How Dar port stands to win in transit market share

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 the Director of Dar es Salaam Port, Mr Mrisho 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 on Friday 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 minister, who was fielding questions from journalists, shortly after winding a retreat of senior officials of the ministry, emphasised that the government would fast-track the strategy in a bid to filter the number of ‘spokespersons and communicators’.

The port in the last financial year, less than ten (10) million tonnes of the cargo volume was in transit, meaning that 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 es Salaam 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 Uganda’s total cargo volume handled by the port was also meager 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, 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.

“Our port is strategically located to provide logistical nexus between Africa’s massive population centres and other continents especially in Asia and Europe. The expansion of handling capacity is still far beyond the growing demands for imports and exports, leading the port to suffer from congestion and delays. “To meet such demands, we seriously need private sector engagement, which is the model that will certainly pull the port’s efficiency much higher,” he said.

Flanked by the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) Deputy Director General Engineer Juma Kijavara, the Dar es Salaam Port boss said those who are opposed to plans to attract foreign investment and to take onboard operational partners due to concerns over security and sovereignty in Tanzania were utterly not well informed.

On his side, Eng Kijavara who also played the role of Acting Director General insisted that there was no need to worry because the port will still be operated under the strong arm of the state organs.

‘This (port) is a very sensitive facility,….. and be assured that all the integrated systems at the port will strictly remain under the watchful eye of the government. Last week, the government said the Dubai based – multinational logistics company (DPW) will handle 8 per cent of all the ports operations under the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA).

The leader of the negotiation team on the ongoing discussions with DP World and Director General of Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA), Mr Hamza Johari made the remarks when clarifying the scope of cooperation in the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between Tanzania and the Emirate of Dubai.

“The decision we have taken to pick DP World will bring total transformation and efficiency of the port operations and economy,” he said.

He said while Tanzanians are still continuing with debates on the IGA, most of which seem to be unnecessary, neighbours are taking advantage to develop their ports, partnering with the private sector to enhance efficiency.

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