Tanga Port cargo volume to increase threefold

THE story of Tanga Port is quite interesting. Once known as Marine Jet, the port which is located in the northern coast of Tanzania, is the longest-serving port in the East African region, with its construction dating back to 1888. The first two berths of the port were constructed in 1914 and 1954 respectively.

According to Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), Tanga Port served as the main business gateway before the improvement of Dar es Salaam Port. It contributed greatly to the economic growth of Tanga, the neighbouring regions and the country in general.

However, the challenges of shallow water berths caused the port to handle ships through stream operations, the situation which deteriorated the growth of the facility, thus reducing its contribution to the economic growth.

Stream operations mean large ships could not dock at the berths due to shallow water, therefore, the vessels had to anchor 1.7 kilometres from the berths and offload the cargo which would be put in budgies and drugged to the berths, where the cargo would be offloaded again.

TPA Director General Plasduce Mbossa says that the sixth phase government, under President Samia Suluhu Hassan, is determined to restore Tanga Port’s lost status after five decades of underperformance.

Such commitment is demonstrated through the massive investment by the government to renovate and upgrade the facility.

Mr Mbossa commends President Samia’s government for various measures being undertaken to improve Tanga Port, especially the improvement of infrastructure, purchase of modern equipment and maintenance of working tools.

Tanga Port Manager Masoud Mrisha told the ‘Daily News’ recently that the gateway is currently undergoing major improvement which involves expansion of the entrance channel, increase of the draft at the turning basin, procurement of modern equipment and deepening of its two berths.

According to Mr Mrisha, the first phase of the project which was implemented at a cost of 172.3bn/- involved expansion of the entrance channel, increase of the draft at the turning basin and procurement of modern equipment has been completed by 100 per cent.

On the other hand, Mr Mrisha said the implementation of the second phase of the project which involves improvement of 450-metre- long berths at a cost of 256.8bn/- has reached 93 per cent and is expected to be completed in April, this year.

He said the port is currently equipped with modern cargo handling equipment among others, two gottwald cranes, an empty handler with two tonnes capacity, one forklift with 50 tonnes capacity, a forklift with 16 tonnes capacity and two forklifts with five tonnes capacity.

Others are Rubber Tyred Gantry (RTG) for container handling and two terminal tractors.

“The equipment will increase efficiency by reducing cargo handling time at the port,” Mr Mrisha noted.

“It is our expectation that upon completion of this project in April this year, the cargo volume will increase because the port will now handle larger vessels which will dock at the berth,” he said

Mr Mrisha said so far 300 metres have already been handed to the port, thus, vessels with such size can now dock at the facility.

He noted that the port has started attracting mega ships, an indication that the cargo volume at the port is going to increase drastically.

The port manager noted that the facility is expected to handle the largest ever ship on March 15th this year -MV Metsovo from US, which will dock at the port with 50,066.147 metric tonnes of petroleum bulk petcock.

Mr Mrisha further detailed that, the port is also expected to host a major ship in early March this year with 5,000 tonnes of fertiliser (Ammonia Nitrate), which will be a record cargo to be handled at the port.

He added that the port is also set to handle 2,481 tonnes of copper, which will pass through the facility to DR Congo.

According to him the port currently handles 750,000 tonnes of cargo per year but the volume is expected to increase in four folds to 3 million tonnes per year.

“We are confident to attain the 3 million tonnes target of cargo volume per year upon completion of the project,” he insisted.

Mr Mrisha further noted that as the renovation project nears completion, the port has also surpassed its cargo volume target for January this year from 67,000 tonnes to 77,000 tonnes.

He added that for the 2021/2022 financial year the port had a target of handling 714,800 tonnes of cargo but it surpassed its target after handling 986,000 tonnes.

With the ongoing major improvements, clients are assured of the safety of their cargoes as ships will be docking at the berths, Mr Mrisha said.

For his part, Tanga Regional Commissioner, Mr Omary Mgumba said that the completion of the project will end the challenges of double handling which increased the cost of doing business.

The RC said besides upgrading of the port, the facility now boasts modern cargo handling equipment which enhances efficiency.

Mgumba was optimistic that the improvements will attract investors and traders to use the Tanga Port, thus increasing cargo volume and revenue collections.

Tabling the budget estimates for his docket, the Minister for Works and Transport, Prof Makame Mbarawa said that in the 2022/2023 financial year TPA will spend 100.11bn/-, from World Bank and 650bn/- from its internal sources for execution of various projects including improvement of Tanga Port.

He said part of the funds would be channeled for deepening of berth no 1 and 2 and expansion of entrance channel and turning basin at Tanga Port.

The Third National Five-Year Development Plan has also stressed on the importance of strengthening and building basic infrastructure, including ports to stimulate economic activities.

TPA performs the role of both a landlord and operator with the main functions of promoting the use, development and management of ports and their hinterlands.

The Authority operates a system of ports serving the Tanzania hinterland and the landlocked countries of Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Rwanda, Malawi, Uganda, Comoro and Zimbabwe.

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