TANZANIA : CONTAINER crates play a vital role in transportation of goods and materials around the world; and with large influx of freight the Dar es Salaam Port has taken initiative to ease transshipment logistics to and from the country main gateway and Zanzibar’s Malindi Port.
Over the weekend, the Director of Dar es Salaam Port Mr Mrisho Mrisho officially welcomed the Mirembe Judith Ship, operated by the PMM Group of companies, with a capacity to carry 600 containers at a go.
He noted that the cargo ship owned by a Tanzanian is envisaged to solve the challenge of transporting containers from Tanzania Mainland to Zanzibar, most of which used to pass through Mombasa Port.
The port boss is well aware that as the global trade continues to grow, the current challenges facing container transport are becoming increasingly apparent; this is why he said there is a crucial need for more container vessels to ply Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar route.
Speaking at a short ceremony Mr Mrisho said that the ship will facilitate the transportation of containers arriving at the Dar es Salaam Port towards Zanzibar.
Mr Mrisho said the ship will bring a sigh of relief to businesspersons in Zanzibar, since the port handled more than 2,000 containers per month that are supposed to be shipped to the Isles.
“People must be aware that Dar es Salaam Port handles large cargo ships that carry containers on average of between 1,000 and 2,000 monthly are destined to Zanzibar. The coming of this vessel is major step towards the right direction in serving the route,” he said.
Adding: “The arrival of this new ship with the capacity to carry 600 containers per trip will significantly ease transshipment of cargo that arrives in Dar Port to Zanzibar and will reduce the costs of doing business caused by the cargo not being shipped on time.”
Mr Mrisho said the current level of global trade means that there is a large influx of freight that needs to be transported from one place to another.
The Director of Marketing and Public Relations at PMM Group of companies, Mr Deogratius Chacha said their shipping line is committed to bring a reliable solution in maritime transport, while insisting that at the end of next year, they expect to add other two ships.
“Our motto is always to ensure that we provide a reliable door-to-door solution in maritime transport … we have started with this ship that is capable of carrying 600 containers per trip; we will not stop here, we have two other ships coming by the end of 2024, one for bulk cargo and the other one for fuel,” he revealed.
Mr Chacha noted that with the rapid growth in international trade, there is a growing demand for efficient, cost-effective freight transport solutions that can meet the needs of a diverse range of customers.
Recently, it was noted that the Dar es Salaam Port needs massive investments, especially in installation of modern equipment, so as to maximise potential of handling over 70,000 tonnes of in transit cargo through the Central Corridor.
According to Mr Mrisho, the corridor is currently underserved due to limited number of berths coupled with crippled equipment available at the country’s major gateway.
He told editors who were in a tour of the port that much as cargo throughput surged significantly in the past two years, following 1tri/- injected by the government for the port improvement and expansion, still the port has not reached its maximum potential of efficiently serving the central corridor, which has a lot to offer.
“The port recorded a higher cargo throughput in the financial year 2022/2023, which grew to 22.27million tonnes up from 18 million tonnes of cargo registered in the 2021/2022 financial year,” he said.
He said out of the 22.27million tonnes handled at the port in the last financial year, less than ten (10) million tonnes of the cargo volume were in transit, meaning chunk of the cargo was for the local market.
He insisted that the port was crucial for trade of most neighbouring countries due to the high dependency on exports of raw materials and imports of food, manufactured goods and fuel.
“It is unfathomed for instance that in the last financial year, Dar Port handled 3.5 million tonnes of cargo destined to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), slightly up from 2.9 million tonnes handled in the 2021/2022 fiscal year…these figures ought to be scaled up,” Mr Mrisho said.
He also said Ugandan total cargo volume handled by the port was also meagre, because of logistic challenges at the Mwanza Port, all of which he said need urgent measures to address.
“When you consider the market share of Dar Port’s potential to handle cargo destined to the land linked countries as well as handling cargo from those countries destined to Asia, Europe and other markets, our port is punching below its weight, and this all is due to lack of investments,” he said.
However, Mr Mrisho said that since the government started putting efforts to improve the Dar es Salaam Port’s infrastructures and expansion through the Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Programme (DMGP), the port’s efficiency has increased significantly.
He said the two Ship-to-Shore Gantry Cranes (SSG) installed at the port last year, slightly eased performance but to meet demands, at least 20 cranes of that nature were required.