New container terminal inaugurated

Rudi Bowe

Namibia, and in particular Walvis Bay, reached a major milestone in its quest to become the preferred hub of import and exports in Southern Africa, with the port of Walvis Bay as the pivotal point. President Hage Geingob inaugurated the Namibia Port Authority’s new container terminal on reclaimed land in the port of Walvis Bay during a ceremony attended by close to 2 000 people.

The new container terminal, 40 hectares in size, was completed at a price tag of N$4,2 billion by China Harbour Engineering Company in a construction project spanning with a few months just over five years.
Capital for this project was partly funded by Namport from its own resource and from funding by the African Development Bank.
The container handling capacity of the port can now double to 750 000 tons per annum, as the terminal is equipped with four ship-to-shore cranes and an additional 600 metres of quay space added to the port of Walvis Bay.
In his keynote address at the opening President Geingob said Namibia is now well on its way to become an international logistics hub. The port of Walvis Bay’s increased cargo handling capacity and efficiency, coupled with various transport corridors linking Walvis Bay with major trade centres in all of her five neighbouring countries and the Democratic Republic of Congo is a competitive combination. Especially to the landlocked neighbours like Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia which needs access to ports in order to trade with over-seas markets.
The completion of the project which used land-reclamation as a major segment now places Namibia in the ranks of countries like Dubai, the Netherlands, Australia and Brazil which utilises land reclamation on a massive scale, added President Geingob.
The container terminal, which starts operations later this month, is a major leap towards reaching the country’s 2030 development goals.
The President expressed his satisfaction with the fact the project also includes a passenger liner berth and a yacht marina. Essential infrastructure to grow tourism. President Geingob urged the various stakeholders to now use this opportunity of the completion of the passenger liner terminal and marina to speed-up the development of the Walvis Bay Waterfront.
The Vice President of CHEC, Li Yi, in his addressed thanked Namibia for the opportunity the Company had for this project and added some 2 000 Namibian jobs were created, training was offered to 800 individuals and local procurement added to the local economy.
The African Development Bank’s Deputy Director General, Josephine Ngure, in her statement said the completion of the terminal will add greatly to making landlocked countries in SADC open to the global blue economy.
The Chinese Ambassador to Namibia, Zhang Yiming, said the completed container terminal is set to work hand in hand with China’s proposed Belt and Road Initiative.
Namport Director, Nangula Hamunyela said the terminal increases Namport’s assets to N$7,6 billion and is certain to strengthen the com-pany’s goal to become a logistics hub for the Southern African Region as a whole.
Before the actual commissioning of the new terminal, Port Engineer Elzevir Gelderbloem confirmed the port would shut down between 17 to 23 August for the migration of all containers and other relevant equipment to the new container terminal. On 24 August the container terminal officially starts operating.

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