As stated above the coast of Namibia runs in an almost straight line for about 1.350 km in a direction NNW-SSE. The coastline is affected to a marked degree by the major meteorological systems within the Southern Atlantic, which cause the Benguela Current to run up the entire coastline of Namibia. This current is a cold northerly-running current, which results in there being very little rainfall on the coast. This has created a desert region for a distance of about 100 km from the coast. Whilst the Benguela Current has caused a desert region on land, the Namib Desert, it has created one of the richest fishing grounds in the world along most of the coastline, extending to about 200 km from the shore [23].

The coastline contains two natural harbours, one at Walvis Bay and the other at Lüderitz. The rest of the coastline is generally straight, but is characterised by several shallow north facing bays. These bays offer some protection against the prevailing south-westerly swell, but cannot be considered as harbours (although in the past some have been used for landing supplies using small boats). At the present time it is believed that no vessels (apart from pleasure boats that can be removed from the water) operate from any location other Walvis Bay and Lüderitz.

The following sections describe the ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz, and in addition the facilities at Swakopmund (which was used as a port in the German colonial times), and Oranjemund (which has a tanker mooring for supply of fuel to the diamond mine complex).


Walvis Bay is situated approximately in the middle of the coastline of Namibia, due west of Windhoek. Walvis Bay Port is connected by road and rail to Swakopmund, which is in turn connected to the trunk road and rail systems of Namibia.

The harbour is formed by a low lying sand peninsula leading to Pelican Point. The harbour is approximately 9 km wide at the entrance, and 12 km long (although the southern half is a very shallow lagoon).

The water depth at the entrance to the harbour is 20 m, but the depth decreases steadily and the approaches to the port are maintained through dredged channels.

The natural harbour provides adequate protection for the commercial wharves at the port, although at times long period swells can cause problems for vessels moored alongside. The fishing wharves are located north-east of the commercial wharves, and are more exposed to north-westerly wave action. A small breakwater has been constructed to protect some of these wharves.

The commercial section of the port is administered by "PortNet" former "South African Harbours", which is an autonomous business organisation within "TransNet", the former "South African Transport Services". The port contains 8 berths, with a total wharf length of about 1.400 m. The channel has been dredged to 10,05 m (below low tide datum), whilst the berths have been dredged to 10,67 m depth, permitting vessels with draft up to 10,4 m to use the port.

The port is fully equipped with the necessary harbour craft, storage facilities and cranage to handle the goods that are moved through the port. The wharves have 14 rail mounted cranes, but these are largely being replaced by mobile cranes. Zinc and other ores are handled by an automated loading system, whilst other bulk materials are handled by a variety of more traditional means. The ore loader is operated by "Tsumeb Corporation Ltd." and has a capacity of 400 t per hour. Container are offloaded by ship's gear onto trailers, which are towed to the stacking area where they are stacked by two rail mounted gantry cranes. It is understood that about 300 containers are handled per week (15.600 per year). The railway operates directly into the container stacking area, permitting direct loading of containers (and other cargo) onto railway wagons.

The port also contains a dolphin-type tanker jetty which can take vessels with a length between 128 m and 192 m (i.e. approx. 7.000 to 25.000 dwt). The fuel is pumped to large storage tanks.

Walvis Bay is served on a regular basis - about every 3 weeks in each direction - by ro-ro ships of the Southern Africa Europe Container Services (SAECS). This consortium comprises several shipping lines, including the South African "SAFMARINE" of the "SAFREN"-Group. It provides links to major European and South African ports, where goods destined for other parts of the world have to be transhipped. There are weekly services between Walvis Bay and South African ports - on a liner basis - provided by two cellular container vessels belonging to the Unicorn Lines, which are also members of the Safren Group. Unicorn lines furthermore operate two bulkships for the transport of salt from Walvis Bay to Durban. Bulk oil is also a coastwise trade, presumably mostly originating in Durban, but also in Cape Town. Other services are normally in the form of coastal tramping (charter) operation between Walvis Bay and Lüderitz, on the one hand, and South African ports on the other.

The port operates at about 17% occupancy, which is a very low usage factor. Assuming an average throughput of 300.000 t per berth per year (for a mixture of general cargo, ro-ro and containers), the eight existing berths could handle a maximum of 2,4 million t per year without excessive congestion. In addition, the tanker berth could handle at least 2,5 million t per year of liquid products.

