Namibe's rising tide of renovation for growing business
Updated: 2011-09-16 08:03
Angola may be China's main trading partner in Africa and a place where China has invested heavily, but other countries are also looking at the South-West African nation as a potentially important regional transport hub.
Two years ago the government of Japan financed a viability study on the expansion of the Port of Namibe. A Japanese firm is now carrying out rehabilitation work.
Originally built in 1957, Namibe is the third most important port in Angola after Luanda and Lobito. It currently has over 870 meters of docks divided into three zones and a workforce of more than 700.
Previously called Momedes, Namibe is well positioned in a rich fishing zone. The Japanese viability study recognized its potential for development and growth.
As conditions are similar to the successful port of Walvis Bay in neighboring Namibia and with the Momedes railway scheduled for completion soon, the Japanese are very keen on the feasibility of their first large investment in Angola.
Pedro Kahamba, the port's administrator, said the investment is paying off. "In partnership with the Japanese we have now concluded the first phase of rehabilitation," he said. "Two hundred and forty meters of dock regeneration is now finished with better lighting and better loading and off-loading equipment."
That leaves 635 meters of regeneration to be concluded. Work on another 240 meters is planned to begin in August next year, with a final phase to complete all 875 meters of renovation. Bidding and contracting for the second phase will be completed by May 2012.
The improvements are easy to see. The quay is now much easier to navigate and all of the port's stakeholders are unanimous in their positive feedback. The access road has also been rebuilt through funding by the Japanese government.
At recent celebrations for the port's 54-year anniversary, Kahamba noted that "the port handled 2 percent more cargo in the first quarter of this year compared to last year and our revenues have grown 10 percent".
On average 20 large ships including oil tankers are now mooring at the port each month and goods processing totals 200,000 tons a year.
When asked previously about what kind of goods would pass through the port, Kahamba said "we can handle any imports the country needs". With ongoing investment and renovation, an increase in business is proving his point.
The port is also contributing to the country's trade balance by exporting high revenue products such as granite, marble, fishmeal and fish oil that pass through on route to major global economies such as China.
Kahamba also pointed out that even though the Japanese have become involved in the port, Chinese expertise and technical prowess would also be welcome.
(China Daily 09/16/2011 page26)