The residents of Walvis Bay are expressing their hopes that the newly updated container terminal will bring the town more business.
A maritime instructor, Mr. Hamupembe, cites the expansion as the reason he now has the opportunity to start a business of his own.
The Namibian Port Authority, locally referred to as Namport, had held meetings where locals could consult with them about the new developments. It is there that Hamupembe learned that cruise ships are to be hosted in the marina, and so he opened the first sushi lounge in town.
He is certain that this enhancement infrastructure will bring in more settlers, tourists, and businesses.
Hamupembe expressed his belief that these new developments will keep tourists lingering longer in the town than previously. Walvis Bay is the only natural harbour that Namibia’s coast has. It is currently inhabited by around 110,000 people. Its tourism relies upon its beautiful dunes, colorful birdlife, and whale watching (the town’s name is translated from Afrikaans to “Whale Bay”).
Walvis Bay’s Mayor Wilfried stated that he believes the terminal expansion will boost tourism for the whole country. He says there is growing interest when it comes to buying land along the bay coast and that it’s coming from international companies. Even an oil refinery is soon to begin construction in the area. It seems that all the signs are pointing to the waterfront becoming a center of international standards.
Walvis Bay has always been a harbour of strategic interest; firstly, it was a matter of some dispute, as it used to be South Africa’s exclave. And while Walvis Bay was officially transferred to Namibian sovereignty in 1994, most of its trade routes are linked to South Africa. This is one of the reasons the small fishing settlement has turned into a trade-hub of international proportions.
CHEC, an engineering subsidiary company from China, reclaimed 40 ha of land from the sea off the coast of Walvis Bay. The project took just under five years and around 400 million USD to complete. It was funded by the government and the African Development Bank.
It was inaugurated by President Geingob and the Namibian Port Authority on the 2nd day of August this year. The capacity of the new terminal was increased more than twofold, and the project was part of Namibia’s Vision 2030 plan for strategic development.
CHEC stated that the project is a win-win for both Namibia and China; the company had hired over 2,000 Namibian locals to work on the project. Wilfried says he anticipates the creation of more jobs and businesses, as well as more and more people to move to Walvis Bay.
Likewise, the development of Walvis Bay can only offer more trade opportunities to Namibia’s landlocked neighbours, such as Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. These countries have dry inland ports and will now be able to direct their traffic straight through Namibia. The locals’ predictions seem to be founded.