• October 20th, 2019

Accountability tracker: Assessing the Transport Infrastructure Development since the 2014 elections

Following the National and Presidential Elections in 2014, the Swapo Party election manifesto was adopted as government policy for the period 2015-2019. Subsequently, Cabinet by its decision No. 44/02.06/003 adopted the said manifesto and directed that all government offices, ministries and agencies, regional and local authority councils as well as State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) should incorporate the manifesto into their strategic and annual plans.

New Era, in line with President Hage Geingob declaring 2019 a Year of Accountability, has commenced an accountability tracker to assess progress and question the state of projections and institutions in Namibia.
Infrastructure development from rails, sea-ports, roads to airports is one of the ultimate investments which contribute immensely to the country’s economic growth and attract domestic and foreign investment. As such, within the said manifesto, the Ministry of Works and Transport administered various infrastructure development projects which New Era assesses in this maiden edition.

Transport sector 
Rail Network Upgrade: N$1.5 billion; 650 semi-permanent jobs
A total of 193km of railway line (Kranzberg-Tsumeb 53km and Aus-Luderitz 140km) has this far been fully upgraded to Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) standard of 18.5T/axle load minimum.

Another 174 km was partially upgraded and 541 km received heavy maintenance during the same period between Kranzberg and Tsumeb. The total cost of rail upgrades over the past five years is about N$1,552,374 899. 
With the assistance of Africa Development Bank (AfDB), plans are already in the pipeline for the upgrading of the 209 km of railway infrastructure between Walvis Bay and Kranzberg to minimum Sadc standard. 

According to Works Executive Director Willem Goeiemann, “The Ministry is busy with the procurement process, and the upgrading work will be completed in three years’ time.”

Adds Goeiemann: “After the rehabilitation of the Kranzberg – Tsumeb section, passenger trains are now safely operating up to Tsumeb at the imposed temporary speed restrictions unlike in the past when the trains were not allowed to run for safety reasons.” 

To date, up to 530 470 tons of Sulphuric Acid has been transported on the railway line without incident since August 2015.
The railway line also transports the bulk of fuel going to the northern regions as well as other general containerized cargo. The main commodities transported on the railway line are: lime, cement, and slagment copper concentrates; fuel; and Sulphuric Acid. 

Again, during the period under review, a total of 28km of earthwork embankments, on the Ondangwa – Oshakati rail section was completed at a cost of N$262 million while a Road-over-Rail bridge was constructed in the same section costing N$46 million. 

Up to 604 366 P2 concrete sleepers were also produced at the Tsumeb Manufacturing Plant (by GPT / TRANSNAMIB JV). These sleepers were used to replace the steel sleepers during rehabilitation and upgrading of the Railways. A total of 324 383 P2 concrete sleepers were inserted in the track. 
As a result close to 650 semi-permanent jobs were created during the period in review in during the railway line construction.

Maritime Infrastructure: Biggest port project since ‘90
Since the last elections in 2015, the Ministry of Works and Transport also oversaw the development of maritime infrastructure at the Walvis Bay Port and the project is the biggest ever port development undertaken since independence.
Initiated in 2012, the new Walvis Bay container terminal on reclaimed land includes the reclamation of 40 hectares of new land on which a modern container terminal is being built that will more than double the Port of Walvis Bay’s container handling capacity to 750,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) per annum.

Mantains Goeiemann, “The project does not only offer infrastructure development but offers security to the country’s trade by way of containerized cargo movement for a number of years and has furthermore huge spin-offs in terms of direct and indirect job creation.”

The actual construction started 2013, following the award of the construction tender to China Harbour Engineering and Construction Limited (CHEC). The construction included the deepening (dredging) of the navigational channel which commenced in 2015 to allow bigger vessels to dock at the Port of Walvis Bay.

 Funding for the project is predominantly derived from the African Development Bank (AFDB) loan of N$2,982 billion.
Further funding amounting to N$725 million was committed towards the project by the Namibian Government in terms of the Medium Term Economic Framework for the period ending 2018, while Namport was expected to make capital contributions amounting to N$590 million.

The project is scheduled for completion in August this year and upon completion, will immediately position Namibia as a major logistics hub for the Southern African region, serving importers and exporters within the country and along the trade corridors spanning from Namibia through Zambia to the Democratic Republic of Congo and through the Trans Kalahari corridor to Botswana, Zimbabwe and the northern regions of South Africa.     
Caption (Port): An artist impression of the Namibia Ports Authority’s (Namport) new SADC Gateway Port

Road Infrastructure;
720km upgraded, 78km in progress
In terms of road network development, projects were embarked upon and a total of 720km of the roads sections were successfully upgraded to bitumen Standard on the MR118 Oranjemund – Rosh Pinah (101 KM), MR Otjinene – Grootfontein (163 KM), MR67 Ruacana – Omakange (100 Km), MR110 Omafo – Outapi (102 Km), MR120 Okatana – Endola – Onhuno (15 Km), TR2/1 Windhoek – Okahandja Upgrading to Freeway Section 1 (10 Km).
Again a number of roads are being upgraded to bitumen Standard and are set to be completed in 2019 on highways such as the MR44 Swakopmund – Walvis Bay upgrading to freeway (30 Km);  the TR2/1 –Windhoek Okahandja upgrading to freeway (Section 28 Km), the TR9/1- Windhoek – Hosea Kutako International Airport upgrading to Freeway Phase 1 (8 km); the MR120 Okatana – Endola – Onhuno to Oshakati (4 Km) - the project is being upgrading to dual carriage way, the MR44 Swakopmund – Henties Bay upgrading to freeway (92 Km).

This is besides the 217km on-going access roads to schools and clinics which are being gravelled where contractors are on site, establishments are completed, bush clearings are completed and the contractors are busy with the concrete works.
Caption (Section): Section 4A of the Windhoek-Okahandja dual carriageway which is under construction. - Photo: Nampa

Airport Infrastructure
The Ministry of Works and Transport has administered developments on a number of airports including the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA): Short Term Intervention Project.
The expansion of the current Terminal (Terminal 2) and upgrading of the VIP Terminal (Terminal 1) to address the congestion at HKIA is in progress. The financial forecast of this project is estimated at N$245 million. The Project is expected to be completed in December 2019. 

All procurements will be done in line with the Public Procurement Act of 2015, according to the accounting officer.
Refurbishment of the Katima Mulilo Runway is expected to resume in this financial year (2019/20) at the Katima Mulilo Airport and the upgrading work on the runway at the Eros Airport is also expected to commence this year.
Government is also at work at the Ondangwa Airport where the Loose Floor tiles and pavers at the entrance of airport were rectified. At present, the upgrading work on the runway is on hold pending the finalisation of the Court Case between the Namibia Airports Company and the contractor. A High Court judgement is reserved until June 3, this year.

Sustainable Urban Transport Master Plan
In order to improve urban and rural transport systems countrywide, the Ministry, in conjunction with local authorities, developed two Transport Master Plans (Sustainable Urban Transport Master Plan for greater Windhoek, connecting Windhoek with Hosea Kutako International Airport; Okahandja and Rehoboth, and Sustainable Urban Transport Master Plan for the northern Regions - Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshana and Oshikoto). 

All these major upgrades on the country’s transportation network are expected to improve quality of life by providing ease access to schools, health facilities, work places, markets and delivery of goods and services. It will further contribute to the social-economic, job creation and the country’s developmental growth.

Staff Reporter
2019-05-02 09:36:35 | 5 months ago

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