This Study investigates the future development prospects for the Namibian ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz as well as some basic concepts for the proposed new Fishing Port of Möwe Bay.
On 28 February 1994 Namibians celebrated the "home-coming of Walvis Bay" - the formal hand-over by South Africa of Namibia's main Atlantic coast port, its surrounding enclave of 1 124 km2 and the 12 uninhabited offshore "Penguin Islands" - made possible by an historic bilateral agreement reached in September 1993. With that Namibia gained an additional 30 000 inhabitants and ownership of the relatively small but efficient and modern commercial and fishing port complexes.
The Government of Namibia intends to improve the efficiency of the Port of Walvis Bay in a systematic and planned way in order to make Walvis Bay a major export and import harbour for the whole southern African region. Due to the fact that Walvis Bay is situated eight days sailing time nearer to the major markets of the western world this assumption is a realistic one. Assuming that this point correctly outlines the current and future situation of the Port of Walvis Bay, and realising that it is in the national interest of Namibia to strengthen its major seaport, the author of this paper suggested shortly after the historical meeting between the governments of the Republic of Namibia and the Republic of South Africa in August 1993 - which resulted in the re-integration of Walvis Bay into Namibia on 01. March 1994 - that a Strategic Development Plan on the basis of which concepts and ideas and the further development and upgrading of the Walvis Bay Port may be implemented, should be adopted by the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication with the keywords: Performance and Low Prices. Subsequently it was negotiated between the Ministry and the German Government (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau) that such a Port Development Master Plan consisting of an Infrastructural Masterplan, a Business Plan for the Namibia Ports Authority (NamPort) and a Human Resources Plan would be financed by the German Government by a grant and be implemented as quickly as possible. The Port Development Master Plan should concentrate on the objective to make Walvis Bay the Hub Port for the whole region on the basis of combined cargo going straight north.
Furthermore, the situation of the Port of Lüderitz has to be critically evaluated and this important regional port for Namibia´s south with special emphasis on the Fishing Port activities has to be optimally and at maximum promoted. Traffic yields for Lüderitz have to be maximised. Ore transshipment from the Karas Region have to make use of Lüderitz and development plans have to be designed accordingly. The position of Lüderitz has to be fully incorporated into the Port Development Master Plan for Namibian ports.
The analysis of the future development prospects of the Namibian ports have to be based on realistic data and assumptions where these data are lacking. The basis of this investigation is the present technical, economical and institutional as well as organisational situation of the Namibian ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz. The comprehensive Namibian traffic yield, divided into the different cargo types and the modal split between railway and road as well as the most important cargo throughput will with special reference to the significant role of the Port of Walvis Bay be analysed.
The critical inventory for the Port of Walvis Bay deals firstly with the technical port facilities. The port approach from sea, the hydrographical circumstances and the structural conditions and facilities (sub-soil conditions, water depths, berths and quay facilities and the on-shore facilities) as well as the on-shore transport approaches by road and rail are described and analysed. The cargo handling and transport equipments as well as the swimming port equipment are described and evaluated.
Within the framework of the cargo and traffic yield the most important cargo types and cargo demands, the shipping throughput and separated from it, the container demand, will be investigated and analysed. The throughput in the Commercial Port of Walvis Bay will be treated according to aspects such as structure of the port and cargo handling operations, the organisation of the cargo handling services as well as the throughput performances. The throughput in the Fishing Port of Walvis Bay will be treated separately.
Regarding the technical port services aspects like the port control, the pilot services, the tug boat services, the direction finding services (radar etc.), the dredging services and the navigation aid services as well as the synchrolift operations, the waste removal services, the fire protection services and the repair and maintenance workshops are investigated and evaluated.
The port administration and organisation is dealt with quite in detail. Areas like the institutional framework of the Port Authority, the organisation of the Port Authority, the personnel and finance division are investigated.
According to the same scheme a critical inventory for the Fishing Port of Lüderitz will be given. Shortly the proposed construction of a new Fishing Port at Möwe Bay will be also dealt with.
The next step will be the critical inventory and evaluation of all planned improvement and upgrading measures for the ports of Walvis Bay (NamPort) and Lüderitz (TransNamib). Based on these surveys the Study will make judgements and recommendations for the future development projects of the ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz.
