TPA acts to relieve Dar es Salaam port

As congestion slowly builds up at Dar es Salaam port ahead of the end of year festive season, Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) has gone on the offensive.

TPA Director General Madeni Kipande told ‘Daily News’ that he was travelling to Tanga on a mission to address shipping lines concerns.

“I am currently travelling to Tanga because of these shipping lines, I am very busy today so please bear with me,” Mr Kipande said.

Last Sunday, Kipande had offered to explain reports that shipping liners have boycotted TPA container terminal at the port because of inefficiency and a possible go-slow among workers resisting Transport Minister, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe’s ongoing sweeping management changes.

Stakeholders told ‘Daily News’ last week that cargo handling business at the country’s prime port is quickly becoming a Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS) exclusive because TPA container terminal is abandoned.

Until last June, TPA container terminal used to handle over 30 per cent of containerized cargo at Dar es Salaam port. 

“The situation is not good because there is inefficiency at TPA terminal hence many shipping agents are opting for TICTS terminal,” an industrial source said.

The source said at TPA terminal ships are taking up to 10 days to load and offload containers while carefree employees failed even to respond to emails from frustrated clients who are forced to choose TICTS terminal. 

Sources said last Monday, Port Improvement Committee (PIC) Chairman, Omari Chambo convened a stakeholders’ meeting to convince shipping agents to use TPA terminal threatening ship owners with revoking their licences.

“They ordered TASAA leaders to inform ship owners to resume utilizing TPA berth but they told the Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Transport that the association has no such mandate in a free market economy,” said the source who warned that dwell time is already above 14 days.

“Most ship owners are now talking about boycotting the port because of these threats which are unrealistic because we are in a free market economy where competitiveness is the incentive,” argued, an official, from Container Depot Association of Tanzania.

But Deputy Minister for Transport Dr Charles Tizeba told the ‘Daily News’ that “it does not matter” whether the ship off load a container at either TPA or TICTS since the entire port is the property of TPA.

“At the end of the day the port authority will receives its revenue either from TICTS or TPA own facilities…nothing is lost,” Dr Tizeba said, adding that TICTS has a contractual agreement with TPA and government. The minister said he does not see the loss of revenue, the confusion nor the sabotage.

He added that since TPA’s berths one to seven have shallow water thus limiting bigger ships to anchor and naturally would discharge their containers at berths 8-12 which are served by TICTS. 

The majority of the inland container depots are said to be getting empty because TICTS is unable to feed them with containers as most of them used to receive such cargo from TPA terminal.

“The situation is bad, the government needs to find an urgent solution to TPA leadership as soon as possible, it will take the new board months before a solution to the current crisis can be found,” another source from Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA).

Stakeholders are also concerned by the composition of TPA’s new board and acting Director General’s knowledge of the port saying much of the inefficiency comes from activist decisions which ignore the reality on the ground.

“Dar es Salaam port is a cash cow of the government and its efficiency is not only dependent on TPA or TASAA but all stakeholders,” the TAFFA member who attended last Monday’s meeting said.

Last fortnight, Dr Mwakyembe dismissed the entire TPA board except the chairman who is a presidential appointee. 

The minister named eight new board members as part of his efforts to improve TPA performance. They include Dr Jabiri Kuwe Bakari, John Ulanga, Caroline Temu, Jaffer Machano, Dr Hildebrand Shayo, Said Sauko, Engineer Julius Mamiro and Asha Nassor.
Source: The Daily News, http://www.dailynews.co.tz 
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