Zim fails to utilise dry port facility in Namibia

Zim fails to utilise dry port facility in Namibia
Published: 19 March 2014
Zimbabwe has been urged to develop its dry port facilities in Namibia in order to increase its trade reach to the international market.

A dry port is an inland terminal directly connected by road or rail to a seaport and operating as a centre for the trans-shipment of sea cargo to inland destinations especially in cases where the importer or exporter is far away from sea port, such as Zimbabwe.

NamPort manager of corporate communications Liz Sibindi told The Zimbabwe Mail that years after the Namibian government offered its landlocked neighbours to set up dry port facilities at Walvis Bay, only Zambia had developed its dry port and the facility is fully operational.

Sibindi confirmed that Botswana had started developing its dry port while Zimbabwe was yet to develop its facility.

"The responsibility to develop these dry ports is with the respective governments to develop their facilities hence NamPort would not want to speculate on the reasons for delays," Sibindi said.

She said the dry ports would enable the land locked countries to facilitate and handle their cargo through NamPort and boost export and reduce import trade volumes by over 45%.

For Zimbabwe, the facility would significantly reduce the import bill.  "This in turn increases the volumes that are carried on the corridors. It is a way of promoting trade relations within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), while boosting exports for the countries as they will have easy access to a port.

"The long term goal is to establish a cargo clearing one-stop facility at the dry ports for efficient customs clearance and border crossing," Sibindi said.

Statistics provided by the NamPort showed that apart from the neighbouring SADC countries, cargo going through Walvis Bay comes from other countries that include Nigeria, Kenya and Congo Brazzaville.

Goods imported through Walvis Bay include frozen chicken, furniture, meat, ammunition, sugar, rice and more recently high volumes of motor vehicles.

Walvis Bay port has seen tremendous growth over the years.

In 1994 it was mainly a fishing port handling about 20 000 containers per annum, this figure has grown to about 350 000 containers per annum and is expected to reach one million containers per annum with the expansion project underway.

Walvis Bay provides a real alternative to landlocked countries in the region, especially for time-critical cargo, while the dry ports would serve to diversify the landlocked countries' export routes.

Walvis Bay is a natural gateway for international trade and receives approximately 3 000 vessel calls each year, while handling about 5 million tonnes of cargo.
- zimmail


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