Tanzanian ports increase cargo by 10.7 percent

Friday January 07 2022
Port pic

Cars are driven off the giant vehicles carrier Tranquil Ace at Dar es Salaam Port. The ship, which arrived with a cargo of 3, 743 vehicles, is the biggest vessel to have docked at Tanzania's largest and busiest port, according to the Tanzania Ports Authority. PHOTO | LOVENESS BERNARD

By Josephine Christopher

Dar es Salaam. With the continuing global economic recovery, Tanzanian ports’ performance rebounded in the third-quarter of 2021 with cargo handling through lake and sea ports going up by 10.7 percent.

According to the Bank of Tanzania (BoT), the cargo volumes totalled 4.677 million tonnes, a significant increase from the 4.226 million tonnes handled in the corresponding period in 2020.

Dar es Salaam port, which holds the largest share, cleared 4.400 million tonnes of cargo compared with 3.9 million tonnes of cargo handled in the similar period in 2020.

The performance reveals an unprecedented year with the Covid-19 pandemic having huge impact on ports across the globe.

“The performance of Dar es Salaam port was partly due to expansion of berths and dredging of the entrance channel, together with efforts made by the government to attract neighbouring countries to use the port,” said BoT in its Consolidated Zonal Economic Performance report.

Other ports which recorded notable increases were Mtwara, and Lindi.


The central bank says that, for Mtwara Port, the increase was explained by importation of liquid cargo, specifically petroleum products. For Lindi, it was due to an increase in general cargo, particularly forestry and sea products.

Cargo volumes passing through Mtwara Port rose by 70.8 percent, to 46,711 tonnes while that of Lindi reached 3,225 tonnes, up from the 598 tonnes recorded in 2020.

Tanzania has the Indian Ocean ports of Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Lindi and Mtwara. It has also ports in Lake Victoria which serve the neighbouring countries of Kenya and Uganda; Lake Tanganyika that connects with Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi, and Lake Nyasa which connects with Malawi.

Speaking to The Citizen, the Tanzania Ports Authority director general, Eric Hamissi, said there deliberate efforts are being made by the government to invest in port handling equipment, which has increased efficiency and effectiveness.

He said in the 2021/22 fiscal year’s national budget, the government allocated Sh500 billion to improve ports infrastructure, and equipment worth Sh210 billion has already been distributed.

“After the opening up of the economies, the number of vessels handled each month increased from 51 to 70 last year,” he said.

According to Hamissi, last year the ports authority achieved a historic milestone after handling 10,000 tonnes in a single day, which had never been done before.

“On a daily basis, we usually handle 5,000 tonnes and our average is 7, 000 tonnes - except for that one day in November 2021 where we achieved a historical milestone handling ten thousand tonnes that day,” Mr Hamissi said. He also associated the improved performance of the port with the management and staff who have been working efficiently to reduce cargos congestion at the ports by clearing them on time.

On August 10, 2021, Dar es Salaam Port received its biggest cargo vessel ever, the ‘Tranquil Ace’ (IMO: 9561253), carrying 3,743 vehicles, of which 2,945 vehicles (65 percent) were in transit to other countries, while the remaining 798 vehicles were for Tanzania.