DRC national shipping line now anchored in Walvis Bay
06 September 2021 | Business
Clive Smith; Africa Union Cargo; “The DRC government decided to revitalise its own shipping line in 2016...”
Lignes Maritimes Congolaises (LCM), the national shipping line of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) opened an office in Walvis Bay.
LCM collects royalties from shipping lines that carry cargo to and from the DRC.
Speaking at office opening, Walvis Bay mayor Trevino Forbes said that Walvis Bay plays a significant role in trade facilitation, not just for Namibia but for the entire region.
“Hosting our main port and supported by a host of logistics services, we have positioned ourselves as an alternative route for DRC, Zambia, Botswana, Angola, Zimbabwe and South Africa.”
Forbes said it makes the harbour town exceptionally proud that LMC opted to partner with Africa Union Cargo, a well-established enterprise in Namibia, to support its projects in the region and beyond.
CEO of Africa Union Cargo Clive Smith said that LMC was established 40 years ago.
“The DRC government decided to revitalise its own shipping line in 2016. LMC then went through a transformational phase, which included the appointment of a new management team and various new projects.”
One of the first projects implemented was the collection of royalties / taxes due to the DRC government to be paid by all shipping lines and maritime operators that carry cargo to and from that country.
LMC has been mandated to collect these taxes.
According to Smith, LMC is also working at establishing new shipping lines or trade routes to and from the DRC.
“This comprises a service between African ports, which would include Walvis Bay. Salt is exported from Walvis Bay to the DRC, and eventually LMC vessels will also call at the port of Walvis Bay; this is one of the main reasons they have chosen to operate from here.”
Smith explained that Africa Union Cargo is part of Africa Union Holdings with offices across the globe.
“We are a diverse group that focuses on investment, property development, trade and logistics. Africa Union Cargo is the logistics arm of the holding group. We met with LMC in 2019 in DRC, where our first engagement started. We realised the importance of LMC as a government agency and the idea of establishing itself across the world.”
AUC then made various propositions to LMC.
“The first was that we could represent LMC outside of the DRC. We showcased that we have the necessary infrastructure, the knowledge and experience, networks and relationships with access to ports all across the globe, and most notably we have a strong relationship with Namport.”
The first office outside of the DRC, was opened on 1 September in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“We will open offices in Tanzania, Kenya, Dubai and are in the process of opening a second office in China. LMC is establishing itself in the international markets, acquiring new vessels and trucks, and they are looking to invest in dry ports in the DRC and various other strategic points within the region.”
Erongo governor Neville Andre said that over the years Namibia has exported a number of products to the DRC, whilst Namibia has imported refined copper, copper ore and raw copper from there.
“These activities contribute to the revenue of Namibia and create job opportunities for our citizens. It is a win-win relationship. We also recently established a technical team that is looking at technical aspects of cooperation between Erongo and Walvis Bay with the Congo Central Province and Matadi Town.”
Andre said he was pleased that the DRC wants to operationalise its dry port in Walvis Bay, a move which will boost the local economy.
“For Africa to develop and take its rightful position in the world economy we need to trade with each other to the maximum level before looking outside the continent.”