Namport requests N.dollars 1.2 billion for Walvis Bay Port entrance channel upgrade

The Namibia Ports Authority (Namport) has appealed to the Ministry of Works and Transport for financial support to fund the up grading of Walvis Bay Port’s entrance channel at an estimated cost of N.dollars 1.2 billion.

This was said by Namport’s acting Chief Executive (CEO) officer, Raymond Visagie, in a letter addressed to Minister of Works and Transport John Mutorwa on Thursday, when the minister met with all senior officials from various transport institutions under the ministry in Windhoek at the ministry’s head office.

Mutorwa organized the meeting with the officials to discuss and debrief on the transportation capital infrastructures projects for 2020/21 financial year and practical planning. However, Namport was not represented because of the Erongo Region being under lock down due to the rising COVID-19 cases. Therefore, the acting CEO sent a letter via email to Mutorwa, which the minister read to those in attendance.

Visagie said Namport is faced with the challenge of limitation to accommodate big vessels at the Port of Walvis Bay’s entrance channel. Therefore Namport needs to widen and deepen the Walvis Bay Port’s entrance channel at an estimated cost of N.dollars 1.2 billion, and a 60 tons bollard pull tugboat estimated to cost N.dollars 150 million, but they can’t do it without the support of the ministry due to financial constraints impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said Namport is competing in a very volatile environment of seaborne trade, which is dominated by major shipping lines, but that in order to remain competitive, Namport requires the ports to be agile and responsive to the needs of the lines or risk being excluded from network services.

‘We have been inundated with requests to accommodate vessels sizes of 9000 twenty foot equivalent units, but regrettably had to decline such requests due to the limitations of the Port of Walvis Bay entrance channel,’ said Visagie.

He added that for Namport to capitalise on the increased container handling capacity offered by the newly constructed container terminal, and ensure that Namport remains relevant in its operating environment, the two projects should be considered for funding by central government.

‘These projects will be the acquisition of a medium-sized tugboat with a 60 tonne bollard pull capacity. Widening and deepening of the Walvis Bay main entrance channel and, in order to safely bring larger vessels through the entrance channel, requires the deployment of tugs. Namport’s fleet of tugs are however aging and despite ongoing refurbishment of our tug fleet, we do require a tug of 60 tonnes,’ explained Visagie.

Source: Namibia Press Agency