Offshore container terminal nearly completed

The container terminal is due for completion in June 2019.

22 October 2018 | Infrastructure

Philip Coetzee, Woker Freight Service GM; "It promises increases in business volumes, cargo flows, and additional commodities coming through..."

The construction of the new container terminal at the port of Walvis Bay which commenced in May 2014, is more than 85% completed, the Namibian Port Authority (Namport) announced on Tuesday.

Namport said on its website that the construction and completion of the project is leading the port closer towards its goal of speeding up global transit, meeting regional freight demand and helping Namibia becoming a regional logistical hub.

Walvis Bay is Namibia’s only deep water port able to handle large ships.

The container terminal, being constructed on 40 hectares of land reclaimed from the sea and due for completion in June 2019, is expected to increase and lead to sustained trade between the South African Development Community and the rest of the world, according to the African Development Bank Group.

Woker Freight Service GM Philip Coetzee welcomed the expansion and said it was positive news for the industry and for businesses.

“It promises increases in business volumes, cargo flows, and additional commodities coming through, and this is definitely a positive outcome.”

Supported by a loan from the African Development Bank in 2013 of N$2,982 m (approximately US$300 m), or 87.6 % of the costs, the container terminal is expected to increase the container handling capacity from the current 355 000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to up to 1 005 000 TEUs.

Additional capacity will also lower the transport costs of goods purchased in Namibia and neighbouring countries.

The bank support also includes financing the purchase of up-to-date port equipment and training for pilots and operators at the new terminal.

Four ship-to-shore (STS) gantry cranes were acquired at a cost of N$440 million and delivered in February.

A mobile harbour crane can handle 15 containers per hour on average. The newly acquired cranes can load and unload 30 to 40 containers in the same time. This will ensure faster off-loading of containers from ships and quicker turnaround for ships, minimising port congestion. Operators are being trained to ensure the cranes become operational by the end of this year.

Tino !Hanabeb, Namport executive for commercial services, told delegates at the Walvis Bay Corridor Group forum recently that various areas at the existing container terminal will become available for general cargo handling with an estimated capacity of 100 000 tons per month from mid 2019.

Imported commodities through the port of Walvis Bay consisted of mainly petroleum (35 %), copper and lead concentrate, fish and fish products.

In addition, vehicles, sugar, coal, chemicals, wheat, cement, steel and malt are also imported.

According to !Hanabeb, chemicals, fertilizer and wheat exports are set to start in 2020 with a target of 50 000 tons per month.

Exports through the port of Walvis Bay consists mainly of bulk and bagged salt (40 %), fish and fish products, marble and granite, copper/lead and concentrate. Charcoal, wooden products and scrap steel are also exported.

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