Ships flock to Dar Port

DAR ES SALAAM: WHILE cargo ships are flocking to Dar es Salaam Port, a record-breaking 294-metre cruise vessel is expected to arrive at the country’s principal seaport tomorrow in a new milestone to the port sector.

A total of 16 international ships were scheduled to call at the Dar es Salaam Port between Friday and today, in addition to the 38 vessels that recently docked at the port.

“We’re performing extremely well, and we are pleased that customers are increasingly choosing the Dar es Salaam Port as their port of choice,” said Dar es Salaam Port Director Mrisho Selemani to the media yesterday.

“We want more ships and we are encouraging more shipping lines, agencies and customers to keep using our services,” added Mr Mrisho, pledging increased efficiency in cargo handling and logistics services.

“We currently have 38 ships waiting at the outer anchorage. The influx of ships is a blessing for our economy and operations,” added the Port Director.

A vehicle carrier, Dream Diamond, arrived on Saturday and departed on Sunday after unloading 2,500 cars, paving the way for another vehicle carrier, Sunshine Ace, which docked at the Ro-Ro berth yesterday afternoon with 1,500 vehicles on board.

“We’ll receive another ship with 3,900 cars on board after the departure of Sunshine Ace,” stated the Dar es Salaam Port Director, noting that they are working 24/7 to ensure efficient cargo handling.

Mr Mrisho said the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) is taking deliberate short and long-term measures to increase efficiency and meet the rising logistics demands caused by increased ship calls.

“Our key task is to continuously enhance efficiency by investing in cargo handling facilities, equipment and technologies,” he said, stressing that the port was well-positioned to serve the Dar es Salaam and Central corridors.

Among the measures being taken by the TPA is the construction of a logistics centre in the Kurasini area, the utilisation of Kwara Dry Port in the Coast region, and extending support to ICDs. Mr Mrisho insisted that these measures would ensure speedy offloading and loading at Dar Port.

Moreover, the TPA envisions further expansion of the port by constructing four more berths.

“Plans for the construction of berths number 12 to 15 are in the pipeline,” he said, adding, “Currently; our port has 11 berths which can handle up to twelve ships at a time. We must increase our ship handling capacity.”

Mr Mrisho said that recently, there has been an influx of cargo caused by the expansion and modernisation of the port through the Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Project (DMGP), robust marketing campaigns and major development projects executed by the government, such as the Standard Gauge Railways (SGR), Julius Nyerere Hydropower project and East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), a joint project between Uganda and Tanzania.

“The port plays a crucial role not only in revenue generation, with 40 per cent of TRA collections coming from the port, but also in facilitating major strategic projects,” stressed Mrisho.

For the current financial year, the government has tasked the TPA with handling 22 million tonnes of cargo.

“That’s the target we have been given by the government, but internally we have set ourselves the target of 24 million tonnes,” said Mrisho, revealing that the mid-financial year performance report shows that Dar es Salaam has already handled 12 million tonnes.

“We’re confident of beating our own target,” boasted the Port Director.

Reflecting on last financial year’s performance (2022/2023), Mr Mrisho said they surpassed the 19.6 million tonnes target after handling 21.46 million tonnes.

The Dar es Salaam Port also aims to handle 1.2 million containers in the current financial year.

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