A Look at the Supply Chain Crisis in Namibia

Just like most other countries around the world, Namibia felt the effects of the pandemic on their logistics and shipping industries. The closure of many ports in the region caused many of the container ships to be rerouted to the Port of Walvis Bay, which gave the Namibian Ports Authority (NamPort) a chance to show off its world-class productivity and efficiency as one of the best ports in Africa. 

Shipping Delays & Rising Costs

Logistics analysts are now predicting that our global supply chains will need at least nine months to rectify the current delays. This is pushing up the cost of goods around the world. However, global shipping businesses continue to bring in massive profits as a result of the escalating costs to transport goods. 

This is due to the fact that charter rates per 40-foot container remain close to their all-time highs across the major shipping routes, trading at nearly $13000 from China to Europe and around $16000 on the China to US West Coast route, according to the Freightos shipping index. 

Supply chain specialists also warned that they expect conditions to deteriorate further, which could reverse the recent improvement in the container ship backlogs, and complicate the fight against inflation. 

Shipping in Namibia

During a recent exclusive interview with New Era, NamPort spokesperson, Taná Pesat said that a global container shortage had actually exacerbated the costly supply chain delays experienced in every part of the world. 

Pesat also noted that initial supply line constraints occurred on the China to United States of America (USA) route as a result of the pandemic. “With the outbreak of the pandemic, many Americans were working from home and were buying more home office furniture and related items. This meant that more containers were being routed to the US,” she explained. 

This factor, combined with the port shutdowns due to the pandemic, meant that goods were being produced in Namibia but couldn’t be transported because of the huge congestion on all shipping routes. The increasing number of Covid-19 cases in Europe and China is not a positive sign for global shipping lines and has dashed the hopes of a return this year to calmer waters. 

Coupled with the war in Ukraine, this is affecting Namibian imports of everything from cooking oil for household consumption to sulphur for mining. 

With the recovery of global and local Namibian supply chains made that much more difficult, we can expect it to take some time for the pressure to ease up!

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