THE Zanzibar Shippers Council (ZSC) has called on the Isles government to urgently act to improve port operations, reduce delays in handling cargo, a challenge that always contributes to inflation in the country.
This call came from ZSC Secretary, Mr Assaa Sharif Khalid at opening of a meeting supported by the Intergovernmental Standing Committee on Shipping (ISCOS), to mark the Zanzibar shippers Day.
“We ask the government to find ways of ending delays in ships docking to disembark goods in containers. The delays are costly to shipping companies,” Mr Khalid said.
Addressing the meeting officiated by the Zanzibar Deputy Minister for Infrastructure, Communication and Transport Mr Nadir Abdul-Latif Yussuf, the secretary explained that inconveniences in offloading cargo at the Malindi Port has been frustrating freight operators.
He said expansion of Malindi Port and improving services would attract more shipping companies across the globe and also minimise freight costs for the benefit of consumers.
Mr Khalid said the move will also help push the economy forward, at this period of economy and business revival after the Covid-19 pandemic and impact of cross border conflicts.
“As we eagerly wait for a solution in the long-term period, establishing a container depot close to the port can help reduce congestion at Malindi, and ship queues/time waiting to off-load and re-loading cargo. It will also help minimise inconveniences,” Mr Khalid said.
Director, Shipping Ports and Freight Services at the ISCOS Mr Aderick Kagenzi commended Zanzibar for reawakening its shipper’s council, which was idle since it was formed in 2012. He promised continued support to deliver for the interest of Zanzibar people, including consumers.
He said that ISCOS has supported the establishment of shippers’ councils in Rwanda, Kenya, South-Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Burundi, Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar, arguing that shippers’ councils play an important role in freight service.
Mr Sallu Johnson, the TSC Executive Secretary, said that they have been moving on well and that they have been strengthening collaboration with ZSC in ensuring efficiency in shipping businesses in the united republic of Tanzania.
The deputy minister Yussuf informed members of the shippers’ councils in the region and stakeholders that the Zanzibar government is happy to work with the ZSC and will provide necessary support for its development.
“The government is currently implementing big projects such as construction of a new port at Mangapwani aimed at improving port operations,” he said.