SADC vehicle imports boost Walvis Bay

Windhoek – Namibia’s drive to have its landlocked neighbours increasingly use Walvis Bay port is bearing fruit.
Statistics released this past week by the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG), which promotes the use of the country’s transport corridors and the Walvis Bay port, show that the volume of vehicles imported through the port more than double during the past year.
During 2012, more than 20 000 vehicles moved via the Walvis Bay Corridors to countries such as Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, WBCG said.
This has injected more than R150 million into the Namibian economy, which represents more than 100 percent increase in revenue compared to the previous year, the group said.
Just more than three years ago, most of these vehicles were transported via other transport corridors in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. The WBCG said now, customers in the region have found a shorter and safer alternative to transport vehicles to their local markets.
“This has resulted in an immense economic benefit to the Namibian community, where it is mostly the SMEs that are benefiting from this business.
“This income could have otherwise been contributed towards other port economies in the SADC region,” said the corridor group.
The vehicles, which are mostly used, are imported from all over the world and are sometimes driven by road over vast distances of more than 2 500 kilometres from Walvis Bay.
“The current shipping services provide a linkage of both left-and right-hand vehicles, which are sourced from markets such Europe, the UK, the US and Asia and can, therefore, provide to all the market options in the SADC region.
“The growth in the import of vehicles to the neighbouring countries has built confidence among importers to utilise the port of Walvis Bay for the import and export of other commodities,” the group said.
The group’s chief executive officer, Johny Smith, said in order for Namibia to further grow the market for the Walvis Bay Corridors, “it is important that the country focuses on improving its transport infrastructure and trade facilitation services continuously as it will provide much needed income for the economy in the short, medium and long term”.
The Namibia Port Authority (NamPort), which runs the port at Walvis Bay, has embarked on a R4-billion port expansion project. This development is a result of enormous growth and an increase in cargo volumes.
In 2010, Walvis Bay handled 5.25 million tonnes of cargo against 5.4 million tonnes the previous year despite the downturn in the world economies.
The cargo ranged from machinery, frozen fish and chicken, sweet products, motor vehicles and construction equipment.
Namibia has already offered dry port facilities to Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe as part of plans to increase the use of Walvis Bay port by these land locked countries.

February 2013
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