Positive Growth in Corridor Cargo Volumes

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Namport has expanded its storage facilities in view of increasing demand to store transit cargo destined for other southern African countries. The cargo volumes along the various corridor routes have increased significantly during the past two years and have spearheaded the need for increased capacities along the Trans-Caprivi, Trans-Kalahari and Trans-Cunene corridors, says the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) Business Development Officer, Stella Auala. Although she could not say how much storage space the port of Walvis Bay has, she said a total of five new sheds, each with an undercover storage capacity of 1ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 square metres, were recently added in different locations inside the port. Each of the sheds has a length of 96 metres, a width of 20 metres and a height restriction of 10 metres. Statistics recorded in the previous year (2005/2006) show that corridor volumes have grown by more than 55% on tonnage compared to the previous year (2004/2005). As a result of new focus by WBCG on business development along the various Walvis Bay corridor routes, linking the Port of Walvis Bay to the SADC region, “we have seen a positive growth in corridor cargo volumes and recognize that the Trans-Caprivi corridor, Trans-Cunene corridor and the Trans-Kalahari corridor hold immense potential for growth in the future”, she added. Figures indicate that yearly volumes on the Trans-Cunene corridor have increased from 71ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 338 to 112ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 946 tonnes (58%) while the Trans-Caprivi corridor has witnessed an increase of more than 72% with its cargo volume going up from 5ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 032 to 8ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 690 tonnes. Although she could not provide the reason, cargo volumes for the Trans-Kalahari corridor has reduced by 25 percent. Despite challenges faced on this route, Auala states, it has the greatest potential, hence the establishment of the Secretariat for the Trans-Kalahari Corridor Management Committee (TKCMC), which is responsible for developing the action plan for the implementation of the Trans-Kalahari Corridor Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The three Ministers of Transport from Namibia, Botswana and South Africa signed the MoU in November 2003. The MoU serves as a commitment by the three governments to a public-private partnership cooperation to effectively address and improve crucial issues for cross-border transport and trade, such as border management, customs control, traffic regulations and road transport policies. Zambia, Zimbabwe and Democratic Republic of Congo still import and export cargo in break bulk form, thus the demand for storage facilities is likely to continue.