Locals expect upgraded port done by Chinese company to boost Namibia's economy

The expansion of the container terminal at Namibia's coastal town of Walvis Bay is expected to bring business opportunities for the country, especially for residents in the town.

For David Hamupembe, a middle-aged instructor at the maritime school of Walvis Bay, the expansion has brought an opportunity to start a business of his own.

From the consultation meetings held by Namibian Port Authority, Namport, Hamupembe learned about the future capacity of the port to host cruise ships and the construction of the waterfront and marina, resulting in him starting his own business.

In May, the determined instructor opened the first and only sushi lounge on the coast in anticipation of the business that the port will bring.

In his view, the new infrastructure will bring with it more tourists.

"Currently we have seasonal tourists, mostly pre-booked by travel agencies who just pass by. With the new infrastructure, tourists will now stop. I believe in this strongly," Hamupembe said.

With its sand dunes and abundant birdlife, Walvis Bay is already an important center of tourism activity in Namibia.

The bay is a safe haven for sea vessels because of its natural deep-water harbour, protected by a sand pit, being the only natural harbour along the country's coast.

The town, which is home to about 110,000 people, draws a large number of southern right whales to its waters.

The town's mayor, Immanuel Wilfried said the town has the potential to add value to the country's tourism industry because of the expansion of the container terminal.

"A waterfront of international standard is on the cards and we are getting ready to accommodate the foreseen increased number of tourists. The demand from various companies to purchase land is very high. Land for the construction of an oil refinery has just been allocated," he said.

He said, the growing interest in the city is largely due to the expansion of Walvis Bay port.

Wilfried is very excited about the inauguration of the port and anticipates not only jobs to be created and business to be boosted but also people to move and settle in the town.

On August 2, the government of Namibia and the Namport inaugurated the new container terminal of the Walvis Port with a capacity to handle some 750,000 twenty-foot equivalent units.

This key milestone was realized with support from China Harbor Engineering Company ltd and funding from the African Development Bank to Namport.

The expanded port of Walvis Bay aims to be the preferred African west coast port for southern and central African logistics operations. Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe already have their dry inland ports.

Editor: 曹家宁
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