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WBCG hosts another successful engagement with Zambian Industry

Posted: 12 Jul 2019

Namibia’s role as a gateway to Zambia, including other landlocked SADC countries, has become more prominent and has created more interest from the regional and international markets and with more direct shipping calls to Walvis Bay, high efficiencies, short transit times and strategic partnerships, the Walvis Bay Corridor routes are in a robust position to serve the SADC market to the rest of the world.
In a constant effort to inform the logistics community on the advantages of using the Port of Walvis Bay and its Corridors, the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) hosted a Beyond Borders information session in Lusaka, Zambia in June 2019. This beyond borders event, which is held regularly in this market, showcases developments at the Walvis Bay Port and promotes the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor (WBNLDC). It furthermore provides a platform for interaction and information exchange, which enables business networking and synergy between the public and private sectors in Zambia and Namibia.

The session this year brought together over 100 of Zambia’s business people such as road hauliers, freight forwarders, importers and exporters and government agencies to engage with the Namibian team. The event was addressed by the High Commissioner of Namibia to Zambia, Ambassador Remigius Haindongo,  Permanent Secretary of Transport and Communications Zambia, Mr. Misheck Lungu and Namibia’s Executive Director for the Ministry of Works and Transport, Mr. Wilem Goeiemann. Speakers from the WBCG, Namport, Transnamib and Africa Union Cargo reflected on the latest developments, followed by BHL and Zambulk sharing their experience of utilising the WBNLDC.

Opening the session, Ambassador Haindongo noted that the regular hosting of the event testifies to the cordial bilateral relations that exists between Zambia and Namibia, the policies and programs being pursued by the two countries to transform Zambia and Namibia into regional transport hubs in the SADC region and beyond.
Namibia’s ambition is to develop itself to better serve the region and forge long-term meaningful business relations that will add value to our region’s micro and macro-economic goals. Supporting this, Mr. Willem Goeiemann in his speech noted that Namibia remains focused on the opportunity of building the trade routes and cross border links into the  region. The Executive Director further noted that for this goal to be realised, it is imperative to form a close collaboration between the Governments and private sector parties.

Speaking to Zambia’s move towards converting to a middle income country, Zambia’s Permanent Secretary explained that trade activities play an even more important role to the country. “We believe that through boosting intra-African trade we will lift our people out of poverty.” Mr. Lungu further noted that the high cost of logistics due to limited capacity of infrastructure facilities and inefficient cross border formalities constrain economic development in the Africa. My Government realizes the critical role that the Walvis Bay Corridor Group and its development corridors play for Zambia as a trade facilitator and enhancer of deeper regional integration.

“I am pleased with the high level participation; especially the positive discussions during the session. The WBCG remains committed to enhancing trade facilitation between Namibia and Zambia and call on the business community to engage our office in Lusaka to explore viable and cost effective solutions via the Port of Walvis Bay,” says WBCG’s Acting CEO, Mr. Clive Smith.

Since its establishment in 2010, the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor (WBNLDC) has continued to ensure that bottlenecks to trade being faced by the business community along the route from the port of Walvis Bay in Namibia through Zambia into DRC are resolved. The greatest benefit of utilising the WBNLDC is the short transit times that the corridor offers from the port of Walvis Bay to Lusaka which includes 3 – 4 days, the safety and security of moving cargo along this corridor, the fast turnaround time at the port of Walvis Bay. To support this claim to being a safe and efficient route, an independent survey published in the World Economic forum’s global competitiveness report 2018, indicates that the port of Walvis Bay scored first in Africa with regards to infrastructure and operational capabilities.

The crucial role that the Walvis Bay Corridor Group plays in facilitating trade and commerce in the region, supports the continent’s efforts at strengthening the links within. The WBCG’s  core mandate is to promote and market Namibia’s logistics hub, advocate and facilitate cross border trade and transit transport cooperation, as well as develop business connections for the transport industry in Namibia. In a unique formation of a common purpose partnership, the Public Private Partnership, such as the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, allows for direct dialogue and planning on the part of all stakeholders to ensure speedy, effective and risk-free management of the transport chain.  This close collaboration ensures that both promotion of and action in corridor business and the provision of an effective regulatory framework are taken care of.  As a result of this Public Private Partnership, the Walvis Bay Corridor Group remain in close contact with, but outside direct involvement in national and regional political and commercial agendas.

The Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor (WBNLDC) links the Port of Walvis Bay with Zambia, the southern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zimbabwe. The Corridor runs via the former Caprivi Strip in north-eastern Namibia and enters Zambia via the Katima Mulilo Bridge.