WALVIS BAY - The Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) says the report represented by Rainer Ritter of the Economic Association of Namibia (EAN) on the state of Namport is ‘slanderous.’
Ritter in his recent presentations stated that Namibia’s vision of becoming a logistics hub is “too ambitious, desultory and costly,” and should be reassessed as a decline in cargo has been reported.
It also looked at whether Namport’s operational and financial figures are indicative of its logistic hub vision becoming a reality.
Ritter feels the expansion of the container terminal was a wrong decision, suggesting that it should have been carried out in stages.
However, the outgoing CEO of Namport, Bisey /Uirab, said they were never consulted when the ‘damaging’ reports were compiled and distributed nor were they given the opportunity to either verify the contents thereof or provide the context to some.
According to /Uirab, Ritter’s general lack of effective governance and appreciation of logistics within Namport and the government of Namibia has resulted in them responding to his report.
“He made no effort to consider Namport’s input before proceeding to the presentation he made,” /Uirab stated late last week.
/Uirab also said Ritter’s initial report said the compilation was necessitated by a Walvis Bay business person, a friend of his, who complained about punitive port costs.
In the latter regard, /Uirab said, they always exercised the principles of cost recovery, fairness and transparency in the pricing of Namport’s services and periodic review of tariffs.
According to Namport the annual tariff review process at all times entails engagements with port users where, at various forums, the basis upon which tariff adjustments are premised are tabled and views elicited from the customers. As such, Namport prides itself in a competitive pricing regime, as confirmed by a recent World Bank report.
“Thus, desktop comparisons of logistics charges of the nature conducted by the writer of the reports, without due consideration of the foregoing fundamentals, are, at the least, preposterous and may at best, distract from efforts to formulate mechanisms for the country to find meaningful work around/over these inherent challenges,” /Uirab stated.
As for the decline in vessel numbers as suggested by Ritter, Namport said this is clearly an incorrect and superficial view of the global factors influencing the number and sizes of vessel deployment by shipping lines.
He added that the global shipping industry has recently undergone immense viability challenges on the back of high operational costs, increasing competition and declining shipping rates. Hence the reduction in vessel calls at ports in Namibia is therefore not a factor of Namport’s charge but a worldwide trend, underpinned by the drive of shipping lines to curtail their operational costs.
“While Namport remains very open and receptive to ideas and suggestions which would advance the development of our ports and its role to the nation and the region at large, it is important that such engagements are done in a manner that is inclusive of all parties’ viewpoints, considerate and respectful of each other and devoid of innuendos which border on personal attacks and questioning of the competence and integrity of fellow professionals. It is incomprehensible and smacks of ill intent why the writer did not have the courtesy to seek Namport’s input to his report before sharing his so-called findings and analyses with the public,” he stated.
According to him Ritter in fact questions the country’s development priorities and suggests that some cabinet decisions are devoid of substance.
“This is quite unfortunate and begs the question that if the intentions are noble, why the writer would not give his input and ideas at the various forums.”