Massive port expansion planned to increase capacity

Niël Terblanché

While Namibia is aspiring to become a new global fuel and energy exporter, port facilities will have to be upgraded to accommodate the new industry and its supply chain needs.

Andrew Kanime, Chief Executive Officer of the Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) in an interview with Bloomberg recently, said private investment of N$40 billion is needed for the proposed port infrastructure expansion.

Kanime announced plans for new berths and quay walls to support the country’s booming energy industry.

The expansion is targeted for the port of Walvis Bay while an entirely new deep-sea port will be built in Lüderitz to provide improved market access for the mineral-rich Northern Cape region of South Africa.

According to Kanime, both ports will become part of the energy supply chain that will be driven by recent major oil discoveries and will also complement each other.

He indicated that both projects will also mark an important shift in the way Namport aims to increase capacity. He added that Namport seeks to adopt the landlord port model.

According to Kanime, Namport will provide land for development and then invite private companies to establish operations.

“We are hoping to commence with the operation in the last quarter of next year which will take about three years at most,” Kanime said.

Since the discovery of Oil off the Namibian Coast, the government had to scramble to expand the handling capacity of the two major ports.

The oil finds are estimated to hold approximately seven billion barrels of oil equivalent and if exploited fully, Namibia is poised to become Africa’s fifth largest oil producer by 2030.

Namibia is also set to become a global export leader in green hydrogen.

In June, the Namibian government approved a Feasibility and Implementation Agreement (FIA) with green hydrogen energy supplier Hyphen Hydrogen Energy to develop, build and operate the largest green hydrogen project in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In readiness for this project, Namport has set aside 350 hectares of land at the Port of Walvis Bay for allocation to green hydrogen-related industries.

In addition, Namport in 2021 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Port of Rotterdam. The objective was to develop a supply chain plan to facilitate green hydrogen exports from Namibia to Rotterdam.

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