DMGP completion set to increase port efficiency

DMGP completion set to increase port efficiency

ENTRANCE and exit at the Port of Dar es Salaam is no longer the way it was before, because now trucks spend less time in the process of accessing the port’s premises. Loading and unloading nowadays takes less time than previously.

This has been made possible after major renovations were made through the Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Project (DMGP). DMGP spent around 1trl/-, where TPA threw its weight into the construction and renovating of eight berths, including Roll-on Roll-Off (Ro-Ro), which is also known as Berth Zero.

The project involved construction and rehabilitation of 12 berths at the Port of Dar es Salaam also includes deepening and strengthening of the docks.

It is very obvious that this project according to various reports has already caused increased cargo handling at the port and hence catalyzing economic activities in the entire transportation sector in the country. Some of the cargo which is now being offloaded in large numbers within the shortest time is the one which is known as RoRo cargo.

The term RoRo stands for ‘Rollon, Roll-off’, which is a description of how products are loaded and discharged from a vessel. RoRo allows freight cargo to roll on and off the vessel on their own wheel as opposed to being lifted onboard using cranes. This includes self-propelled products, such as cars and tractors, trucks, semi-trailer trucks, buses, trailers and railroad cars which are driven on and off the ship on their own wheels.

Also, the government has already purchased machines like cranes to make sure there is timely loading and offloading of cargoes.

All these efforts have increased the number of vehicles passing through the port on a daily basis, where the vehicles include those being imported into the country and those which are destined for neighboring countries which rely on Tanzania’s ports as a way of shipping their consignments Earlier, one of the outstanding challenges facing the port were thinner and corrugated roads entering the Dar es Salaam port, which were causing delays for heavy loaded trucks which had to move at a snail’s pace. However, the Tanzania Ports Authority’s Director General,

Mr Eric Hamissi says such mayhem is not there anymore because through the DMGP, roads entering and leaving the port have been reconstructed. Some of the roads are paved at tarmac level with drainage systems for sustainable roads.

The reconstructed roads towards the country’s largest ports, according to the director general, are wide enough to have trucks move more freely, overtake where there is need and some emergency parking in case of mechanical faults.

Mr Hamissi also details that another setback which is no longer existing and is now shelved in history books, was delays caused by weighbridge operated by the Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS).

“The weigh bridge was used to measure actual weight of the trucks before starting their journey, but this has been resolved by shifting the exercise somewhere outside the TPA grounds, which has helped in decongesting the port,” Hamissi was quoted as saying recently when the Minister for works and Transport prof Makame Mbarawa visited the port.

Mr. Hamissi highlights that currently, the completed berths are now allowing docking of larger ships with bigger consignments while the offloading time has been minimized to a day from seven days when the harbor was in its earlier state. Storage facilities at the port of Dar es Salaam have been expanded.

This allows not only for cargo to allow storage, but also for easing loading and unloading. This is either from the trucks to storage and then to ships for cargo transportation or vice versa for the arriving goods. Minister Mbarawa recently disclosed that the government is in the process of joining railway lines into the country’s largest port.

The railway lines will include the older Meter Standard Gauge (MGR) line and the new Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) lines.

Once the exercise is completed, it will simplify access to the Dar es Salaam port for consignments. Several studies have shown that the intensity of trade between two countries is largely determined by distances and transport costs between them.

Since approximately 90 percent of Tanzania’s international transactions transit through the port of Dar es Salaam, and 35 percent of the total throughput of the port is intended for the land-locked countries of the interior, improving the efficiency of the maritime gateway is a key element in the regional transport network.

Mr Hamissi further says that improving the regional transport network, of which Dar es Salaam port is the foundation stone, is important to meet the twin goals nationally and regionally.

“Improving cross-border physical connectivity can strengthen growth and reduce poverty by enlarging markets; promoting economic diversification; and reducing transport, energy, and communications costs,” he says.

He says that the Port of Dar es Salaam is a major economic asset for Tanzania and the region, saying that approximately 90 percent of Tanzania’s international transactions transit through the Port, and 35 percent of its total throughput is intended for the landlocked countries such as Malawi, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.

“Investment in the Port’s expansion and improvement will bring down trade and intermediary costs for businesses, strengthening the competitiveness of the country and the entire region. In this way, the Project will help to unlock the enormous potential of this strategic Port and help generate robust revenues for the government,” he says.

The port DG further says that the Project’s investments in hard infrastructure expansion and institutional capacity development will help towards the achievement of its development objectives and overall benefits for the country directly through:

• Doubling the throughput capacity;

• Halving vessel waiting time while also reducing berth occupancy; and

• Increasing operational productivity.

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