About six months after the completion of Namport’s new N$4.2 billion Walvis Bay container terminal, the port authority says it has been receiving enquiries from potential clients who are eager to move business through the new terminal. Namport is adamant this is a positive sign not only for the port authority but for the country as a whole. February marked six months after the commissioning of the new container terminal on reclaimed land.
Namport emphasised that the new terminal has not yet seen full capacity, which has much to do with the ailing global economy. However, Namport executives said they have seen positive changes in terms of volume at the terminal especially from August to November. In this regard, port officials noted they are aware of other ports along Africa’s west coast and what happens at these ports affects Namibia’s ports as well.
From August to December 2019, the Port of Walvis Bay moved 69 166 TEUs, which are Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units. TEUs are used to measure a ship’s cargo carrying capacity. In 2020 approximately 15 930 TEUs were moved through the port.
Meanwhile, the operations team at the terminal recorded the highest productivity in a decade at a rate of 36 moves per hour. Within a space of five days, the team managed to record an impressive 39 moves per hour, which is a current record. Previous moves per hour recorded was 26 moves per hour, which were subsequently increased to 30 moves per hour.
The new terminal is currently still operating in project mode as there are still minor aspects to be completed, such as Information and Communication Technology features which are still to be fully tested before a full transition as well as several projects in terms of automation, including the “zero-error system” for maintaining yard integrity. According to Namport officials, work has also progressed on an ICT solution for breakbulk, which is expected to be rolled out in April this year.
Namport has also noted an influx of passenger liners since the commissioning of the new terminal. AIDA Cruises, a German cruise line, has been one of the cruise liners overnighting at the Port of Walvis Bay and earlier in January, the MSC Orchestra made its maiden voyage to the port of Walvis Bay where more than 3000 passengers and crew members disembarked, venturing into Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.
MSC South Africa Managing Director, Ross Volk, expressed his excitement with the announcement that MSC cruise ships will be visiting the Port of Walvis Bay and Port of Lüderitz on a more regular basis in the next season from the Port of Cape Town. According to Mr Volk; “From next season we will have two vessels based in southern Africa, one doing the east coast and one the west coast. So, instead of us only have two to three calls in Walvis Bay and Lüderitz, we are going to have a vast number of calls, in fact, 22 from Cape Town”.