Parliamentarians call for more strategic investors at Dar Port

DAR ES SALAAM: THE Parliamentary Committee on Infrastructure Development has emphasised the need for the government to continue seeking strategic investors who can transform Dar es Salaam Port into a cargo transit hub for East and Central Africa.

According to the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), cargo volume at Dar es Salaam Port has been increasing by an average of 7.6 per cent annually for the past three years.

In the 2020/21 financial year, the cargo volume was 16,190,906 tonnes, while in 2021/22, it was 18,410,953 tonnes, and in 2022/2023, it reached 21,461,120 tonnes.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam during a visit to TPA by the Parliamentary Committee on Infrastructure Development, Chairman Selemani Kakoso stated that it is crucial for the government to encourage more investment at the port due to the increase in cargo volume.

“Despite the government’s efforts to attract investors to the country’s ports, we need to continue seeking more investors who can make Dar es Salaam Port the cargo transit hub for East and Central Africa,” he emphasised.

He added that the geographical advantage of Dar Port has attracted landlocked countries such as Zambia, DR Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Malawi, Uganda, Zimbabwe and recently South Sudan to utilise the water gateway.

According to the Authority’s report, Dar es Salaam Port handles approximately 95 per cent of Tanzania’s international trade.

TPA Director General Plasduce Mbossa stated that over the course of three years (2020/21 to 2022/23), revenue at Dar Port has been increasing at an average rate of 27.2 per cent per year, from 801.7bn/- in the 2020/21 financial year to 1.3tri/- in 2022/23.

Mbossa attributed the increase in revenue to the government’s efforts to improve the country‚Äôs principal port.

He also mentioned that TPA has been working on improving Dar Port through the Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Programme (DMGP), which aims to revamp the port’s infrastructure and enhance efficiency.

“The purpose of overhauling the infrastructure of Dar Port is to meet the growing demand for exports and imports by increasing efficiency. One of our current objectives is to increase the port’s capacity to handle larger ships,” he added.

Mbossa further revealed that the authority is in the final stages of implementing a project to construct a berth and fuel storage tanks at Kigamboni. TPA is currently in the process of finding a contractor to begin construction.

“We will construct a berth and 17 fuel storage tanks with a total capacity of 362,500 tonnes,” he added.

He stated that the project will improve the efficiency of Dar Port in handling fuel ships, reducing costs and addressing the challenge of delayed offloading.

Mbossa also mentioned that the government is considering the feasibility study and design of the depth of construction for berths capable of handling cruise ships in Dar Port.

The berth is expected to accommodate two million passengers initially and increase to eight million per year after 30 years.

Mr Mbossa noted that after the completion of the improvements, Dar es Salaam Port will be able to handle Post Panamax Ships up to 305 metres in length and with the capacity to carry up to 8,000 containers, compared to the current capacity of second-generation ships that carry only 2,000 to 2,500 containers.

“The port will be able to handle larger cargo, increasing its capacity from an average of 16 million tons before the improvements (in 2017 when the project started) to 30 million tonnes, thus boosting government revenues,” he added.

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