Transport and logistics

Situated on the southwestern coast of Africa, Namibia has positioned itself as a logistics hub for landlocked SADC Southern African Development Conference) countries. Namibia’s well-developed transport infrastructure comprises a road network of 49 000 km, a 2 678 km rail network, two ports and two international as well as several domestic airports, and it is linked to neighbouring countries by four transport corridors.

Walvis Bay, the country’s major port, is strategically positioned to export and import goods to landlocked SADC countries along the four Walvis Bay Corridors – a network of road transport and railway infrastructures operated by the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG). The Trans-Kalahari Corridor extends from Walvis Bay on the Atlantic coast to Windhoek and through land-locked Botswana to South Africa, where it links up with the South African road network. The Trans-Cunene Corridor connects Walvis Bay to southern Angola, while the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor links the port with land-locked Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Trans-Oranje Corridor links the ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz to Windhoek and South Africa’s Northern Cape Province.

Freight offloaded at Walvis Bay and transported along the Trans-Kalahari Corridor to Gauteng instead of from Durban or Cape Town saves seven to 11 days of transit time. Dry port facilities developed by Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe provide unrestricted access to the sea for these landlocked countries’ imports and exports.

Namibia’s road infrastructure has been ranked as the best in Africa by the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report Index for several consecutive years. The national road network is managed by the Roads Authority, a state-owned enterprise, to achieve a safe and efficient road sector. About 8,300 km of the country’s 49,000 km network is tarred, while over 25,000 is standard gravel. The remainder is earth gravel and sand tracks.

The authority plans to spend nearly N$19 billion during the 2018/19 to 2022/23 period on the upgrading of 800 km to bitumen standard, the construction of 250 km of roads to gravel standard, on rehabilitating 279 km of road and resealing 1,800 km of roads. The dual carriage MR44 between the central coastal towns of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, the upgrading of the road between Swakopmund and Henties Bay to bitumen standard and its expansion, the dual carriageway between Windhoek and Okahandja and the dual carriageway between Windhoek’s Western Bypass and Hosea Kutako International Airport, 45 km east of the capital, are among the many road construction projects of the Roads Authority.

TransNamib Holding Limited, the national railway carrier, is a commercial state-owned enterprise. The country’s rail network is linked to Oshikango on the southern Angolan border and to South Africa at Ariamsvlei on Namibia’s eastern border with South Africa. The port of Lüderitz is linked by railway to Windhoek and Ariamsvlei. Sections of the railway network are being upgraded to comply with SADC standards to improve the flow and the volume of traffic.

The completion of the container terminal at Walvis Bay at a cost of N$4 billion in August 2019 has more than doubled the port’s handling capacity from 350,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to 750,000 TEUs. Development of the Walvis Bay North Port, 6 km north of South Port, is continuing in phases. Facilities include dry bulk, multi-purpose, liquid bulk and passenger boat terminals, as well as 30 berths.

Namport has established an excellent reputation for the efficiency and reliability of its operations, as well as the rapid turnaround time of vessels. The waiting time for vessels at sea has been reduced to less than eight hours while container transit time has been reduced from 15.5 days to 9.5 days.

The port of Lüderitz, 450 km south of Walvis Bay, serves the southern parts of the country, as well as the local fishing industry and the marine diamond industry. The rail network provides a convenient link with South Africa’s Northern Cape Province. The port is, however, constrained by its shallow depth, bedrock which makes dredging financially and environmentally not feasible and the limited land area for expansion. Namport plans to develop a deep water port at Lüderitz by way of a public private partnership.

The Namibia Airports Company (NAC), a state-owned commercial enterprise, is responsible for the development, management and operation of the country’s two international airports, Hosea Kutako International Airport and Walvis Bay International Airport, as well as six domestic airports, including Eros Airport in Windhoek which services domestic routes.

Expansions to Hosea Kutako International Airport will easily double the airport’s passenger handling capacity from one million to a projected two million a year until 2030. The NAC plans to spend over N$1.3 billion to upgrade and improve all eight airports to international standards over the next five years.

Regional and international flights to and from Namibia were disrupted by COVID-19, but Windhoek continues to be linked to Johannesburg and Cape Town in neighbouring South Africa. International airlines that suspended flights to Namibia as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have started to resume flights, travel health regulations and passenger loads allowing. FlyWestair, Namibia’s first and currently only privately-owned airline, operates some domestic flights and a direct flight between Windhoek and Cape Town.

The country’s excellent transport infrastructure is served by an efficient logistics sector with international links, ensuring the efficient operation of the supply chains of local, regional and international customers. Services include, amongst others, warehousing, clearing and freight forwarding, cargo handling, stevedoring, cross-border and intermodal freight.

Connection is Key

Namibia is an expansive country where it is not uncommon to drive an hour or more between towns or settlements. With a sparse population so widely spread out and in some cases living in extremely remote areas, Namibia’s excellent road network creates the link that connects the people. It is the reason why nomadic Himbas in the far northwest can take their traditional crafts to the capital, Windhoek, to be sold in curio shops. It keeps Ovambo families working in the deep south, in towns like Luderitz or Keetmanshoop, connected to their relatives in their home villages in the far north. Namibian roads are the reason why a farmer in the Kalahari can sell his delicious mutton cuts in the coastal town of Swakopmund on the other side of the country or why veggies grown at Mariental find their way onto plates in Otjiwarongo. Furthermore, the endless roads are the best way for tourists to explore the gorgeous scenery and they provide access to a multitude of breathtaking destinations.

Celebrating Namibia goes a lot further than purely national pride, however. The country has remained the champion in having the best-quality roads on the African continent for the last five consecutive years according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitive Report Index on road infrastructure. Globally Namibia is ranked at number 23, ahead of quite a few of the globe’s economic powerhouses such as China, India and Italy – a remarkable feat, considering that Namibia’s total road network has a combined length of almost 50 000 kilometres. It is also a well-deserved nod to the tireless efforts of the Namibian Roads Authority which is mandated to construct and maintain the roads and plays a pivotal role in keeping them safe.

The road infrastructure not only contributes to the economic development of Namibia but also that of the country’s landlocked neighbours and the SADC subregion as a whole.

A network of various transport corridors creates a valuable link to the expanding Port of Walvis Bay and offers a wellmaintained and developed infrastructure that allows those countries to import and export their goods.

As mentioned, the roads are also the key to exploring the breathtaking and ever-changing vistas of the Namibian countryside. Gravel roads adjacent to the massive sand dunes of the Namib Desert take you to world-renowned Deadvlei. The wilderness and waterways of the Zambezi Region in the northeast are made exceedingly accessible thanks to excellent bitumen roads that deliver you almost to the doorstep of the various national parks and accommodation establishments of the area.

Through the exceptional road network and the many road construction projects still in progress, the Roads Authority has fully embraced its vision of a sustainable road sector that is ahead of national and regional socio-economic needs in pursuit of Namibia’s Vision 2030.

With an infrastructure in place that connects a spectrum which ranges from families to economies, everyone can drive off into the proverbial sunset.


Minister Hon. John Mutorwa

The Ministry of Works and Transport is responsible for sectoral policy and regulation, and has a mandate to ensure infrastructure development and maintenance on transport and state asset management through operational excellence and prudent management of resources.