BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
THE Zimbabwe Dry Port facility at Walvis Bay in Namibia is operating at between 65% and 70% of capacity due to lack of support from the local business community, the company’s acting area manager Justy Moses has said.
Managed by the National Handling Services (NHS), the facility started operating in 2019.
In an interview with NewsDay Business on Monday, Moses said the facility was underutilised.
“Currently, we are handling mainly vehicles which are about 90% to 98% destined for Zimbabwe and the rest either for the local market or for countries like Zambia and Malawi,” he said.
“We had quite a lot of timber which was destined for Vietnam and other Far East countries. We are looking at handling perishable products as well as frozen products. We are looking at close to between 200 and 350 vehicles per month. As for the timber that we handled last time, it was around 500 tonnes.”
Moses implored the business community and the diaspora to utilise the facility built on an estimated 19 000 square metres and leased to Zimbabwe by Namibia on a 50-year lease.
“This dry port is for Zimbabwe and for Zimbabweans to use. Our brothers in the diaspora must be aware that there is a facility owned by the Zimbabwean government for Zimbabwean nationalities and surrounding countries to use,” he said.
“The port is operating at between 65% and 70% (of capacity). If it gets support, it will operate at 100% and the government is fully behind us,” he said.
Namibian ambassador to Zimbabwe Nicklaas Kandjii said the dry port provided an opportunity to link Zimbabwe to “facilitate exports to Europe, West Africa and America. So, this is a very important event for both countries”.
In collaboration with the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, the dry port management has embarked on aggressive marketing in the source and consumer markets in order to propel growth.
The Walvis Bay Corridor serves as an alternative to link Zimbabwe to Europe, North America as well as South America and through Walvis Bay, local importers and exporters can save more than 10 days in transit time to markets in Europe and the Americas.
Zimbabwean imports and exports have an option either to use the Trans-Kalahari Corridor or Trans-Caprivi Corridor as the trade corridor linkage from Europe and the Americas.
The Trans-Kalahari route is also a much faster route for road transportation, as it saves about five to seven days, compared to other ports in the region for cargo from European and American markets.
Follow Mthandazo on Twitter @MthandazoNyoni