Botswana dry port carries Trans-Kalahari rail
The Botswana Dry Port which was under construction in Walvis Bay and experienced a fair share of criticism, will soon be operational as revealed at an information session of the developments on the Trans-Kalahari Corridor (TKC) held in Windhoek on Wednesday.
The Commercial Manager at Botswana Railways, Mthulusi Lotshe, said, “We expect to start operation on 01 July 2014, if all goes accordingly.”
Currently the dry port comprises an area of 36,200 square meters and is located at the south-eastern side of Namport, next to TransNamib’s locomotive maintenance depot.
Lotshe said that with the dry port operations, tonnage growth is expected at 3.04% per annum, in his graph presentation on business outlook and future volumes.
The services offered at the port will include cartage services, container handling, stacking, storage, a break bulk terminal, general purpose warehouse, empty container park and value-added services e.g. custom clearance.
The operations of the port will also complement the construction of the 1500 km Trans-Kalahari Railway which is in the pipeline. This new rail will connect Botswana’s Mmamabula coal field with Namibia’s ports.
The dry port will enable land-locked, Botswana to facilitate and handle their cargo through Namport, which will in turn increase the volumes that are carried on the corridors and promote trade relations within the Southern African Development Community.
SEA RAIL (Botswana) Pty Ltd which is a subsidiary company registered in Namibia and wholly owned by Botswana Railways, was established in 2013 and will operate the port.
Present at the information session was Minister of Works and Transport, Hon Erkki Nghimtina who stressed how the transport sector was the key engine that stimulated growth.
“The Trans-Kalahari Corridor contributes towards elimination of trade barriers, harmonisation of transport and customs procedures at the TKC border posts as well as accelerating regional economic development and integration,” he commented.
Nghimtina said, “the role of the Trans-Kalahari Corridor as a strategic asset for Botswana, Namibia and South Africa has been clearly demonstrated as Angola and Zimbabwe are utilizing this corridor as an alternative trade route for their economies.”
The minister encouraged developers to explore more opportunities continuously on the route and cited that infrastructure developments such as the Trans-Kalahari rail line play a vital role to explore and develop economies further in the SADC region.
Lotshe listed some of the dry port’s roles which will include but are not limited to the role of strengthening the Walvis Bay port in freight logistics and the transport value chain and also to consolidate individual or unsynchronized container flows to and from Botswana.
Other aims will be to provide the catalyst to Botswana’s growing economy by creating appropriate infrastructure, processes and a supportive regulatory environment to encourage international trade and to consolidate maritime goods into inter-modal and long-distance transport flows as well as to improve cargo processing through coordinated operations.