by Walvis Bay Corridor Group

Time is money

Walvis Bay Corridor takes shape

Air and road transport

When you are competing against the well-oiled machines from the East, every second counts – as the Walvis Bay Corridor demonstrates with its record turnaround times.

A shipment originating in Sweden and destined for Lusaka in Zambia on behalf of Nampak, Africa’s largest packaging company, was successfully facilitated by Trade Ocean Shipping Namibia. The first part of the shipment – consisting of 600 tonnes of paper reel – arrived in Zambia within three days and proceeded by road along the Walvis Bay–Ndola–Lubumbashi Development Corridor (WBNLDC).
Nampak has cut more than 14 days from its supply chain by moving its entry point to Walvis Bay from its previous port, which was on the east coast of southern Africa. The Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) believes this is paving the way for similar shipments and companies that want to add value to the supply chain in the future.
Botswana’s trade volumes via Walvis Bay have reached their highest monthly volumes yet.
“It definitely paves the way for future shipments to be handled successfully via this corridor. The co-operation between all parties concerned in a near-crisis situation proved to be very successful in attaining this achievement,” said Michelle Kirov, the marketing director of Trade Ocean Shipping Namibia.
“This is a significant milestone for the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, as this is a clear indication of the increased business confidence that importers and exporters have shown in utilising the trade route. With more direct shipping calls, high efficiencies, reduced transit times, and strategic partners to ensure consumers in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region receive a great product every time,” added Johny Smith, chief executive officer of the WBCG.
Volumes for this market along the Trans-Kalahari Corridor have hit a record high of more than 2 000 tonnes. These volumes have shown a significant growth month after month, with many more consumables (particularly motor vehicles) being transported via the Port of Walvis Bay.
Some of the Botswanan importers and exporters have opted for the Trans-Kalahari Corridor, since it provides a real alternative for time-critical cargo. 
It has been the experience that more than 70% of the road transporters previously using the traditional trade route via the south of Namibia to Johannesburg have now opted for the Trans-Kalahari Corridor, which is 400 kilometres shorter via Botswana from Walvis Bay.
The Trans-Kalahari route is much faster for road transportation, as it saves between five to seven days in transit for Botswanan imports and exports, compared to some of the other ports in the region for cargo from European and American markets.
Botswana is currently in the process of developing a dry port at the Port of Walvis Bay. It will be developed on a 36 233m² piece of land granted by Namibia under a 50-year lease – which was signed in September 2009 – and is situated in the port, with the main objectives being to consolidate maritime goods in intermodal short- and long-distance transport flows, to improve cargo processing through co-ordinated operations, to reduce transport costs and journey time, and to strengthen the role of Walvis Bay in transport chains.
In the medium- to long term, the opportunity exists for the construction of a railway line, namely the Trans-Kalahari Railway, connecting Botswana’s Mmamabula coal field with the Namibian coastline. Construction of the railway is expected to take approximately five years at a cost of roughly USD9billion (R66.8-billion). After construction, the Trans-Kalahari line will stretch over 1 500km from Mmamabula to the Port of Walvis Bay.
The Trans-Kalahari Corridor Management Committee is a joint regional committee established by Namibia’s Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication in conjunction with the governments of Botswana and South Africa as well as private sector transport representatives.
Walvis Bay Corridor Group
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This edition

Issue 2020