Dar es Salaam. Tanzania seeks to raise the volume of cargo destined to and from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by 58 percent in the next two years.
That comes following the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) plan to increase freight volumes passing through the Dar es Salaam Port to and from DRC from the 1.9 million tonnes recorded in 2020/21 to three million after the next two years.TPA has revealed the new target after recording a significant increase from 1.1 million tonnes in 2016/17 to 1.9 million tonnes in the 2020/21 translating to 57 percent of the increment.TPA director general Eric Hamissi made the revelation at the Katanga Province in DRC, where he is leading a delegation of Tanzania officials visiting transporters and using the Dar es Salaam Port for cargo importation and exportation.Speaking to Katanga stakeholders, Mr Hamissi said the ongoing investment in infrastructure, equipment and technology development at the Dar es Salaam Port has increased the annual cargo handling to 30 million tonnes from 17 million tonnes.“Cargo to and DRC passing through the Dar es Salaam Port is between 35 to 40 percent and not 100 percent. The remaining percentage is handled by other ports elsewhere,” he said.However, he said the volume of freight passing through Tanzania’s marine gateway could be increased following the major investment and improved efficient of the Dar es Salaam Port.He said the visit aimed at collecting grievances facing traders and transporters in the transportation chain from the Dar es Salaam Port to the border where several other stakeholders including the police, immigration and the Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroads) are involved.“TPA is a coordinator, therefore we will contact other stakeholders for solutions of outlined challenges touching their institutions. For some grievances falling under my authority (TPA), I have already issued instructions to officials to start working on them,” he said.According to him, results of TPA should be expected in the short, medium and long term basis, noting that those beyond his reach would be immediately channelled to responsible organs in the government.Mr Hamissi said the sixth phase government under President Samia Suluhu Hassan strongly believe on business prosperity, noting that a good number of enterprises have revived operations and the volume of cargo passing the country have increased a few months after assuming office.“In the same vein, when grievances hindering business prosperity are submitted before the cabinet ministers, the Parliament or top government leaders, they will be worked and resolved because it is the government’s focus to end the challenges,” he said.He said in the visit, he has been accompanied by the Tanzania Shipping Agencies Corporation (Tasac) director general, Mr Kaimu Mkeyenge; TRA commissioner general Alphayo Kidata who have all gathered challenges falling under their institutions.“We are traders who have come to do business in DRC. However, we have placed ourselves in the shoes of traders and transporters operating in Lubumbashi and Katanga. We have seen the challenges, they are going to be addressed,” he said.“I would like to assure you that significant improvement will be seen in the next short period. This is because the government, TPA and other stakeholders are obliged to address and find solutions to all grievances.”Kalambo Constituency MP in Rukwa Region, Mr Josephat Kandege, mobilised DRC traders and transporters to start using Kasanga Port following the massive government investment made in the expansion and improvement of the Port.“The port is situated about 500 kilometres to DRC along Lake Tanganyika which is very close. On top of that it is provided with all the necessary operation infrastructures,” he said.The government spent Sh4.764 billion for expansion and improvement of the second port on Lake Tanganyika.During the exercise, a berth at the port was increased from 20 metres long to 120 metres, allowing many ships to dock at the same time.Also, a tarmac road from Sumbawanga to Kasanga was under construction, something that assures transporters of smooth movement of cargo to the port.The DRC visit is an escalation of TPA strategic measures to attract more customers from neighbouring countries after concluded and ongoing improvements of the ports.“Following the billions of shillings invested to increase ports capabilities, we are expecting to handle more cargo than we currently do,” said the TPA public relations and communications manager, Mr Nicodemus Mushi.He said investment will target improvement in the areas of infrastructure, equipment and technology development aiming to make it the most preferred and competitive in the region upon completion.Expansion and modernization of Dar es Salaam port under the Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Project (DMGP) is much more impactful.It includes strengthening and deepening of berths 1-7 and the RoRo terminal (Rollon-Rolloff) at the Gerezani Creek, dredging of entrance channel, turning circle and harbour basin, strengthening and deepening of berths 8-11 and construction of a new terminal jet.The RoRo terminal is for offloading vehicles and other moveable equipment.After the DMGP is completed it’s possible the government could develop a modern terminal with two berths (13 and 14) to match the increased traffic.“The terminal will include the quay of minimum 750 meters length,” reads the Five Year Plan.The DMGP will increase the Dar es Salaam port’s capacity from the current 15 million metric tonnes annually to 28 million tonnes annually.Tanzania wants its ports to handle 84 million tonnes of freight per annum by 2026, according to its 2015-2021 five year plan.This is an ambitious goal with the current implementation of the projects. There would be no wind strong enough to prevent the country from reaching there.In setting such ambitious goals the government is acutely conscious of Tanzania’s strategic geographic location. “Having direct access to the Indian Ocean with a long coastline (about 1,424km) and located at the centre of the east coast of the African continent, Tanzania has the potential to become the least-cost trade and logistics facilitation hub of the Great Lakes Region as it links up with global markets,” reads part of the 2015-2021 Five-Year Plan.The document further says that Tanzania is, by its location, a traditional bridge, and a place of physical intersection of the transport corridors which link the markets of the Tripartite EAC, Sadc and Comesa regional economic groupings.It is estimated that, by the year 2050, about 60 percent of aggregate global trade in all commodities - including energy and minerals - will be shipped across the Indian Ocean.