Dry Port imperative – Botswana

• By Business Reporter

RULE Jimmy Opelo, Botswana’s permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications has highlighted the importance of the Botswana Dry Port facility in offering better turnaround times and access to international markets especially Europe and the Americas.

Opelo was speaking at a recent information sharing session organised between the Walvis Bay Corridor Group and Searail Botswana in Botswana.

“Our ministry, and indeed government is committed to making sure that this leased land achieves the purpose for which it was given to us, we also are very grateful to the goodwill extended to us by the Namibian government in opening up our access to the region and the rest of the world,” he said as he delivered the keynote address.

Opelo’s sentiments were also echoed by Dr Batlang Comma Serema, High Commissioner of the Republic of Botswana to Namibia who highlighted that the High Commission’s mandate is to promote Botswana’s interest in Namibia including trade and investment.

“Some of the opportunities that exist in Namibia include among others, agriculture, specifically good quality breeds in small stock and cattle, sea food, oil, mining, water and tourism.

“In addition, Botswana Dry Port facility in Walvis Bay offers business opportunities as it has warehousing and cold storage facilities. The port is also cost effective and efficient as goods take less time at the port for clearance,” Serema added.

Derrick Mokgatle, the Dry Port manager aslo added: “The major trade incentive for using this dry port is the lower terminal handling charges for transit cargo at this congestion-free port.”

The meeting also discussed the Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC) as not only important to Botswana but to the region as it promotes intra – regional and international trade as well as allowing the movement of people for business and tourism.

The TKC is a road network spanning approximately 1 900 km across the territories of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. Compared to the traditional routes via southern Namibia to South Africa’s Gauteng, TKC cuts the distance by 400km, making it a more preferred route and providing cost-effective logistical advantages to users. 

It is a strategic route-of-choice that provides linkages between the Americas and East European markets and the Southern African hinterland.

In terms of time saving also, the TKC is a fast route, explained WBCG chief executive officer Hippy Tjivikua.

“The efficient congestion-free Port of Walvis Bay as well as the efficient system at the Mamuno border ensures that your cargo will arrive sooner rather than later. Border clearance at the Mamuno border takes between 30 minutes due to pre-clearance allowances,” Tjivikua said.