Studies have been carried out into the feasibility of deepening some of the berths to 12 m, and in 1990 "PortNet" are planning to carry out a feasibility study into the long term development of the port. The port operates all the cargo handling equipment in the port area, and the port railway. Stevedoring is carried out by several private companies.

Siltation is a continuing problem at the port. A dredger used to be mobilised from South Africa every few years to carry out maintenance dredging, but the port now operates a small grab dredger which is adequate for the maintenance dredging (approx. 40.000 m3 per year).

To the north east of the commercial port lies the fishing port. This has a total wharf length of about 2.500 m, with several fishing canning and processing factories behind. The wharves and factories are owned by private companies. At the south-west end of the fishing harbour there is a shiplift, with associated repair jetty, operated by the South African Cape Provincial Administration. The shiplift can handle vessels up to 79 m long with a mass of up to 2.030 t. Many private companies provide back-up services for the repair of vessels using the port, and for stevedoring etc. The town of Walvis Bay has a population of approx. 20.000, and is steadily expanding around the lagoon to provide holiday homes.

In conclusion, the port of Walvis Bay is a well run, tidy, efficient port that can provide all the facilities required for the import and exports of materials to and from Namibia. The water depth in the port restricts the size of vessel that can use the port, but the quantity of bulk materials being handled at present does not demand or justify larger vessels. The present occupancy of the berths (17%) is very low, indicating that an increase in trade could be accommodated with the existing facilities. The port is well connected to the road and rail infrastructure of Namibia.


The port of Lüderitz is owned and managed by the Namibian state owned corporation "TransNamib Limited", which also provides ancillary services such as pilotage and cargo handling.

Lüderitz is located approximately 400 km south of Walvis Bay, and 250 km north of the southern border of Namibia. The coastline in this area is generally rocky, with low hills leading straight down to the sea. The area around Lüderitz contains several bays and islands, but the commercial harbour and the jetty are located within Menai Creek, which is protected from the prevailing swell by Shark Island. Occasionally heavy swell from the north-west can cause problems for vessels using the jetty. There are in toto three islands in the Bay, still claimed and occupied by South Africa, viz. Seal Island, Penguin Island and Halifax Island.

Lüderitz is connected to the road and rail systems of Namibia, via Seeheim. The railway comes directly into the harbour area. The railway from Aus to Lüderitz is, however, a substandard line as far as maintenance and permissible axle masses are concerned. The road from Goageb to Aus (approx. 100 km) is now under construction (1992).

The water depth at the anchorage in Lüderitz Harbour (between Angra Point and Shark Island) is approx. 16 m, whilst the depth in the inner harbour (Robert Harbour) is 7,5 m. The depth within Menai Creek is less than 3 m, so a dredged channel has been formed to provide access to the jetty. This channel was dredged to 6,1 m, but a recent survey has indicated that siltation has occurred in places, and the minimum depth at present is 5,5 m. It has been estimated that approximately 34.000 m3 of silt must be dredged to restore the original sea bed levels.

The offloading facilities consist of two jetties at the south end of Menai Creek. The main jetty is 242 m long by 19,5 m wide. The outer 92 m were dredged to 6,1 m water depth, whilst the remainder of the jetty has a smaller draft. The jetty was extended to its present size in 1968, and is in good condition, while it seems that the foundation conditions have to be investigated to withstand horizontal loads. The jetty is constructed in reinforced concrete supported on circular concrete piles.

Crane rails are installed on the jetty deck, on which run two aged 4 t electrically operated quay cranes. Three railway lines also run down the jetty. The jetty is provided with water, fuel oil and electrical services.

The other jetty is a wooden jetty, constructed in about 1963. The jetty is 168 m long, with a depth alongside up to 3,5 m. A survey carried out in 1988 by "SATS" indicated that about 35% of the piles were in poor condition, and the cost of maintenance was estimated by then at R 80.000. This jetty is only used by fishing boats at present.

The port area is fairly confined, being bounded by a road and the town. An area of about 40.000 m2 is available at the head of the two jetties, which at present is used for railway sidings. This area also contains a goods shed 78 m long by 11 m wide and two small oil tanks by oil companies (the latter ones being presently considerably expanded). A third oil tank is located in the railway station area, and each tank is connected to the jetty by a 3 or 4 inch diameter pipeline. The total oil storage capacity is about 1.600 m3. The port area also contains small offices and stores.

