Dredging helps build Namibia’s new container terminal

Walvis Bay container terminal. Credit: Namibian Ports Authority
Walvis Bay container terminal. Credit: Namibian Ports Authority

The port of Namibia’s Walvis Bay’s new container terminal is built on 40 ha of reclaimed land made up mostly of sandy material dredged from the facility’s basin, says Elzevir Gelderbloem, project manager and port engineer.

A cutter suction dredger with a dredging capacity of 3,000 m³ was used on the berth basin and turning basin to lower its depth to 14.4 m below chart datum. The dredged material was then pumped into what would form the base of the new container terminal.

Built by the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), the USD268 million construction project adds 600 m of quay wall to the port facilities. The new quay comprises three berths with a below chart datum of 16 m up to a distance of 30 m from the quay wall cope line. Two of the berths are dedicated to container handling and are serviced by four post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes.

The expanded terminal will have a capacity of at least 750,000 teu per annum, compared with the previous capacity of 350,000 teu.

The third new berth is a 376 m-long passenger liner jetty that can be worked on both sides. The outer berth can take passenger ships up to 92,700 gt and the inner side is used by the port’s working boats.

The three berths which made up the old container terminal will now become a multi-purpose terminal, which will also increase the port’s bulk and breakbulk handling capacity.

The port upgrades are the latest development in Namibia’s plan to establish the country as an international standard logistics hub. It falls under the auspices of a public-private partnership, the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, which was set up in 2000 to improve cross-border trade. It comprises an integrated system of roads and rail networks linking the port of Walvis Bay to landlocked Southern African Development Community countries.