Dar es Salaam. The number of vehicles handled by the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) annually is set to rise by 268 per cent following completion of the expansion of Berth Two at Dar es Salaam Port.
The TPA director general, Mr Deusdedith Kakoko, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that TPA’s area now has the capacity to handle 600,000 vehicles per year, up from 163,000 vehicles that were handled last year.
He was briefing journalists on the ship ‘Grand Duke of Panama’ which docked at Berth Two in Dar es Salaam harbour for the first time since expansion of the berth was completed recently.
The journalists visited the port in the company of Works, Transport and Communications minister, Mr Isaac Kamwelwe.
The Grand Duke of Panama is carrying 1,347 assorted vehicles from Japan and China.
Berth Two is one of the eight landing points at Dar es Salaam port. Its expansion was financed by the World Bank through the Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Project (DSMGP).
The project sought to widen and deepen the harbour in order improve its efficiency.
Rehabilitation had been completed for berths One and Two, and they can now handle large ships like the Grand Duke of Panama.
Mr Kakoko said that, with the two improved berths in place, the port can now handle 10,000 vehicles per day, quadrupling from only 2,500 that have been traditionally handled daily at the port.
Efforts were put in place to ensure that Berth Two operates for 24 hours a day - and that Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) as well as clearing and forwarding stakeholders will be stationed under one roof to accelerate clearing processes.
“In future, not every Tanzanian will be allowed at the port. We are planning to take some cleared goods - including vehicles - to customer’s bonded warehouses to speed up the movement of goods,” he said.
Giving details of the Grand Duke of Panama ship that arrived at the port on Saturday night, Mr Kakoko said the ship is 200 meters long, with eight storeys and the capacity to accommodate 6,000 vehicles at at a time.
Meanwhile, TPA targets to transport 25 million tonnes of cargo by 2025. This will mean that Tanzania’s ports will be handling 50 per cent of cargo that’s destined for member states of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).
Currently, the country’s ports account for 25 per cent of all goods imported to the 16-member Sadc bloc. According to Mr Kakoko, 18.5 million tonnes of freight were currently passing at Dar es Salaam Port to neighbouring countries, noting that the amount will reach 19 million tonnes at the end of the year.
“Our target is to increase the amount by one million tonnes annually something that will enable us record 25 million tonnes by 2025 and therefore increase our market share to 50 per cent from the current 25 per cent,” he said.
Tanzania’s ports compete for cargo with South Africa, Mozambique, Angola and Namibia.
Traditionally, he said, it was only less than one per cent of goods, destined for Uganda, that passed through Dar es Salaam Port.
However, with concerted efforts, the amount has grown to three per cent and according to TPA, the target is now to reach five per cent by end of this year (2019).
According to him, Rwanda’s consignments were expected to increase to 84 per cent - up from 50 per cent - while Zambia’s freight will increase to two million tonnes, rising from the current 1.7 million tonnes.