Rail down and out

Namibia’s exports via sea transport grew by 23.9% in 2014 amounting to N$30.7 billion in comparison to N$24.9 billion in 2013, according to the Namibia Statistics Agency’s latest Annual Trade Statistics Bulletin released earlier this week.

The exports via the sea accounted for 47.7% of total exports, down from 44.1% in 2013 while imports by sea grew by 29.1%.
The trade bulletin says exports by air transport increased by 10.1% to N$14.4 billion compared to N$13.1 billion in the previous year. “It contributed 22.3% to total exports, up from 23.2% in the previous year.”
Another mode of transportation that showed growth in the export business was road, which according to the NSA grew by 4.6% to N$19.2 billion compared tom N$18 billion in 2013. It accounted for 29.9 % of total exports, up from 32.7% a year earlier while imports by road transport rose by 23.3% to N$54.3 billion.
While trade via road, sea and air grew significantly, the trade bulletin shows that the contribution by rail is insignificant stating that the value registered for rail transports in 2014 was N$3.2 million and N$3.4 million in 2013.
In terms of imports rail transport actually declined by 35.3% to N$304 million from N$470.4 million in the previous year.
The Economist spoke to the agency’s Senior Statistician : Trade Statistic, Elijah Saushimi who explained that due to the fact that Namibia does not share any railway network with any other country, it is bound not to enjoy a lot of trade via rail.
According to Saushimi the only time the rail network is going to contribute significantly to the trade figures is when the construction of the multi-billion dollar railway line connecting Botswana’s Mmamabula coal field to the port of Walvis Bay is complete.