e-Cargo tracking in limbo

Dar es Salaam portThe future of an Electronic Cargo Tracking Note (ECTN) system to digitise documentation at Dar es Salaam port hangs in balance as Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (Sumatra) remains silent after Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) suspended its introduction.

Last Monday, stakeholders refused to attend a meeting convened by TPA to discuss the issue and instead advised the port landlord to consult with Sumatra which has legal powers to convene such a meeting.

“We will issue a regulatory statement in due course,” said Sumatra acting Director General, Mr Ahmad Kilima in a text message while responding to ‘Daily News’ which wanted to know the fate of introducing ECTN system at Dar es Salaam port, following TPA’s decision to suspend the starting date.

Asked what follows the TPA suspension of ECTN introduction effective today after strong opposition from the shipping sector stakeholders who questioned the awarding of the contract to Belgian based Antaser Afrique BVBA without an open tender and possible costs associated with the exercise, Mr Kilima said: “Please read a TPA notice in ‘Daily News’ of August 26, 2013 page 20, have a good day.”

In the brief announcement, TPA said the ECTN commencement date has been suspended till further notice. The TPA notice came following a rebuff by Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA), Tanzania Shipping Agents Association (TASAA) and Sumatra to attend the authority’s convened meeting to discuss the fate of ECTN.

In the letter dated August 23, this year and signed by TPA’s K. Chale on behalf of the Director General titled; “Invitation to the discussion of the ECTN,” which was addressed to Sumatra DG, TAFAA President Steven Ngatunga and TASAA Chairman, Emmanuel Mallya, the authority sought to get consensus from stakeholders on the deal. “The meeting will be held on Monday, August 26, 2013 at 2pm.

The venue will be at 9th floor board room TPA headquarters,” Mr Chale said in the letter. But all the three recipients turned down the invitation saying TPA has no legal mandate to convene such a meeting and further made reference to the authority’s refusal to attend stakeholders’He showered praises on Major Mshindo, saying during his life time he was hard worker, honest and diligent.

His death is a big blow, he added. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Bernard Membe, said Major Mshindo would be remembered as a hero because he died in action.

He said that the death which brings the number of Tanzanian soldiers who have died in peacekeeping missions in Sudan and DRC to eight, this year, will only act as a reason to intensify efforts to help find lasting peace in the continent.

“The government is impressed with the unity that Tanzanians have shown in supporting our soldiers in peacekeeping missions....,” he said.

He warned some people who were seeking cheap popularity by sowing seeds of discord over the government’s efforts to seek lasting peace in Africa and world in general. “Our role is to ensure that areas with insecurity are secured, in DRC the condition is bad, people are dying every day, women and children are raped and humiliated.

We are determined to end these deaths and our troops will not hold us back,” he said. On 28 March, this year, the UN Security Council authorised the establishment of the intervention brigade to carry out targeted offensive operations, with or without the FARDC, against armed groups that threaten peace in eastern DRC.

At the same time, the Security Council called on the M23 to cease immediately all forms of violence and destabilising activities and for its members to immediately and permanently disband and lay down their arms.
Source: Daily News, reported by Finnigani Simbeye, from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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