The number of vehicles imported through the Port of Walvis Bay increased by 100% during 2012. In their most recent statistics, released earlier this week the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) indicates that the number of vehicles handled at the port were double the number handled in 2011.
In a statement that summarises cargo volumes handles in Walvis Bay, the Group says for calendar year 2012, more than 20,000 vehicles were moved via the corridor to countries such as Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Preliminary estimates suggest that the process of importing the vehicles through the Port of Walvis Bay, has resulted in a whopping N$150 million economic benefit to Namibia. This value represents a year on year increase of over 100%.
According to the statement, since the implementation of the new trade route through Walvis Bay stakeholders in the vehicle trade have benefited from a safer and faster port compared to other ports of entry in Mozambique, Tanzania and Angola. According to the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, as recently as three years ago, most vehicles for the SADC region were imported through other harbours in the region, notably South Africa, where congestion is a major problem. In other SADC ports, crime is the number one reason for shrinkage, leading to importers avoiding these ports of entry.
The Corridor Group said the port has generated millions which through the multiplier effect has boosted the local town's economic activity. From the direct impact on the port, shipping and logistic fraternity to the meal and accommodation facilities within the area, business in Walvis is growing faster than in the rest of Namibia.
The vehicles, mostly used, are imported from all over the world. The current shipping services provides a linkage for both left and right hand drive vehicles which are sourced from international markets. Europe, USA and Asia top the list in providing vehicles that are to be used in the SADC region. The growth in the import of vehicles to the neighbouring countries from these markets has shown an increased confidence amongst importers for using Walvis Bay as the preferred port.
According to Mr Johnny Smith, CEO of the Walvis bay Corridor group, "In order for us to further grow the market for the Walvis Bay Corridors, it is important that Namibia focusses on improving its transport infrastructure and trade facilitation services continuously as it will provide much needed income for the economy in the short, medium and long-term."