The port is equipped with one 780 hp tug, constructed in 1939. This tug has been well maintained, but must be near to the end of its economic life. The port also has a 250 hp launch, constructed in 1963, and five 150 t lighters.

Cargo handling on the jetty is by ships gear or the two quay cranes. The only other cargo handling equipment operated by the port are a small fork lift truck and a tractor (also used to shunt railway wagons).

The marine side of the port is directed by the Port Captain, who is also the Pilot. He is assisted by an experienced Tugmaster and a Marine Engineer, and by 10 junior personnel. The Port Captain has instituted a training programme for the junior staff.

Cargo handling is under the direction of the Station Master/Ports Goods Officer. This staff, which include 2 foremen, 6 clerical staff, 7 operators/technicians and 17 labourers, also handles the trains operating to and from Lüderitz.

Lüderitz was until recently (1989) used by three fishing companies, mainly for rock lobster (crayfish) and white fish. Each company has its own jetty near its factory, and repair facilities including small slipways (one 400 t capacity, the other 150 t) [24].

The most regular shipping service to Lüderitz is by the vessel "Oranjemund", operated by the South African "Unicorn Lines" from Durban and Cape Town, which calls about 18 times a year. This vessel is designed for small harbours such as Lüderitz, and is a combined general cargo/tanker. The "Oranjemund" has a length of 61 m, a breath of 12 m and a maximum draft of 4,4 m. Other small coasters call at the port, and occasionally larger vessels call on their way to or from Europe. Vessels longer than 110 m, or with a draft exceeding 5,75 m must anchor in the harbour, and be handled by lighters. Vessels with a draft up to about 7,5 m may anchor in Robert Harbour (the inner harbour), whilst larger vessels anchor in the outer harbour between Angra Point and Shark Island (the travelling time for lighters from this anchorage point is about 20 minutes).

The port is used as a base for offshore diamond exploration and exploitation, for the harvest of sea grass and for the gas fields off the southern coast of Namibia.

In conclusion, the Port of Lüderitz is a small, under-utilised port that is well run. The connecting road and railway line into the interior are partly of inferior standard. Facilities exist for the handling of small coastal vessels, although this will be jeopardised if re-dredging of the harbour is not carried out in the near future. Safe anchorage exists for larger vessels, which can be handled by lighterage. The capacity of the port could be expanded by the provision of modern cargo handling equipment, but the expansion of the port in its present location is constrained by the small area of land available. No facilities exist for handling bulk cargoes or liquid products (except in small quantities for local use).


Swakopmund is located approximately 30 km north of Walvis Bay. It was the site of one of the first colonial settlements founded by the Germans in 1892. The site was chosen not because it was a good site for a harbour, but because Walvis Bay had been occupied by the British during the 1870s and there was a traditional ox wagon route from this site into the Namibian interior. The coast at Swakopmund is straight, and offers no natural protection.

Initially all cargo was landed on the beach, but between 1898 and 1903 a mole was constructed from concrete and stone. The mole is 375 m long, and was used for offloading lighters (which were loaded from cargo vessels anchored in the open roadstead). However, siltation around the mole started immediately, and by 1905 it was not possible to use the mole for offloading.

A wooden jetty was constructed in 1904-1905, but was demolished during 1916. In 1912 the construction of a steel jetty was commenced, which was planned to be 640 m long. Construction was halted by the First World War, with only 262 m completed. The jetty is still standing, but the steelwork is highly corroded and it can only take foot traffic, although it was partly rehabilitated during the early 1980s.

Since 1915 all cargo traffic has been handled at Walvis Bay, and the sea front of Swakopmund has been redeveloped into a holiday resort. Any future commercial port development there would not be compatible with the present use of the sea front.


There is a large diamond mine at Oranjemund, approximately 7 km north of the Orange River and 4 km of the coast. The Orange River marks the southern boundary of Namibia. No landing facilities exist, but a tanker mooring has been installed about 3 km offshore, in about 18 m water depth. The mooring is connected to the shore by a submarine pipeline which is connected during operations (once or twice a year) by divers to the tanker.

No technical details of the installation are as yet known to the Ministry, but it is understood that about 35.000 t of fuel oil are imported each year through the tanker mooring, i.e. Diesel & Petrol at 6:1; 28.000 t per drop: tank farm capacity: 62.000 t.


