Tanzania: Dar Port Strengthens Regional Market Share


SIGNIFICANT expansion and improvement of efficiency at Tanzania’s principal port of Dar es Salaam has enabled it to offer faster and cost-effective trade and transport solutions compared to other seaports in the region, a new report by GBS Africa has shown.

According to the dossier by the advisory services firm, Dar es Salaam Port is becoming a regional transshipment hub for exports and imports for both Tanzania and its land-linked countries in the East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC).

“Land-linked countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe are increasingly opting for Dar es Salaam Port,” reads part of the report.

The report mentioned some of the products which are transported through the harbour as metals like copper as well as agricultural produce such as tea, coffee, tobacco, oilseeds, cotton, sisal, and cashew nuts.

The port of Dar es Salaam is one of three major ocean ports in Tanzania and handles over 95 per cent of the country’s international cargo traffic.

“Although it is smaller than Durban (South Africa) and Maputo (Mozambique), Dar es Salaam port is fast catching up on the market share for Indian Ocean commerce and trade,” the report stated.

The Dar es Salaam port is designed to handle more than 10 million tonnes of cargo annually including approximately four million tonnes of dry general cargo, six million tonnes of liquid bulk, and one million tonnes of containers.

An expansion programme namely Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Programme (DMGP) is being implemented by the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) to improve efficiency in handling cargo and will cost at least 421 US million dollars (about 968.3bn/-) upon its completion in 2024.

Commenting on the report, GBS Africa’s Managing Partner, Ms Agnes Gitau, said for the African continent to be fully integrated and for the vision of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to be realised there is need to invest in Africa’s ports.

A separate report issued in 2016 by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) pointed to the importance of sea ports in facilitating trade and investments in the continent.

“In Africa as with the rest of the world, the importance of seaports to trade, and therefore, to the continent’s economic performance cannot be overstated.

“Ports are crucial for trade of most African countries due to the continent’s high dependency on exports of raw materials and imports of food, manufactured goods and fuel,” UNECA said in the report.

According to the report by UNECA, more than 90 per cent of Africa’s total trade (including imports and exports) pass through seaports.

“This demonstrates the importance of having well-managed, transparent and efficient operations and management at Africa’s ports,” the report read in part.

While expansion projects and purchasing of modern equipment at the Dar es Salaam Port are ongoing, the government has also been eager to attract businesses and investment which in turn increases imports and exports through the country’s ports.

Since President Samia Suluhu Hassan assumed the country’s top office in March, last year, attracting businesses and investment has been among her top priorities.

The DMGP is carried out with funds from three sources, including a loan of 345 million US dollars from the World Bank, 12 million US dollars grant from the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DfID) and domestic revenues totaling 64 million US dollars.

Upon completion of the project in 2024 it would enable the Dar es Salaam Port to handle 25 million tonnes of cargo from the current capacity of handling over 10 million tonnes annually.

The port will also be able to serve big vessels with length of up to 303 metres which can carry 8,000 containers. That will position the port among ports with capacity and high efficiency in the East African coastline.