Investment in port infrastructure,  trade diplomacy reaps dividends

Investment in port infrastructure, trade diplomacy reaps dividends

OVER the past few years, the government has made considerable investment in water infrastructure, particularly in port expansions and acquisition of modern equipment, with the major aim of making the country a water transportation hub.

Cognisant of the country’s strategic position, with plenty of inland water bodies and a territorial sea size of 64,500 square kilometres, the government has made efforts aimed at ensuring Tanzania becomes the centre for shipping and maritime transportation services for the land-linked countries like Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Rwanda, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Apart from committing huge investment towards the improvement of port infrastructures and equipment, more efforts have been placed on enhancing economic diplomacy within the regional blocs and globally.

Equally, deliberate measures have been taken to promote the country’s ports domestically and internationally.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan has regularly stressed the need to make maximum utilization of Tanzania’s ports to increase their contribution to the country’s economic growth, and has often been taking initiatives to market the ports during her working tours outside the country.

After assuming the presidency, President Samia gave the TPA a 500bn/- war chest to improve the efficiency of the country’s terminals by purchasing modern facilities, including cargo handling tools. Such efforts have continued to yield positive results in terms of efficiency, cargo traffic and revenue collections.

For instance, President Samia’s twoday state visit to Uganda in May this year has facilitated smooth transportation of goods between the two countries through Mwanza Port on Lake Victoria.

Last week, Azam Limited resumed exportation of wheat from Tanzania to supply its factories in Uganda, where 4,000 tonnes of the cereal were transported to the neighbouring East African nation.

The consignment was transported by road from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza, hauled by ship to Port Bell in Uganda, before it was supplied to Azam Limited factories by trucks. In March, this year, the local company imported about 10,000 tonnes of sugar from Uganda via Mwanza South Port, which is specific for the cargo terminal and oil jetty.

The berth has a liquid/oil re- ception facility and is well connected with road and railway enhanced by a linkspan that enables train wagons to be easily fer- ried or loaded to a ship.

“This is a positive step in TPA’s efforts, to increase shipments of cargo through our ports. We appreciate efforts by the sixth phase government in improv- ing facilities at ports managed by TPA. “The increased consignment will improve revenues of Mwanza Port and TPA as a whole,” Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA)’s Acting Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Mr Nicodemus Mushi said in Mwanza. He attributed the feat to the government’s commitment, through the TPA, to improve the performance of Tanzania’s ports, including Mwanza Port.

“TPA has improved its port infrastructure and equipment which has enabled Mwanza Port to provide quality services,” he stated.

He applauded the management of Azam Limited for its decision to transport its cargo through Lake Victoria, pledging that TPA will continue to improve its services, including proper storage of cargoes as they wait for ships to transport them across the lake. Mr Hassan Hamisi, an official with Azam Limited, said the company was enticed to use the services of TPA at Mwanza-South port following the smooth import of its sugar consignment from Uganda.

“TPA has done a lot of improvements on its services and its marketing department has done a great job of attracting us to use its ports. The future is exciting and we have every reason to increase our shipments through this port,” he declared.

During the last financial year, the quantity of cargo transported through ports along Lake Victoria increased by 31 per cent, while revenues rose by 24 per cent to the tune of 3.194bn/-.

Mr Mushi reiterated the TPA’s commitment to widen the customer base across its ports, insisting that the authority strives to attract new customers as well as reinstating old ones, who stopped using TPA services due to various reasons.

According to the Acting Marketing and Public Relations Director, the TPA’s five-year strategic plan aims at increasing consignments handled by its ports including Mwanza, Kigoma, Mtwara, Tanga and Dar es Salaam, among others.

“As we speak, a task-force under the Ministry of Works and Transport accompanied by officials from TPA are in the Democratic Republic of Congo in order to facilitate smooth transportation of cargo between the two countries,” he explained.

Mr Mushi said the authority is putting final touches on construction of Kalema Port in Kigoma which is expected to become an important link for marine transport between Tanzania and DRC.

The TPA official noted further that the authority is eyeing to increase shipments handled by the Dar es Salaam port to Zambia which is the second country after DRC for transporting its cargo through the harbour.

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