Port of Walvis Bay not up for sale
02 May 2021 | Infrastructure
Dr Panduleni Itula; IPC president “It goes beyond reason that anyone could even contemplate selling our economic hub …”
“The ownership of Namport and the Port of Walvis Bay is vested solely in the Namibian government and management is not aware of any decision nor process to sell off the Port of Walvis Bay to any investors,” says the CEO of the state-owned entity Andrew Kanime.
He responded to communication circulating on various social media platforms suggesting that the Port of Walvis Bay is up for sale.
Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) president Dr Panduleni Itula raised what he termed “a grave concern of the alleged sale of the Port of Walvis Bay under the guise of private investors” with president Geingob in a letter dated 20 April.
Itula said that the IPC with its overwhelming mandate in Walvis Bay and the Erongo region shall not sit and watch the devastating destruction of resources and assets by unpatriotic corrupt individuals whose only interest is their own bellies.
“It goes beyond reason that anyone could even contemplate selling our economic hub which generates some NAD 1 billion to our national coffers.”
Itula also called on president Geingob to explicitly and categorically address the nation on the conduct of the minister of international relations and cooperation Ntembu Nandi-Ndaitwa in relation to a visit to the United Arab Emirates where the deal was allegedly struck.
Kanime urged employees not to panic but to rather direct their efforts towards realising the strategic imperatives of governance, performance and sustainability.
He also emphasised that here is no relationship whatsoever between the Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) and the global trade enabler DP World.
“Whatever you’ve read or seen in the media we’ve also seen. I can categorically say that there exists no relationship between ourselves and DP World at this stage,” Kanime told journalist during an engagement marking his 150th day in office.
DP World’s flagship development, Jebel Ali Port, is the largest container port between Rotterdam and Singapore and the 11th largest container port in the world, with an annual capacity of 19.3 Million TEU.
The company with a network of more than 150 operations in 46 countries, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Namibia’s Nara Namib Free Economic Industrial Zone in 2019 to develop a free economic zone for industry and logistics in Walvis Bay to support the growth of Namibia as a regional hub for Southern Africa.
Kanime explained that it is a worldwide trend generally to concession container terminals and added that it has been historically proven that where terminals are being run through a concession, there might be benefits that derive from such operations.
‘This do not necessarily means privatising the offshore container terminal facility. We are referring to a public private partnership. Privatisation means 100 % ownership of an asset by the private sector. We are however looking at a smart partnership between the public and private sector.”
Kanime said that if Namport was to consider a concession, the port authority will be looking at an arrangement between itself and the private sector which will enable the port authority to derive benefits.
“If and when we get there, we will definitely provide correct information. Considering container terminal concession is always an option. We are however not there yet but are looking at the option.”
He gave the assurance that whatever arrangements will be reached will accommodate the best interest of Namport and Namibia specifically as a nation.
“We will not compromise on such interest and definitely want a win-win arrangement.”
Kanime also said that a very small percentage of the N$ 3 Billion loan from the African Development Bank received in November 2013 that enabled the construction of the offshore container terminal have been paid back.
“The facility was only commissioned in September 2019 and we only started with repaying the loan once the facility is actually operational. The loan is for 20 years and the facility is now being operational for nearly two years. Therefor the repayments made constitute a very minor percentage.”
The construction of the Port of Walvis Bay’s New Container Terminal on reclaimed land valued at N$ 4 Billion commenced in mid-2014 and the facility was commissioned on 24 August 2019.