All maritime related affairs were run by the South African Department of Transport until independence, and there is at present very limited technical and administrative capacity in this area in the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication. Since January 1991 all vessels and seamen are certified or licensed by the Ministry.

"TransNamib Limited" is responsible for the operation of 7 lighthouses along the Namibian coast, viz. at Lüderitz, Swakopmund, Farilhao Point, Cape Cross, Toscanini, Terrace Bay and Möwe Bay. The lighthouse at Pelican Point at the entry to Walvis Bay is operated by the "South African Transport Services". The seven lighthouses are operated by "TransNamib Limited" for its own account. Maintenance of some of the light houses has been contracted out to "South African Transport Services", the previous owner until the transfer of these and other transport installations to Namibia in 1985.

The lighthouses are equipped with non-directional beacons (NDB) for air navigation. Some of the installations are old and are deteriorating quickly, and therefore have to be re-equipped. Some of the beacons have also already been closed down.

At present all short wave marine communication is via Walvis Bay Radio, with a repeater station at Lüderitz. Walvis Bay, which is operated by the "South African Post Office", maintains a 24 hours service. The repeater station in Lüderitz, which is maintained by the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication, can be used by local personnel to contact vessels approaching the port. The port of Lüderitz has its own VHF radio for short range communication.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources operates two vessels which were purchased by the former colonial administration, for fishery protection and research services. No other services, such as search and rescue, coast guard or pollution control are currently provided along the Namibian coast. The South African National Sea Rescue Institute, which is a private company, provides sea rescue services within the Walvis Bay harbour area. There are no commercial shipping boats owned by Namibian companies and the only registered shipping line - Swakop Line - is owned by the South African Unicorn Lines. Most of the fishing vessels operating out of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz are owned by South African companies.



The Republic of Namibia has virtually no legislation of its own governing maritime affairs. The single noteworthy exception is the Territorial Sea and Exclusive Economic Zone of Namibia Act, 1990 (Act No. 3 of 1990, GG 28, 11/6/1990) which extends the territorial waters and exclusive fishery zone to 12 and 200 nautical miles, respectively. This Act came into operation on 11 June 1990, in terms of Government Gazette 28 of 1990. The principal South African statute governing commercial shipping is the "Merchant Shipping Act, No.57 of 1951, as amended". This law is since April 1991 entirely administered by the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication of the Republic of Namibia (Government Gazette 217, dated 05.06.1991).

All other South African maritime acts were taken over under the conditions of Clause 140 of the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia. The Department of Transport within the framework of the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication is at present drafting laws for maritime affairs. The approach used is to prepare a complete set of laws to provide for full autonomy, but the laws are based on current South African legislation, which are mainly being adapted so that they can be used, at least as an interim measure. While some of the proposed amendments are merely cosmetic changes (i.e. to remove the name South Africa from the content of the Act), other have to be more substantive and will have to be arisen from a changed set of circumstances and will have to be drafted on the ground of new perceptions compatible to the Namibian maritime conditions.

(All the relevant maritime legislation has been "namibianised" by the necessary parliamentarian processes in the mean time and introduced and debated by the Hon. Deputy Minister of Works, Transport and Communcation, Dr. Klaus Dierks M.P. in the National Assembly of the Republic of Namibia)


The first step in the establishment of competence and capacity in the sphere of maritime affairs is proposed to compromise the following elements (proposals for the subsequent development will have to be developed later by the concerned staff):

- The enactment of comprehensive Namibian maritime affairs
   laws (see above);

- The establishment of a separate unit - a directorate in the
   Department of Transport - with a director reporting to the
   Under-Secretary of Transport. The unit will have two
   divisions for (i) Maritime Safety and Pollution Prevention,
   and (ii) International Relations and Maritime Law;

- TransNamib Limited will continue to be responsible for
   navigational aids, the Department of Post and
   Telecommunications will continue to be responsible for
   maritime telecommunications and the Ministry of Fisheries
   and Marine Resources will be responsible for fishery
   protection services. General administrative services
   (personnel, finance, accounting, etc.) are provided by the
   Department of Transport of the Ministry;

- The new directorate will aim at establishing the basic
  competence and facilities required to perform the functions
  listed below:

* sea worthiness certification and
   registration of vessels

* personnel licensing and registration

* pollution prevention and control

* search and rescue services

* accident investigation

* international liaison and co-operation

* maritime law administration;

- It is assumed that the directorate will be able to hire services
  whenever they are available from the private sector, e.g. from
  classification societies;

