History made as mega ship docks at Tanga Port

THE massive renovation and upgrading of the Tanga Port by the Sixth Phase Government has started yielding dividends after a mega ship docked at the newly-constructed berth on Monday.

The milestone achievement was made possible thanks to the completion of the first phase of the major improvement project by 100 per cent and the second phase, which has reached 94 per cent.

The first phase of the project which was implemented at a cost of 172.3bn/- involved the expansion of the entrance channel, increase of the draft at the turning basin and procurement of modern equipment.

The second phase of the project involves the construction of new 450-metre-long berths at a cost of 256.8bn/-
According to Tanga Port Manager Masoud Mrisha, the second phase of the project has reached 94 per cent and the authority has already received 300 metres out of 450 currently under improvement.

Mr Mrisha said the completion of the 300 metres have enabled the largest ever vessel christened Baltic Pearl to dock at the port with 6909.292 tonnes of fertiliser (Ammonia Nitrate), a cargo which had never been handled at the port.

Speaking after the arrival of the ship, Mr Mrisha said that the 150 metre- long vessel from Russia docked for the first time at the longest-serving port in East Africa after the completion of the 300 metre-long berth.

The arrival of this ship is the result of huge investment carried out by the Sixth Phase Government under the leadership of President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

The government had expressed its commitment to restore the status of Tanga Port which it has lost for five decades.

According to the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), Tanga Port was the main business gateway before the improvement of Dar es Salaam.

The port contributed greatly to the economic growth of Tanga, neibouring regions and the country in general.

Mr Mrisha said the transit cargo destined for DR Congo will be offloaded for two days, stressing that the authority will ensure efficiency in serving the customers.

” This cargo is for a customer in Lubumbashi, DRC whose agent is Simba Logistics … this is the largest ever ship to dock at the port after the handing over of the 300 metres berths from the contractor,” he said

He said that upon completion, the facility will receive larger vessels thus increasing cargo volume.

“The arrival of this ship is an indication that upon completion of the 450 metres, the facility will receive larger vessels with 200 metres and above,” he said.

Mr Mrisha also noted that the port is also expected to handle another big ship on March 15 this year -MV Metsovo from the US, which will dock at the port with 51,000 metric tonnes of petroleum bulk petcock.

The port manager said the cargo will go to Sayona Chemicals and Neelkanth Chemicals Limited.

“Before upgrading and renovation of the port, these kinds of ships were handled through stream operations but now the vessels will dock at the berth and be served quickly and efficiently because the number of days for cargo handling is going to be reduced from five to three depending on the size of the cargo,” Mr Mrisha said.

He said before the upgrading, the ships were offloading the cargo 1.7 kilometers from the new berth because they could not dock at the port due to shallow water berths.

“I want to assure our customers that the port can now receive cargo from any part of the world and be served quickly and efficiently,” he said.

Mr Mrisha further noted even before the completion of the project, cargo volume at the port has started to increase whereby in January this year the port surpassed its cargo volume target which was 67,000 tonnes to 77,000 tonnes, noting that they are confident to attain 3 million target of cargo volume per year upon completion of the project.

He added that for the 2021/2022 financial year the port had a target of handling 714,800 tonnes of cargo but it surpassed its target by serving 986,000 tonnes.

“The port is currently having modern equipment for cargo handling and also the ships will now be docking at the port so they will be handled quickly and efficiently,” Mr Mrisha said.

“The safety of the goods will also be enhanced because there will be no more stream operations and the goods which had never been handled at the port will now be passing through the facility such as vehicles,” he said.

The port boss expressed gratitude to President Samia Suluhu Hassan for dishing out the funds for execution of the crucial project which will not only stimulate economic growth of Tanga Region but also open up social economic opportunities in other northern regions including Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Manyara.

Recently, the Head of Marketing Department at Tanga Port Rose Tandiko told the ‘Daily News’ that the renovation work has been completed, calling upon clients to use the facility for transporting their goods.

“I want to assure our customers that the improvement at the port has been completed and I would like to invite you to use our port because we are ready to serve you,” she said.

The Third National Five-Year Development Plan has stressed on the importance of strengthening and building basic infrastructure including ports to stimulate economic activities. In realising the goal, the government has been allocating a chunky budget to implement port infrastructure projects as well as procuring modern equipment and technologies to ensure the country’s water gateways provide world-class services.

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