Botswana Railways chief executive officer Dominic Ntwaagae says the Botswana dry port in Namibia remains unknown among Batswana. Known as Sea Rail, the 100 percent subsidiary of BR was registered last year in Namibia as Sea Rail (Botswana) Pty Ltd.
It was opened two years ago. As of May last year, BR opened a P100 million dry port facility in Walvis Bay. CEO Ntwaagae said in an interview with BG Business that the parastatal has to work hard at marketing it. “Every time we go to the people, we realise that they don’t know it. Only a few do,” he said, adding that they have held three conferences in Gaborone and Francistown to sensitise stakeholders about the subsidiary.
Ntwaagae said they will have to take it to the people after the arrival of the passenger train in March. The dry port is the holding facility for goods destined to Botswana and other SADC countries. Currently, a Motswana citizen is employed as a port manager and is working with a Namibian assistant.
The P60 million-company is the fourth BR subsidiary. BR Properties (Pty) Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of BR was launched in 2008 with a core mandate of unlocking the potential of BR’s real estate through sound property management and development practices.
The commercial subsidiary of BR is expected to manage BR real estate with an estimated value of approximately P600 million. These properties include developed properties and undeveloped land of different uses.
Much of the undeveloped land lies in major areas such as Gaborone, Francistown, Lobatse, Palapye and Mahalapye and is mostly located in very prime areas. The second subsidiary is JTTM, in which BR holds 67 percent shareholding. It owns the P350-million Rail Park Mall in Gaborone.
Lastly, there is Gaborone Container Terminal (GABCON), a subsidiary between Botswana Railways and Transnet. GABCON provides container handling facility and delivery services within its operating area. As a dry port, GABCON handles all containerised cargo from all over the world.