Kasanga Port eyes more ship calls

KASANGA Port is looking to enhance its cargo handling capacity and increase ship docks after the completion of the newly-refurbished berth.

Rising water levels have compelled the project contractor to lift the berth by adding another layer on the previous one.

“There are minor corrections going on, especially raising up the berth after the water levels went up,” said Kigoma Port Manager, Mr Edward Mabula, who also manages all other ports on Lake Tanganyika.

Mr Mabula said the completion of the 4.5bn/- project which has been underway since April 29, 2019, would enhance the port’s capacity.

The project involved lengthening the port’s berth from 20 to 120 metres and the width from 11 to 14 metres to enable more than one ship to dock at once.

Another improvement of the project was the construction of a passenger lounge, warehouse and residential houses for TPA staff.

Connected with a magnificent 107 kilometres road linking it to Sumbawanga town via Mataia, Kasanga Port is strategically positioned as it is in close proximity to both Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Currently the port largely serves as a cement terminal, as it is mainly used by Mbeya Cement Company to ship cement to the DRC and Zambia, with the factory exporting about 3,500 tonnes every month.

“Mbeya Cement is our biggest customer, he regularly exports cement to DRC via this port,” Kasanga Port Officer, Rodriguez Valentin said while showing a warehouse filled with a cement consignment ready to be exported to DRC.

Port Manager Mr Mabula revealed that Kasanga Port is second in terms of cargo volumes and revenues after Kigoma Port. The port handles 4,500 tonnes of cargo on average per month and generates 80m/- revenue.

“Currently, the project is in defect liability period, and the contractor is making final touches on the berth, we expect it to be ready very soon,” he stated.

He was however adamant that the completion of the ongoing project would increase ship calls, especially cargo vessels to and from DRC, since Tanzania is the largest DRC’s trade partner.

He equally expressed optimism that addition of cargo and passenger vessels as per the government’s plans would add vibrancy and vitality at Kasanga Port.

‘Availability of reliable passenger and cargo vessels would massively boost port operations and bring the much-needed multiplier effects,” he said, adding that should there be a fuel vessel it would help decongest and calm traffic at Tunduma border, asserting that many fuel exporters would opt to transport their cargo to Zambia and DRC through Kasanga Port, which boasts good infrastructure and facilities.

“The government has done an excellent job by supporting the refurbishment of the port and by constructing such a beautiful road that connects Kasanga and Sumbawanga town,” he commended.

The grounding of MV Liemba means that there is no big vessel plying Lake Tanganyika and that has affected the performance of various ports along the world’s longest freshwater Lake.

Kasanga Port was first constructed between 1995 and 1998 and serves cargo destined for the Democratic Republic of Lake (DRC), Zambia and Burundi.

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