Sea transport key in boosting Namibia’s trade

Road transport less preferred

10 July 2021 | Economics

Windhoek ∙ Phillepus Uusiku

For the month of May 2021, sea transport was the main driver of total goods transported, with rail transport coming in second position.

According to the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), the sea-cargo index which consists of sea-landed, sea-shipped and sea trans-shipped recorded a monthly growth rate of 35.5% month-on-month, further up from a decline of 45.4% registered in April 2021. However, the index recorded a decline of 21.6% year-on-year.

The monthly increase recorded in the sea-cargo index is attributed to sea landed and sea-shipped. Sea trans-shipped registered a slower growth during the review period.

In addition, the rail cargo Index recorded an increase of 9.7% month-on-month compared to a decline of 1.7% registered in April 2021. The growth registered on a monthly basis is mainly due to increased volume of cement and copper concentrate that was transported during the review period.

Furthermore, the road cargo index registered a monthly decline of 27.8% in May 2021 compared to a growth of 33.5% recorded for April 2021. On the other hand, on an annual basis, the index improved by recording a growth of 30.1% from a reduction of 30.0% in May 2020, NSA pointed out.

The sea-landed index recorded a growth rate of 45.7% month-on-month for May 2021. This is better-off when compared to a decline of 56.7% recorded in the preceding month. Over the year, the index remained weak, registering a contraction of 9.0%.

The increase observed monthly is mainly accredited to the high volumes of landing in bulk cargo by appliances of containers for petroleum and sulphuric acid imported through the port of Walvis Bay, NSA.


The sea trans-shipped index continued with a slowdown, registering a monthly growth rate of 3.7% during the month under review, while a growth rate of 19.5% was recorded in April 2021. On an annual basis, the index declined by 90.9%.

The increase recorded on monthly basis was mainly reflected in the high volumes of trans-shipment for break-bulk cargo of frozen fish in vessels and frozen products in break-bulk cargo trans-shipped through the port of Walvis Bay, NSA added.

The total volume of cargo transported by sea in May 2021 amounted to 407 390 tonnes compared to 300 680 tonnes recorded in the preceding month. The total volume of cargo transported by sea for May 2020 stood at 519 722 tonnes.

Overall, Namibia transported 810 940 tonnes of cargo through rail, road, air and sea, compared to 801 118 tonnes and 840 939 tonnes that were transported for April 2021 and May 2020, respectively.

Therefore, the overall composite cargo index recorded an increase on a monthly basis of 1.2% in May 2021 compared to a decline of 16.2% registered in April 2021. The index declined by 3.6%, year-on- year, NSA said.

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