RoRo’s on a roll

Namibian harbours enjoy preference for the import of vehicles to landlocked countries.

13 October 2020 | Infrastructure

The Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) continues to be the choice of call for Roll on Roll off (RoRo) vessels.

Its strategic location gives Namibia an advantage as a connecting point to neighbouring landlocked countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Congo which make frequent use of Namport’s seamless offerings.

“This is evident with the recorded four RoRo’s which docked at the Port of Walvis Bay in September, with another four expected to call in October,” says Namport acting executive for commercial services, Elias Mwenyo.

Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, Namport managed to safely receive 17 RoRo’s for the past six months.

According to Mwenyo, although these numbers do not show an increase, it is worth noting these vessels were allowed to dock at the Port of Walvis Bay despite the pandemic.

“This allowance is due to the strict health practices that the port authority ascribes to. Namport is committed to realising its dream of becoming the best performing Port in Africa.”

The most recent RoRo that docked in Namibian waters is the RRC Compass, which discharged 217 vehicles destined for different markets within Southern Africa.

RoRo’s are primarily used to convey vehicles in bulk and their presence indicates the market for vehicles remains favourable in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region.

RoRo vessels can berth at designated areas due to the access ramp that has to be lowered. They are designed to carry wheeled cargo, such as cars, trucks, semi-trailer trucks, trailers, and railroad cars, which are driven on and off the ship on their own wheels or by using a platform vehicle such as a self-propelled modular transporter.

This is in contrast to lift-on/lift-off vessels, which use a crane to load and unload cargo.

RoRo vessels have either built-in or shore-based ramps that allow the cargo to be efficiently rolled on and off the vessel when in port and can carry up to 5 500 vehicles per load.

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