Gearing for massive 2020 target

Floris Steenkamp

The next batch of components of 71 Peugeot and Opel vehicles are under shipment from France to Namibia, ready for assembly at the newly inaugurated Peugeot-Opel Assembly Plant (POAN) at Walvis Bay.

The plant is owned and operated by the French Groupe PSI, a global player in the vehicle manufacturing trade which in 2018 alone saw an 8 % growth in its world-wide sale of vehicles (it sold 2,2 million vehicles in 2018).
POAN, which is situated in the new industrial area of Walvis Bay, already in its first weeks of operation assembled 15 vehicles. The 71 vehicles’ components are now at sea as containerised cargo, shipped from the port of Dunkirk in France and are landed at the port of Walvis Bay.
These shipments are to become regular practise, as POAN gears to assemble 5 000 vehicles in Walvis Bay by 2020. All vehicles destined for the new vehicle market in the countries making up the Southern African Customs Union (SACU): Namibia, Bot-swana, South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.
Production at POAN will be expanded in a staggered formation, with assembly capacity and employment gradually increased to-wards target 2020, it was explained on the side lines at the plant’s inauguration by President Hage Geingob on Wednesday.
On a question by Namib Times, as to how these masses of vehicles will be distributed to the markets, it was explained that existing logistics channels of the new vehicle trade be-tween South Africa and Namibia will be utilised. South Africa currently dominates the new vehicle distribution network in SACU with vehicle carrying trucks fanning out from this southern-most neighbour into SACU. These vehicle carriers return empty to South Africa, hence POAN’s production out-puts would optimise the capacity of these vehicle carriers.
∙A question that could not be answered was whether the new units, destined for dealerships in Namibia, will first be exported to South Africa and then re-imported into the country.
By the very nature of the vehicle manufacturing- and trade industries are secretive on their activities, as competition is fierce. Hence, it was explained, the limited in-formation flow during the months the assembly plant was set-up in Walvis Bay, and also the limited information on the practical arrangements of how the vehicles would be distributed into the Namibia new vehicle trade.

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