Clive Smith Walvis Bay Determinants for the potential as a logistics hub includes a number of factors such as having a strategic location, government commitment and stability, good infrastructure, human capital and conducive regulations to attract investment. Namibia scores well on various fronts, key being our strategic location on the West Coast of Africa, 27 years of peace and stability, a good pocket of human skills and a well developed transport infrastructure. Coupled with this is government’s recognition of transport and logistics as a key priority area, as defined in our National Development Plan 4 and further expanded into NDP5. Good transport infrastructure coupled with effective management, including proper maintenance, and innovative new developments to increase capacity, are some of the key components defined in the Namibia Logistics Master Plan, as pillars to propel Namibia towards achieving its regional logistics hub ambitions. We have made great strides since independence and today can be proud of our transport network when compared to the wider region. At independence in 1990 the ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz were merely fishing ports; we had no international shipping links and trade was limited to South Africa and for about four years after independence the Port of Walvis Bay was still under the control of South Africa. With its own economic ambitions as a sovereign nation and to ensure sustainable growth, government has over the years invested heavily in the transport sector. This was done to enable trade with the region and ensure access to essential services for the greater population. These interventions over the years provided Namibia with a good baseline from which to further build upon its SADC gateway vision. A number of achievements and accolades bestowed upon the country are evidence of the strides made and the importance placed on transport as a catalyst for economic growth. In 2012 Namport was awarded the Best Port Operator / Terminal in Africa and scooped the Port Excellence Award in 2013. These awards recognise a port that has maintained the highest standards of operational efficiency and highlights the significance of its efforts to contribute towards creating productive ports, supportive networks and fast-tracking Africa’s economic growth and development. Namibia was furthermore accorded top position for having the best roads in Africa by the World Economic Forum, via their Global Competitiveness Report for 2014/15. A total of 144 countries were assessed, with a key indicator being the quality of road infrastructure. The Walvis Bay Corridors, which is a network of road and rail, linking Namibia with the region, is recognised as one of the model corridors in Africa and is regularly used as a case study for regional integration. Notwithstanding these achievements, there is still a lot to be done for Namibia to claim a greater portion of regional trade. Further investment is required in all modes of transport, specifically in our rail sector. Critical programmes and projects has been identified in the Logistics Master Plan, of which many of these are captured in the NDP 5 transport and logistics sector development programme for priority implementation over the next five years. The completion of the new container terminal at Walvis Bay will provide additional port capacity and can be an attractive incentive for more shipping lines to consider Namibia as part of their global networks. It is thus important that the road and rail programmes be fast-tracked, focusing on strategic areas that could ensure short-term gains. The Namibia Logistics Hub Project provides a multiplier effect, as it has the potential to accelerate our Vision 2030 ambitions and provide a platform for Namibia to play a greater role towards regional and continental integration. Providing world-class logistics services supported by an integrated transport network would further enhance our potential to attract multinational companies to grow a robust manufacturing sector focused on value addition in and for the region. * This is the second article in a series on the Namibia Logistics Hub Project and the importance of Namibia’s transport sector as a catalyst for economic growth. Clive Smith is the project manager of the Logistics Hub at the Walvis Bay Corridor Group.
2017-08-31 10:50:53 1 years ago