Botswana Dry Port facility lobbies Parastatals
The Botswana Dry Port facility in Namibia’s Walvis Bay faces the hurdle of diverting traffic volumes from the port of Durban in South Africa and luring it to the dry port through the Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC).
Sea Rail Dry Port General Manager Derick Mokgatle bared all during a media tour of the facility in Namibia regarding their role in facilitating trade links using the dry port.
The Sea Rail Dry Port - a wholly owned subsidiary of Botswana Railways (BR) -was established in 2013 when the Botswana Government acquired 36 200 square metres leased land from Namibian government at a cost of P400 million. It was first constructed in 2013 at a cost of about P50 million and started operations in 2014.
It is intended to be an alternative route for commodities for Botswana and other regional countries to improve trade efficiency. It will also diversify Botswana Railways’ portfolio.
Mokgatle said that they are lobbying government to have parastatals utilise the dry port and even have it in clauses for tendering. Another challenge is the lack of rail linkage. Mokgatle believes that as they continue to lure in more volumes into the port it will improve the business case for construction of Trans Kalahari Railway.
But sadly, they have not yet developed warehousing facilities and cold storage. He said the benefits of the port are that it is congestion free and that their fees are reasonable. At present, they are targeting the Botswana Defence Force, Botswana Meat Commission and others to utilise the port. Executive Director at (TKC) Leslie Mpofu said their role is to facilitate trade in terms of exports and imports. Mpofu said the benefits of transport corridors are to enhance regional and global value chain and production networks.
He explained that one of their strategic theme is to secure high level security on the TKC which will eventually increase the efficiency in trade. Poor road safety and security standards are also some of the barriers to trade. He said they will have truck ports in areas such as Sekoma and Lobatse where drivers can rest and refresh before they continue with their journey.
They also intend to review and implement the service charter between government agencies and stakeholders. “We aim to accelerate economic integration, development and enhance stakeholder capacity” said Mpofu