THE Dar es Salaam Port has launched the One Stop Centre (OSC) designed to cut down port dwelling and documentation time from the current nine to five days.
The OSC, the first of its kind in the country and bringing 11 government agencies under one roof, seeks to integrate clearing and forwarding of various goods at the port--the gateway for East and Central Africa.
The Minister for Investment and Empowerment, Dr Mary Nagu says although the centre operates manually, it's the greatest milestone on easing bidding constraints on doing business in the country.
"I wish to underscore the rationale of one stop centre in our efforts to transform Tanzania into a regional logistic hub," Dr Nagu said.
Dar es Salaam port handles about 95 per cent of the Tanzania international trade, serving six neighbouring landlocked countries in the Southern African Development Community and East Africa Community blocs.
"Effective operationalisation of the one stop centrewill greatly improve Tanzania's score in the Trading Across Borders Index," Dr Nagu, an economist, said, noting that the OCS is currently a manual single window operation opted to rescue the situation as an immediate and temporary solution towards reaching the electronic operation.
The minister said the Dar es Salaam port OSC has paved the way for the opening of similar centres at all ports in the country and key border posts to facilitate trade within the region. The Tanzania Port Authority (TPA) Director General, Ephraim Mgawe, said the OSC is currently hosted in a temporary building but will shiftto its permanent 35-storey building under construction adjacent to TRA's long room.
"The contractor is already at the site," Mr Mgawe said, adding that the 100bn/- project to constructthe tallest building is expected to take three years. The centre, according to the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Tanzania Mission Director Robert Cunnane, would cut short the travel time for clearing and forwarding agents to zero from current estimated 14 kilometres used to complete one clearance.
"...the layout of the One Stop Centre...will allow Dar es Salam to become truly modern port...we (US) believe that Tanzania has bright future as a leading exporter in East Africa," Mr Cunnane said. USAID partnered with TPA on designing the centre and it contributed 50,000 US dollars for the information technology system, through its USAID/COMPETES--the Competitiveness and Trade Expansion Programme.
Chairman of the Container Freight Station ICDs Dry port Association of Tanzania (CIDAT), Mr Ashraf Khan,said OSC would improve supply chain at the port by increasing efficiency at clearing process. He told the 'Daily News' that CIDAT had proposed the formation of the centre during their Dar Port Improving Committee as way of reducing congestion.
He said even the dwell time reduction to nine days from 17 days of 2009 was the results of the Inland Container Deport (ICD) to support the port cargo movements."It is possible to reduce the dwelling time to hours," Mr Khan, also a General Manager of Azam Inland Container Depot.