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    Zimbabwe-Namibian Port Project Taking Shape

    The strategic Gateway to Southern African under development at the Port of Walvis Bay. 
    State-owned logistics firm Road Motor Services (RMS) says its dry land port project at Walvis Bay in Namibia is now 70% complete after gone through four years extensive development to build it. RMS, a subsidiary of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), is spearheading the construction of the port in partnership with the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG), a Public Private Partnership (PPP), that was established in the year 2000 as a service and facilitation centre to promote the benefits of using the Walvis Bay corridors through the Port of Walvis Bay to link the Southern African region. The development project is done in the collaboration with the Namibian Port Authority. In September 2009, the Namibian government granted Zimbabwe 19 000 square metres of land to construct a dry port, seen as critical to boost the landlocked southern African country's trade.

    The work on the project started in 2014; Zimbabwe's trade volumes through the port of Walvis Bay have grown significantly over the years to more than 2 500 tonnes a month. Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development, Daniel Garwe said in a report presented last week at the 2018 pre-budget seminar in Bulawayo that the project was now 70% complete.

    The Namibian port project taking shape, which currently under construction in Walvis Bay. 
    "The committee was informed that the Road Motor Services has secured land on lease for 50 years to construct a dry land port at Walvis Bay in Namibia and the project is 70% complete," Garwe said. "The committee welcomes the dryland port at Walvis Bay in Namibia. However, there is a need to consider value for money on infrastructure investment and the lease timeframe prescribed (50 years)." The committee also recommended that the NRZ should continue to identify possible public-private partnerships as the government was pushing through the strategy of selling off or closing down loss-making parastatals.

    In the 2018 budget, NRZ was allocated $15 million divided into traction and rolling stock ($9,4 million), signalling and telecommunication ($1, 9 million), electrical, works and buildings ($450 000) and tracks ($3, 3 million). The committee noted that although $9 million had been budgeted for the establishment of a control tower at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport, the committee felt that the allocation was insufficient.

    The project has the potential to open up, a strategic gateway to the sea for Zimbabwe. Trade for Zimbabwe via Walvis Bay has increased in previous years and a large percentage of raw materials have been transported along this corridor. Zimbabwe is the volume of trade through the port of Walvis Bay have increased significantly, by about 2 500 tons per month and Walvis Bay corridor serves as a real alternative to link Zimbabwe to Europe, North America as well as South America. Zimbabwe already had challenges, payments to the WBCG, (the company responsible for the construction of the port) and operations had to be stopped pending distance from some outstanding charges. There are also two other ways in the hallways that the Trans Kalahari or Trans Caprivi corridors. Both corridors are currently road-based, but the proposed new Trans Kalahari Railway from Botswana to Namibia is likely to be linked to Bulawayo.

    Botswana also linked partnerships Zimbabwe and Mozambique, which for the shorter project linking the area with Mozambique for the construction of a new deepwater port in southern Mozambique and a rail system, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Ter's first deal with Namibia should link trade through Botswana with South Africa in the south, Namibia in the west, Zambia and Angola to the north-west and Zimbabwe in the north, making it a first-class network for the Southern African Development Community region. Botswana's dealings with Zimbabwe and Mozambique will be 400 kilometres shorter, costing $2 billion less than the one with Namibia.

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