Linking Botswana and the Atlantic

The Botswana-owned Dry Port Facility in Walvis Bay is expanding gradually.

13 May 2019 | Infrastructure

Sea Rail, the company that operates Botswana’s Dry Port at the Port of Walvis Bay, has reaffirmed its commitment to delivering cost-effective competitive services in an effort to unlock economic growth.

The company is a subsidiary of Botswana Railways which has four dry ports and terminals located in Gaborone (GABCON), Francistown (FRANCON) and Palapye (PALCON), as well as the Walvis Bay Dry port in Namibia.

Outlining the value proposition of the Botswana Dry Port, the manager of the facility Derick Mokgatle, said that Sea Rail functions as a transport link to regional neighbours, diversifying port routes for Botswana’s strategic commodities. “The dry port was established as a strategic infrastructure project on a long-term basis to create an alternative route to less congested sea ports on the Atlantic coast. We increased access to international markets especially Europe and Americas by having a dedicated port ground on the Atlantic Ocean for imports and exports.”

Mokgatle said that the Botswana Dry Port established a footprint for future Trans-Kalahari rail corridor development and to improve efficiencies to Botswana and for customers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

“Established with the aim of increasing BR’s share of traffic, these dry ports facilities have reduced the turnaround time and costs of containerized cargo deliveries, giving locally based importers and exporters a safe, faster, cheaper alternative to road transport.”

Second phase

The second phase of the development which involves the procuring of equipment and building a warehouse, as well as putting up a reefer station, is at an advance stage. This will enhance accessibility to the facility, and make it a one-stop-shop for all types of cargo.

“We managed to establish our footprint at Walvis Bay and have a good product to sell. The equipment will assist the company in attracting more business, and enable it to be efficient in providing services to its clients,” he said.

“We have already acquired a truck tractor and a forklift, while the process to secure a reach stacker and a side-lifter trailer is ongoing. A tender for the development of the reefer station was awarded recently. The tender for the development of the warehouse will be issued shortly after we finalised the design of the facility,” Mokgatle said.

The Botswana Dry Port Facility was established to facilitate, fast-track import and export activities within the SADC region at an estimated cost of N$50 million. The second phase will cost approximately N$30 million.

The facility at the Walvis Bay Dry Port in Namibia was opened in 2015 after an agreement between Botswana and Namibia port authorities was reached in 2009.

The Dry Port’s 36 200 m² can handle 4 800 cars annually with its assigned 300 parking bays.

The facility offers general housing as well as the potential to develop specialised warehousing that handle a combined 80 000 tonnes. It also accommodates a container handling facility which handles 17 000 TEUs every year and is designed to have a cold storage facility with the potential to handle up to 10 000 tonnes annually.

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