Businesses implored to use Karema Port

IMPORTERS and exporters in northwestern regions and neighbouring countries of DR Congo and Burundi have been implored to use the newly-constructed Karema port as a point of entry and exit for goods to save money and time.

The most imposing and modern terminal on Lake Tanganyika, constructed by China’s Xiamen Ongoing Construction Group to the tune of 47.9bn/-, kicked off operations last September but is yet to attract a good number of users.

Despite its beauty and strategic location, the port averaged 1,320 tonnes of cargo handled and 3,000 passengers, churning out 7.2m/- during the year ending February, this year, with untarmacked road connecting the terminal to Katavi town apparently the main stumbling block.

Lake Tanganyika Port Manager Mr Edward Mabula appealed to traders to exploit the strategically located port, saying choosing Karema Port for exporting and importing goods would make good business sense as will reduce cost of doing business and save time.

Mr Mabula said choosing the Karema port in doing business would boost economies in the northwestern regions and promote trade between Tanzania and the neighbouring DRC, Burundi and Zambia.

“Using Karema Port would be the most logical decision given that it is the best cargo and passenger terminal in terms of the available facilities. The TPA and the government want this to be the primary port for businesses on Lake Tanganyika,” the manager insisted.

Mabula underlined the fact that Karema Port is well designed and equipped to handle both twenty-foot containers and passengers, assuring port customers of smooth and timely cargo handling in Karema.

The construction of Karema port, which is located in Tanganyika District, Katavi Region, was implemented by the government through the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA).

The project involved the construction of 22,500 square meters of heavy pavement, a tides breaker, and a multi-purpose 150-meter berth to accommodate up to two vessels of 75 meters in length, with 15 meters in width. It also involved the dredging and deepening of the port entrance, office building, passengers’ lounge, general cargo warehouse, installation of an ICT network, water supply, and storage as well as wastewater treatment systems.

The new port terminal’s initial capacity is one million tonnes of cargo however, there is room for expanding capacity up to 3 million tonnes since TPA’s area measures 66 acres.

The completion of landmark project marked a new milestone in the country’s shipping industry and cross-border trade, with the new cargo terminal serving as a strategic trade corridor connecting Kalemie Port in the southern part DRC, Bujumbura Port in Burundi and Mpulungu Port in Zambia to Tanzania’s principal port of Dar es Salaam.

Mabula noted that the government decided to construct the new port terminal to exploit the untapped great potential of cross-border trade with DR Congo, which dominates Tanzania’s cross border trade across Lake Tanganyika with over 60 per cent.

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