In the wake of a substantial increase in Zimbabwean cargo volumes through the port of Walvis Bay, promoters of the trans-Kalahari trade route targeted a wider audience of Zimbabwean businessmen at a function in Harare last week.
In an effort to reach more Zimbabwean businesses, the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) hosted an information session in Harare to expand awareness of the Walvis Bay Corridors, into and from the southern African region, as the preferred trade route. The event was held at the Rainbow Towers Conference Centre in Harare.
The stakeholders, who included members and board members of The Shipping and Forwarding Agents' Association of Zimbabwe (SFAAZ), were welcomed by the Namibian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Dr. Kaino Shingenge. He said, "Since the first cargo volumes for Zimbabwe has started moving via the Port of Walvis Bay in July 2007, we have seen a significant increase, especially during the past 24 months. This corridor route, which offers an option via the TransCaprivi Corridor or the TransKalahari Corridor has extended to become a preferred trade route for some importers and exporters in Zimbabwe. We therefore urge the Government of Zimbabwe to complete its Dry Port infrastructure within the Port of Walvis Bay in order for more importers and exporters to develop Walvis Bay as its preferred trade route for southern Africa."
The guests were treated to a presentation by Rob Doe, the Business Development Manager of WBCG South Africa, on the benefits and opportunities the TransKalahari Corridor and TransCaprivi Corridor offer. The CEO of the Zimbabwean shipping assocatioin, Mr Joseph Musariri concluded the information session with much enthusiasm and commitment to the Walvis Bay Corridor Group by expressing their support to convince members to increase the use of the trade routes via the Port of Walvis Bay.
Significant growth has been experienced on the Walvis Bay Corridors for imports to Zimbabwe. Consignments being transported through this corridor include frozen chicken, furniture, equipment, vehicles and other consumables. The need for landlocked countries to gain access through an alternative trade route to and from sea is imperative. Walvis Bay offers importers and exporters reduced time and cost savings, high reliability, and cargo security unlike Mombasa where half the cargo is stolen before it leaves the harbour premises, or in the case of relief efforts, a 66,000 tonnes consignment of maize is left to rot on the quay.