Port of Lüderitz Set to Diversify Exports

THERE is huge interest from mining companies at the Northern Cape in South Africa to export manganese via the port of Luumlderitz. The manager at the port of Luumlderitz, Max Kooper, alluded to this during a recent visit by The Namibian.

Luumlderitz facilitates the import and export of goods at the coastal town with future plans to extend and improve the current infrastructure of the port.

According to Kooper, Luumlderitz has a shallow port with a draught of 8,15 metres.

Until recently, Luumlderitz port was without a railway link. But that will soon be a thing of the past as Namport has embarked on rail infrastructure within the port, which is at the final stage of implementation.

Kooper said, ‘the tender was already awarded and work has begun on the project. We anticipate to complete the rail inside the port by end of August this year.’

He said that the port is currently only using one third of its maximum capacity. However, Namport is looking at ways and means to further optimise Luumlderitz.

“There is a great interest from the Northern Cape to export manganese via the port of Luumlderitz. During the past two months, Namport and TransNamib have been engaging the stakeholders and are currently working on pricing structures,” he said, adding that they are also in discussions with the grape farmers at Aussenkehr as they are also interested in making use of the port.

“However, there are certain logistical challenges that we need to resolve. We need to purchase special equipment and also train our employees because of the nature of the project,” said Kooper.

According to Kooper, this project wil benefit the economy in terms of transport and logistics, marketing, packaging and export earnings.

Potential intervention to divert the grape exports from Cape Town to Luumlderitz port will yield desirable economic outcomes for Namibia as enshrined in NDP 4,” he said.

He said that the development of the deep-water port would enable bigger vessels to call at the port. “We foresee changes when it comes to port activities. Right now we are still limited to small vessels in the current port due to depth limitations.”

Kooper added that the completion of the railway link would make the port more competitive. “We can only export up to 20 000 tonnes per vessel, even though the manganese companies say they want a vessel with between 40 000 tonnes and 50 000 tonnes capacity.”

A few years ago, Namport launched a geophysical study to determine the nature of the seabed, which revealed that the seabed of the current port is rocky.

Thereafter, Namport conducted a feasibility study in 2012. This report revealed that the deep-water area at Angra Point has a natural draught of between 16 and 18 metres water depth. “With that we can comfortably handle vessels of up to 50 000 tonnes,” he said.

Kooper said that they have applied for the land from the ministry of environment and tourism but are still waiting for feedback on the issue.

The harbour authority also needs to extend the port limit as it currently ends at Angra Point. An application was submitted to the ministry of works and transport in 2013 and the port is still waiting for feedback.

Exports via Luumlderitz include zinc and ingots as well as the import of sulphur for Skorpion Zinc.

From Rosh Pinah Zinc Mine, the port handles zinc concentrate in raw form and lead concentrate.

It also handles diesel, which is mainly imported for the fishing industry.

Asked about the Trans Orange Corridor Development, Kooper said the corridor development and maintenance is at an aanced stage, adding that stakeholders’ consultative meetings were held in the Karas region to outline the opportunities that come with such investments.

The aim of the corridor is to link Luumlderitz to the Northern Cape (South Africa), South Western Botswana and the rest of Namibia to the broader SADC Market.

The port at Luumlderitz employs about 106 people.

Source : The Namibian