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Tanga: Business gateway for northern regions

TANGA is the longest serving port in East Africa. It is a lighterage port with two shallow water berths. The visiting ocean going vessels are anchored at stream buoys, being a maritime safety requirement.

As of now, by facilities and business, Tanga is second to Dar es Salaam port, but if fully expanded it could be greatest in the country, due to its large geographical areas.

The 354-km highway links it to sister port Dar es Salaam in the South. Tanga Port is situated on the northern coast of Tanzania, close to the Kenyan border.

The Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) has assigned Tanga port to serve the northern regions of the country – Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Manyara and Tanga, specifically supplying fuel, instead of the regions procuring from Dar es Salaam.

Tanga Port Manager, Mr Percival Salama says they are strategizing so as to become one of the biggest and efficient ports in East Africa and later in Africa. He says that tremendous efforts have been done by TPA as well as Tanga Port management towards achieving the status.

Mr Salama unveils that apart from the TPA management procuring important and record 20 equipment for the port, TPA and Tanga Port have been meeting with businesspersons so as to lure them to use the port, as it has come to their attention that efficiency and relief Initially, Tanga Port seeks to capture market in the Tanzania northern regions and extend the same to neighboring countries, with Mr Salama saying it would be cheaper for many regions in Tanzania and EAC member countries to use the port. T seeks to serve neighboring countries of Rwanda, Burundi as well as Uganda and South Sudan.

Mr Salama says Tanga Port is eying to get clients from Malawi and Zambia as well. Mr Salama says that as port equipment could be described as the lifeblood of any port, Tanga Port has a fleet of equipment and has been, in one year been supplied with 16 more equipment and four others are expected next month.

Such equipment will support clearance of goods at the port, reducing the number of hours and days that containers are cleared. “W e now have enough equipment; we serve well and have significantly reduced the time to clear containers within 12 hours.

The port is now more open and as a mother port in East Africa. There was a challenge as people thought there was double handling of containers as ships anchor at deep see but that is not the case, let them come and will find it easier to pass their cargo at Tanga Port,” says Mr Salama.

He unveils that Tanga Port intends to make it easier and cheaper for its would-be clients as it is putting in place a dry port at King’ori, Arusha region and clients will have to take or pick their goods from the place while Tanga Port would cover the distance from or to Tanga Port.

“This is the longest serving port in East Africa; we are strategically positioned to serve about seven countries. W e want this to be East Africa’s economic hub and later in Africa.

W hy? Because of our geographical position on the Indian Ocean where the world economy has shifted – China and Singapore with one third of the world’s population,” says Mr Salama.

The manager adds that in terms of area, Tanga Port is endowed with a huge geographical area and the port could be expanded to the extent that Tanga Port could be 12 times the size of Dar es Salaam Port that could hardly be expanded.

He said that Port Improvement Committee has worked on three main areas of improvement of service, infrastructure and execution.

He thanks TPA Director General, Engineer Deusdedit Kakoko for his determination to uplift the port status by procurement of equipment as well as meeting businesspersons, toward making Tanga Port the gateway to African business.

Tanga Port, among other things, is picking up due to the recently signed agreement to construct the Tanzania-Uganda oil pipeline from Hoima to Tanga Port at Chongoleani area.

The pipeline is to cost over $ 4 billion and will provide 1,500 direct jobs across the region. Uganda wll be using Tanga Port to export its crude oil.

Tanga Port is experiencing rise in revenue collection as a result of its efforts to control some unjustified related ports put up by some people to evade paying taxes and other remittances to the government.

Mr Salama says some 48 unjustified ports in the region had to be removed in the exercise. He further says that the management of the port also took action by raising awareness in the public over negative effects of such ports, and later embarked on arresting violators of the laws.

Mr Salama notes that in the past the situation was worrying, because many such ports were operating illegally and denied the Tanga Port of its fair share of income in the market.

The manager says that with their action, their income has tremendously increased from 6.9bn/ - in 2016/17 to 12bn/- now, adding further that they were able to seize 18 dhows and boats that were illegally importing goods into the country through the illegal ports.

“W e have worked thoroughly on this matter and now we feel we are in control, because our security personnel are well equipped and committed in their work.

W e have seized more than 18 dhows and boats that were operating in our waters, importing goods without paying due taxes to the government.

That has translated in rise of income to the port,” says Mr Salama, noting that it was precarious to use unregistered boats and dhows in the region as that would mean compromising with country’s security.

“The authorities would not be aware of what is being imported into the country, and denies the government its share of revenue and leads to distortion of statistics economically,” he points out.

The characteristics of Tanga Port are such that it is strategically located to serve even the lake zone. It is a small Seaport in terms of volumes of cargo handled per annum.

Ships anchor at the inner anchorage Tanga bay and movements of cargo to and from the mother vessel is performed by the use of cargo barges and lighters with the support of Tug boats towing the barges and, or lighters to and from the vessel.

It has a wide and deep entrance channel that can accommodate vessel of any size, draft and draught.

It has no tide restrictions for vessel entering or leaving the port and navigation of vessel is limited to day time.

It has a natural and sheltered bay for shipping services and discharging and loading of cargo at stream is entirely dependent on the use of ship cranes.

Tanga Port Captain, Mr Andrew Matillya says the port is best situated compared to others, as it has four bays, to wit, Mwambani, Tanga, Manza and Kwale, with natural barriers.

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Author: DEUS NGOWI in Arusha

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