The Walvis Bay Corridor users are fast becoming aware of the significance of their alliance to the route of Walvis Bay. Capital Fisheries Limited, a privately owned company that specialises in the wholesale and distribution of fish and seafood products, has been using the Port of Walvis Bay for little over a decade. One of the first companies to use the Walvis Bay route to Zambia, Capital Fisheries brought two large consignments of 3 000 and 4 000 tonnes respectively, of rice from Vietnam to Zambia.
During the time period that they have been using the Port of Walvis Bay, the real reliability aspect of the corridor has added significant value to improve and expand their Zambian market. The information is provided in the July newsletter edition of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG).“We have come to know the Port of Walvis Bay as an efficient service provider: one who is time critical, cost-effective and offers a personalised service,” says Capital Fisheries Chairman, Chance Kabaghe.
The company started with only one product line in 1999. It has grown exponentially and now proudly boasts over 240 different products ranging from local to imported fish. An industry leader, Capital Fisheries supplies all major supermarket chains, retailers and wholesalers throughout Zambia.” The major product lines include buka buka, horse mackerel, red dentex, fresh frozen and dry kapenta, assorted seafood, ice cubes and frozen potato chips, said Capital Fisheries Executive Director, Gavin Thomas. Among other imported products, horse mackerel is imported from Namibia.
Capital Fisheries boasts a distribution centre and a 2 500 square metre cold store, making it the largest cold store in Zambia. Their new plant in Mpulungu will allow the company to maintain its high standards of quality, as well as provide a more competitive product to the market in refrigerated trucks in solid 30kg blocks. These blocks are then thawed to obtain individual frozen fish, which are then weighed, packed and refrigerated.
By securing the Zambian agencies for these brands, Capital Fisheries is able to offer a wider range of quality products at an affordable price. This is something that has been a high priority since the inception of the company. Additional product line options are being investigated as an ongoing effort to provide a diverse range to the Zambian consumer. The company’s product portfolio continues to grow each year, a testimony of the business expertise of the directors.Thomas holds that the Port of Walvis Bay remains one of their preferred routes of trade. “It allows for a safer and quicker mode of transport. In addition, it helps us to keep our clients happy, which makes us very happy.”
To restrict trucks or not?
Meanwhile, the National Road Safety Council has lamented the negative impact the restriction on the movement of heavy motor vehicles could have on Namibia’s economy. “Restricting the driving of heavy motor vehicles would negatively affect Namibia’s economy and its competitive advantage of trade with land-locked countries in SADC,” said the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) in a press statement released on the 27 July 2016.
The remarks came after the national dialogue on the regulation of heavy motor vehicles and the conditions of employment of truck drivers in Namibia. An initiative by NRSC, the dialogue had participatory agents from WBCG, law enforcement arms of the Namibian Police Force and City of Windhoek Traffic Department, Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, Roads Authority, the Private Sector Road Safety Forum and the Namibia Logistics Association. Representatives of the Public Transport Associations and transport unions also participated. This interchange came after the Ministry of Works and Transport directed the NRSC to consider the possible restriction of truck movement on the country’s main corridors, especially during the night. The measure is sought to reduce the truck-related fatalities in the country.
“However, favouring the restrictions on heavy motor vehicles on our public roads could jeopardise Namibia’s economy,” explains Immanuel Shipanga, WBCG’s Manager for Projects and Funding.
Shipanga further maintained that compromising the efficiency of movement of cargo could diminish the country’s competitive advantage with regard to ‘time-to-market’ and the efficiency of the route. Evidence shows that any new measure will worsen the present daytime congestion, so that trucks that could travel after hours will not travel during the daytime. Also, data from the Road Fund Administration shows that daytime trucking causes significant road surface damage, which will lead to increased costs to maintain Namibian roads.
Shipanga noted that loading and off-loading of cargo and customs clearance happens only during official office hours and that limited manpower could cause border congestion and lead to increased delays. In addition, he states, “Namibia is signatory to corridor agreements and restriction measures may compromise joint commitments with other member states.” The dialogue deliberated on the responsibility of the transport operator to adhere to the regulations of driving hours. Shipanga recommended timely and increased investment in rail transport, aviation infrastructure and its operations in order to take pressure off the road. “Introduce and promote self-regulation as exemplified in SADC, secure truck stops along the corridors for safety and security of the driver, truck and consignment and recommend that drivers utilise available road-side wellness clinics along the corridor.” The dialogue recommended speedy introduction of an industry-led, self-regulation scheme that encourages consignees, consignors and transport operators engaged in the road logistics value chain to implement a vehicle management system that preserves road infrastructure, improves road safety and increases the productivity of the logistics value chain.