Tanga Port 'frustrates' customers

Tanga Port customers are, incredibly, often required paying overtime to workers at the port. Transport Minister, Mr Harrison Mwakyembe, has reacted angrily to the unholy arrangement.

He has ordered the port management to undergo reforms, change mindsets and get rid of unnecessary inconveniences to customers.

Dr Mwakyembe, who was accompanied by senior port officials, was astonished to hear that customers who want to export or clear their cargo during weekends are told to pay five US dollars as overtime to port workers.

Following complaints raised by transport stakeholders at a joint meeting here on Tuesday, Minister Mwakyembe demanded clarification from the Tanga Port management. “This sounds strange to me.

How can customers pay overtime to civil servants?” he queried. 

He demanded a comprehensive, satisfactory explanation from the port manager. 

Tanga acting port manager, Fred Liundi, admitted that the port was charging the fee but his clarification did not please the minister, who demanded more details from Tanzania Port Authority (TPA) Acting Director Kipande Madeni.

“Honourable minister, this sounds strange to me too. Normally TPA pays overtime to its members of staff who work during weekends and holidays. Maybe they have decided to introduce this system because Tanga Port is operating under losses. “We will outlaw this unfair arrangement,” he said.

Reacting, Dr Mwakyembe condemned the practice, saying that it inconvenienced importers and exporters.

He described the arrangement as an impediment to shipping activities at the port and other ports in the country. He said that the unholy practice could compel customers to look for alternative services from competing ports in neighbouring countries.

He said he would like to see from now on such inconveniences scrapped so that Tanga Port becomes reliable and its services affordable to customers.

“My brothers, you must change your mindsets if you want to compete and operate profitably. You can do away with some minor expenses in order to attract more customers who will boost your business.

“I want to see Tanga Port revived and many customers using it. But you must clean your house first, he stressed. He said that after cleaning Dar es Salaam Port, he had now decided to deal with Tanga Port which is the second largest in the country.

He added that he would not hesitate to sack irresponsible port workers. 

Tanga port, which is on record to have performed exemplarily well in the past and which is famous for supporting the economy of Tanga Region, has in recent years suffered business losses due to unnecessary bureaucracy and inefficiency.
Source: Daily News, reported by Nestory Ngwega from Tanga, Tanzania

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