Mtwara port cargo volume up thanks to high exports of coal

A ship docks at Mtwara port. The volume of cargo it handles nowadays has risen significantly. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • The volume increased to 592,365 tonnes in the year to June 30, 2022 compared to 177,388 tonnes handled in 2020/2021

Mtwara. The volume of cargo handled by Mtwara port more than doubled during the last financial year, thanks to coal mining which has boosted exports through the southern Tanzania port.

The volume increased to 592,365 tonnes in the year to June 30, 2022 compared to 177,388 tonnes handled in 2020/2021.

Acting Mtwara port manager Narbeth Kalembwe said in an interview that the increase exceeded the target by 56.83 percent.

According to him, the port’s target was serving 377,700 tonnes per year.

The port started exporting coal last October and until June this year, 317,051 tonnes of coal had been exported to various parts of the world including Netherlands, Senegal, Ghana, Egypt and India.

“There are huge changes at the moment since vessels determine increase in revenue and cargoes at the port” said Mr Kalembwe who was speaking on the sidelines of the Mtwara Regional Commissioner’s tour at the port to witness arrival of a new ship to shore gantry crane which has the capacity of offloading containers 45 metres away from the ocean.

The crane, which costs Sh85 billion, is among other three to be imported by the government, two for Dar es Salaam port and another for the Mtwara port.

Mr Kalembwe said already coal is dominating the exports for the current financial year, with July and August accommodating 169,571 tonnes out of 215,715 tonnes handled at the Mtwara port. He explained that in this financial year, the port has set a target of serving 402,200 tonnes.

The Mtwara port chief accountant, Ms Teddy Kalolo, told this paper that the increase in volume of business earned the port Sh23 billion last financial year compared to Sh11 billion in 2020/2021.

The government invested a total of Sh157.8 billion to renovate and construct new berth at the port where now it can handle up to one million tonnes of cargo compared to 400,000 tonnes before the investment.

As a result of the investment, Mr Kalembwe said the port handled seven large vessels last week.

The Mtwara Regional commissioner, Mr Ahmed Abbas, said that the crane and other infrastructure at the port will open the economy of the region.

“Now vessels have no need of coming with their cranes to offload cargo…. our port has the capacity of handling cargoes not only destined within the country but also to neighbouring countries like Zambia, Malawi and DR Congo,” he said.