Phase 1 of port railway upgrade completed
The Namibian Ports Authority announced recently it has upgraded the railway line inside the harbour precinct of the Port of Walvis Bay at a cost of N$20 million. The railway infrastructure in the port has never been upgraded since the ports authority started managing the port in 1994.
The contractor for the project was Namibia Rail Construction (Pty) Ltd. The upgrading started in February last year and was only completed at the end of November. During this project, some 4.5 km of track and related infrastructure were rehabilitated.
Announcing the improvement to its infrastructure earlier this month, the Ports Authority said, as owner, it is responsible for the maintenance of the railway infrastructure inside the port.
“As part of a planned maintenance programme, the relevant sections of rail in the Port of Walvis Bay was earmarked for complete rehabilitation more than five years ago. The sections of railways that were rehabilitated now include the main feeder line into the port as well as the line feeding to the existing container terminal and the two staging lines in the container terminal, a total length of 4.5 km.”
Some sections of the tracks in the port still consisted of old 30 kg/m and 40 kg/m rails. All rails have now been upgraded to 48 kg/m rails. Most sections had to be totally reconstructed, which included complete track and sleeper replacement and re-ballasting.
“Although of relatively small value, this project was significantly complex due to the requirement for minimum operational interruption to the track which is in daily use” the Ports Authority said.
The works now completed is only stage 1 of the complete Port of Walvis Bay railway rehabilitation project. Subsequent phases of the project will see other sections of track being rehabilitated. Future stages of the project will also involve rehabilitation of the track foundation, or layerworks, by a process that involves chemical stabilization and strengthening of the subsurface ground by the injection of chemicals into the ground. This chemical injection technology avoids the downtime created with complete re-construction of the foundation.
“The recently completed stage 1 of the railway upgrade project leaves the Port of Walvis Bay with a state of the art railway network that can serve it well into the future.”