Development of the Walvis Bay mixed-use waterfront and marina project, which was initially scheduled to start in 2018, has been deferred until 2021, Namport has announced.

Namport first advertised an expression of interest in June 2016, seeking partners for the project, which is expected to transform the coastal town. The Namibian port operator said it was looking for partners/developers for the estimated N$1 billion project ($68 million).

The partners were expected to carry out the required studies and source funding for construction while Namport’s role would be limited to providing the land that was previously used for cargo operations before the new terminal was built.

The new waterfront project plan includes office and retail space, restaurants, a hotel, and a health spa.  The development concept will also feature a conference centre and public open spaces such as an amphitheatre.

According to Elzevir Gelderbloem, Executive: Port Authority, the project will now be put out to tender in the next two years with the exact timing dependent on demand, which depends on the economy.

Gelderbloem added that the Small Marina project, which is already 50% complete, consisted of the marina and a 1.5 km x 30m sea frontage land area. This will be located next to the new container terminal.

The Marina, which will supplement the Waterfront, is 75% complete.

The final phase will see the construction of small boat jetties for yacht berths and is envisaged to be built over the next five years, as demand from yacht owners dictates. The passenger liner jetty project has already been completed inside the port. It consists of a jetty where cruise ships can berth.

Namport is expecting six passenger vessels to call at the Port of Walvis Bay before the end of 2019, with three arriving before the end of October and seven more expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2020. These will be medium to large commercial cruise vessels that can carry up to 400 passengers.

The state-owned port authority said investing in a passenger liner docking space at Berth 9 would see an increase to 24 passenger liners calling in by the end of 2020. This influx will represent a significant boost to the tourism industry.

The landside part of the Marina project will feature the construction of small wooden façade restaurants and cafés. They will be built to match the existing waterfront exterior design décor.

The marina project will be linked to the waterfront project with public roads and walkways. It will be built and operated by Namport directly.