Walvis Bay Corridor Group--desert pioneers: the Walvis Bay Corridor Group is an ambitious project that links several transport and logistics systems in southern and central Africa all eventually converging on the port of Walvis Bay in Namibia. Tom Nevin describes the system.

Author:Nevin, Tom
Position:Special Report

The decision in 1994 to develop Walvis Bay as a hub port for south-western and central African countries logically led to planning for ways a network of corridors could converge on the Atlantic Ocean port.

Known as the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG), the road and rail agglomeration seeks to encourage economic growth along its routes, facilitate inter regional trade and maritime transport and offer Walvis Bay as an attractive alternative for South African importers and exporters.

The six-year-old organisation is now busy trying to maximise the Walvis Bay corridor and its respective routes by bringing together frameworks for cross border transport and trade, the development of business opportunities to attract cargo from traditional routes and upgrading capacity for the transport and corridor sector.

In effect, the WBCG is a joint operation of transport stakeholders from public and private sector. Members include the trucking, forwarding and port user industries, parastatals Namport and TransNamib and the government departments of Transport, Trade and Customs.

Corridors in the group include the Walvis Bay Corridor, Trans Kalahari Corridor, Trans Caprivi corridor and Trans Cunene Corridor.

The Walvis Bay Corridor (WBC), a network of routes linking the Port of Walvis Bay with landlocked countries and regions of Southern Africa and vice-versa, gives SADC direct access to transatlantic trade routes. It capitalises on its location and the proximity to transatlantic markets and on time, costs and reliability savings.

The WBC further supports Namibia to achieve its national development objective to become the western gateway to the Southern African Development Community.

The Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC) links the Port of Walvis Bay with Botswana and Gauteng, the industrial hub of Southern Africa. It comprises a 1,8001cm road link built in the late 1990s, supported by a rail link to the Namibia Botswana border.

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It is claimed that a container landed at Walvis Bay, thanks to the port's efficiency and quick clearance times, can be delivered to Gauteng in quicker time than one landed at the congested port at Durban just 566km from Johannesburg. Two years after completion the TKC remained heavily underutilised despite its excellent infrastructure and obvious competitive advantages. The reasons were addressed by a regional TKC facilitation programme that recommended harmonised and simplified regulations and procedures for cross border...

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