THE Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) is reluctant to renew a stevedoring contract worth billions of shillings that an Italian cargo ship, Ignazio Messina (IM), signed in 2010 to allow giant container ships.
The Italian ship is the only one operating its own terminal at Dar es Salaam Port because its ships need special equipment to load and offload containers. Last year, the TPA management adjusted the rebate paid by the company from 25 to 50 per cent in a deal, which was due for renewal last week.
"We make reference to your letter ref:MK/4/5/01 of 24 November 2011 by means which we gratefully receive your confirmation extending the existing concessional rebate on stevedoring from 25 to 50 per cent, for a period of one year. "With the extended 50 per cent arrangement coming to an end on November 10, 2012, we hereby tender our request for another extension at similar rates," wrote IM Regional Managing Director, Captain Giuseppe Fedele.
Statistics gathered by the 'Daily News' show that the ship called at the Dar es Salaam Port once a week using one of its modern Ro-Ro ships, which bring about 2000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) per trip. The ship has capacity to carry 3000TEUs.
"Messina may decide to use a normal container ship, but this back-paddle the effort of easing doing business at the port. On the revenue side TPA loses little since the contract excludes stevedoring. Only other port charges are inclusive," the source said. Mr Fedele argued that his company has already secured a similar contract with Kenyan port of Mombasa charging 40 per cent as stevedoring charges.
Pointing out that the queer arrangement which IM requires at Dar es Salaam port needs heavy investment hence suggested to TPA that it would be much better to sign a long term contract in future. "Ignazio Messina would like to have confidence to keep up with such a momentum per se requiring huge capital investment and predictable mid and long term planning," Mr Fedele said in his letter addressed to TPA acting Director General, Madeni Kipande.
When contacted yesterday, Mr Kipande refused to talk to the 'Daily News' even before knowing the subject saying "you (media) are writing rubbish stories regarding TPA that have neither heads nor tails." "Who the hell are you? If you want to talk to me go to the registry and register yourself. Otherwise don't disturb me," the acting DG said furiously before he hung up. He did not end there, he called the 'Daily News' teleoperator and told her not to call him again. On the other hand, sources at IM said the Italian shipping liner has since started negotiations with Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS) to get the stevedoring agreement covering the next 12 months.
"The liner is (also) considering to abandon the port altogether and shift its operation to Mombasa Port (in Kenya) -- making Dar the feeder port," the source said, "since it sees no point of bringing a self handler vessel and end up charged for stevedoring." Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) extended its five-year stevedoring contract with IM last July after its board of directors approved the deal which attracts a 40 per cent stevedoring rate.