23 January 2013

Namibia: Tenders Closed for Walvis Bay Airport

THE ball is on the roll for remedial work at the Walvis Bay Airport after the project to upgrade the facilities was halted by the government due to sub-standard work done by a Spanish consortium, INEPADE.

This time three Chinese contractors and one local company tendered for the work, which must now submitted to the Tender Board for approval.

INEPADE was awarded the tender to upgrade the airport but consulting engineers of the government found that the surfacing of the runway did not comply with the required specifications. Namibia wanted to fall back on the guarantees INEPADE made as part of the tender conditions to have the repair work done, but INEPADE differed with the decision. This amounted to about N$35 million, while about N$75 million had been paid for the work done by INEPADE.

The matter was referred for arbitration to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and a hearing took place in the last quarter of 2011 in Paris, France.

The expectation is that the outcome will be released early in March this year, but the government decided that a tender for the remedial as well as additional work at the Walvis Bay Airport should be granted.

The three Chinese companies that tendered for the work are Qingdao Construction Namibia (N$197 506 706), China Jiangxi International joint venture with Babyface Civils (N$295 468 212) and China State Construction Engineering Corporation (N$197 383 849).

Namibia Construction (N$233 412 067) is the only local company that tendered for the remedial work at the Walvis Bay Airport.

The deputy director at Civil Aviation, Tobias Gunzel, told The Namibian that apart from the runway that needs to be repaired additional work has also been identified. "A second parking area for the bigger planes is needed, while the one for the smaller planes also needs to be upgraded."

Once completed, the upgraded airport will open direct air links between Walvis Bay and a number of overseas destinations; it will serve as a fresh fish export hub, a stop-over for international airlines and a refuelling point, which are all downstream business opportunities for the harbour town.

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