Namibia could become a logistics hub

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SWAKOPMUND – Japanese Chargé d’Affaires, Shinichi Hamada, says Namibia as a newcomer in logistics should be “impressive at a glance” and must present strong, visible and easy to understand selling points.

Hamada says everyone should understand these selling points when they are compared with points in well-established gateways.

He says in order for Namibia to go beyond the limits of small domestic economy and develop itself in an international logistics hub, it should utilise economic growth within the whole southern African region in order to exit the dual structure economy that is overly dependent on a very narrow scope of mining industry, which causes disparity and massive unemployment.

Hamada was one of the key speakers that gave a critical look at the country’s rail, road, air and seaborne sectors, as key players for country’s logistic hub transformation at the Logistic Hub Master Plan workshop that took place at Swakopmund on Friday.

The Namibian government requested its Japanese counterpart to provide technical co-operation to assist with the “Project on Master Plan for Development of an International Logistics Hub for SADC Countries in the Republic of Namibia”. The aim of the master plan is to allow the new logistics industry to tap into economic growth in neighbouring countries and bring its multiplier effects to Namibia.

It should also be able to enhance the competitiveness of Namibia over a relatively short period of time even in spite of the fact that the population density is low and labour cost is rather high as well as offer an employment opportunity to the low-income groups.

Hamada, who outlined strategies of the master plan to various representatives from stakeholders and line ministries, said Namibia, as a country with a limited demand base in its own hinterland, must install “pull-factors” strategically and decisively.

“A typical way to do so is to set land cost strategically low for the logistics industry. Anchor tenants approach, as this is the best and fastest way to get the required cargo volume, which in turn will attract global players in the international logistics business to establish their large-scale operational bases in Namibia and use the country’s ports as gateways,” he explained.

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