The engineering, procurement and construction contract for the Walvis Bay port expansion was set to be awarded in August, with construction to start on site early next year and completion scheduled for 2017.
Speaking at a Namibian investment seminar, in Midrand, on Tuesday, Namibian Ports Authority (NamPort) executive for marketing and strategic business development Christian Faure said the port was being expanded to further position Walvis Bay as the “gateway” into the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
The company was currently finalising the financing for the N$3-billion project, which would add 650 000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) a year capacity to the current 350 000 TEUs a year capacity.
The tender, which closed in February, attracted seven bidders, namely China-based Sinohydro Corporation; Walvis Bay Harbour Contractors; Brazil’s Constructora AOS; the China Gezhouba Group; an RMB-led consortium comprising Namibian and South African financial institutions; Belgium’s Dredging International; China Harbour Engineering Company, Belgium-based Jan De Nul; Consolidated Contractors Company’s CCC-STFA-JDN consortium from Greece and STFA Group in Turkey.
Faure said the Walvis Bay port was on par with South Africa’s Durban and Cape Town ports and, with Namibia’s reach to more than 300-million potential consumers in the SADC region, the hub was ideally positioned as the preferred access route to markets in Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Angola and Botswana.
Namibia ranked 72 out of 148 countries in terms of liner shipping connectivity in 2012. This was up from its ranking of 102 seven years before and compared with South Africa’s 2012 ranking of 39 and Kenya’s position of 85, he said.
The country had a road network of 42 000 km, including 6 000 km of tarred, 25 000 km of gravel and 9 000 km of earth-graded road, extending to Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa.
The key routes linking the Walvis Bay deep-water port with landlocked countries in the SADC region included the Trans-Kalahari and the Trans-Caprivi.
A 2 500 km narrow-gauge rail track also connected Namibia to South Africa and Angola.
Namibia also had the Luderitz port, in south-west Namibia, which offered cargo handling and container facilities, boasting a new cargo container quay of 500 m and a new 64 t mobile harbour breakbulk and container crane.