Port of Walvis Bay’s importance to Zambia’s copper mining sector

Eileen van der Schyff

The port of Walvis Bay continues to raise the bar as logistics hub for import and export flows between world markets and land-locked Southern African nations.

The dry bulk vessel, Dynamic Striker, recently called at Walvis Bay to discharge 30 000 tons of granulated bulk sulphur, destined for the copper mines of Zambia. Granulated sulphur is used by Zambian copper mines to produce sulphuric acid, an important chemical component in copper production.

During February of this year a consignment of 20 000 tons of granulated sulphur was handled in the port of Walvis Bay.
Although 20 000 tons is a fair average for dry bulk handling by the port of Walvis Bay, this operation was unique in two very important aspects:
Firstly, a bagging plant was bagging the sulphur as the product was discharged from the ship. The bagging plant, recently commissioned by the Manica Group of Namibia on a 22 hectares area of land in the port of Walvis Bay, completed the task at a rate of 3 000 tons per day. Secondly, the bagged sulphur was transported by road to Zambia. That ensured empty trucks could haul copper from Zambian mines to the port of Walvis Bay, for export.

The bagging of dry bulk commodities landed by ships in Walvis Bay is creating more dry bulk business opportunities for Namport with Namibia’s neighbouring countries. Simultaneous, trucks hauling the dry bulk products to Zambia returns with copper, cutting transport cost for producers and creating local business opportunities for Namibian operators, Namport explains in a statement.  Adding, it also creates opportunities for increased sulphur imports and boosting Zambia’s copper export capacity.

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