Tanzania: Inefficieny, trade barriers undermine Dar port

Inefficiency and trade barriers can make the Dar es Salaam port lose substantial amount of business to its competitors in southern Africa, it was said in the city.

The port handles cargo destined to several land locked countries including Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia and Uganda. The port is threatened by southern African ports including Walvis Bay of Namibia, Beira in Mozambique, Durban in South Africa and Angola.

The concerns were raised at a meeting in Dar es Salaam by the Tanzania’s Ambassador to DRC, Mr Anthony Cheche, Tanzania Truck Owners Association (TATOA) and Tanzania Drivers Workers Union (TADWU).

Some of the challenges raised included delays at the Dar es Salaam port, congestions from the port to Misugusugu weighbridge, numerous police checkpoints, seven weighbridges from Dar es Salaam to Tandem.

Despite the discussions with the respective authorities including the Police Force, checkpoints and corruption have continued to be among serious problems for smooth flow of business.

Similarly, frequent systems failure at Tunduma border post and expensive parking slots on the Zambia side also contributes to increased cost of doing business. Ambassador Cheche supported transporters in their concern that competition between the Dar es Salaam port and southern African ports was becoming stiffer.

“We need to carry out immediate research and act accordingly to resolve and protect the country from losing the colossal amount of business,” he said, adding that all the concerns raised by transporters will be referred to respective authorities for immediate action.

He said the construction of 1,344 kms of a railway line to connect Angola, Lusaka and Lubumbashi has reached advanced stage and would provide them with the new option to replace the Dar es Salaam port.

In Angola, for example, apart from railway construction, they have provided them enough space for handling containers destined for DRC and Zambia. He, however, said despite the pressure put by the newly laid railway infrastructure, the Dar es Salaam corridor remains to be the cheapest route although it is still engulfed by trade barriers.

Earlier, TATOA chairperson, Mr Angelina Ngalula, said 34 per cent of the volume of cargo handled at the Dar es Salaam port is transit and nearly 4 million tonnes goes to DRC and Zambia alone while less than million tonnes is served to Rwanda and Burundi.

Ms Ngalula said apart from the Angola route, transporters are risking of losing the business of transit oil to Beira port where heavy investment has been put on fuel storage facilities.

“This is a concern to transporters, because soon or later we are going to lose business through Beira port,” she said.

Ms Ngalula further said a lot of improvement was underway at Walvis Bay in order to capture huge business destined for DRC and Zambia. Similarly, she added, Durban port in South Africa has embarked on handling cargo for the two countries.
Source: Daily News, reported by Sebastian Mrindoko, from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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