WALVIS BAY - Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has decribed as a ‘rare gift’ his country’s new dry port at Walvis Bay, which he commissioned on Friday. A dry port is an inland intermodal terminal directly connected by road or rail to a seaport and operating as a centre for the transshipment of sea cargo to inland destinations.
A dry port is situated near sea. If an importer or exporter is far away from a seaport, as is the case with Zimbabwe, it will be an inconvenience to co-ordinate and handle the goods properly. So, governments of certain countries – in this case Namibia - allow container freight stations to handle export and import formalities under customs supervision.
Zimbabwe previously handled its import and export cargos via South Africa and Mozambinque. However, in recent times Zimbabwean trade volumes through the Port of Walvis Bay have grown significantly to a point where it currently ships around 2500 tonnes a month through the Namibian harbour.
Mnangagwa, who was in a jovial mood on Friday, said that Namibia indeed understands the importance of granting landlocked countries access to the world by sharing the country’s part of the Atlantic ocean with them.
Namibia in 2009 donated 19 000 square metres of land to Zimbabwe to set up the dry port so that the landlocked neighbour – battling economic difficulties perpetuated by economic sanctions - has access to the sea.
The dry port – whose construction by Zimbabwe’s state-owned logistics firm Road Motor Services (RMS), started in 2014 - will assist with the facilitation of trade between Zimbabwean businesses and the rest of the world.
According to Zimbabwean online media reports, the construction of the dry port cost nearly N$50 million.
“We are really indebted to the Namibian government and its people for granting us this rare gift of land to enable Zimbabwe to be part of Namibia’s grand plan to make its port a regional logistics hub in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region,” Mnangagwa said on Friday.
He added that this rare gift is also a testimony of Namibia’s selflessness that now also changes Zimbabwe’s status from being landlocked to sea-linked.
“The fact that Namibia connects Sadc through both sea and road, not only opened up a new trade route for Zimbabwe but for other countries such as Zambia, Malawi and Botswana,” he said.
Mnangagwa added that the dry port will go a long way towards the realisation of economic development and integration of the two countries and is also testimony of the fraternal bonds that exist between Zimbabwe and Namibia.
“Namport and Namibia is offering Zimbabwe plenty of opportunities, options and access to vast markets and destinations. It also provides us in Zimbabwe with an alternative direct shipping route on the Atlantic side, for both imports and exports from America, Europe and Asia as the current ports we are using are congested,” he said.
Apart from that, Mnangagwa also paid tribute to both former presidents Sam Nujoma and Hifikepunye Pohamba for paving the way for the dry ports as well as President Hage Geingob, who has been advocating for regional integration and mutual economic growth of Africa and Sadc.
Namport board member Nangula Hamunyela, who also attended the inauguration, said that Namport was mandated to develop ports that not only cater for Namibia’s trade requirements, but to serve as a gateway to international markets for neighbouring countries within Sadc.
She added that Namport is looking forward to increased cargo volumes to and from Zimbabwe, now that the dry port is up and running.
Eveline de Klerk
2019-07-30 06:32:15 26 days ago