New day for Namport

Namibia has joined countries such as Australia, Brazil, Dubai and the Netherlands in the utilisation of reclaimed land for port expansion.

05 August 2019 | Transport

The Namibia Ports Authority's (Namport) new container terminal on reclaimed land in Walvis Bay was inaugurated on Friday.

The N$4.2 billion container terminal increases the port's capacity from 350 000 TUE to 750 000 TUE.

Relocation of 2 500 to 35 00 containers from the old container terminal will take place from 17 to 23 August, with the commissioning of the facility set to take place at 07:00 on 24 August. President Hage Geingob said the new facility must be effectively utilised to the benefit of Namibia.

“Here we have a city to which tourists can travel by road, rail, air and sea. This is a feat worthy of celebration. However, let us not use these achievements as an excuse to sit back.

“We must seize this moment of growth and development to vigorously pursue and fast-track the development of the Walvis Bay Waterfront so that we can further elevate our attractiveness as a business and leisure destination,” Geingob said.

“This project is an indication that despite challenges, we are determined to build a united, developed and modern Namibian House. Together, we can make it happen. Together, we can achieve our dreams and together, we can build a Namibia which will be the jewel of our continent.

“Let us, therefore, keep our economy going - moving products, moving people and making sure that the port of Walvis Bay and Namibia as a whole continue to offer world-class facilities,” he added.

Erongo regional governor Cleophas Mutjivikua said all stakeholders should adopt a selfless, winning mindset.

“To become a globally competitive port we must provide excellent customer service for our customers to feel that they must come back. All stakeholders involved, as well as management, need to work tirelessly and relentlessly in making the port of Walvis Bay one of the most competitive ports in Africa and internationally.”

Li Yin, vice-president of China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), said the terminal was their most challenging project yet.

“With over 100 experts from 30 countries we managed to pool our resources together to overcome the challenges we faced created by the soft soil, toxic hydrogen sulphide gas, the cultural differences and language barriers. We managed to complete four billion hours of work without a single lost-time injury during the construction process.

“Over 2 000 Namibian people were employed during the process, and CHEC spent N$1.2 billion on the domestic market and allocated N$200 million to assist SME development by engaging local enterprises in providing goods and services,” he said.

Yi further said that in order for Namibia to achieve Vision 2030 it needs to further invest in large-scale infrastructure.

“Namibia would need to upgrade its rail and road network, improve its fresh water resource to meet industrial demand, and larger airports to meet the demands of the tourism industry.”

Funding for the project was provided by the African Development Bank (AfDB), having secured a sovereign guaranteed loan of N$2.9 billion in 2013. In addition, the AfDB advanced about N$ 2.3 million to the Namibian government to support and encourage companies to invest in the infrastructure and systems required to provide port users with a wider range of value-added freight and logistics services.

Elzevir Gelderbloem, project manager of the new container terminal, explained that to keep up with the growing demand in the port, several project options were analysed before settling on expanding the port on reclaimed land.

“We had the option to do nothing, extend berth 1 into the adjacent fishing factory which would have cost us N$350 million to relocate the factory, or the complete reconstruction of the existing terminal and land reclamation in the southern part of the port.

“Building the port on reclaimed land created minimal disruption to normal port operations during construction as well as huge room for future expansion by simply adding onto the reclaimed land. This was the only option which offered the increase of all cargo handling capacity, not just containers.”



LEANDREA LOUW

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