Logistics vision gathers steam

27 August 2019 | Infrastructure

Recent upgrades to Namibia's roads, railways and ports have brought the country closer to reaching logistical and economic targets.

According to the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG), several industry projects are at varying stages of progression, which shows government's commitment to developing the sector to better position itself as a viable transport link to the region.

“The brand new container terminal, commissioned at the port of Walvis Bay earlier this month, offers increased capacity and enhanced efficiency for cargo throughput. The creation of dry ports for the landlocked countries of Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia in the port, further aids Africa's vision of stronger linkages with neighbouring countries,” the WBCG said. According to the company, priority projects related to road infrastructure are also enjoying attention. It said the ongoing construction of the road between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund aims to ease the flow of traffic between the coastal towns, which will impact on travel time and improve safety on the route.

The road link between Walvis Bay and Botswana is being upgraded, with current construction being carried out on the Windhoek-Okahandja dual carriage highway, as well as work on the Western Bypass link to the Hosea Kutako International Airport road. There are also another five road upgrades planned on the Walvis Bay corridors, which are crucial links to neighbouring countries.

Maintenance on the railway network has commenced, with the upgrading of the Walvis Bay to Tsumeb section of the railway line.

According to the WBCG, government plans to further extend the railway network, by building rail infrastructure that will link to Botswana and Zambia in the foreseeable future. The realisation of this infrastructure will see an easing of heavy cargo on the road system and lower landside transport costs into the region.

“As the implementing agency of the country's logistics master plan, which seeks to transform Namibia into a regional transit hub, the Walvis Bay Corridor Group's core focus area remains to sustain the momentum gained thus far.” The group's acting CEO Clive Smith said these developments are defined programmes under the Namibia logistics hub project.

“The successful implementation of these projects would attract a host of opportunities, such as the imminent export of manganese through the port of Lüderitz to international markets,” he said.

According to the Namibia State of Logistics Report for 2018, which was launched earlier this year, the logistics industry has the potential to contribute 4.6% to Namibia's GDP, if properly realised.

Smith explained that the recent major infrastructure development and programmes under the logistics hub project give credence to Namibia's potential to enhance regional trade, and to greatly contribute towards the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).



ELLANIE SMIT

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