Mega-cold store for Walvis Bay to facilitate mass fish exports

A cold storage facility, with a capacity of 12 500 tons, will be constructed at Walvis Bay at a total price tag of N$400 million. Construction is scheduled to commence during March this year and would take eighteen months to complete.

The completion of this project will considerably enhance Walvis Bay’s cold chain capacity, mainly for the import and export of fish. The facility also has capacity to handle other pro-ducts like meat, dates, and other fresh products relying on a cold chain from harvesting to plate.
Moreover, it would also end the current market arrangement where fish for instance has to be export via Spain to markets in South America. Direct export capacity would ensure Namibia’s products go directly to the market, instead of detours which only add to price inflation and longer delivery times.
According to Mr Robert de Villiers, the Acting Managing Director of Walvis Bay National Cold Storage, the development was commissioned by the Namibian Industrial Development Agency (Nida) in keeping with the country’s industrial capacity. Nida was established by Act of Parliament in 2018 (Act 16 of 2016) to advance Namibia’s industrialisation agenda in line with the country’s 5th National Development Plan and to achieve these industrialisation goals through harmonised cooperation between the State and the private sector.
A cold chain is crucial for among others the export of fish. Although the Namibian Government has been promoting land-based fish processing in recent years, this cannot gain full potential unless Walvis Bay’s cold chain capacity is enlarged.
The cold chain is a term applied to food handling and distribution where the product is maintained at suitable temperature conditions all the way from harvesting, through the cooling or freezing process to the point of export or in the case of import, up to the point of sale.
De Villiers explained the new cold storage facility would be constructed some three kilometers from the Walvis Bay International Airport. The facility will be strategically located for both import- and export movement and will have a capacity to discharge a 30-tons truck in under 30 minutes.
The bigger picture of the 54 000 square meter facility’s processing capability, De Villiers emphasised, was that Namibia would no longer have to export fish via Spain to leading Namibian fish importers like Brazil. “We’ll be able to export straight to our clients in South America. We’re also looking at clients in Europe.” According to De Villiers at least 75% of the facility will be concentrated on fish. “However, we’ve also identified date and meat exports and chicken imports as possible beneficiaries of the new development.”

Irvaan Maharaj, SA-based business development manager for the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, whose responsibility it is to market the port and its logistical linkages, said the new facility would contribute significantly to the port’s potential. (This article was compiled from media information of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group).

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