The Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) has recorded an increase in the volume of cargo it has handled for the 2023 financial year – a positive increase from diverted cargo that was supposed to be cleared in South Africa.
According to Namport, cargo handled for the 2023 financial year increased by 17% to reach 7,6 million tonnes – a record for the Walvis Bay-headquartered ports company.
Analysts at Simonis Storm Securities have indicated that due to load-shedding in South Africa, the harbours cannot run at full capacity, resulting in more cargo delivered to the Walvis Bay harbour for export.
“This created opportunities for transport companies to transport goods onshore. This has supported local commercial vehicle sales as noted in our monthly reports at the same time that global supply chain issues have eased and allowed for improved inflow of new vehicle stock,” reads their recent report.
Namport spokesperson Tana Pesat said the major contributors to the export goods include salt, base metals, coal, copper concentrate, copper and ship spares.
“In addition, there were other minerals, sulphur, frozen fish, petroleum products and lubricating oil, which all recorded a significant 44% increase in exports compared to the previous financial year,” Pesat said.
The authority also recorded a 9% increase in imported goods compared to the previous financial year.
Pesat said the number of vessels docking at Namibian ports also increased by 3%, amounting to 44 additional port calls.
This increase was reportedly attributed to greater calls by dry bulk, petroleum, passenger, reefer, patrol and research vessels.
“As a result, the vessels’ gross tonnage increased by 2,9 million tonnes or 14,9% compared to the previous financial year,” said Pesat.
The authority also recorded an increased in occupancy rate of the syncrolift facilities.
The ship repair jetties’ occupancy rose from 54% to 64%, while the repair bays’ occupancy increased from 47% to 52%.
Pesat said Namport continues to pursue its vision of becoming the best-performing seaport in Africa, but it is still lagging behind South Africa, despite the surge in cargo handling.
According to the Logistics Performance Index (LPI), a metric created by the World Bank that rates a country’s efficiency in customs clearance, trade quality, transport infrastructure, traceability, timeliness and pricing competitiveness, Namibia has decreased in port efficiency.
Singapore leads the world with an LPI score of 4,3, while Libya is last at 1,9, and Namibia was reported to have an LPI of 2,9, which is an increase from 2,7 recorded in 2016.
The improved LPI score was mostly driven by an improved timeliness score, but counteracted by a poorer performance in the tracking and tracing score.
Analysts at Simonis Storm Securities said in Southern Africa, South Africa has the highest score of 3,7 – a decrease from 3,8 in 2016 – making it the best logistics performer in the region.
The country outperforms its neighbours in all aspects of the LPI score.
Countries with an LPI below 2,5 are deemed poor logistics performers, with Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Mauritius among the partial performers. South Africa is the only country with a logistics-friendly score.
“A positive for Namibia remains that we do not have load-shedding and our ports and border posts can operate optimally and so allow the efficient flow of goods to be exported.
This is a great opportunity for our country to take market share from other ports in the region, but certain reforms are still necessary to improve our score on indicators such as timeliness, logistics competence and quality,” said the analysts.