DODOMA:THE Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) registered tremendous success last year including an increase in revenue collection by 17 per cent in the first quarter of the 2023/2024 financial year.
According to the Parliamentary Committee on Infrastructure Development, the revenue collected through TPA ports increased from 310.78bn/- to 365.12bn/-.
Presenting the committee report on activities implemented in 2023 to the National Assembly on Monday, the Chairman, Selemani Kakoso said that inspections conducted by the committee at Dar es Salaam, Lindi and Mtwara ports last year identified numerous achievements registered by the authority.
Mr Kakoso said among the successes Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mtwara ports to started receiving large vessels following the upgrading of the ports’ infrastructure.
“The cargo volume handled by TPA ports increased by 17.5 per cent from 5.81 million tonnes to 6.83 million tonnes in the first quarter of 2023/24, while the project implementation pace has increased including the first phase execution of the Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Program (DMGP) and improvement of Tanga Port,” Kakoso said.
He said Mtwara Port has continued to accommodate large ships throughout the year after starting to receive direct ships and coal consignment.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) market has continued to be strong and leading in transit cargo, which is being handed by 42 per cent.
Mr Kakoso, however, said that the authority is facing several challenges among other slow pace in offloading cargo, which has resulted in congestion at Dar es Salaam Port including oil tankers at the Single Point Mooring (SPM), which have been taking an average of more than 10 days.
He said other challenges included insufficient ICT systems, shortage of funds, workers and equipment, and lack of passenger ships in the Indian Ocean to provide services between Dar es Salaam- Zanzibar and Mtwara.
Mr Kakoso said that the National Assembly has resolved that the government should provide TPA with 35bn/- per month from the wharfage charges.
He the reports presented to the committee indicated that the revenue collected by TPA from wharfage charges was taken by the government without leaving any amount to the authority.
He explained that such an arrangement limits TPA’s ability to improve infrastructure at the berths which negatively efficiency of port services and the government’s ability to generate more revenue.
He said there were complaints regarding TPA efficiency due to incomplete ICT systems which are required to connect stakeholders and the unsatisfactory state of the infrastructure that facilitates the transport of cargo from the port.
He further said that the situation may lead to cargo congestion at the port and hold back the efforts to improve services provided by the authority.
“The House has resolved that TPA should hasten the improvement of road infrastructure and the railway line entering and leaving the Dar es Salaam Port and the government should also complete the construction of a modern railway from Mtwara – Bambabay and the construction of the Kisiwa Mgao Port in Mtwara Region,” he said.
Responding, Minister for Transport Prof Makame Mbarawa said Dar es Salaam Port is the main gateway to the economy and has been relied on by the nation and neighbouring countries.
“Recently, we have recorded a significant increase in the number of ships at the Dar es Salaam Port. This is a great blessing for our country and has given us a big challenge to plan on how we can overcome the challenge,” he said.
He said that in implementing the plan, the government has decided to build a 590-meter-long berth at Malindi which will have the capacity to accommodate two ships at ago.
“As I speak, we are looking for a contractor to do the work, we have already secured funds for the project,” he said.
He mentioned the second strategy to be implemented by the government is the construction of a modern port for offloading oil and its storage tanks.
He said the project is underway and the government has already secured a contractor and 560bn/- is expected to be spent on execution of the project.
“The next step is the construction of the port at Bagamoyo for offloading oil to reduce congestion of oil tankers at Dar Port,” he said.
Prof Mbarawa further said that the government is also taking other measures to reduce congestion at Dar es Salaam Port including construction of berths from number 13 to 15 noting that they are currently reviewing the designing of the project to announce the tender and secure the contractor.
“The government has not stopped there, as we are all aware there has been a significant increase of ships docking at Mtwara Port and the government has decided to construct a ‘dirty’ port which will serve as a special terminal for coal shipment.