TICTS accused of overcharging traders at Dar Port

Businesspersons using Dar es Salaam port have said the Tanzania International Container Terminal Services Ltd (TICTS) overcharges them by using its own exchange rates which run contrary to those issued by the Bank of Tanzania.

The traders also say the cargo handling company is supposed to begin charging the consignments upon arrival at the dock, but TICTS charges them from when the ship arrives at the port.

They aired their complaints yesterday during the port’s stakeholders’ meeting which was chaired by Transport minister, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe.

The meeting aimed to discuss various issues including challenges that traders and the port authority encounter in implementing their daily activities.

Following the complaints, Mwakyembe summoned TICTS Director and other top officials of the firm to his office today at 8am. He insisted that they should come up with answers to the raised issues.

“I want to know why TICTS doesn’t want to use the exchange rates issued by the Bank of Tanzania… they should clearly explain why they violate the country’s laws. We can’t run the country by allowing people to do things as they please, no one is above the law,” he said.

Dr Mwakyembe noted that the government’s aim is to improve services at the port in order to attract more customers.

He pointed out that by overcharging the traders, the cargo handling company will make customers opt for other ports in neighbouring countries.

Vice President for Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (TAFA), Edward Urio said they have been overcharged by the company for many years.

He said they have already filed complaints to different authorities but no action has been taken.

He said since the implementation of the Big Result Now (BRN) initiative started at the port, there has been remarkable success in terms of revenue collections. He said the port’s revenue collection skyrocketed to 529.26bn/- in 2013/14 which is an increment of 24 percent compared to 428.07bn/- recorded in 2012/13.

He said the port’s capacity to handle cargos reached 15.4 million tonnes in 2013/14 from the previous 13.7 million tonnes in 2012/13, “the target is to reach a capacity of handling 18 million tonnes of cargo per annum by 2016.”

Speaking of serving other countries, he noted that traders from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) lead in having a big number of containers passing through the Dar es Salaam port, “almost 30 percent of the cargos that arrive at the port on a daily basis are en route to DRC.”

For his part, chairman of the Business Congolese International, John Kapeta requested the minister to look into the possibility of giving them more time to return the empty containers due to transport complications that normally delays them.

“We are given 30 days to return the containers…this is not enough for us because our country is far from Tanzania. We would appreciate if the number of days is increased,” said Kapeta.

Meanwhile, Secretary of the Office of Intermodal Freight Management (OGEFREM) from DRC, Gisele Banatshini called upon TAFA and Tanzania Truck Owners Association (TATOA) to cooperate with them.
She said OGEFREM is a government institution which was formed with the aim of inspecting all the cargos entering the DRC to avoid penetration of weapons.

He said TAFA and TATOA were supposed to inform them on the number of containers leaving the port to DRC, but we are normally not provided with such information.

In addition, the government has given a 14-day ultimatum to AMI Tanzania Limited Clearing and Forwarding to compensate a woman whose container disappeared in their hands.

The minister warned that failure to compensate the woman in question; their business license will be revoked.
Source: The Guardian, reported by Gadiosa Lamtey from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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