Ministry: Sumatra intervene in TPA’s e-cargo deal

The Ministry of Transport has ordered the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) to intervene in a row pitting Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), shipping, clearing and forwarding agents over the introduction of electronic cargo tracking system next September.

Director of Transport in the ministry, Peter Lupatu, in a letter dated July 15, this year, to Sumatra acting Director General, Ahmad Kilima, acknowledged receipt of complaints from Tanzania Shipping Agents Association (TASAA) and Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA) over the issue.

“Please take necessary and timely action to control dispute and let the ministry get the updates of action taken as soon as possible,” Mr Lupatu wrote in the letter whose copies were sent to TPA Director General, Commissioner of Customs and Excise, TASAA Secretary and TAFFA President.

TPA signed a five year contract with Belgian based Antaser Afrique BVBA to provide the electronic cargo tracking services effective September 1, 2013, a move that stakeholders in the sub-sector have opposed, saying the multibillion deal was reached without proper consultations.

Mr Kilima told the ‘Daily News’ last week that the regulatory body will give a verdict on the row this week. “We will inform you once we have made our decision as regulator,” Kilima said.

During the first meeting of July 16 under the chairmanship of Sumatra acting DG King Chiragi, stakeholders questioned TPA’s double standards by engaging Antaser Afrique while in 2011, the authority rejected similar offer from French based Phoenix Cargo Security Limited.

Stakeholders observed that implementation of the system come with additional cost to shippers or consignee. During the second stakeholders’ meeting last Monday that Mr Kilima chaired, TPA Director of Information Technology Boniface Magesa arrived as the meeting was almost ending. Among the resolutions adopted include demanding TPA to withdraw the system, pending the deliberations on the issue by all stakeholders.
Source: Daily News, reported by Finnigan wa Simbeye from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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