Lobito could divert trade from Walvis Bay


The Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) believes that the port of Lobito in Angola is a significant regional competitor due to its strategic location and infrastructure investments.

The company believes that as an alternative gateway for landlocked countries such as the DRC and Zambia, the port has grown in recent years and has attracted cargo traditionally routed through the Port of Walvis Bay.

Further augmenting the port’s growing stature is the 30-year concession that was signed at the end of 2022 for rail services and logistical support for the 1290 km Lobito Corridor.

The corridor connects Lobito port to Luau in Angola’s east, close to the DRC border and offers the shortest route for copper and cobalt from DRC and Zambia. It also offers increased capacity for the transit of liquids and gases. The corridor is being lined up for some US$250 million in financing from the United States’ Development Finance Corporation. The United States has also mooted an expansion of the Lobito corridor to the Tanzanian coast.

Namport believes that Lobito’s strategic location and infrastructure improvements could potentially divert trade flows away from Walvis Bay.

“Furthermore, changes in trade agreements or tariffs between Angola, Zambia and DRC could impact cargo routing decisions, favouring Lobito over Walvis Bay.”

Namport said Lobito’s increasing prominence may shape market perceptions, making it a more attractive option for cargo owners and shipping lines.

“If the United States investment extends to the Tanzanian coast, it would further dent Walvis Bay’s competitiveness for hinterland cargo.”

Namport said to mitigate these competitive challenges, it is committed to strategic investments in infrastructure and equipment within its ports.

“We recognise the significance of enhancing the capacity of the entrance channel to handle larger vessels, and dredging is one of the key considerations for the New Container Terminal concessioning project.”

Namport actively promotes the Port of Walvis Bay and the Port of Lüderitz as the preferred gateways for the region. By fostering strong partnerships, the Authority strengthens the efficiency and reliability of the entire logistics network.”

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