- The recruitment of one or two maritime affairs experts from
   abroad with technical assistance from a donor to initially
   serve as Director of Maritime Affairs and Chief of the
   International Relations and Maritime Law Division. It is
   assumed that it will be possible to recruit a Namibian to
   serve as the Chief of the Maritime Safety and Pollution
   Prevention Division;

- The recruitment of staff to fill about 5 to 7 other professional
   posts established in the new approved organisational
   structure of the Directorate: Maritime Affairs within the
   Department of Transport;

- The development of on-the-job training and formal training
   programmes to ensure that the recruited staff and staff
   designated to take over as director and chiefs acquire the
   basic competence required within a specified time period.

To make the new directorate functional, it is proposed that a donor finances a technical assistance team comprising two experts. In addition, it is proposed that some funds be made available to these experts by the donor to make it possible to recruit consultants for short assignments, as required and to organise training abroad. The background and tasks of the two experts are proposed to be:

(i) A Director of Maritime Affairs. He is proposed to have a background as an executive in maritime affairs administration, and specifically in maritime safety aspects. He would preferably be a master mariner. He would be recruited on a priority basis as he would be involved in the recruitment of the other expert, and as far as possible in the recruitment of the other maritime affairs staff. He would be charged with making the new directorate functional according to the above targets and to train the Namibian director designate, envisaged to hold the position as Deputy Director as well as Chief of the Maritime Safety and Pollution Prevention Division, so that he can take over in 3 to 5 years time. In addition he would be responsible for the manpower development of the directorate, policy formulation (including the definition of the future evolution of the directorate), budgets and co-ordination with other directorates and ministries. He would also be responsible in providing advise to the Maritime Safety and Pollution Prevention Division and be involved in the establishment of a registry for Namibian ships and personnel, and the development of systems and procedures for certification of ships and personnel and accident investigation.

(ii) The Chief of the International Relations and Maritime Law Division. This person would have a background in a senior position in a corresponding unit of a maritime affairs administration or ministry of another country. He would have extensive experience in maritime laws and the international conventions underlying maritime affairs legislation. He would preferably also have experience in the planning of the maritime sector and the formulation of maritime policies. He would train the person designated as the future chief, to be able to take over after a period of about 3 years.

Both experts are assumed to be available in an advisory capacity for some time after they have stepped back from their line positions within the Ministry.

(The organisational changes took place during 1994)


Two types of port projects are envisaged, both dictated by the political circumstances surrounding the South African occupied Enclave of Walvis Bay. Firstly, there is a need for a thorough study of future port facilities and to develop a strategy in this regard. Secondly, it can be stated that improvements to the existing port facilities in Lüderitz are a high priority of the Ministry. FEASIBILITY STUDY ON PORTS

The need for a study on new port facilities is not only dictated by the uncertainty and implications of access to Walvis Bay for international traffic. There are other reasons as well. One is that it seems unlikely that the Namibian fishing industry can be developed to the full benefit of the country as long as Walvis Bay is under South African control. Furthermore the centre of the fishing activities is in the waters to the north of Walvis Bay.

Another reason is that the port facilities offered by Walvis Bay are inadequate to serve the long-term needs of Namibia. The primary constraint is the depth of the entrance channel and of the water alongside the berths, which restrict the size of ships that can be served. Oil imports would, for example, be much more economical by using much larger ships than the 24.500 dwt that is the maximum size of tanker which currently can be handled at Walvis Bay.

The proposed Namibian port study is a complete feasibility study, including preliminary planning. It aims at providing the government with a complete basis for making future decisions, including an analysis of the marine environment and the environmental effects of new port facilities. The study would focus on the appropriate location and a suitably staged construction programme, possibly to initially provide facilities for the emerging Namibian fisheries sector and later on complete commercial port facilities. All potential locations along the coast, including the Lüderitz Bay, would be examined.

A pre-feasibility study with essentially the same focus has recently been initiated by the past colonial administration. A commission has been appointed by the former Secretary of Economic Affairs. The study concentrates on the sector between the Swakop Mouth and the Ugab Mouth. The study is divided into three phases: the first would identify the requirements, the second would focus on the marine environment and other site investigations between the Swakop Mouth and the Ugab Mouth and the third phase would include the engineering studies. For the second phase a South African consultant was appointed by the colonial administration. The first and third phases were not investigated and analysed as yet. A report for parts of the second phase has been submitted for approval to the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication by the consultant in the mean time [25].

