Issuu on Google+

FACILITATING THE EFFICIENT FLOW OF

Opportunities ACROSS BORDERS WRITTEN BY JACK SLATER

Originally established in 2000, the Walvis Bay Corridor Group in Namibia, is a Public Private Partnership and brings about a connection to neighbouring countries to create an efficient flow of trade across borders. In the past, neighbouring countries had limited knowledge about Namibia and similarily Namibia has limited knowledge about Southern Africa in terms of trading opportunities. This is what the Walvis Bay Corridor Group offers and we spoke with Chief Executive Officer Johny Smith about what this meant to the country’s development and prosperity.


WALVIS BAY CORRIDOR GROUP

During the first decade of Namibia’s independence their Government placed much emphasis on enhancing infrastructure of the port of Walvis Bay including the infrastructure for the Walvis Bay corridors realising the benefits of corridor development to accelerate the growth of the region’s economy including the SADC region.

“S

ubsequent to the completion of the infrastructural developments, there was a need to improve cross border facilitation and trade which would link Namibia to our

neighbouring countries via the Walvis Bay corridors,” Johny tells us, “Hence gearing Namibia towards regional integration through transport.” Hence, The Walvis Bay Corridor Group were established to promote the Walvis Bay corridors using the port of Walvis Bay by exporting and importing cargo to and from southern Africa. The Walvis Bay corridors include the TransKalahari Corridor which links the port of Walvis Bay to Botswana, Gauteng and Zimbabwe; the Walvis Bay – Ndola – Lubumbashi Development Corridor which links the port of Walvis Bay to Zambia and the DRC; and the TransCunene Corridor which links the port of Walvis Bay to Angola. “The markets that we focus on are South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Angola, Zambia, the DRC, Malawi, the Americas, Europe and the Far East,” Johny adds.

What Does Walvis Bay Corridor Door Group Do? There is the sense that the group have to continuously identify opportunities, plan, coordinate, market, advocate for infrastructure development and trade facilitation. But it turns out it goes even deeper than this: “We were established as a service and facilitation centre to promote the benefits of using the Walvis Bay corridors through the port of Walvis Bay to and from southern Africa by emphasising on the


short transit times compared to the costs of the complete logistics

“Each staff member is given an opportunity to take part in a

supply chain,” Johny explains, “We facilitate the removal of trade

capacity building programme to enhance their skills,” he tells us, “And

barriers along the Walvis Bay corridors and to enhance the utilisation

the development of each staff member is very important. It is key to

of the Walvis Bay corridors through projects such as the Spatial

building capacity within each individual to reach greater heights and

Development Initiatives, hence striving for Namibia to become the

therefore each staff member is encouraged to enhance their skill

Logistics Hub for southern Africa.”

through training.”

The Walvis Bay Corridor Group’s main organisational strength

On the other side of the coin, what are the specific focuses on the

is its unique public-private partnership (PPP) set-up of transport

customers, clients and various businesses that depend upon you. As

and logistics stakeholders from both the public and private sector.

an essential link in the supply chain what is done to ensure that quality

The partnership allows for the pooling of resources, expertise and

remains as high as possible?

authorities from both the regulators and the operators, who together

“We have Business Development Managers at WBCG branches

from an integrated transport and logistics service for potential

in Gauteng in South Africa, Lusaka in Zambia, Lubumbashi in the DRC

customers. Due to the PPP setup, it is able to lean on the public sector

and Sao Paulo in Brazil aimed at increasing our business presence in

for advice and action on issues such as customs, transport regulation

each market,” Johny points out, “This includes calling on customers on

and infrastructure development, while the private sector can focus

a regular basis to touch base on their experience in using the Walvis

on business development such as marketing and making practical

Bay corridors and also creating awareness with potential users of the

operational proposals and logistics solutions.

corridors.”

With about 26 staff working for the Walvis Bay Corridor Group

Walvis Bay Corridor Group’s unique institutional arrangement

and as they act as the crossroads for so many international, cross

as a PPP is a perfect example of how government and the private

border routes the success of the organizations endeavours really

sector work together to create an improved relationship to combine

do depend upon the expertise of each and every individual. This is

business potential and utilise transport.

something that is taken very serious by Johny.

