More cold storage for Walvis

Harbour

23 February 2021 | Infrastructure

Robert de Villiers, acting MD, “Although it's more expensive to build, we guarantee getting a 30-tonne truck in and offloaded in under 30 minutes.”

Namibia will soon boast a N$400 million cold chain facility capable of storing 12 500 tonnes of exports and imports at Walvis Bay.

The facility will be built about three kilometres from the international airport west of Walvis Bay. Construction is expected to start in March and will take about 18 months.

According to Robert de Villiers, acting managing director of Walvis Bay National Cold Storage, the N$400 million development was commissioned by the Namibian Industrial Development Agency (Nida) in keeping with the country's goal to enhance its fisheries industry.

“Our government has a policy to process fish on land, but they can't ­implement the policy ­because currently there's no on-site freezing capacity.”

Existing cold storage facilities, such as they are, were not equipped to meet the country's cold chain objectives, De Villiers pointed out, especially after the new port at Walvis was inaugurated in August 2019.

“It's too small and you can't get product out fast enough,” De Villiers said.

“The storage facility we'll be building will be focused on first-world efficiencies.

“Although it's more expensive to build, we guarantee getting a 30-tonne truck in and offloaded in under 30 minutes.”

The bigger picture of the 54 000 square meter facility's processing capability, De Villiers emphasised, was that Namibia would no longer have to export fish via Spain to leading Namibian fish importers like Brazil.

“We'll be able to export straight to our clients in South America. We're also looking at clients in Europe.”

According to De Villiers at least 75% of the facility will be concentrated on fish.

“However, we've also identified date and meat exports and chicken imports as possible beneficiaries of the new development.”

De Villiers explained that the company was ­conceived towards the end of 2019 after Nida approached them to drive this project, but then the virus came.

In the interim, available time has been used to make sure all angles are covered before Walvis Bay embarks on its next portside development.

“All the design work is finished, approvals are done, and we're ready to turn the first sods in building the facility.”

Moreover, De Villiers and co have already identified the new facility will have to be enlarged as soon as possible.

“Market potential necessitates ramping up capacity by a further 15 000 tonnes to 25 000. That will be a second-phase project we hope to initiate once the first phase is completed.”

Irvaan Maharaj, SA-based business development manager for the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, whose responsibility it is to market the port and its logistical linkages, said the new facility would contribute significantly to the port's potential.

- Additional information by Walvis Bay Corridor Group