The proposed new port study is envisaged to continue the work that has been initiated by the colonial administration under the full control of the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication including the recruitment of the required consultants. Wind and wave measurements have also been initiated at the potential harbour site at Cape Cross (August 1991).

(See the Study on Port Developments: The Enclave of Walvis Bay and the Off-Shore Islands were re-integrated into the Republic of Namibia on 28.02.1994 and the Namibian Port Authority "NamPort" was created by legislation and duely implemented. Consequently a Port Development Master Plan was drawn up with subsequent port upgradings with inter alias a new container terminal, new cranage and the deepening of some of the berths and the access channel to - 12,00 m in order to make Walvis Bay the most important hub port at the south western coast of Africa and terminal point of the Walvis Bay Corridor to the landlocked African countries in the east: Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and even Malawi and for economic reasons the Gauteng/Free State/Mpumalanga provinces  of South Africa) UPGRADING THE PORT OF LÜDERITZ

New port facilities will under all circumstances require quite some time to their implementation. Meanwhile it is necessary to make independent Namibia less dependent on Walvis Bay and to promote the shipping and fisheries sectors, albeit on a relatively small scale. Furthermore, the promotion of Lüderitz to become a focus of development in the southern part of the country is high on the agenda of the Ministry. The most important means for fulfilling such an ambition would be to expand the port facilities and improve and upgrade the road and rail access routes. Such strategy would also fit into the expected future development of the south in general and the traffic in the region in particular with a possible trend from railway to road and maritime traffic.

For these reasons a number of projects are in preparation by the Ministry in order to improve the conditions in the port of Lüderitz. These envisaged projects would transform Lüderitz into a commercial port able to serve primarily coastal traffic with neighbouring countries, involving vessels including ro-ro vessels, of up to 5.000 dwt, to be handled alongside the jetty and ro-ro vessels up to 9.000 dwt to discharge at the head of the jetty. Vessels (including self-unloading container ships) up to 25.000 dwt would be served by lighters. In addition, Lüderitz could be used as basis for fishery protection and coast guard vessels, although the location is not ideal.

The proposed projects for Lüderitz make maximum use of the existing facilities and are not be viewed as long-term solution. Proposals for the long-term development are instead expected to come out of above mentioned port feasibility study. The following projects for the upgrading of Lüderitz are envisaged by the Ministry:

- Dredging at the head of the jetty to -7,0 m or -7,5 m, i.e.
  1,0 m to 1,5 m below the previously dredged depth of -6,1 m.
  This is an urgent project as a recent survey has indicated that
   siltation has reached an unacceptable level;

- The provision of a ro-ro ramp on the side of the existing jetty;

- The construction of new storage areas between the jetty and
  Shark Island, to be used for improved lighterage operations
  and transhipment between ship and rail;

- Relaying of railway sidings and construction of roads;

- Cargo handling equipment, including 1 mobile port tower
   crane, 1 general purpose crane, fork-lifts, tractor units and

- One tug boat, and four flat-top barges (as the existing lighters
   are unsuitable for containers).

(On 01.04.1995 the newly established Namibian Port Authority "NamPort" took over the Port of Lüderitz from TransNamib. In the following years the Port was considerably upgraded: with a new 450 m long quay at the western side of the main jetty and with deepened berths and a deepened access channel in order to make Lüderitz Port a regional port for southern Africa). UPGRADED ACCESS TO LÜDERITZ TRUNK ROAD 4/1: GOAGEB-AUS

The Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication has proposed to upgrade the existing gravel section of trunk road 4/1 between Goageb and Aus to bitumen surfaced standard in order to ensure the best possible access for Lüderitz. This section is still the only unpaved section on the trunk road between Keetmanshoop and Lüderitz. It contains some dangerous spots mainly consisting of sharp horizontal curves normally at the ends of long straights. The terrain is generally flat except for a few limited sections. There are also drainage problems along the section which are, however, fixed by the provision of drainage structures by the Department of Transport.

The route selection, the necessary surveys, the preliminary planning and parts of the detail design have been completed for the whole section in the meantime by the Ministry including some alternative investigations near Goageb to optimise the final alignment. The construction of this section of trunk road 4/1 commenced during March 1992 and will be completed at the end of 1994.

