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Bunkering at Walvis Bay explodes on back of Suez crisis

Bunkering at Walvis Bay explodes on back of Suez crisis

By Freeman Ya Ngulu.

According to a statement by the Chief Executive of the Namibian Ports Authority, Andrew Kanime, the Port of Walvis Bay’s year-on-year growth in vessel calls for the financial year that ended on 31 December, has been officially recorded at 32%.

“Intense operations involving container vessels, dry bulk carriers, reefers, and foreign tugs can be attributed to this significant increase.”

In addition, Kanime stated that there had been a 24% rise in the gross tonnage of vessels, and a 29% increase in the provision of pilot services to these vessels, in comparison to the same period in the previous financial year.

The statistics were made public in an interview by Freight News with Namport Commercial Services Executive, Elias Mwenyo, who stated that a significant increase has been recorded due to turmoil in the Horn of Africa where vessels are avoiding the Suez Canal, which led to a dramatic increase in bunkering services at Walvis Bay.

“The increase in ships stopping at Walvis Bay for refuelling has had a noticeable impact on local port fuel levels,” Kanime stated.

“Namport has expanded its fuel infrastructure in response to the growing demand for bunkering services, ensuring a consistent and dependable fuel supply for visiting vessels.”

According to Mwenyo, Namport’s pro-active measures are working well enough to handle the surge of ships circumnavigating Africa rather than passing through the Suez Canal.

This opinion was echoed by Kanima, who stated: “It is critical to highlight our dedication to satisfying the growing demand for gasoline services while maintaining the highest standards of both environmental responsibility and safety.”

Since the beginning of the Suez crisis on 19 November 2023 when Yemeni rebels started attacking ships, an extraordinary increase in bunkering services was recorded at the Port of Walvis Bay.

The biggest rise was recorded for marine fuel which saw a 50% increase compared to the previous year.

“Imports of petroleum increased from 796,277 tonnes in 2022 to 1,192,286 tonnes in 2023, highlighting the port’s increasing importance as a refuelling hub,” Kanime stated.

In this sense, Walvis Bay has taken the lead from South Africa since it provides superior capacity and associated offshore bunker services.


About The Author

Freeman Ya Ngulu

Freeman Ngulu is an investigtor, an author and a keen entrepreneur. His speciality is data journalism for which he loves to dig deep into topics often ignored by mainstream reporting. He tweets @hobameteorite.