12 Jul 2013 11:19

WALVIS BAY, July 10 (Bernama) - Construction of phase one of the new Southern African Development Community (SADC) Gateway Port at Walvis Bay will commence in 2014, Namibian Press Agency (NAMPA) reported.

Namibia Port Authority (Namport) port engineer Elzevir Gelderbloem said a new tanker berth forms part of the first construction phase, which costs $1.6 billion Namibian dollars (US$159.04 million) and will be financed by the Namibian government.

The rest of the phases are estimated to cost about $30 billion Namibian dollars (US$2.98 billion), Gelderbloem told a media conference on Namport's mid-year operationsÂ'update here Tuesday.

Gelderbloem said that the current port, which acts as a gateway into the SADC region, has become too congested.

He said for the first decade the new SADC Gateway Port, located north of Walvis Bay between the Kuisebmond residential area and Bird Island en route to Swakopmund, will focus on handling bulk cargo.

"We are not only looking at containers, but the port will be looking at the whole SADC needs. With the construction of the new port, it will take the current port capacity up to a level where it will serve SADC for the next century," Gelderbloem said.

Â"The construction of the new northern port will also reduce congestion in Walvis Bay's traffic corridors and will link up with the heavy industrial park behind Dune 7 to the port, he added.