Posted on :Tuesday , 18th July 2017
The Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Project (DSMGP) launched by President John Magufuli yesterday is expected to boost the economy by significantly increasing Dar es Salaam Port's capacity.
The project is expected to enhance trade, both locally and within the East African Community (EAC) and South African Development Community (SADC) regions.
The $421 million (Sh926.2 billion) project will entail, among other activities, the widening and deepening of berths number one to 11 and construction of a new multipurpose berth at Gerezani Creek. The work will also involve the widening and deepening of the entrance channel and turning basin and improving rail linkages and platforms at the port.
The huge investment will see waiting time at berths slashed from an average of 80 hours to 30 hours, thus reducing the amount charged for delay of consignments at the port. The project is being funded by the World Bank, which has provided a $345 million concessionary loan and $12 million grant.
The government, through the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), has injected $63 million and the United Kingdom has provided a $12 million grant through the Department of International Development (DFID).
Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) has pledged to improve the operational efficiency of the port through rehabilitation of access roads and demolition and relocation of sheds, taking the total value of the project to over $480 million. The DSMGP will be implemented in 28 months.
President Magufuli said yesterday that the project was important for Tanzania's development because Dar es Salaam was the country's economic centre through which 90 per cent of imports passed through, including goods destined for the landlocked neighbouring countries of Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Zambia and Malawi.
"The expansion and modernisation will increase the volume of cargo passing through the port, thereby improving the government's capacity to implement development projects and provide social services to the people. I commend the ministry (of works, transport and communication) and TPA for overseeing the commencement of this project," he said.
Dr Magufuli added that super-sized ships could not dock at the port due to its relatively shallow depth, leading to delays that inconvenienced people using the facility.
World Bank country director Bella Bird said the bank and DFID would continue to work with the government in capacity building programmes tailored for institutions such as Bandari College, Dar Maritime Institute and the College of Engineering and Technology at the University of Dar es Salaam.
The Head of State said once the project was completed, the port could potentially serve a combined population of 565 million in the EAC and SADC regions.
He asked the contractor, China Harbour Construction Engineering (CHCE), to ensure that the first phase of the project, which is to be implemented in two phases, was completed as scheduled.
Dr Magufuli said also lined up for revamp were ports in Mtwara and Tanga and on lakes Victoria, Nyasa and Tanganyika and airports in various regions.
He directed the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication, TPA board of directors and the Tanzania Revenue Authority to follow up on tax evasion on containers at inland container depots (ICDs), saying there was a company that was "stealing" from the government. "I will not reveal the company's name today, but this firm takes cargo purported to be transit goods to ICDs before diverting them to the domestic market, thus denying the government revenue," he said.
In another development, President Magufuli criticised TPA for allowing "ownerless" locomotives to be offloaded at Dar es Salaam Port.
"I know you don't want this to be known, but how can a ship offload locomotives whose owners are not known? Next time a consignment of tanks or explosives could be offloaded here. Under good coordination and patriotism such a thing couldn't have happened," he said, and directed the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication and security agencies to investigate the matter.
TPA director general Deusdedit Kakoko later told reporters that the locomotives were made by a South African firm, which intended to supply them to Tanzania Railways Limited (TRL). However, TRL rejected the locomotives over quality and specification concerns.