initialise the development of the new non-containerised terminal while projects to improve the port authority’s service rendering capabilities and increase capacity for handling containerised cargo.
Kavin Harry, the interim Chief Executive Officer of the Namibian Ports Authority, said prior to the signing ceremony that the MoU and funding comes at an opportune time that would enable Namport to achieve its development goals.
Harry told the delegation led by the Vice-President of the French Senate Valélerie Létard that Namport aims to improve the port of Walvis Bay’s positioning as a logistics hub for landlocked countries in the Southern African Development Community with augmented traffic from amongst others the Port of Dunkerque.
“We are also in the process of enhancing our technical, financial and organisational capabilities through benchmarking against best practices and further learning opportunities on the back of the support from our partners in the tripartite union,” Harry said.
He said Namport is also in the process of formulating steps towards implementing a ‘green port’ strategy aimed at creating a more cohesive relationship between the ports of Namibia and the environment.
“I wish to underline that it is our conviction that the collaboration with the Port of Dunkerque will go a long way in achieving the objective of becoming the logistics hub of choice in the region given the availability of extensive expertise used to develop world class facilities and infrastructure back home in France.”
Harry gave Namport’s assurance to the tripartite partners that the principle outcomes of the undertaking as described in the MoU are fully implemented.
The Vice-President of the French Senate and Senator of the Hauts-de France region, Valérie Létard, said the signing of the MoU became essential as the maritime sector strongly contributes to the economy of her constituency and in this regard the development of relationships with foreign partners is important.
“Our region is one of the main economic areas in Europe, with direct access to Paris, Brussels, London, Amsterdam and Luxembourg. The area is served by the Port of Dunkerque and the ports of Boulogne and Calais forming the first port system in France. Like in Namibia we benefit from a dynamic fishing industry and we are very keen on strengthening the synergies between the stakeholders of this sector and our ports,” she said.
Létard said she is pleased to see that the technical cooperation between Namport and the Port of Dunkerque that was identified by the French Agency for Development and the Regional Economic Service is entering into a very concrete phase of implementation as laid down in the MoU.
“This project consists of peer-to-peer exchanges and consulting services. The MoU was designed and drafted in line with the strategies of both ports to pursue their main development goals,” she said.
The Vice-President of the French senate said that besides the grant of N$10, 6 million the French Agency for Development will always be available to support the future investment needs of Namport through soft loan financing.
Létard said she looks forward to seeing the positive results of the project.