WALVIS BAY – President Hage Geingob said small and medium enterprises (SMEs) must take advantage of the new container terminal at Walvis Bay to augment the growth of their businesses and bring much-needed jobs to the country.
The container terminal at the port is a strategic hub, he added.
Geingob was speaking on Friday when he commissioned the N$4.2 billion new container
terminal at Namport (Namibian Port Authority) that was constructed at the harbour town by China Harbour Engineering Company.
A proud Geingob said it is up to Namibians now to ensure that the facility, constructed on 40 hectares of reclaimed land, is effectively utilised with increased throughput for the direct and indirect benefit of Namibia.
The development is government’s single biggest investment to date and is part of its vision to transform the country into a super logistics hub due to its strategic position and its ability to allow landlocked countries access to international markets via the Atlantic Ocean.
“Government made a promise to the Namibian people. A promise to bring about economic growth, job opportunities and prosperity to all Namibians.
We are committed to this promise, on which we intend to deliver. Today is an indication that despite challenges, we are determined to build a united, developed and modern Namibian house,” Geingob said.
He said the new container terminal is yet another indication that Namibia as a country continues to make great strides towards achieving its developmental objectives as outlined in Vision 2030, National Development Plans (NDPs), fast-tracked by the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP).
He added that the construction of the container terminal now makes Namibia one of the few countries that have undertaken such a project. These countries are Australia, Brazil, Dubai and the Netherlands.
“The completion of the container terminal expansion puts us on a firm trajectory towards realising our dream of transforming Namibia into an international logistics hub,” said Geingob.
The President explained that Namibia is linked to neighbouring countries through various transport corridors, thus it should strive to capitalise on this immense investment by harnessing the vast potential of Southern African Development Community (SADC) neighbours that have no immediate access to the ocean.
“We have since coined the term ‘sea-linked countries’, to refer to what we previously referred to as ‘landlocked countries’. The new container terminal now gives us the additional capacity to serve both local and regional requirements, with Namibia becoming one of the countries with major container terminals across the continent.”
Geingob expressed his appreciation to the current and previous boards of directors, management and staff of Namport for the strategic initiative to expand the container terminal at Walvis Bay harbour.
“From today, Walvis Bay becomes a strategic gateway to the emerging markets of southern and west Africa, as well as those of Latin America for the whole of SADC. So, let us build a Namibia that will be the jewel of our continent. Let us, therefore, keep our economy going – moving products, moving people and making sure that the port of Walvis Bay, and Namibia as a whole, continue to offer world-class facilities,” Geingob said.
China Harbour Engineering Company was awarded the contract to reclaim 40 hectares of land from the sea to construct the terminal to increase the current container handling capacity of 350 000 containers to 750 000 per year at the port.
Former president Hifikepunye Pohamba who officiated the ground-breaking ceremony in 2014, as well as various cabinet ministers, also attended the commissioning of the terminal on Friday.