MBAHUPU H. TJIVIKUA
Question 1: WBCG has been instrumental in clearing trade bottlenecks in the SADC region, what would you say have been notable successes over the last 12 months?
Answer 1: Our notable successes over the past 12 months are as follows;
- Collaborating closely with the SADC Secretariat in the piloting and implementation of the SADC/EAC/COMESA Corridor Trip Monitoring System (CTMS).
- Being instrumental in our trade facilitation mandate - the resolution of numerous trade bottlenecks and other cross-cutting non-tariff barriers along the Walvis Bay Corridors – Walvis Bay Ndola Lubumbashi Development Corridor (WBNLDC), Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC), Trans Oranje Corridor (TOC) and Trans Cunene Corridor TCuC).
- Facilitating numerous platforms for stakeholder dialogue - engagements; information sessions; e.g. the three member states of Namibia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia - tripartite meetings; cluster meetings, bilateral meetings on One Stop Border Post (OSBPs); joint permanent commissions on defence & security etc.
- Facilitating the Tripartite Council of Ministers and Senior Officials Meeting in Lubumbashi DRC in March 2022 where several resolutions and decisions were adopted by the respective ministers of transport of Namibia, DRC and Zambia - fast tracking dialogue on OSBP & 24 hours border operations - extended operating hours at Katima Mulilo & Kasumbalesa border posts.
- Advocated for customs modernization initiatives to enhance trade facilitation across the region to ensure procedural efficiencies at the borders of Katima Mulilo, Kasumbalesa, Trans Kalahari, and Oshikango etc.
- Advocacy for customs modernization initiatives e.g. OSBP at Katima, Namuno/TKC and Oshikango - pre-clearance adopted at the Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA), green lane express clearance for dangerous goods, electronic submission of bill of entries, electronic SADC certificates of origin; self-assessment, electronic rules of origin etc.
- Strong advocacy and lobbying in the harmonization and relaxation of Covid-19 protocols for regional transport and logistics - truck drivers - bridged the trade, transport logistics and wellness nexus.
- Conducted several road safety activities along the Walvis Bay Corridors; e.g. Thank a Trucker campaign etc.
- Road transport corridor route assessment in Namibia, Zambia, DRC, Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, South Africa, Malawi.
- Corridor observatory - monitoring of cross border waiting/dwell times across the region.
- Conducted high-level multi-sectoral trade missions in Zimbabwe, Angola, Botswana, and part of Mozambique.
- Research, benchmarking and market intelligence
- Supported the SADC Secretariat in the road transport liberalisation and harmonization - regional integration agenda - vehicle mass tolerance limits, gross vehicle mass etc.
- Collaborated with the Regional Economic Communities (RECS) and other continental and international bodies on trade facilitation - Africa transport policy program – SACU, SSATP, SADC, COMESA, EAC, AFCFTA, UNECA, USAID, AFDB, WTO, WCO, shippers’ council etc.
- Continuous stakeholder engagements and collaboration – with industry stakeholders in both the Public and Private sector across the region.
- Participated in the trans - Zambezi railway extension - Grootfontein - Rundu - Katima Mulilo - feasibility study in collaboration with the Republic of Namibia’s Ministry of Works and Transport, and the African development bank, participated in the feasibility study on the trans - Zambezi railway extension project Grootfontein, Rundu to Katima Mulilo. The route length for the project is 772 kilometres and track length is 872.93 kilometres - Grootfontein to Katima Mulilo. The total estimated cost of the project is a whooping united states dollars $2.26 billion.
- Participated in numerous regional, continental and international conferences, symposiums and forums on trade facilitation, logistics and transport matters. e.g. Transport Evolution Conference, Zambia Land-Linked Conference etc.
- In collaboration with our members, our Wellness Services made a significant contribution to keeping Covid-19 transmission rates in the transport and logistics sector below 10%.
- Promoting intra-Africa trade between Namibia and Zambia, through projects such as the importation (from Zambia to Namibia) of Stock feed from the Copperbelt, Lusaka, Kabwe to Hochfeld Namibia; Maize bran; Maize from Lusaka area for processing; and Molasses imports from Mazambuka for Feedmaster Namibia.
Question 2: How can WBCG support the growth of Zambia’s mineral exports?
Answer 2: As the new government implements plans to increase copper production to 3 million tons per year in the next three years, efficient, safer, and secure export routes will be critical to meeting this target. Fortunately, the major mining companies in Zambia are now based in the Western province, specifically the Kalumbila Mine, Lumwana Mine, and Kansashi Mine. The copperbelt is shifting to western Zambia.
Geographically, the port of Walvis Bay is the closest to the aforementioned mines. The port of Walvis Bay, as one of the most efficient in the SADC region, will help copper exporters in getting their cargo to their destination faster, safer, and more securely.
Since there is always a need for a balance between imports and exports in the logistics circle, the port of Walvis Bay now can boast of having sufficient capacity to handle sulphur as out bound cargo and copper as inbound cargo. Sulphur which is also used in the production of copper, is constantly arriving at the port of Walvis Bay, and there is a need to attract more copper exports through the port of Walvis Bay in order to create that balance in the logistics circle, and this is where the opportunities for more Zambian copper exports lie.
Over and above, the sea lag to the European and American markets via the port of Walvis Bay is the shortest meaning the cost and time factors are commercially reasonable. For example it only takes two weeks for a ship to sail between the port of Walvis Bay and any European port. Zambian copper exporters must take advantage of the faster access to European markets rather than waiting more than a month or more to complete their copper export sales when they export their commodities via other ports.
It cannot be denied that the port of Walvis Bay is rapidly gaining a reputation as the most preferred trade route in the SADC region. This is due to the fact that it is free of perennial disruptions caused by natural disasters such as bad weather, as well as disruptions caused by negative human activities. As a result, exports via the port of Walvis Bay are fully guaranteed to occur continuously throughout the year, and all Zambian mineral exporters stand to benefit from this scenario.
In conclusion, the port of Walvis Bay remains the best and most reliable port for Zambia's mineral export, as exporters will enjoy year-round trade to both regional and international markets.