SHORT TERM PROJECTS: WALVIS BAY
- Clarification of the question of the "assets and liabilities" between the South African PortNet and the Namibian NamPort in conjunction with the re-integration of the Port of Walvis Bay into the Republic of Namibia
- Continuation of institutional and organisational change within the framework of NamPort, especially the filling of key positions in the top structure of Namport, restructuring of the management and cost accounting system as well as the review and the new formation of the Port Service Fees and the Throughput Fees according to the basic transport policies of the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication: to provide and ensure the provision of cost-effective services for minimised port fees to promote maximum usage of Namibian ports and in the interest of Namibian consumers, and for these reasons economically force traffic to Walvis Bay from Namibia's land-locked neighbours
- Establishment of a Port Planning Division within the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication in order to strengthen the decision making process regarding Maritime Affairs of the Ministry and Namport
- Initiating the creation of a Port Development Master Plan on order to define the short, medium and long term activities in the institutional and organisational fields as well as in the technical and planning fields. The basis for such a Master Plan should be a widened and realistic traffic prognosis and an Area Utilisation Programme for Walvis Bay. Furthermore this Plan should entail a Business Development Plan and a Human Resources Development Plan for NamPort.
SHORT TERM PROJECTS: LÜDERITZ
- Above Port Development Master Plan has to include the Fishing Port of Lüderitz although the development of the Port of Walvis Bay as Namibia's and her landlocked neighbours major export and import harbour has to take preference. The inter dependencies between the two ports have to be fully investigated. A further area of priority should be the speedy transfer of the Port of Lüderitz from TransNamib Limited to NamPort.
MEDIUM TERM PROJECTS: WALVIS BAY
- As medium term projects all activities are proposed which seem to be of high priority but have to be investigated and analysed by the Port Development Master Plan with all legal, institutional, economical and technical implications.
- The following projects seem to be priorities and should be realised at medium term:
- Reviewing of the existing Port Regulations, the Port Safety Regulations, the Port Service Regulations and the Business Regulations.
- Privatisation or Part-Privatisation of the Port Operations, eventually also the tug and pilot and other port services after the legal separation between port infrastructure and port suprastructure.
- Privatisation or Part-Privatisation of the Synchrolift and the creation of Synchrolift Company.
- For the medium term the above projects and after the realisation of the Port Development Master Plan which have been designed in detail during the short term period have to be implemented as projects and are the following:
- Public Common User Facility
- Upgradings at Tanker Jetty
- Upgrading and Maintenance of Synchrolift
- Supply of New Handling and Transport Equipment
- Creation and Paving of New Operational Areas
- Upgrading of Port Security Fence
- Further Priorities as identified in the Port Development Master
MEDIUM TERM PROJECTS: LÜDERITZ
- As medium term measure the organisational and institutional propositions which emanated from the transfer from TransNamib Limited to NamPort have to be implemented. Furthermore a Lüderitz Fishing Port Operating Company should be created.
LONG TERM PROJECTS: WALVIS BAY
- For the long term the deepening of the approach channel and the berths could be realised after due consideration of the economic feasibility and if warranted by the increased traffic throughput. In the case of realisation not only dredging operations are required but also considerable structural upgradings and reinforcements for the quay walls in order to safeguard the stability of the quay structures.
LONG TERM PROJECTS: LÜDERITZ
- The technical recommendations of the Port Development Master Plan for the Fishing Lüderitz Port like the deepening of the approach channel and the jetty berths and the supply of additional handling and transport equipment have to be realised.
POSTSCRIPTUM (August 2001): Due to the efforts of the author of this Memorandum the Federal Republic of Germany (KfW) financed in 1995/96 the Port Development Master Plan for the Port of Walvis Bay. In consequence of this Master Plan a new container terminal with the most modern container cranage on the African continent was realised in 1998. In 1999 sections of the port and the access channel were deepened to a depth of -12,00 m in order to increase the competition capability of the Port of Walvis Bay and make it a direct competitor to the Port of Cape Town. The dredging of the berths and the access channel was financed by NamPort themselves (negotiations with the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg and the Dutch Government failed). This resulted in the upgrading of the Port of Walvis Bay to a hub port for the whole of southern Africa including South Africa (Gauteng and Mpumalanga provinces). Only with these upgradings Walvis Bay became the terminal point of the Walvis Bay Corridor which was promoted by the author of this Memorandum since the independence of the Republic of Namibia.
Likewise, due to the efforts of the author of this Memorandum the Federal Republic of Germany (KfW) financed in 1995/96 the Port Development Master Plan for the Port of Lüderitz. In consequence of this Master Plan a new 450 m long modern quay west of the main jetty was constructed and completed by NamPort in 1999. The new quay was financed by the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg (negotiated by the author of this Memorandum). This resulted in the upgrading of the Port of Lüderitz to an important regional port for the south of Namibia and parts of southern Africa including South Africa (the different Cape provinces and the Oranje Freestate). This will promote economically these areas by the development of new schemes like the Scorpion Mine, one of the biggest zinc mines in the world and the Kudu Gas Field development at Oranjemund. All these development schemes can make use of the upgraded Port of Lüderitz which in the next three years will be connected by an upgraded railway line to the hinterland (Aus to Lüderitz railway line).
Find here a link to the Web-site of the Namibian PortAuthority (NamPort)