The Namibia Ports Authority (Namport) will during the next financial year focus on growing its cargo volumes.
This is according to the Namport CEO Bisey Uirab who, during the official opening of the 2016 Namport Trade Expo last week, said their volumes took a sharp nosedive due to the prevailing global economic meltdown.
Cargo volumes have declined sharply while operating costs increased. The current forex situation has a pronounced negative impact not only on the cost of imports, but also on the contract sums payable in terms of foreign currency-based major contracts, Uirab said.
Namport customers are predominantly major shipping lines such as Maersk, CMA and CGM.
Thus, Uirab said, Namport fine-tuned its strategy and focused on projects which develop capacity to service both container and general cargo and current and future demands.
According to Uirab, Namport will seek ways to improve performance and efficiencies whilst curbing costs and harnessing the economic growth opportunities presented by the ocean.
“We will be focussing on the blue economy and its four main pillars, namely fisheries, energy and mining, tourism and marine transportation.”
“These pillars will certainly contribute to our food security, sustainable livelihoods, and revenue generation. There is also a need to develop our gas and oil industry,” Uirab said.
He added that tourism and marine transportation offer opportunities to enhance the tourism sector but however remain untapped.
Uirab appealed to relevant stakeholders to come together and create platforms so that Namibia can benefit economically from benefits derived from the ocean.
According to the Namport CEO, “the Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy 2050, formulated by our African heads of state, provides guidelines on how we as Africans can foster increased wealth creation from our oceans and seas by developing a sustainable, thriving blue economy in a secure and environmentally sustainable manner”.
“It is therefore my desire that through the envisaged blue economy dialogue platform Namibia will establish an understanding of the existing and potential challenges, while at the same time improve our maritime conditions with respect to environmental and socio-economic development and the capacity to generate wealth from sustainable governance of our blue economy,” Uirab said.