THE Namibian Ports Authority on Friday received the largest vessel to dock in Namibian waters ever – the 335-metre Maersk Sheerness.
The vessel has a loading capacity of 9 000 containers.
Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) commercial executive Immanuel !Hanabeb said the arrival of the vessel was of great significance to the country because it places the Walvis Bay port in a more competitive position as it can now accommodate larger vessels than before.
According to him, the shipping industry has adopted a new approach of using bigger vessels instead of multiple small vessels to transport cargo to save on operational costs and consolidate resources.
Since Namport inaugurated its new N$4 billion state-of-the-art container terminal last year, which has enabled it to accommodate larger vessels, it has enhanced its competitive capacity.
“A milestone of this nature shows the significance of Namport's investment into the future by equipping and preparing its staff members with the required skills for similar jobs ahead of time,” said !Hanabeb, adding plans to bring the Maersk Sheerness to Namibia started mid-2019.
A decade ago, the ports authority received urgent requests from some of the largest ship liners to develop the harbour to accommodate larger vessels.
Initially, Namport deepened channels and berths, and increased container storage and handling capacity.
The construction of the new terminal on reclaimed land was the cherry on top to date, increasing Namport's container-handling capacity from 350 000 units to over a million units.
The last time Namibia celebrated receiving a large vessel at the port was in 2011 when Maersk's Wafmax-class (West Africa Max) container vessel called at the port.
The 250-metre long vessel has a handling capacity of 4 500 containers (half that of the Maersk Sheerness).