TANZANIA’S plan to double Dar es Salaam port’s capacity to 28m tonnes by 2020 recently received a massive boost from a 345 million US dollars World Bank loan.
Kudos! The loan is for expansion of the port, particularly to deepen and upgrade one berth and reach seven, and to construct a new multipurpose one at Gerezani Creek, according to World Bank project brief report.
It will involve deepening and widening the entrance channel and turn the basin in the port to enlarge from 11 to 15.5 m, and equally improve the rail linkages and platform from 8-11, and 14.5 m.
The work should be extolled after its foundation stone was recently launched by President John Magufuli, as part of Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Project (DSMGP) whose objective is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the port to benefit the public and private stakeholders.
It should be noted that the DSMGP is consistent with the national development strategy in the name of the Five Year Development Plan II based on the development Vision 2025, which aims at transforming Tanzania into a middle-income country by 2025. It should be noted that Dar es Salaam port is a major economic asset for Tanzania and East and Central African region.
The port handled 13.8 million tonnes in 2016-an increase from 10.4 million in 2011, reflecting an average growth of nine percent per year, according to the World Bank brief.
The target now is to lift its capacity to 28 million tonnes a year by 2020 which will help Tanzania make optimal use of its strategic geographical location to become a regional trade gateway.
An on-going infrastructure investment at the port is expected to improve overall productivity and reduce waiting time at the berth from 80 hours to 30 hours. This will in turn enhance its operational potential and boost trade and enhance its competitiveness.
Though in the region, some limited connectivity in form of poor infrastructure and barriers have often been identified as critical constraints in doing business, several studies have shown that the intensity of trade between countries is largely determined by distances and transport costs between them, which can be addressed.
It should be given all the support it deserves since about 90 percent of Tanzania’s international transactions in transit through the port of Dar es Salaam, and 35 percent of the total, is intended for the land-locked countries of Malawi, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, to improve efficiency of the maritime gateway, as a key element in the regional transport network.