The Israeli company, Africa Israel Investments, announced that it is a member of a bidding consortium that was selected to build and operate a shipyard in Namibia's Walvis Bay port. The $10 million project will be the company's first in Namibia, although Africa Israel's owner, Lev Leviev, has extensive diamond mining operations there. Walvis Bay is Namibia's largest commercial port, receiving approximately 1,000 vessel calls each year and handling about 2.5 million tonnes of cargo. It is strategically located half way down the coast of Namibia, with direct access to principal shipping routes.
Africa Israel will hold 42.5 percent of the consortium, putting it on equal footing with its main partner, an unnamed South African shipyard company. A local engineering company will control another 10% of the project, and Namibia's port authority will hold the remaining 5%. The group won the rights to a 25-year license to construct and then receive revenues from the shipyard under the Build Operate Transfer (BOT) model, which will be employed for the first time in Namibia. The shipyard will include floating inspection facilities capable of handling freighters weighing as much as 8,500 tons, as well as workshops. The contract also requires training professional port and ship repair workers.