(The important "missing link" was officially opened in May 1994 by the President of the Republic of Namibia, Dr. Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma and the Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Dr. Klaus Dierks, who was pivotal in the realisation of this project) RAILWAY BRANCH LINE: SEEHEIM-LÜDERITZ

The railway branch line between Seeheim and Lüderitz has to be upgraded to an acceptable standard in line with the objective of developing Lüderitz into a commercial port for coastal traffic. To achieve this objective several studies are envisaged by the Ministry.

The track repair and upgrading project would continue ongoing upgrading programmes on the Seeheim to Lüderitz branch line in order to ensure the passage of 15,0 t axle load wagons. The majority of TNL wagons are 60 t wagons, thus 15,0 t axle load wagons with a few exceptions of 16,5 t axle load wagons. The Class 33 (U 20 C) locomotives have axle loads of 15,7 t. It is quite normal to permit some higher axle loads than permissible for locomotives. It is doubtful whether the bridges on the line can withstand axle loads of 16,5 t. The track repair and upgrading project is divided into two phases, with the first phase focussing on the weakest sections of the track and formation. After the repair and upgrading project is completed the line will be of sufficiently high standard to transport about 1 million t per year.

Ballast for this branch line is currently transported from "Dolerite Crushers" in Keetmanshoop, but only supplied to parts of the line. Future requirements will involve much greater demands for ballast and will warrant the opening of a quarry along the line. The establishment of a quarry would provide for a semi-mobile crushing plant and associated equipment as well as spares for the opening of the temporary quarry.

The realignment study would concentrate on the possibility of realigning the section between the stations Rotkop and Oil Sites, near Lüderitz, in order to provide a route which is clear of moving sand dunes and has a more stable formation which will not be subject to wash-aways. The bridge strength survey should make provision for the inspection and load testing of all bridges to determine if they are designed for 16,5 t axle loadings. If warranted, repair, strengthening or replacement designs would be prepared.

A radio control system on the Lüderitz branch railway line would increase the operational capacity by extending TransNamib Limited's radio control system from the main line to this branch line.

(During 2001 the upgrading of the railway line Aus to Lüderitz is in progress).


At this stage, as far as an own Namibian shipping undertaking is concerned, only coastal shipping between neighbouring countries can be envisaged. As far as a government sponsored purchase of a shipping line is concerned the question arises whether it would be appropriate for the Namibian Government to become directly involved or whether shipping as a transport mode should be entirely left to the private sector. It is very well true that Namibia's small domestic market is an obstacle to local manufacturing and some basic industrialising. But, if South Africa would return Walvis Bay to Namibia, it would have much more potential. Namibia could then become an exporting country to other African countries which South Africa could not supply with goods while Apartheid lasted.

Regarding the issue of port access and development, it can be expected that the Republic of South Africa could sooner or later hand over the Walvis Bay Enclave to Namibia. It can also be stated that the use of Walvis Bay for import/export to Namibia will be continued with the important prerequisite that bilateral agreements on the harbour's use will not be clinched. Furthermore it is normally sufficient to run all transport and communications operations under commercial agreements, for instance, in order to enable TransNamib Limited to operate trains in the enclave.

Emergency operations in the case of the closure of Walvis Bay to Namibia are technically feasible but very costly and cumbersome projects. Preparations for emergency operations cannot be initiated at short term, although strategies and tactics as well as basic planning are ready for such emergencies. The nucleus of any Namibian policy regarding the enclave would be to turn Walvis Bay from an asset to a liability for the Republic of South Africa. A media campaign inside and outside South Africa should be tailored accordingly. It is necessary for Namibia to create a mechanism for a coherent approach of the Walvis Bay issue which involves the whole government.

A comprehensive feasibility study about all harbour possibilities along our coast will be initiated and continued. Lüderitz with its transport links will be developed into a regional port for Namibia's south. Feasibility and basic planning studies in this regard are already initiated and have a high priority.


[23] Many of the arguments used in this Memorandum are derived from: "SIDA: Study on Transport and Communications for Namibia, Windhoek, 21 March 1990". These arguments were however evaluated and updated and brought into line with new policy guidelines developed within the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication.

[24] Considerable expansions in the white fish sector were commenced during 1990 by the Spanish fishery company "Pescanova".

[25] CSIR: Division of Earth, Marine and Atmospheric Science and Technology: Potential Harbour Sites on the Namibian Coast between the Swakop and the Ugab River Mouths, Stellenbosch, December 1990

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