New ­container terminal ­inaugurated

President Hage Geingob called on SMEs to take advantage and make use of a new facility at the coast.

06 August 2019 | Infrastructure

Li Yin, CHEC; “Over 2 000 Namibian people were employed during the process.”

Walvis Bay • Leandrea Louw

The brand new Namibia Ports Authority (Namport) container terminal on reclaimed land in Walvis Bay was officially inaugurated by president Hage Geingob on Friday.

The inauguration coincided with the 25th silver jubilee of Walvis Bay's re-integration into Namibia.

President Geingob said Namibia has now joined countries such as ­Australia, Brazil, Dubai and the Nether­lands in the utilisation of reclaimed land for port expansion.

“We must ensure that the new facility is effectively utilised with increased throughput for the direct and indirect benefit for Namibia. I'm calling on the captains of industry as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to take advantage of the expanded facilities to augment the growth of their businesses and thereby bring much needed jobs to our people.”

He reiterated a promise made by government to Namibians to bring about economic growth and job opportunities.

“We are committed to this promise, on which we intend to deliver. Today is an indication that despite challenges, we are determined to build a united, developed and modern Namibian House, a Namibia which will be the jewel of our continent. Let us therefore keep our economy going - moving products, moving people and making sure that the Port of Walvis Bay and Namibia as a whole continue to offer world class facilities.”

Governor of the Erongo region Cleo­phas Mutjivikua said that all stakeholders should adopt a selfless, winning mindset.

“To become a globally competitive port we must provide excellent customer service for our customers in order for them to return with more business. All stakeholders involved, as well as management, need to work tirelessly and relentlessly in making the Port of Walvis Bay one of the most competitive ports in Africa and internationally.”

He also said the new passenger line berth at the new container terminal will see more cruise liners calling at the port, boosting tourism in the region. “This will help realise the region's mission to welcome 1 million visitors per year.”

Li Yin, vice-president of China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), said the new container terminal was the most challenging project undertaken by the company thus far.

“With over 100 experts from 30 countries we managed to pull our resources together to overcome the challenges we faced created by the soft soil, toxic hydrogen sulphide gas, the cultural differences and language barriers. We completed 4 billion hours of work without a single injury during the construction process. Over 2 000 Namibian people were employed during the process. CHEC invested N$1.2 billion in the domestic market and donated N$200 million to local SMEs. This port will change how Namibia does business.”

Namport and CHEC also each donated N$1 million to the Namibia Emergency Drought Relief Fund on the occasion.

Huge investment

Acting chief executive officer of Namport Kavin Harry said the container terminal was built to the tune of N$4.2 billion dollars and will see the port's capacity increase from 350 000 TUEs to 750 000 TUEs per annum.

“The reclaimed land is linked to the existing port land by a causeway and consists of quay walls, paved areas, buildings, roads, railway lines, ship to shore quay cranes and rubber tired gantry cranes.”

The project will not only provide increased container handling capacity in the port, but will also increase the port's bulk and break-bulk handling capacity by freeing up the existing container terminal to become a multi-purpose one.

Elzevir Gelderbloem, project manager of the new container terminal, said several project options were analysed before setting on expanding the port on reclaimed land.

“Revised traffic forecasts show that the new increased capacity will be sufficient for the next few decades. When the actual throughput reaches 65% of capacity, a new project will be implemented again to increase container handling capacity.”

Relocation of 2 500 to 3 500 containers from the old container terminal will take place from 17 to 23 August, with the commissioning of the facility set to take place at 07:00 on 24 August.

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