Trade Corridors Set for Major Boost

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By Charles Tjatindi

WALVIS BAY

Given favourable cargo volumes along the three trade corridors linking Walvis Bay to neighbouring countries and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Walvis Bay Corridor Group is set to implement strategies that will improve infrastructure along these routes.

The Mid-Term Review of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group’s Strategic Plan, that runs from 2005 to 2010, reveals an increase of 52.7 percent in cargo volumes along these routes. According to the review, the Trans-Caprivi Corridor for the period September 2006 to June 2007 recorded 21 753 tons of cargo, up from 9 033 tons recorded the previous year.

This spells a staggering increase of 140 percent. The Trans Kalahari Corridor achieved a 45 percent increase in cargo volumes to 3 688 tons, up from 2 544 tons.

The remaining corridor, the Trans-Kunene also recorded a significant increase of cargo along its route, with 118 657 tons of cargo passing along it, an increase of 43,3 percent from the previous year’s record of only 82 793 tons.

The overall figure therefore grew from 94 370 tons (2005/06) to 114 098 tons (2006/07), representing an overall growth of 52.7 percent.

It is these healthy developments that the Walvis Bay Corridor Group would like to build upon, in order to optimize the potentials of its three corridors, and enhance their viability. Some of the projects in store along these corridor routes include the widening of the bridge across the Kavango River at Bagani in West Caprivi.

Currently, the bridge’s width does not make it conducive for anticipated increased traffic. Contractors are expected to start construction work on the bridge as early as next month.

Other possible projects include the extension of the railway line from Gobabis further to the east to link up with the Botswana rail network. This will increase the Namibian rail network’s capacity, and allow it to handle an even higher volume of cargo and goods.

The formation of a National Logistic Association, which would include influential role players in both the pu-blic and private sectors, is also envisaged as part of efforts to improve the capacity of the three corridors.

The Walvis Bay Corridor Group has also earmarked upon marketing activities in several countries in accordance with its “Beyond Borders” marketing campaign. The campaign will see the corridor group marketing its products and services in other countries.

This will kick off with events in Lumbumbashi, DRC, later this month, followed by another in Angola in August this year. Other countries that are included in the marketing drive are South Africa (May) and Zambia also in August.

Similar events have already taken place in Botswana and further afield in the Netherlands.

The campaign’s main mandate is to promote Namibia, along with its trade routes, as a formidable trade destination and to lure foreign investors into the country.

The Walvis Bay Corridor Group is a public-private partnership, formed to jointly promote Walvis Bay and the three trade corridors that provide road and rail links between the harbour town and Namibia’s neighbouring countries and the DRC.

These corridors are the Trans-Kalahari corridor linking Walvis Bay with Botswana, Gauteng in South Africa and Mozambique further to the east; the Trans-Caprivi Corridor, another major trade corridor links the Namibian harbour town with Zambia, the DRC and Zimbabwe; while the remaining trade corridor, the Trans-Kunene is a trade route to Angola.

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