TANZANIA International Container Terminal Services (TICTS), a specialised container operator in the country’s largest sea port Dar es Salaam, is seeing an increase in shipping activities and volumes coming through Tanzania.
TICTS Chief Executive Officer, Horace Hui, said improved port performance reflects progress in cooperation with the government and the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) to modernise operations at the terminal.
In April 2021 TICTS invested almost 5bn/- (2.0 million US dollars) to relocate three old ship-to-shore gantry cranes at the Dar es Salaam port, which were decommissioned by the TPA.
That created additional berth length at the quayside allowing 3 vessels to berth at the same time and therefore increasing the annual handling capacity by almost 100,000 TEU’s.
The three cranes, which were un-operational since 2014, were taking up unnecessary space, thus making it difficult to boost service delivery at the container terminal.
He said the dismantling and relocation of the three (3) heavy-duty ship-toshore gantry cranes (SSG) have now enabled the berthing of three vessels at one time at the port, instead of just two.
A logistical feat The project for dismantling and removing the cranes started at the beginning of February this year and was completed in April 2021.
There are currently six SSG cranes being deployed to discharge and load containers at the terminal.
The project for dismantling the cranes was carried out successfully by TICTS under the guidance and coordination with TPA to ensure it was done safely and efficiently without any interruption to operations.
It involved a team of around 100 people, which included international contractors and consultants from the United Kingdom, South Africa and local employees, while special cranes were brought in from the Netherlands to support the removal operation TICTS took the initiative to arrange the dismantling and relocation and funded the Project costs.
In the past five years TICTS has invested 5.0 million US dollars to enhance terminal productivity. “Two mobile cranes were imported from Europe to assist with the work of dismantling the old TPA cranes.
This special equipment from Europe were the largest cranes ever used in East Africa,” Hui said. “We were able to complete this massive project safely with no impact to the day to day operations of the Dar es Salaam port, which was a major logistical achievement,” he noted.
As a result of the improved performance of the terminal, Ms Gold Star Shipping Line has introduced their new service at the Dar es Salaam port, while MV Santo Antofagasta made its maiden voyage at the port on 16th of this month.
“The additional berthing space created after the removal of the cranes will help to reduce the vessels waiting time at the Port,” Hui said.
“Already, three vessels have started to berth following the completion of the exercise of dismantling and removal of the old crane parts.”
A global network of ports TICTS operates the container terminal at the port of Dar es salaam under a lease agreement with the Tanzania Ports Authority since 2000.
TICTS is a member of Hutchison Ports, the port and related services division of CK Hutchison Holdings Limited (CK Hutchison).
It has a network of port operations in 53 ports spanning 27 countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the America and Australasia.
Over the years, Hutchison Ports has expanded into other logistics and transportation-related businesses, including cruise ships terminals, distribution centres, rail services and ship repair facilities.
TICTS manages container handling activities at the Dar es Salaam port at berths 8,9,10 and 11 and the inland container depot at Kurasini, which in total will have handled more than 8 million TEUs since its inception.
The Dar es Salaam port is the main gateway for more than 80 percent of Tanzanian sea trade and is also the access hub to six landlocked countries including Burundi, Uganda, Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
As Tanzania’s leading container handling facility, TICTS is committed to moving ahead and strengthening its role as the country maritime gateway, the CEO said.
“The Dar es Salaam port is strengthening its role as the country’s maritime gateway by investing in modern IT systems and mobile equipment, while constantly improving its productivity levels, efficiency and customer service,” said Mr Hui.
The improvement of efficiency at the Dar es Salaam port is a major boost as it faces increasing competition from other ports in East and Southern Africa such as Kenya’s Mombasa, South Africa’s Durban, Mozambique’s Beira, Namibia’s Walvis Bay and other competitors.
According to the World Bank, cargo volumes at the Dar es Salaam port have been growing by an average of 9 per cent per annum over the past decade.
This growth is already placing considerable strain on the Dar es Salaam port, yet projections by TPA suggest the volume of cargo could in fact grow by 43 per cent over the next four years from 17.5 million tonnes handled in 2020 to 25 million tonnes in 2025.
The World Bank estimates that traffic at the Port could rise to as much as 38 million tonnes by 2030 due to ongoing expansion work at the port. Since 2015, the government began an ambitious project worth around $700 million to expand the Dar es Salaam port, which includes dredging and widening the entrance channel.. Additional upgrades include installation of a conveyor system, silos and improvements to surrounding infrastructure, including rail and road linkages and platforms.
“As the Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Project (DMGP) is underway with the aim of upgrading the port, TICTS is very much moving in tandem with this project by making improvements to the efficiency of the container terminal and potentially with remote control system,” he added.