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Transport infrastructure development to benefit Namibia’s mining sector

Posted: 21 Jan 2019

The Government’s push to develop the country into a regional logistics hub, is not only to benefit cross border trade. Important national goals also depend on it.

The basic role of transport infrastructure is to generate connections between geographically separated locations for both commercial and individual needs. Transport infrastructure can have a major impact on a country’s economic state, leading to improvements in productivity and economic indicators. The economy needs reliable infrastructure to connect supply chains and efficiently move goods and services within and across the borders.

Historical connection

There is a strong link between mining and transport. Historically, the sector has contributed significantly to the development of transport infrastructure in the country. Namibia’s railway infrastructure emanates from the late 1800s when a  small mining rail line opened at Cape Cross. Many of the railway projects that followed after this, all ran from mines and in addition to the other rail lines, was a step of great importance for the development of the country’s economy.


While the port of Walvis Bay is considered amongst the best in Africa, likewise our roads were twice recognised as the best in Africa by the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2014/15 and 2017/2018. Availing modern and well-developed road infrastructure has been instrumental in driving the economic growth of our country. As such, the integration of transportation modes like the ports, roads and railway lines continue to promote developmental initiatives through freight movements.

Mining & Transport

Transportation logistics and transportation costs play a significant role in the feasibility and sustainability of a mining venture in Africa. Functioning transport connections are as important in moving not only the product mined, but additionally the consumables, mining equipment, supplies and people for the establishment and operational phases of the planned mine.

Development Commitment

With the logistics sector identified as one of the economic priority sectors in Namibia’s National Development Plan, the Government is investing in developing the country’s freight industry by upgrading major transport infrastructure. There is a strong emphasis on infrastructure development that focuses on the expansion of the Port of Walvis Bay Namibia’s airports, the rehabilitation of the railway network and the maintenance of the road infrastructure, which will support the development of a logistics hub.

A focused approach by Government to invest in the railway sector, is of vital importance to the mining sector, as this transport medium is the most cost effective solution for moving mined product. Priority projects related to the road and port infrastructure are also enjoying attention. The Roads Authority last year embarked on several road maintenance and upgrading projects on the corridors. At the Port of Walvis Bay, the building of bulk terminals to handle exports of coal, iron ore and other commodities will commence once contracts have been signed with mining companies.

As the infrastructure is upgraded, the transport industry is gearing up. There has been a significant increase in the number of transport service providers in the country and more SME’s that established themselves in the industry of transport and logistics. This growth in service providers will play a key role in reducing the time and cost efficiencies related to transport.

It is critical to ensure that we remain efficient in terms of imports and exports being handled via Namibia and along our corridors linking ourselves with the neighbouring countries.  We have to ensure that we maintain the infrastructure and build new infrastructure where and whenever required. With our Government backing and private sector support, we will continue moving towards our goal of becoming a leading gateway into southern Africa.