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Dry Port shrugs off White Elephant label

PAULINE DIKUELO
BR is eyeing an alternative to Walvis Bay
Traffic has begun building up at the Walvis Bay Dry Port, the country’s much-lauded seaport, which has been threatened with White Elephant status for several years. 

Since its construction six years ago, the P40 million facility has been struggling to attract customer volumes, with Botswana Railways even considering building another port at Gobabis, 600 kilometres from Walvis Bay.

This week, Dry Port manager, Derrick Mokgatlhe told BusinessWeek the business community was warming up to the Walvis Dry Port, noting it had anchor clients such as the Botswana Defence Force, Gabcon and many entrepreneurs who preferred it due to its efficiency.

“We currently handle about 131 vehicles per month and have moved cargo used for the construction of the Kazungula Bridge to Mohembo. We also have moved about 217 military units to Gaborone,” he said.

According to Trans Kalahari Corridor managing director, Lesley Mpofu, the Walvis Dry Port was lucrative and viable, despite the challenges posed by the alternative ports in South Africa. “It will take time for the business community to appreciate the Dry Port because Batswana don’t

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like stepping out of their comfort zone.

“Compared to the Durban Port, Walvis Bay has reduced trucking costs, competitive handling fees and storage rates. “It is a safe and secure facility and also offers reduced transit times,” he said.

The Dry Port handles both the break-bulk and containerised cargo. It is a bonded facility built on 36,200sqm of land adjacent to Namport in Walvis Bay and offers documentation, freight forwarding, cartage, bonded facility, packing, unpacking containers RoRo vehicle storage, as well as container and break bulk handling.

The port houses the administration office, warehouse, car terminal, containers, as well as cold storage.

Last month the Dry Port’s managing company, Sea Rail closed a tender to construct a 3,000 square metre commercial storage warehouse, which is expected to be commissioned in June next year. Sea Rail is also in the process of constructing a 18,000 square metre reefer station next year.

 



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