Panelists unpacked Namibia’s potential to become a regional transport and integrated logistics hub on the back of energy sector development during the second day of the Namibia International Energy Conference (NIEC) 2023 in Windhoek last week.
Moderated by Stanislas Drochon, Business Development Manager for independent trading company, BB Energy, the panel featured the participation of Mbahupu Hippy Tjivikua, CEO, Walvis Bay Corridor Group; Albertus Kariko, CEO, Namdock; Dennis Malkoc, Business Development Manager, Universal Africa Lines BV; and Paulo Henriques, Director of Operations, Sonils.
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Namibia is currently engaged in exploration activities of its on- and offshore acreage. Accordingly, the government has sought to engage regional and international firms in the execution of multi-billion-dollar projects involving the exploration and development of its oil and gas fields, as well as the transportation and storage of petroleum products. These developments are poised to position the country as a regional logistics hub through the development of its mid- and downstream sectors.
“We have to make an adjustment to participate and play in this space of oil exploration,” stated Albertus Kariko, CEO for shipyard operating company Namdock, adding, “A foreign company will not operate successfully in a country without local support. As such, we have local institutions that offer hybrid relationships between us and foreign institutions.”
Shifting dynamics within the global economy are set to impact the future of Namibia’s transport and logistics industry. Mbahupu Hippy Tjivikua, CEO of the service and facilitation provider, Walvis Bay Corridor Group, highlighted Namibia’s economic development strategy as a key enabler for trade across southern Africa.
“We have been mandated by the Government of Namibia to position Namibia as a logistics hub,” Tjivikua stated, adding, “We need to attract more operators to Namibia. The transport sector will be instrumental towards promoting exploration in Namibia’s offshore.”
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What’s more, the Chief Executive underscored the importance of human capital development in shaping Namibia as a regional logistics hub, stating, “The human aspect of local content is probably the most important topic in this whole discussion. Providing all services to the local Namibians would be essential. In order for us to get to that point, we have to accelerate the speed at which we train people.”
Improved revenue within Namibia’s shipping and logistics sector during the 2021 and 2022 financial year was largely attributed to the increase in petroleum, research, and dry bulk vessels present in the country’s ports. Panelists discussed Namibia’s potential to deliver on its promise of becoming a key player in the regional energy sector, which could translate into diversified growth and investment in associated industries.
“We are eager to hear what the plans of the future of Namibia’s downstream potential will hold and what benefits they will bring to the country,” stated Dennis Malkoc, Business Development Manager for shipping line regulator, Universal Africa Lines BV.
While Namibia does not yet produce oil, the country’s offshore basins have yielded several discoveries – most notably, Shell’s Graff-1X and TotalEnergies’ Venus 1-X discoveries in 2022, as well as Shell and QatarEnergy’s Jonker-1X discovery earlier this year – driving further offshore development interest. As such, the Government of Namibia is inviting new entrants to accelerate exploration of its Orange Basin.
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“If we implement an integrated concept to help reduce the cost of production, it will be highly beneficial to the country,” stated Paulo Henriques, Director of Operations at integrated services logistics center, Sonils, concluding that, “To provide equitable infrastructure is imperative for the country and for local content development. If we are increasing efficiency and reducing the cost of production, it promotes greater revenue for the country and higher GDP growth.”