Less salt trucks on Walvis Bay’s streets

The number of hauls of bulk salt from the salt works to the port of Walvis Bay’s bulk salt terminal is to reduce by one thousand trips per month with immediate effect, Walvis Bay Salt Refiners announced this week. This is thanks to an overhauled fleet of side tipping trucks, that can each carry a load of 34 tons of salt, to replace the current fleet of trucks that can carry only 20 tons per haul.

The announcement was made on Tuesday at the mine site of Walvis Bay Salt Refiners where the company’s logistics service provider, Unitrans, showcased the nine trucks which will replace the current fleet. For the occasion the Chief Operating Officer of Unitrans International, Mr. Terry Bantock personally attended and said this was an initiative for change.
Bantock explained as a logistics service provider, there are many challenges that has to balance out. A safe speed, the fact that salt is hauled on main routes in Walvis Bay, the time window of operations, the fact that no salt spillage may take place and overloading are a few such factors that need to be managed constantly.
Moreover, these factors must be managed against the economies of bulk salt handling. Salt is a high-volume commodity with a very thin profit margin.
“We have to optimise”, explained Bantock. Adding: “the economics don’t stack up”, if a fleet of brand new trucks is pushed into the local market to haul bulk salt.
Although the trucks were second hand, some N$45 million was spent to coat each vehicle with a corrosive resistant agent, a new layer of paint and a driver monitoring system were also installed. This monitoring system is remotely controlled from an operations centre in Cape Town, on a 24/7 basis.
Residents of Walvis Bay can now look forward to reduced salt truck traffic, specifically on Kovambo Nujoma Lane and 5th Road and a cleaner and dry road surface.
Also addressing guests at the occasion on Tuesday was the Managing Director of Walvis Bay Salt Refiners, Mr. André Snyman. Snyman recognised operations by the salt producer were not meeting social acceptable standards at all times. [It is a known fact, residents in the past complained over the high salt truck volumes, noise pollution and spillage on the street surfaces.
Thanks to a culture of continuous improvement and efficiency that is a hallmark of Walvis Bay Salt Refiners’s business recipe, this problem has now been overcome.
Walvis Bay Salt Refiners, explained Mr. Snyman in his address, is one of the oldest mining companies in Namibia with a lifespan stretching already more than fifty years. Bulk salt exports from the salt pans accounts for 50 % of all volumes exported through the port of Walvis Bay and the company pumps some N$160 million into the Namibian economy per year, of which N$100 million is spent in Walvis Bay and the wider coastal area.

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