Usakos proposed as new dry port
The Annual Transport and Logistics workshop held in Swakopmund showcased this week how a dry port for Usakos has the potential to turn the idle town into a logistic and transport hub with N$2 billion output.
In a presentation on the potential economic and financial benefits of the Usakos dry port, Transport Economist, John Saunderson said that the envisioned study will take 3 to 6 months to complete as part of a wider national logistics plan.
The consulting firm, Amir Consulting Services is set to determine strategic and optimal locations and Public Private Partnerships to carry out similar transport and logistic infrastructure projects to power Sub-Saharan Africa. The study, Saunderson said will need a considerable buy-in of about N$7.5 million from stakeholders, mostly state-owned players such as TransNamib and NamPort who already have existing infrastructure near Usakos.
Usakos has always been a throughway to the west coast due to the impassable steep geographic relief obstructing access to Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.
Saunderson said that the study will address access and mobility issues related to the transport and logistics industry.
Usakos is strategically located on the confluence of the Trans-Kalahari Corridor and the Trans-Caprivi Corridor. It has been a cargo consolidation and deconsolidation point since the sixties when it became the locus of massive investments in railway infrastructure. TransNamib’s strategic Kranzberg station where the northern line splits from the western line, is just 10km outside Usakos.
On his contribution, Saunderson said “Our work is used for environmental impact assessments, benefit-cost studies, and project planning and prioritization programmes.”
Walvis Bay Corridor chairman, Bisey Uirab believes that a regional logistics hub for Sub-Saharan Africa can only yield maximum returns if it takes place in a coordinated way.
This, Uirab said, requires rolling out port, airport, rail and road infrastructure development in tandem to complement one another and to avoid certain segments of the network being unable to cope with increased demand.
For Namibia, with its meager population, to tap the potential of a 300 million market of people the country must position itself as a logistics hub, taking into consideration the landlocked countries around Namibia. Uirab urged stakeholders particularly in Namibia and Botswana as the immediate beneficiaries of the dry port, to fast tract the rail link.
The importance of public and private sector players in Public Private Partnership should not be overlooked as key drivers in making Namibia the preferred hub for Sub-Sahara Africa, Uirab stated.