DP World defends Walvis port ambitions
05 March 2020 | Infrastructure
The Dubai-based company, DP World, which is being punted to operate the upgraded Walvis Bay port, insists it can unlock massive opportunities.
This followed a report suggesting that Namport would end up in an undesirable situation should it partner with the company.
DP World said if it is given the mandate to operate the port, by linking it with its proposed free trade zone, it will secure investment while providing collateral free capital to Namibians.
“They have shown willingness to invest up to N$25 billion in the economy. We are looking at a government to government bilateral, not a [Willem] Goeiemann (works executive director) agreement,” DP World said yesterday.
It said companies invested in neighbouring South Africa were keenly eyeing Namibia and showing constant interest in moving their manufacturing bases here.
An article in The Namibian claimed earlier this week that Goeiemann was favourably disposed to DP World’s submission following a request by transport minister John Mutorwa to share his opinion on the matter.
“What has been [negatively] reported about DP World that you can find? Nothing. You couldn’t even find anything,” the company said.
“If we get the mix right, sister companies from DP World will be willing to partner with Namibian companies. DP World will bring foreign direct investment by bringing capital for Namibians to participate in the free zone. This can create the cargo volumes that Namport needs.”
Another motivation would be to create a one-stop shop that would allow users of the port ease of payment for use of the free zone and port combined.
The money DP World was willing to put on the table would also allow Namport to further expand the Lüderitz port.
Namport has defended its decision not to partner with any firm, saying any decision would need to be done in an open and transparent matter.
“It has been made very clear in the past to all these parties that should a decision be made on the concession of the new terminal, such partner would be selected by way of an open and transparent bidding process as prescribed by the Public Procurement Act and Public Private Partnership Act,” its board chairperson Gerson Hinda wrote in a letter to the works ministry.
He also noted it would pose litigious and reputational risks for the port operator if it were to proceed to give DP World the mandate to operate the port.
Hinda added that DP World’s success with regard to operating the free zone was not dependent on it being given the mandate to operate the port terminal.
The World Bank has previously advised that the terminal be managed by a private operator. This arrangement would mean that the operator would bear the costs of managing and running the facility for a number of years, while it recovers investments it has made through service charges that would be passed onto end-users.