Dar es Salaam. The Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) is targeting to increase its port revenue collections by nearly six per cent – and reach Sh1 trillion annually beginning next year – as cargo handling is picking up.
TPA is also implementing expansion and rehabilitation projects in the country’s ports, even as it takes measures that are designed to attract more clients.
The authority – which collected Sh944.74 billion in the financial year that ended on June 30, 2019 – said there have been some improvements in the last five years despite the volatility in the cargo handling business.
“I have seen the signs, and I’m very optimistic that we will reach the Sh1 trillion mark next year. A good example was November last year when we targeted to collect Sh88 billion – but we managed to collect Sh91.2 billion,” said the TPA director general, Mr Deusdedit Kakoko, as he briefed editors regarding the performance trend on Sunday evening. Mr Kakoko revealed that TPA is currently implementing modernization projects that would increase the capacity to handle bigger ships, and increase cargoes passing through the country’s ports.
In the last financial year which ended on June 30, 2019, Tanzanian ports handled cargoes totalling 17.2 million tonnes, mainly the port of Dar es Salaam. This was a rise from the 16.2 million tonnes handled in the previous financial year.
By way of comparison, TPA handled 15.9 million tonnes in 2014/15 – and 14.8 million tonnes in 2016/17.
“We were operating inefficiently and our customers were not happy. After receiving some feedback, the port started implementing systematic reforms which are already paying off,” Mr Kakoko stated.
“We embarked upon a campaign intended to win back the transit cargo business, and during my visits to Lubumbashi, Blantyre and other places, I heard different saddening stories of importers sometimes being poorly treated at our ports, or along the way to or from the ports. I had to intervene in solving case by case as reported to me,” he recalls.
“We used to auction people’s goods – sometimes doing so without good reason. For instance, a car imported by one woman from a neighbouring country was about to be auctioned when I intervened after learning that it was being done for no plausible reason. In the event, I actually saved it from being sold,” Mr Kakoko narrated. Tanzania serves neighbouring landlocked countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi and Zambia, as well as eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – which, currently, accounts for the largest share of transit goods through Tanzanian ports.
Mr Kakoko said the ongoing expansion projects include construction of new berths and dredging which – supported by the integration of transportation models through the new standard gauge railway system – will increase efficiency of the Dar es Salaam port, thereby increasing cargos handled to at least 20 million tonnes in 2021, and 25 million tonnes in 2025. “We are talking to our port users, and are giving them some incentives. For example, we consider reducing costs to the Dangote Cement if the company will pass at least 1,000 tonnes of its cement through Mtwara port.” Mr Kakoko further said that TPA is planning to formalize at least 120 out of 437 informal ports across the country this year.