How 32.5bn/- lifts the status of Kigoma ports

INVESTMENT in quality improvement of port infrastructure plays a critical role in the economic growth of a country, as well as for investors and the general public’s prosperity.

Over the past few years, the government through the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) has committed itself to developing port infrastructures to exploit Tanzania’s strategic position as a convenient freight linkage to land-linked countries.

Apart from expanding three major strategic seaports of Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mtwara, deliberate measures are being taken to revamp and expand existing inland ports and construct new terminals.

This aims at boosting long-term productivity of the maritime logistics sector, which is vital for supporting Tanzanian businesses and communities to access and supply domestic and foreign markets at competitive rates.

One of the ongoing projects is the 32.5bn/- renovation project of Kigoma Ports, the main Kigoma Port, Kibirizi and Ujiji terminals. The project is now in its final stages.

The Kigoma ports, particularly Kigoma and Kibirizi serve as important service points between the region and the neighbouring countries. The ports have been a major contributing factor to the smooth trade exchange with these neighbours.

Port stakeholders in Kigoma Region are anticipating great economic impact at individual and national level and are extolling the sixth phase government under President Samia Suluhu Hassan for continued efforts to develop reliable and sophisticated maritime infrastructures.

TPA Manager for Lake Tanganyika Ports, Mr Edward Mabula hails considerable investment in port infrastructure and acquisition of modern equipment that have massively lifted port operations on Lake Tanganyika.

He reserves special praises to President Samia, saying during her first two years, she has committed considerable resources towards the improvement of the port sector and significantly promoted domestic as well as international trade between Tanzania and land-linked countries.

“We’re very grateful to President Samia Suluhu Hassan for opening up the country and promoting the growth of the ports sector, particularly the completion of the 32.5bn/- project for Kigoma, Ujiji and Kibirizi ports,” says Mr Mabula.

“It’s true that some of the projects had already started when came into power, but she has continued the implementation of the projects. The President came here and laid the foundation stone for the completion of the three-lot project and this demonstrates her commitment to improve port infrastructures,” adds Mr Mabula.

He noted that President Samia’s government has been releasing funds for improvement of the country’s ports, and the construction of new ones.

“While gracing the opening of Kibirizi Port in October last year, President Samia issued directives to Ujiji Municipal Council, in collaboration with the TPA and Tanzania Rural and Urban Roads Agency (TARURA) to construct a modern market for traders and a road to the port,” reveals Mr Mabula.

According to Mr Mabula, CCM Vice -Chairperson Mr Abdulrahman Kinana also visited the Ujiji Port project and commended the government’s efforts to improve port services by putting in place essential infrastructure and ensuring that the projects are executed as par required standards.

Mr Mabula says the construction of the Kigoma Port Manager’s office building has increased efficiency and revenue collections.

“The new office building has enhanced our operations with more staff as now we have 67 workers. Revenues have also gone up from 7.5bn/ a year to 8.6bn/- during the last financial year. We expect to collect 9.2bn/- this financial year and we have been given the target to fetch 11bn/- in the next financial year,” he reveals.

Mr Mabula says the improvement of infrastructure at Kigoma, Ujiji and Kibirizi ports have lifted the economies of Kigoma dwellers and reduced water accidents on Lake Tanganyika.

Port users are equally excited by major developments taking place in the industry thanks to considerable investment by the Tanzanian government.

FALCONY Marine official, Mbaraka Said says business is now flourishing and commends President Samia for opening up the country. According to Said, his company is transporting huge volumes of cargo to various destinations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The ongoing construction of the Standard Gauge Railways (SGR), will guarantee a solid link between Dar es Salaam Port and Kigoma Port to the neighbouring nations bordering Lake Tanganyika.

Cargo would be easily railed from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma, then transshipped onto lake vessels to the port of Mpulung (Zambia), various destinations in the DRC (Uvira, Kalemie, Baraka, Moba) and the Port of Bujumbura in Burundi.

Mr Said appeals to the government to fast-track the construction of a railway line to Kigoma Port, insisting that the SGR would crucially facilitate transportation of larger volumes of cargo at lower cost.

He acknowledges the good support from their landlord, the TPA, saying; “We’re also cooperating well with the TPA, and we’re very grateful to the Authority’s management.”

The renovation of Kigoma ports is a major boost to traders in the northwestern region. About 75 per cent of Kigoma/Ujiji Municipal residents earn their living from trading, especially from the informal sector trade activities. There were 2500 registered business men/women in the Municipal of which 70 per cent are located in the three main markets (Kigoma, Mwanga and Buzebazeba) the other six small market centres are Ujiji, Kagera, Gungu, Nazareti, Kibirizi and Katonga.

A large number of shops are retailers selling manufactured and industrial goods. Goods like rice, beans, maize, sardines, clothes (vitenge) are being sold at Kigoma and neighbouring countries like DRC, Burundi and Zambia.

The port of Kigoma is the largest port in Kigoma, and borders Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Burundi. The Port is a gateway for traffic flow originating from Tanzania and/or the Port of Dar es Salaam to land-linked countries.

The port of Kigoma has a terminal for loading and off-loading general cargo, a container berth and a conventional berth. But the government plans further renovation of the terminal to facilitate the recent growing demand for transport in the Kigoma Port. Plans are underway to rehabilitate both the passenger wharf and the cargo wharf.

The wish of Kigoma dwellers is to see the return of government-owned passenger and cargo vessels following the laying off of the historic MV Liemba ship.

Last year, President Samia’s government unveiled a plan to build a new larger ship capable of carrying 600 passengers comfortably in addition to 400 tons of cargo to help improve freight and passenger transportation on Lake Tanganyika.

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