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Delays at Zanzibar Port frustrate importers, exporters

MEMBERS of the business community here say inefficiency in cargo handling at the Zanzibar’s main seaport of Malindi, Stone Town has been frustrating their business and driving away international cargo ships.

“The working environment and operations at Malindi seaport is bad for importers, exporters, and freight operators. We call upon the government to take appropriate emergency measures,” members of the business community said.

Talking at the ‘Breakfast with importers, exporters, and Logistics’ meeting, organised by the Zanzibar National Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (ZNCCIA), the traders said business growth needs efficiency at the port. Mr Rajab Mwinyihaji- Executive Director, Vega Star shipping services (Z) LTD said at the meeting that already some important international cargo ships have cancelled using Zanzibar sea port because of poor services.

“Cost of freight to Zanzibar is now very high yet there are no quick efforts being taken to address the challenges causing delays and congestion at the port,” said Mwinyihaji who spoke on behalf of the ‘Zanzibar Freight Forwarders Bureau (ZFB).’

Mr Khamis Issa Mohamed from the ‘Zanzibar Exporters Association (ZEA)’ attributed inefficiency in handling the Malindi port to lack of committed, insufficient space for containers storage, and Bureaucracy in clearing goods for both export and import.

ZNCCIA President Mr Taufiq Salum Turkey said it was high time for strong collaboration among members of the business community to push for ‘Public-Private- Partnership (PPP) in solving problems affecting smooth operation of business in the country.

In response to the grievances, Dr Juma Ali Juma- Principal Secretary (PS), Ministry of Trade and Industries said the government was aware of the challenges at the port and was doing all-it-could to find solutions within a short period time.

Juma said construction of new big port at Mpigaduri- Maruhubi area, and allocating plots for the construction of storage warehouses and containers yards are some of the measures being taken by the government to address the problems.

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Author: ABDALLAH MSUYA in Zanzibar

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