Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) is working on a grand plan worth USD 520 million that will see two new container terminals constructed at the congested port of Dar es Salaam, a senior official has said.
“The new terminals will increase the port's handling capacity...We are looking to start the actual construction works for the new terminals by the end of this year” said Mr Julius Mfuko, the TPA Deputy Director General, adding that the construction would take two to three years.
According to Mr Mfuko, the construction of the 1.2 million Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) terminals, is expected to make Dar es Salaam a regional transit hub.
Mr. Mfuko was speaking at a four-day workshop for port stakeholders on 3rd July 2011. The workshop, organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), was aimed at strengthening capacities for the port’s senior officials and other key stakeholders.
In 2004, the Dar es Salaam port container terminal handled 270,000 TEUs, however in 2010, it soared to 460,000 TEUs. The plan comes amid reports that Dar es Salaam and Mombasa have approached their operational limits and can no longer serve the region effectively.
A report by consultants on the transport infrastructure condition presented to the East African Community (EAC) warned that any delay to embark on the construction of new facilities will jeopardize port operations.
“The most worrying constraints are found at the gateway ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam. Both are fast approaching their design capacities and facing operational difficulties due to inadequate depths and approach channels, among others,” reads part of the report.
The long-lasting solution to the emergency, it proposes, is to develop other ports in the region. The port of Dar es Salaam serves the neighboring and hinterland countries of Zambia, Malawi, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Mr Mfuko said TPA's plans to build more docks along the country’s coastline are timely since despite the port having potential of handling about 10 million tonnes of cargo, it was currently handling only a quarter of that due to limited space.
Traders from neighbouring hinterland countries are apparently opting to use other ports such as Durban, Lobito (Angola) and Mombasa to avoid delays at Dar es Salaam port.
Located on the shores of eastern Africa off the Indian Ocean, the port of Dar es Salaam is about 41 nautical miles south-southeast of the port of Zanzibar and some 170 nautical miles south of Kenya’s Port of Mombasa.