TRUCK drivers, the people working relentlessly across international borders to ensure that Namibians does not run out of vital food and other supplies, will henceforth be accommodated at a new temporary facility at Walvis Bay to minimise their contact with the rest of the population.
The lockdown of all countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent quarantine requirements means that trucks, especially those carrying goods across borders, are not able to move as fast as they normally would.
The hold up of trucks has had a significant negative impact on the overall supply chain.
At the inauguration of the new temporary facility, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Namibian Ports Authority, Kavin Harry, said the absence of a formal truck parking facilities within Walvis Bay poses a serious risk for the spread of the COVID-19 in the event that drivers coming from high risk areas interact with or reintegrate into the local communities before they are adequately screened and certified COVID-19 free.
“The quarantine requirements entail that trucks, especially those carrying goods across our borders, are not able to move as fast as they normally would and that is also having an impact on the overall supply chain,” he said.
Harry pointed out that the Walvis Bay Corridor Group set up the mobile clinic to ensure that drivers are screened and healthy before they are allowed to leave the facility.
LOGISTICAL SUPPORT: Neville André, the Governor of the Erongo Region, the Acting CEO of Namport, Kavin Harry and the Mayor of Walvis Bay, Alderman Immanuel Wilfried taking a tour of the Temporary truck port set up at Walvis Bay. Photo: Contributed
Erongo Regional Governor, Neville André, said the isolation facility will be operational for a period of 27 days and although the drivers will be sleeping in their trucks, they will be provided with running water, shower facilities, mobile toilets, refuse bins and electricity during the period of operation.
“I am impressed by the swift actions of the transport and logistics fraternity and regional stakeholders to provide innovative solutions to this on-going pandemic. We will continue to monitor the requirements throughout,” André said.
The governor called on all stakeholders and the public to continue to do their best to contribute towards the national efforts to combat COVID-19.
“I strongly urge that we all comply with the set guidelines and regulations, wear a face mask when in public space and continue to practice social distancing,” he said.
The Mayor of Walvis Bay, Alderman Immanuel Wilfried, said that given the risk profile of truck drivers, the reasons for the facility are self-explanatory.
“While most of our economic activities have been in a state of hibernation since stage one of the lockdown, our truck driving community has been doing a standout job of helping Namibia and her neighbouring countries survive the pandemic. I commend our truck drivers for their understanding and cooperation in this very important matter,” Wilfried said.
The Mayor thanked all truck drivers for serving the nation with devotion and said that he, along with the residents of Walvis Bay, take comfort in knowing that they will continue with their highly regarded efforts.