Walvis Bay


Walvis Bay Namport Image
Port of Walvis Bay. Image: Namport


Namport Head Office, Walvis Bay tel +264 64 208 2011

Port Control: +264 64 208 2265

Port Captain: +264 64 208 2258

Corporate Communications: +264 64 208 2111
email: marketing@namport.com.na

Port of Walvis Bay

Walvis Bay harbour 0051
Port of Walvis Bay

Walvis Bay is strategicaly located halfway down the coast of Namibia, with direct access to principal shipping routes. This strategic location has made it the gateway port for trade between landlocked African countries and the rest of the world. Apart from cargo transshipment, Walvis Bay is also known internationally for its commercial fishing industry. The fishing and cargo imports and exports sectors have also spawned a number highly skilled auxiliary services such as marine engineering, stevedoring, chandelling and other services types. Not to mention that excellent tax-free incentives the Export Processing zone (free trade zone) offers.

As Namibia’s largest commercial port, Walvis Bay is in a sheltered deepwater harbour benefiting from a temperate climate and experiencing few delays as a reslt of bad weather.

In order to deal with even higher levels of throughput, Namport have steadily improved its cargo-handling facilities, and remains committed to infrastructure development, in line with Namport’s Mission to provide efficient and effective port and related services.

Port Limitations:

The Chart in use for approaches to Walvis Bay is BA chart number 4134 (INT 2611), dimensions of the berths 1-3 is 154400 and berths 4-8 is 182000. The distances between bollards 1-26 is 19m (i.e. berths 1-3), while from bollards no 27-86 is 15m (berths 4-8) respectively.

The length of the entrance channel is 5.2 nautical miles, width 134m, depth -14m CD. Ships can anchor within port limits, and are protected by the bay.

Marine Craft:

Tug assistance is normally required. The port has two firefighting tractor tugs of 31t and 27t bollard pull. There are also two Azimuth-propelled tractor tugs, with bollard pulls of 28t and 23t, respectively and a further two Azimuth-propelled pusher tugs of 12t and 10t bollard pull, respectively. One passenger launch is used, and is certified to carry 30 passengers. There is also a grab dredger/anchor-handling barge with an 80 cubic metre self-propelled hopper.

Port Volumes:

The most recent statistics for the Port of Walvis Bay are for the fiscal year 2011/12, when the port handled a total of 6,210,285 tonnes. This included a total of 334,410 TEUs. In that year 1625 ships called at Walvis Bay (source Namport). Since then it has been reported by several sources that the port handles up to 3,000 vessels a year and 5 million tonnes of cargo – without confirmation however, these figures should be treated as suspect.

Port Facilities:

The port is a compulsory pilotage area. Requests for pilots need to be directed to the Harbour Master prior to arrival. Port Control directs all shipping movements within port limits. It keeps a 24-hour VHF radio watch on channel 16, and works on channel 12 and 14. A Vessel Traffic Control System was implemented in 2004. Professional diving services are available on request through the Harbour Master.

Marine Services working hours are Mondays to Fridays 06h00-22h00; on Saturdays between 06h00-12h00, on Sundays and public holidays between 08h00-12h00 and 13h00-17h00. Overtime is available on request.

Bunkering Fuel is provided via pipeline at Berths 1-5, and by road transport for other berths. Bunker fuel transfers in the inner anchorage are subject to prior approval by the Marine Division of the Department of Transport and the Port Captain, and are monitored.

Fresh water can be supplied at any quay at a rate of 15t an hour (maximum of four hoses per vessel). Water can also be supplied by tug, but this requires the Harbour Master’s prior approval. Walvis Bay experiences water shortages from time to time, and limitations on water supply may be imposed. Medical Facilities include on-site clinics and a state hospital — the latter also offering dental facilities — are available in Walvis Bay. Special cases can be treated in Windhoek, which is 400km inland.

Waste: Only garbage disposal is available at Walvis Bay.

Cruise Ships:

The port of Walvis Bay hosts numerous cruise ships in size up to and including the 150,000 ton Queen Mary 2.

