Corridor Trade is Expanding

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By Staff Reporter WINDHOEK Promotional efforts to create awareness of the Walvis Bay Corridor in regional and international markets are starting to bear fruit, according to the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG). The marketing efforts include increasing the Group’s presence in regional markets by establishing a WBCG branch office in Zambia, and continued marketing to regional and international importers and exporters. In a review of its activities for the year, the WBCG says growth in business by WBCG member companies has also played a part in supporting the Group’s promotional efforts. One example was the introduction of new shipping services offered by the Maersk shipping line, from Brazil and from the Far East to Namibia. The company says business confidence in the Walvis Bay Corridor has resulted in increased commercial traffic along the Corridor routes. The Trans-Caprivi and Trans-Cunene Corridors registered higher growth, in comparison to the Trans-Kalahari Corridor. Overall corridor volumes have grown 63% in terms of tonnage compared to the previous year. The Trans-Caprivi Corridor carried large commercial traffic such as the World Food Programme (WFP) consignment of 8ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 050 tonnes for the Zambian Government. The Walvis Bay Corridor, according to the company, also became the route of choice in handling goods for Malawi and Tanzania. Transportation of commodities such as salt, agri-products, confectionary, fish products, timber and recently huge consignments of rice, used vehicles and other commodities, took place along the routes. “With the support of the WBCG’s public-private partnership set-up, of both regulators and operators, as well as regional partners and corridor committees, WBCG continues its efforts to harmonize border procedures and customs regulations to allow for the smooth flow of transit trade between borders,” the company said. The WBCG warned, however, that the lack of proper infrastructure, or infrastructure with the necessary capacity, continues to hinder trade flow. To address this problem, the WBCG established a Strategic Desk in 2006 with the aim of identifying, formulating and managing corridor projects, and to mobilize international support and funding. The WBCG said the establishment and rehabilitation of infrastructure such as the Katima Mulilo Bridge and the Livingstone-Sesheke Road had increased commercial traffic along the TCC. In April 2006, WBCG opened its first branch office in Lusaka, Zambia, to promote the use of the Trans-Caprivi Corridor as the main trade corridor for Zambian imports and exports, via the port of Walvis Bay. The Namibian Government, according to the WBCG, proved its commitment to improving trade with neighbouring countries by allocating land at the port of Walvis Bay to serve as a dry port for trade to Botswana. The procedures for the transportation of goods in transit on the TKC using new SADC customs procedures in 2002 were harmonized, using the Single Administrative Document (SAD 500), following the initial SADC transit pilot project. The SARS officially rolled out the new customs procedures (SAD 500) this year to other corridors in Southern Africa. “The Trans-Cunene Corridor continues to hold major growth potential as one of the busiest corridors in terms of commercial traffic. “This is mainly due to the renewed peace and stability in Angola as the country gears towards economic re-establishment,” the WBCG noted. Due to the infrastructural damages to roads and railway lines in Angola caused by the war, the Trans-Cunene Corridor provides an alternative means of access to port facilities via the port of Walvis Bay, linking southern Angola to the world. The WBCG believes the Trans-Cunene has been further enhanced with the development of the northern railway line, which reached Ondangwa this year. An extension is under way to complete the last 60ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ km stretch between Ondangwa and Oshikango (which is the border town between Namibia and Angola). The company said the completion of the northern extension to the railway would increase commercial traffic on the Trans-Cunene.