Botswana Railways BR will tomorrow [Monday] open its doors to the business community and general public to use its first class facility at the Walvis Bay dry port in Namibia.
The dry port facility project has cost the Botswana government about P50 million.
However BR is expected to generate between 2 to 4 million annually as profits from the facility.
The chief executive officer of BR Dominic Ntwayagae confirmed to Sunday Standard Business that the dry port in Walvis Bay that had been leased from the Botswana government four years ago will open for business tomorrow.
“I am happy to announce that our dream has come true that starting Monday the dry port will be now open for business. Botswana Railways appeals to the business community and general public to now use our facility in Walvis Bay,” said Ntwayagae.
He explained that some time back the Namibian government extended its generosity to the Botswana Government to lease an area of about 3,6 hectares in Walvis Bay which Botswana can us.
He said after the two governments had signed the agreements, BR was then assigned by the government to ensure that the area was developed. The Botswana government injected about P50 m in to the project.
He stated that sometime last year the facility was developed and it took 12 months to complete construction of the dry port which is now ready for use.
However, one challenge was that the soil at the site was not stable in which case they were forced to remove the top soil for the whole area and put foreign soil to stabilise it.
They also had to use pre casts right round the area instead of a fence which is easily affected by corrosion due to the salt from the sea.
Ntwayagae indicated that the port will be run by Sea Rail, a subsidiary of BR which is registered both in Botswana and Namibia.
He said they will take full advantage of the fact that nowadays a good number of Batswana are importing European vehicles as well as general warehouses.
He stated that a number of Batswana will be employed, adding that the dry port is headed by a Motswana.
“We would like to employ lots of Batswana but that will actually depend on the laws of Namibia whether it allows us or not,” he said.
Ntwayagae revealed that though they would not want to have a huge fleet as BR will be outsourcing some of its duties. He expressed hope that Batswana will respond to the advert that they will be floating sometime soon.
Ntwayagae said the official opening of the port is expected sometime late this year or early next year and urged the public to make use of the facility as its price will be competitive.
Minister of transport and communications Nonofo Molefi shared the same sentiments as Ntwayagae.
“Finally our dream has come true and we hope the facility will boost our economy,” Molefi said.
The minister said it has not been an easy road but finally the government has achieved what it has long waited for.
He expressed satisfaction with the relative proximity of the compared to both the South African and Mozambican ports and appealed to the general public to make use of the facility.