Eveline de Klerk
Walvis Bay-The Namibia Ports Authority (Namport) has recorded a slight increase in the total container throughput capacity for the 2016/2017 financial year, compared to the previous financial year. Despite the increase being a mere 0.4 percent the port recorded a significant increase in salt exports, as well as grain/wheat imports.
Acting senior manager of commercial services Elias Mwenyo told New Era that salt exports surpassed their expectations, with bagged salt recording the highest export volumes.
Although figures were not available, Mwenyo said bagged salt showed an increase of 100 percent in terms of export, with bulk salt exports showing a 10 percent increase for the 2016/2017 financial year.
The growth in salt exports can be attributed to the opening of the second salt refinery at Walvis Bay, a joint venture between Walvis Bay Salt Holding and two Namibian empowerment groups. Ekango during the opening of the refinery last year aimed to produce up to 60,000 tonnes of salt every year for both local and foreign markets.
“Industries linked to the Namibian salt produced commodity will show further positive growth indicators in terms of revenue and job creation for ordinary Namibians in comparison to other industries, such as mining, that have showed a noteworthy decline in throughput capacity,” he said.
In terms of imports, Mwenyo said there has been a significant increase in specific commodities destined for Namibia, especially in grain/wheat, sugar and petrol imports.
According to Mwenyo, wheat/grain imports through the Port of Walvis Bay saw an increase of 64 percent during the 2016/2017 financial year.
“Petrol and sugar imports slightly increased with 4 and 2 percent, respectively, during the same financial year,” he said. Mwenyo, however, noted that imported mining materials, such sulphuric acid, showed a significant decline in the last financial year.