- Published on Friday, 03 August 2012 02:44
- Written by ABDUEL ELINAZA
- Hits: 1798
THE Tanzania Port Authority (TPA) has embarked on a project designed to turn the port of Mtwara into a free port, and a constructor is expected to be picked in October.
The free port, expected to sit on 110 hectares will be built in phases while the construction of the first stage comprises building basic infrastructure on the 10-hectare area for gas companies. The TPA General Manager, Mr Ephraim Mgawe, told the 'Daily News' recently that the project would host export and storage facilities for gas recently found in the region.
"We have facilitation for gas investments but also tapping the existing potential," Mr Mgawe said recently. Tanzania's total estimated natural gas reserves almost tripled to s 28.7 trillion cubic feet (tcf) with recent offshore discoveries, according to the Minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof Sospeter Muhongo.
Moving his maiden budget for the Ministry of Transport, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe said a team that comprises six institutions in the gas sector has concluded the designs and drawings of first phase. "The committee has completed its first phase works and process of picking a constructor will be completed in October 2012," Dr Mwakyembe told the House.
TPA, Transport Minister said, recruited a consultant to conduct a feasibility study for Mtwara port expansion and recommended a new area of over 2600 ha at Msanga Mkuu. The consultant handed over his report in June. At the moment, gas exploring companies namely Ophir and BG of UK, Statoil of Norway and Petrobas of Brazil have set supply base camps in Mtwara at an area leased from TPA.
Similarly to turn Mtwara into a free port, TPA will in this fiscal year construct four berths at Mtwara alongside expanding Dar es Salaam Port by construction of new berths 13 and 14. The authority also plans to undertake various projects to strengthening and easing business at all ports in the country --including lake ports.
TPA plans to spend 485.4bn/- of which 19.6 per cent comes from the authority's revenue and the rest from grants, loans and private sector. Last year TPA projected to handling 12 million tonnes and 510,300 containers. The port managed to surpass the target by moving 12.1 million tonnes and 530,089 containers.