The Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) has decided to extend the deadline for submission of expression of interest to collaborate with the Walvis Bay Industrial Development Initiative (WIDI) at the new N$4.2 billion container terminal.
The call for EOI (expression of interest), which was scheduled to close on 15 October 2021, has now been extended to a closing date of 30 October 2021. This was confirmed yesterday by NIPDB in a statement.
At the end of August this year, government invited global developers and operators with significant capability and well-proven experience in port and container terminal management, shipping and logistics sector operations, developers and operators of special economic zones and business development experts, through an EOI to partner with the WIDI.
In 2013, the Namibian Ports Authority (Namport), with the government’s support as a shareholder, embarked on an expansion programme through the construction of the new container terminal at the port of Walvis Bay. This was done in fulfilment of the fifth National Development Plan’s (NDP5) strategic objective to convert Namibia into a regional logistics hub.
The new container terminal has been described as a significant asset to Namport’s balance sheet and the government strongly believes it can now provide greater opportunity to promote Namibia’s economic development agenda, if leveraged, marketed and managed together with certain complementary components.
To further increase the container throughput at the facility and contribute to the country’s other strategic priorities such as job creation and value addition, government seeks to develop a special economic zone (SEZ) in near proximity to the Port of Walvis Bay.
Furthermore, as part of Namibia’s initiatives to enhance its competitiveness, ease of doing business and ambition to develop into a regional logistics hub, the implementation of a national single window has also become a priority project and is being considered alongside the development of a SEZ and the management of the new container terminal (NCT) by private developers and operators respectively.
To effectively implement the above initiatives, government consolidated them into a project called WIDI, which aims to improve Namibia’s efficiency and competitiveness as a regional logistics hub, with the main objective being to positively contribute to the country’s economic development, including the creation of quality jobs and the transfer of key skills for and to Namibians.
Furthermore, through the SEZ, the initiative is expected to aid the conversion of Namibia’s raw materials and resources to finished and semi-finished products and components as part of the drive to diversify the domestic economy.
The development of a SEZ is expected to significantly stimulate urban renewal and development in Walvis Bay and the wider Erongo region.
Accordingly, WIDI consists of three project components, namely: The management and operation of the existing NCT at the Port of Walvis Bay by a private operator; the development and deployment of a national single window facility; and the development and operation of a SEZ near Walvis Bay.
A national coordinating committee, with lead coordination by the NIPDB, has been constituted to identify and approach global market leading operators, and to facilitate the EOI from potential operators and developers on behalf of the government. In addition to the NIPDB, the committee is made up of the ministries of finance, public enterprises, industrialisation and trade, Namport, and Namibia Industrial Development Agency (NIDA).
“The call for EOI is taking the form of a market sounding process whereby participants with the relevant organisational size, experience and capabilities are invited to express an interest, and simultaneously submit an initial proposal of their approach to the various project components. Participants with an interest in only one of the projects are also encouraged to participate and provide details of their alternative plans to contribute to economic development and the country’s other strategic priorities,” read the statement.
The proposals currently sought from global operators are expected to enable government to assess the market appetite for partnerships if and when the project components are consolidated, or whether the benefits are increased if these projects are considered separately.