Dar port stakeholders sign pact to reduce congestion

Congestion of containers at Dar Port
Container handling services at the Dar es Salaam port will improve further after key stakeholders enter into agreements that would allow operators to shift cargo that had overstayed to the Inland Container Depot (ICD).

The Storage capacity of the Dar es Salaam port is about 11,500 containers which is 100 per cent density. But only 65 per cent has been the maximum storage capacity beyond which the port becomes congested.

"Sometimes, the port has been handling containers at between 70 and 80 per cent of its storage capacity, but efficiency declined and caused delay of ships at the anchorage," remarked The Tanzania Shipping Agents Association (TASAA) Secretary, Mr Peter Kirigini.

He said in Dar es Salaam at the signing ceremony on Wednesday that the agreement would empower the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) and the Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS) to remove containers which have overstayed to leave open space for the incoming and outgoing cargo.

Mr Kirigini said the move will enhance efficiency and decongest the port while cutting costs which importers shoulder for delays due to lack of  enough space for putting the containers. The charges for overstayed cargo for more that seven free days are between 20 and 40 US dollars for 20 and 40 feet containers respectively. But the charges may double for goods that have overstayed for more than 21 days. Free period goods on transit are 15 days.

"This is a major step for effective and efficient container handling services at the port which will further bring solutions to the problem of decongestion," said Mr Ephraim Mgawe, the TPA Director General.

Mr Mgawe said the move has further improved the agreement which was already  in place that will see increased choices for importers to either use the  port storage facility or the ICD.

Some of the port stakeholders who signed the agreement include TPA, TICTS, TASAA, Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA) and ICD operators.  The ICD operators Manager, Mr Ali Lilani, said apart from increased efficiency, the agreement would help cut unnecessary congestion of trucks  at the port as most of the containers would be placed in the inland port.

"The formalisation of the container handling operations to the ICD is a major milestone into making the port one of the most efficient in the East African Region," he remarked. Recent reports show that cargo clearance is more efficient due to computerisation of many processes, leaving little room for unprofessional acts like corruption.

Likewise, the port has increased its market share in East Africa after handling 16 per cent more containerised cargo last year, thanks to road improvement, which saw a substantial reduction of Mombasa Port share. The port last year handled 475,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) compared to 415,000TEUs of previous year.

The Dar es Salaam Port Manager, Mr Cassian Ng'amilo, was recently quoted as saying the outstanding performance was due to increased container berths at the port as five ships are handled at a go. The port can now handle six containers ships at a go thus reducing congestions greatly.

The improvement of roads to Burundi and Rwanda is one of the moves that led to better movement of cargo. Kenya Port Authority (KPA) recent data show that the Mombasa port handled  18.9 per cent less or 552,449 tonnes of cargo from Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and the DRC in the nine months to September last year.
Source: The Daily News,www.dailynews.co.tz, reported by Sebastian Mrindoko

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