IN modern life, most of the products we consume daily travel through ports, making them a key link in the global production and supply chains we rely on or put in another way, our livelihoods – food, jobs, energy – depend on functioning and resilient supply chains from the producer to the consumer that must be linked by transport (read a port in this case) to the market.
For instance, when a disaster strikes, ports are the main point of entry for the food, water and medicine people need to survive on and the fuel required to keep hospitals and health facilities running, especially in landlocked countries, which must be reached through a port to supply the fore-mentioned.
All these show how ports are important and represent the gateways for commodities exports, but as countries grow and develop, ports are also essential for sustaining and improving more robust and diverse growth of hinterland economies through the import and export of manufactured goods and other products.
Driving the point home, as an anchor port supporting not just Tanzania’s trade but also its landlocked neighbors like Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Dar es Salaam has a central role in regional trade facilitation and integration, implying the role of Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) to keep and modernize it is visible without being mentioned.
This shows how Dar es Salaam port like others in the country serve as a vital gateway for international trade in East and Central Africa. Water transport is a crucial mode of transportation in Tanzania, aside from being the main gateway for business.
On the same vein, the sixth phase government under President Samia Suluhu Hassan deserves praise for allocating 1.1bn/- in the current financial year for the ports upgrading.
Equally, TPA deserves praise and support for prioritizing the efficiency of the ports, because they directly affect the economies of the local people and other countries depending on them, since more than 80 per cent of the global trade is carried by sea.
For instance, during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many landlocked countries suffered and had to be ‘bailed out’ by the ones with ports for their economies to run.
In a nutshell, ports are catalysts for economic development as they enable trade and support supply chains, especially for our farmers who have to access foreign markets to sell their products.
As the list might be long elaborating why the ports are important in the country, it is important to recognize the work of TPA in modernizing them-a decision that has now attracted more traders to use them in importing and exporting various commodities to various destinations worldwide.