Lignes Maritimes Congolaises (LCM), the national shipping line of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has opened an office in Walvis Bay.
LCM collects royalties from shipping lines that carry cargo to and from the DRC.
Speaking at the opening, Walvis Bay mayor Trevino Forbes said the harbour town plays a significant role in trade facilitation, not just for Namibia but for the entire region. “Hosting our main port and supported by a host of logistics services, we have positioned ourselves as an alternative route for DRC, Zambia, Botswana, Angola, Zimbabwe and South Africa.”
He said it makes Walvis Bay exceptionally proud that LMC opted to partner with Africa Union Cargo, a well-established enterprise in Namibia, to support its projects in the region and beyond.
Africa Union Cargo CEO Clive Smith said LMC was established 40 years ago.
“The DRC government decided to revitalise its own shipping line in 2016. LMC then went through a transformational phase, which included the appointment of a new management team and various new projects.”
One of the first projects implemented was the collection of taxes due to the DRC government by all shipping lines and maritime operators that carry cargo to and from that country. LMC is mandated to collect these taxes.
According to Smith, LMC also works at establishing new shipping lines or trade routes to and from the DRC.
“This comprises a service between African ports, which would include Walvis Bay. Salt is exported from Walvis Bay to the DRC, and eventually LMC vessels will also call at the port of Walvis Bay; this is one of the main reasons they have chosen to operate from here.”
Erongo governor Neville Andre said over the years, Namibia has exported a number of products to the DRC, while Namibia has imported refined copper, copper ore and raw copper from there.
“These activities contribute to the revenue of Namibia and create job opportunities for our citizens. It is a win-win relationship. We also recently established a technical team that is looking at technical aspects of cooperation between Erongo and Walvis Bay with the Kongo Central province and Matadi town.”
Andre said he was pleased that the DRC wants to operationalise its dry port in Walvis Bay, a move which will boost the local economy.
“For Africa to develop and take its rightful position in the world economy, we need to trade with each other to the maximum level before looking outside the continent.”