Dar: The port of choice for Zimbabwean traders

ZIMBABWEAN authorities and traders have commended the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) management for maintaining safety and offering quality services to customers who use the principal port of Dar es Salaam.

They issued the remarks while visiting TPA pavilion at the 63rd Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) held recently in Bulawayo, expressing their appreciation to the TPA for taking its services closer to its customers and lauded the Authority’s continuous improvement of services and security at the Dar es Salaam port.

They said the port of Dar es Salaam is their port of choice due to improved security which guarantees the safety of their cargo, especially imported vehicles, with no incidents of spare parts theft.

The Vice-President of Zimbabwe and concurrent Minister of Health, Dr Constantino Chiwenga, speaking after visiting the TPA pavilion, lauded Tanzania’s support for the development of Zimbabwe’s economy and its services to its people.

“It makes me very happy to hear that Tanzanians are also attending this year’s Bulawayo International Trade Fair. The Tanzanian Embassy, TPA and all other participating Tanzanian Institutions deserve appreciation,” he said.

According to Dr Chiwenga, Zimbabweans view the Port of Dar es Salaam as a crucial link in the continent of Africa’s economic development.

“It is the port of Tanzania and all of Africa. Despite the fact that we are geographically far from Tanzania, we gain a lot from the port. Products travel through Tanzania to our neighbouring nations, where we in Zimbabwe then acquire and profit from them,” Dr Chiwenga said.

“Welcome and let’s work together for the benefit of our people and our country,” said Dr Chiwenga on behalf of the Zimbabwean government and people.

TPA representative in Zimbabwe Kulthum Boma said since the opening of the authority’s office in Zimbabwe in August 2022, it has become an important link in the growth of trade between the two countries.

“The number of vehicles handled at the Dar es Salaam port for Zimbabweans has increased from 800 to more than 1,500 cars per month, while the number reached 5,174 from January to March 2023,” Ms Boma said.

She added: “You could be asking why Zimbabweans are shipping their goods, particularly vehicles, through Dar es Salaam port, she continued. The simple explanation is that they are using it due to its affordability and security.”

She added that despite the over 2,000-kilometer distance between Dar es Salaam and Harare, Zimbabwean traders continue to choose the Port of Dar es Salaam because of the quality services, reasonable prices, quick completion of port procedures, and security of their cargo, especially vehicles.

At a time when the two nations are continuing to improve the infrastructure of roads and railways, which greatly contributes to the effectiveness of the transport industry, she said that TPA was working to ensure that traders receive services that meet their expectations.

The Port of Dar es Salaam also handles cargo from Tanzania’s neighbours, including Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Zimbabwe, a new market that is expanding quickly.

Held from 25 – 29 April 2023 in Bulawayo, the 63rd edition and theme of the ZITF was anchored on transformative innovation, approximately 533 exhibitors showcased their products of which 21 foreign countries also were among the exhibitors.

Tanzania’s ambassador to Zimbabwe, Former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Simon Sirro, paid a visit to the TPA Pavilion and thanked the Authority for taking part in the ZITF.

According to Ambassador Sirro, the Tanzanian embassy in Zimbabwe is collaborating closely with the TPA office in Harare to expand the market for Dar es Salaam Port services among Zimbabwe’s business community.

Tanzania’s principal port of Dar es Salaam receives more than 2,000 vehicles daily of which 60 per cent are transit cars.

The new development is a result of massive transformation at the port, including setting up a 76,000sqm yard specific for vehicles. It has the capacity to park more than 6,000 cars at a go.

TPA Director of Security Services, Novatus Mpanda said there are 450 Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) security cameras installed at the Dar es Salaam Port to help strengthen security and management of the port.

Mr Mpanda said the Authority has also installed scanners at the port to identify cargo that is loaded into containers, while it is also working to connect all the 86 ports with a modern system that will facilitate the identification of all activities at the ports.

“We have installed these systems but there are also security officers and patrols that are carried out to ensure security and control crime at the port,” said Mpanda.

The TPA with the government’s helping hand has in the past two years succeeded to transform port operations and enhanced efficiency.

There has been a massive improvement in port infrastructure, acquisition and use of modern cargo handling equipment and technologies, safety and security, while considerable measures have been taken to market the country’s ports with the ultimate goal of multiplying volumes of cargo passing through Tanzania’s ports.

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