With the opening and especially the new extension of the Walvis bBay Port Namibia has moved closer to the vision of a gateway for the SADC area. The SADC is an alliance of 16 member states, most of which are located in East Africa and South Africa. All member states together cover an area of 10.24 million km² and about 360 million people. This is 6.8 percent of the world’s habitable area and 4.8 percent of the world’s population.
The Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) is a Private-Public-Partnership (PPP) established in 2000, and is now pursuing its aim of making Namibia the new gateway to the SADC region. With its modern infrastructure, Walfisbay offers a good alternative to the ports on the east side of the African continent.
A few years ago, Namport deepened the harbour to 12.8 metres, laying the foundation for an increase in traffic. Ships with a larger cargo capacity that had previously had to call at ports in the Republic of South Africa were now able to moor in Walvis Bay. The route to the attractive markets of the SADC region is thus significantly shortened. Container ships, for example, only need 16 days from Antwerp to Walvis Bay. Thanks to good hinterland connections, their cargo will be able to reach the South African industrial region of Gauteng or Gaborone (Botswana) 48 hours later.
The composition of the WBCG Group is remarkable. It consists of the Namibian Transport Association, Air Namibia, the Ministries of Finance, the Interior, Trade and Industry as well as Construction and Transport, the Road Authority, the Container Liner Operators Forum, the Namibian Logistics Association, the Chamber of Commerce, the Port Users Association and Namport, which operates the port of Walvis Bay.
What was launched in Walvis Bay was completely new, the creation of a PPP was a challenge for the WBCG. Planning and construction took a long time to involve all partners and it took 19 years for the new port to become the gateway to the SADC.
The port and its corridors will provide links with Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi and South Africa.
The Walvis Bay Corridors are an integrated system of well-maintained tarred road and rail networks – accommodating all modes of transport – from the port of Walvis Bay via the Trans Kalahari, Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor (formerly known as Trans-Caprivi), the Trans-Cunene and the Trans-Oranje Corridor, which provides access to transatlantic markets for SADC landlocked states.
The Trans Kalahari Corridor connects the port of Walvis Bay with Gaborone and Gauteng in South Africa. From there, this corridor connects with the Maputo Corridor on the east coast of southern Africa. The Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor connects the landlocked countries Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Trans-Oranje Corridor connects the Port of Lüderitz with the North Cape Province of South Africa.
The most important organisational strength of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group is its unique public-private partnership (PPP) institution of transport and logistics players from the public and private sectors. The partnership enables the pooling of resources, expertise and authorities of both regulators and operators to form an integrated transport and logistics service for potential customers.
The Group’s organisational structure as a PPP allows it to rely on the public sector for issues such as customs, traffic regulation and infrastructure development, while the private sector can focus on business development such as marketing and providing practical operational proposals and logistics solutions. Both arms contribute to job creation, the institutions themselves and the related infrastructure.
The Walvis Bay Corridor Group has offices in Lusaka Zambia, Johannesburg South Africa, Lubumbashi DRC and Sao Paulo Brazil.
More information: Namport