Aussenkehr — Grape growers were given new hope of exporting their produce through the Port of Lüderitz in the near future.
The proposition was tabled by NileDutch's commercial director Leo Huisman during a tablegrape pre-harvest season meeting at Aussenkehr, as he outlined that NileDutch can be the solution to using the Lüderitz port.
Namibian grapes are currently exported to the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands via Cape Town in South Africa, with the produce moved from Namibia to South Africa by truck.
Huisman indicated that NileDutch was ready to provide a reliable and quality service that will ensure the grapes are no longer transported to South Africa before shipment, but shipped to Europe straight from Namibia through Lüderitz Port.
"We promise to offer direct Lüderitz to Europe services that are reliable and personalised," he told the grape growers at the meeting. Details of the costs were however not discussed, but many grape growers said the idea is good if the price is right.
The Agro-Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) and Namibian Port Authority (Namport) initiated the plan to conduct a trial of trans-shipping Namibian grapes via the Port of Lüderitz. The first trial was conducted in 2015, but proved rather costly.
Since then, grape companies have been reluctant to use the Lüderitz route, but most growers at the meeting were once again open to the idea. Many said the cost is the overall deciding factor though, and beating the current transportation prices should be the aim.
Sonop Farms director Nico Van Der Merwe told New Era after the meeting that the Lüderitz route would a good option overall, but he was quick to note that it all comes down to how much it costs, noting that the trial run in 2015 cost the companies more than normal.
"I think it's a good option, but the cost will help us make a final decision, because the last time we tried, it cost us 34 percent more than our current route," he said.
NileDutch is a Netherland-based company that specialises in container shipping to and from Africa.