General Services:

The port is serviced by a number of ships agents, ship chandlers and other support services.

Ship Repair:

Walvis Bay ship repair 500
Walvis Bay floating docks

Walvis Bay has a well-equipped ship repair industry which includes three EB&H Namibia-owned floating docks with lifting capacity of 6,500, 8,000 and 15,000 tonnes respectively. Although this industry has been affected by the slowdown in oil exploration and drilling, Walvis Bay is strategically well placed for repair and maintenance of oil rigs and support vessels in addition to other vessels.

The port also manages a Syncrolift (dry dock facility) lifting vessels up to 2000 tonnes for repairs.


Namport is a state-owned entity founded in 1994 following Namibia’s independence in 1990.

From humble beginnings as fishing harbours in Walvis Bay and Luderitz, Namport has embraced the surge in the economies of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the past two decades. Today, industrial and commercial activities are important industries in Walvis Bay.

The Port of Walvis Bay, situated at the west Coast of Africa provides an easier and much faster transit route between Southern Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Namport remains a major service provider for Namibia and the 220 million people within the Regional Economy — through its Transocean and land Corridor Links, as well as through the creation of International and Regional Offices with Dry Ports as the Port of Walvis Bay for Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

In 1998, Namibian Ports Authority embarked on the first substantial expansion plan in 40 years by refurbishing the quays in Walvis Bay and deepening the port to -12.8 metres. This has subsequently been increased to -14m depth and the quay lengthened. A further investment in the Port of Luderitz was undertaken for a new cargo and container quay two years later. In the same year, Namport was instrumental in establishing the Walvis Bay Corridor Group which seeks to ensure sustainable cargo for the countries of the SADC region and provide the best means of access for their markets.

Namport has subsequently continued with ongoing equipment upgrades and infrastructure expansion in order to ensure capacities exceeding 6 million tonnes per annum and over 350,000 TEUs. In June 2016 an independent report quoted the port as having handled in excess of 700,000 TEUs in the previous year.

Walvis Bay is recognised as a transhipment hub for the entire west coast of Africa serving the major container liners of the region in the most efficient and cost effective manner.

Container Terminal:

Walvis Bay new container terminal
Impression of future container terminal

The port’s container terminal at Walvis Bay can accommodate ground slots for 3875 containers with provision for 482 reefer container plug points. The container terminal can host about 350,000 containers per annum, therefore various business development opportunities are being undertaken to facilitate imports and export containers at this Port. Current major projects include:

  • New container terminal expansion taking capacity up to 1 million TEUs per annum
  • Tanker berth for fuel handling
  • Oil and Rig repair facilities
  • Car Terminal for New and Used Vehicles
  • Additional port facilities for bulk material handling
  • SADC Gateway Port Project

The Ports of Walvis Bay and Luderitz are well positioned for access to markets in Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zimbabwe, Malawi, Angola and Botswana. These destinations are all well served by the following corridors established by the Walvis Bay Corridor Group www.wbcg.com.na

  • Walvis Bay — Ndola — Lubumbashi Corridor serving Zambia, Malawi and DRC
  • Trans Cunene Corridor serving Lubango in Southern Angola
  • Trans Kalahari Corridor serving Botswana, Zimbabwe and the Gauteng industrial hub in South Africa
  • Trans Oranje Corridor serving the Northern Cape mines and agricultural industries in South Africa

These routes offer significant savings in time, costs of transport and security benefits to freight forwarders and cargo owners alike.

Travel times from the Port of Walvis Bay to the following are said to be, on average:

  • 2 days to Botswana or South Africa
  • 3 to 4 days to Zambia or Zimbabwe
  • 3 to 5 days to Angola
  • 5 to 6 days to the DRC or Malawi

Namport continues to play an important role in facilitating these trade corridors to ensure improved border crossings, facilities and infrastructure benefits to transporters by engaging all stakeholders across all the relevant countries to ensure proper regional integration for the benefit of its customers.

The Port of Walvis Bay enjoys a reputation of efficient operations, competitive pricing, secure facilities and rapid turnaround of vessels with no congestion.