“This results in trade opportunities to create wealth in the region

Walvis Bay is the Gateway to Southern Africa and beyond Savino offers fast, safe and cost-effective delivery door-to-door Comprehensive logistics solutions include warehousing and specialist vehicle delivery.

Dedicated Fleet Bonded Warehousing Reduction in Lead times

Contact us for your fastest routes into Southern Africa Jacques Steenkamp is our manager onsite jacques.steenkamp@savinodelbene.com +264 81 399 7823 Rob Doe heads up the Africa Pioneer team Robd@savino.co.za +27 76 166 7352

www.savino.co.za


WALVIS BAY CORRIDOR GROUP

and beyond,” says Johny, “It is also very important for economic

becomes increasingly important

the growth of the SADC region

development and for the growth of the private sector. Without such

to accelerate the growth of the

as a whole by providing a good

a partnership we would not be able to achieve efficient and effective

region’s economy and with the

option of gateway for Southern

Walvis Bay corridors.”

rapid growth in cargo volumes

Africa, hence costs and time

As the vision of The Walvis Bay Corridor Group is to be the

along the Walvis Bay corridors

savings are achieved along the

leading trade route in Southern Africa the customers are the very key

through the port of Walvis Bay

Walvis Bay corridors by offering

to their success.

and the benefits that the trade

the shortest possible regional

routes have to offer, Namibia

route on the west coast.

And What Lies Ahead?

has been identified to become

Once the transport corridors

Namibia’s role as a gateway to the rest of the SADC role has

the logistics hub for Southern

are fully established to be

become more prominent and has created more interest from the

Africa.” This has been supported

anticipated by 2017, it will be

regional as well as the international market. With more direct shipping

by the National Development

ready to be developed into

calls to Walvis Bay, high efficiencies, short transit times and strategic

Plan 4 (NDP4) that has made

economic development corridors

partnerships, the routes provided by the Walvis Bay Corridor Group

provision for the development of

that are ultimately a network of

are now in a robust position to serve the SADC market to the rest of

a logistics hub, hence the NDP4

supply and distribution depots.

the world. Volumes along the Walvis Bay Corridors have grown the

has prioritised the creation of a

Already, the port of Walvis Bay

past ten years from zero up to more than 700 000 tonnes per annum

Logistics Hub.

is gearing itself to accommodate

The port of Walvis Bay,

the increased capacity through

“One of the significant milestones for us is the development of

with its deep water depth and

the port expansion project which

Namibia into a Logistics Hub for the southern African region,” Johny

stable weather conditions, is

will commence in 2014 and

recalls, “Namibia has realised that the role of transport and logistics

strategically located to accelerate

increase port capacity from the

along these corridors.


current 350 000 TEU per year to 1,000,000 TEU’s per annum. The investment towards the Port Expansion project is N$3 Billion. “Economic development in Southern African countries has accelerated the export of mineral resources such as copper and coal from Zambia. With this the DRC and Botswana are achieving economic development that will have resulted in the increase in demand in consumer goods, through logistics. In an effort to support the acceleration of corridor development, the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Namibia with the support of the Department of Trade in South Africa has mandated the WBCG to identify ways of attracting investment along the Walvis Bay corridors through the Spatial Development Initiative (SDI) programme. The SDI programme aims to increase the scale of economic activity and improve the diversity of economic activity along these corridors, thereby enhancing the economic growth of the region. The initial focus in terms of economic activities will be on the mining, tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, fisheries and logistics sectors. “Thus far we are carrying out the Diagnostic and Scoping Study for the Namibia Spatial Development Initiatives Programme, through the assistance of Aurecon, a consultant firm, aimed at developing a master plan for the TransKalahari corridor, the TransCunene corridor

“One of the significant milestones for us is the development of Namibia into a Logistics Hub for the southern African region. Namibia has realised that the role of transport and logistics becomes increasingly important to accelerate the growth of the region’s economy and with the rapid growth in cargo volumes along the Walvis Bay corridors through the port of Walvis Bay and the benefits that the trade routes have to offer, Namibia has been identified to become the logistics hub for Southern Africa.”


