The article below was published in the latest edition of the FTW Publication with a focus on Zambia
Walvis Bay has become a more attractive gateway for Zambian and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) imports and exports since a Zambian dry port facility has become operational within the boundaries of the Walvis Bay port itself, says Africa Union Cargo marketing and sales manager Traolach Moylan.
“The Africa Union Cargo / Zambia Dry Port represents an opportunity for Zambia to diversify from its traditional dependence on the ports of Dar-as-Salaam and Durban and to make use of a west coast port that is closer to the European and American customers and suppliers,” he says.
“We feel that the security issues, infrastructure problems and delays in other ports and corridors, Walvis Bay is the by far the best route for all businesses to utilise.
“It is important to note that, although the facility is referred to as the ‘Zambia Dry Port’, it has the potential to deliver the benefits of route diversity to other central African Countries”.
The Zambia Dry Port offers a range of logistics, warehousing and multi-modal transport options.
There is a direct rail link into the Zambia Dry Port. “We offer a one-stop service for shipping, road and rail transport.
“The focus is on handling import and export cargo mainly for landlocked countries around the Trans-Caprivi Corridor (Zambia, southern DRC, Western Zimbabwe, Namibia and parts of southern Angola).
“We have concentrated on forming strong relationships with the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, Namport, Haut Katanga Regional Government and both the Namibian and Zambian Governments to promote the Walvis Bay – Ndola – Lubumbashi corridor as the fastest, safest, most practical and economical route for Zambian and Southern DRC businesses to utilise.
“We also work hand in hand with the Zambian Ambassador in Windhoek, Namibia, the High Commissioner Stella Libongani, in the promotion of this route and port,” he says.
Increased demand for the facilities and services being offered by the Zambia Dry Port in the port of Walvis Bay has been met with ongoing investment in the facility, according to Africa Union Cargo marketing and sales manager Traolach Moylan.
“We have a very positive outlook for the future trends of cargo growth.
“Namport’s huge investment in the development of the new container facility in Walvis Bay Port, and TransNamib’s focus on the rail network are creating tremendous opportunities for the region.
“It is critical that all local and international businesses work together and recognise the importance of the Walvis Bay port and corridors leading from it,” he says.
Africa Union Cargo holds the concession for the development and operation of the dry port facility.
“We have fully developed Phase 1 of the Zambia Dry Port. Currently we are in the final stages of Phase 2 on our depot that will triple our operational space in the Zambia Dry Port with a final operational bonded warehouse of 30 000 square metres.
“We expect the work to be finished by the end of this year, when it will be fully operational,” he says. The investment in the dry port has been spurred by the upgrading of the port of Walvis Bay and supporting infrastructure.
“We see growing demand for products in landlocked and bordering countries, specifically in Zambia and the DRC. The supporting logistics infrastructure is critical to the success of the corridor and the Zambia Dry Port,” he says.
Africa Union Cargo is working with transporters and shippers to attract return loads along the corridor and so to reduce the costs that an empty leg adds. “We are working on several forums to assist with building return load volumes in order to make Walvis Bay more attractive to our clients than other ports. “While we will always be in competition with the ports on the eastern seaboard, our data shows that, even for east-bound cargo, Walvis Bay offers a more cost-effective option thanks to more frequent calls by the major shipping lines, our superior port facilities, and better and safer infrastructure,” he says.
African Union Cargo has entered into a joint venture partnership with Shanghai-based Jiangsu Golden Coast to open up direct market links with China for importers and exporters in the region.
The joint venture, Sino-Africa Union International Trading, will introduce Chinese buyers of commodities such as timber, dimension stone and copper to suppliers in Namibia, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), says Africa Union Cargo marketing and sales manager Traolach Moylan.
“In return we can offer a port to port service with our joint venture partners for much-needed imported commodities in Namibia, Zambia and Southern DRC.
“It is our goal to boost trading that will further increase cargo transport and further grow Walvis Bay as a cargo hub to the SADC and central African regions.
“Our JV partners will be joining us in our new headquarters in Walvis Bay,” he says.