NAMIBIA has kept operations at both its harbours going while the COVID-19 pandemic raged at its fiercest to keep vital trade routes open and ensure that its neighbours could survive without any shortages of goods.
The stance taken by the Namibian Ports Authority to continue operating has cemented Walvis Bay’s position as a logistic hub of choice.
In this regard, four roll-on-roll-off vessels, also known as RoRo’s, docked in the port Walvis Bay during September. More are expected to call at the port during October.
According to Namport’s acting commercial executive Elias Mwenyo, the harbour authority hosted 17 RoRo’s since March.
“Although these numbers do not show an increase in cargo volume, it is worth noting that these vessels were allowed to dock at Walvis Bay despite the pandemic. It was only possible because of strict health measures that the Namport implemented,” Mwenyo said.
He said that the continued presence of the specialised cargo vessels that are primarily used to ship wheeled cargo in bulk also indicates that the market for vehicles is still favourable in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region.
The most recent Roro to dock in the port of Walvis Bay is the RRC ‘Compass’, which discharged 217 vehicles that were destined to different markets within the region.
RoRo’s are designed to berth at designated areas in the docks because the ships must lower and extend an access ramp to allow wheeled cargo to be rolled onto or off the vessel. The vessels normally transport cars, trucks, semi-trailer trucks, trailers, and railroad cars, which are driven on and off the ship on their own wheels or using a platform vehicle, such as a self-propelled modular transporter.
This is in contrast to lift-on/lift-off vessels, which use a ship to shore cranes to load and unload cargo.
Some RoRo vessels can carry up to 5 500 vehicles at a time.