WALVIS BAY CORRIDOR GROUP

and the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development corridor,” says

Grootfontein to Katima Mulilo connecting to Zambia.

Johny, “This study aims at identifying spatial development initiatives

Regarding the One Stop Border Post between Trans Kalahari &

that can be rolled out in the short to medium term with the support

Mamuno Border Posts, a feasibility study has been conducted and

of government agencies in the infrastructure sectors such as roads,

presented to the Governments and private sectors in Botswana

power and water as well as other areas.”

and Namibia. Also, a proposal of a sustainable system has been

Other achievements include the increase in the number of shipping connections to Walvis Bay that has enhanced the status of the Port of Walvis Bay and also ensured a more competitive tariff structure for the importers and exporters in the region.

identified in terms of the establishment of a Corridor Performance Management System. The upgrading of the Okavango River/Divundu Bridge has been completed along the WBNLDC.

The proposed works included

These linkages have opened up the international corridors and

increasing the carrying capacity of the bridge from its present

in the long term will reduce the cost of doing business in the region.

60tons and also widening it from a single to double lane bridge. This

The Walvis Bay corridors are now linked to international destinations

significant milestone will clearly improve Walvis Bay’s chances as

via direct shipping routes from North America, South America, The

a viable shipping alternative to importers and exporters wishing to

Far East, Europe as well as the Middle East; commencement of the

move heavy duty cargo. Furthermore, the the construction of the

Northern Railway Extension project from Tsumeb in Namibia to

Sesheke-Mulobezi-Kaoma-Copperbelt road in Zambia, which once

Oshikango at the Namibian border post to Angola; the evolvement

completed will reduce the distance of the road from 1200km to

of the TransCaprivi Corridor Cluster into the Walvis Bay-Ndola-

800km between Sesheke and the Copperbelt in Zambia, which forms

Lubumbashi Corridor Committee;

reducing the cost of doing

part of the WBNLDC linking Walvis Bay to Zambia and the DRC. This

business in the region, as a result of cargo spending less time on the

significant infrastructure milestone will lead to even shorter transit

road due to the short transit times; launching of One Stop Border

times which will result in the reduction of costs and ultimately an

Post studies along the borders of Namibia and Angola and Namibia

increase in trade.

and Zambia; amongst others.

A fact finding mission on the Trans Cunene Corridor was

Developments along the TransKalahari Corridor (TKC) regarding

embarked upon to identify concerns that affect cross-border trading

the railway lines along the TKC which continue up until Gobabis from

in terms of transport with the aim of establishing a transport forum

the Port of Walvis Bay and then continues from Lobatse in Botswana

to oversee the operational issues of this corridor, which will comprise

include the application for funding of the pre-feasibility study and

of members from the public and private sector from Namibia and

has been submitted to potential investment agencies to extend the

Angola.

railway line from Gobabis. The railway lines along the TcuC extends

“The support from the Namibian Government and equally

from the Port of Walvis Bay to Ondangwa and the construction of the

important the Governments of the countries along which the Walvis

line from Ondangwa to Oshikango is in progress. And along the TCC

Bay corridors traverse regarding the investments in infrastructure

the railway line extend from the Port of Walvis Bay to Grootfontein

and trade facilitation have been crucial and received with much

and then resumes in Livingstone, Zambia. The Namibian government

regard to make the Walvis Bay corridors more efficient in an effort to

is in the process of doing a feasibility to extend the railway line from

strive for regional integration,” Johny concludes.

“Each staff member is given an opportunity to take part in a capacity building programme to enhance their skills. And the development of each staff member is very important. It is key to building capacity within each individual to reach greater heights and therefore each staff member is encouraged to enhance their skill through training.” 90 | Endeavour Magazine


Endeavour Magazine | 91


WALVIS BAY CORRIDOR GROUP 00264 6125 1669 WWW.WBCG.COM.NA

www.littlegatepublishing.com


Walvis Bay Corridor Group