THE Dar es Salaam Port has registered positive records on efficiency in cargo clearance, safety and security.
These positive achievements are in the areas of synchronising Tanzania Port Authority, Tanzania Revenue Authority, Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS) and other stakeholders to enable the port to operate 24 hours. On stevedoring operations an improvement was recorded from 415 tonnes per gang shift of last year to 446 per gang shift in October, this year.
While on shore-handling, cars productivity also improved per shift from 210 units to 497 units during the same period. TPA's acting Deputy Director General Clemence Kiloyavaha said the improvement were made possible after acquiring cargo handling equipment for stevedoring and shore-handling.
"TPA acquired three mobile harbour cranes, three reach stackers, four empty handlers, six highway tractors, four terminal tractors, 12 highway trailers, six terminal trailers and one x-ray luggage scanner," Mr Kiloyavaha said. He added: "Yard density at the main container terminal improved from an average of 62 per cent in 2011 to 52 per cent by October 2012 reflecting a no terminal congestion situation."
Other improvement in the last one year include overall ships' turnaround time that has been reduced from an average of 7.3 days last year to 6.4 days per ship by October, in land and transit containers dwell time from 11.5 days to 9.7 day and 17.1 days to 14.4 days respectively.
The improvement touched hearts of European Union's Ambassadors to Tanzania. The EU delegation toured the port last week to get first-hand information of the port's efficiency. The delegation last year proposed six areas of improving Dar Port efficiency of which most have been met by the Tanzania Port Authority (TPA).
The areas include inefficiency in cargo clearance, stevedoring and shore-handling operations, cargo and passenger safety and security and involving EU in port advisory bodies. The EU Head of Delegation to Tanzania, Ambassador Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi said that they commended measures taken to achieve the goals in the last one year since last visit. However, the delegation saw the need of further improvement.
Mr Sebregondi said the country need a low cost means of transport to ease inflationary pressure on goods and services which was a good pre-condition for the development. "Despite good efficiency figures given by the port authority, still shipping cost (to Dar) is 25 per cent higher than the rest of Sub Sahara Africa," the ambassador said attributing his remark to a recent study by the World Bank which is yet to be made official.
He said if Dar port is compared to the rest of world shipping cost stands at 150 per cent, a rate he said need to look at since traffic to Dar es Salaam is expected to increase by 240 per cent in the next 15 years. The Minister for Transport Dr Harrison Mwakyembe said the ministry welcomes all challenges because that was a way of improving the country's ports operations. "But the report Mr (EU) Ambassador refers is based on the happening up to April (this year).
Many of the items have been overtaken by the in-between measures we have implemented," Dr Mwakyembe said. There are shortfalls too. Maersk Line Country Sales Manager Tony Makani said they are facing a number of challenges including waiting for berthing that runs for 14 days which is enough time to sail from Middle East to East Africa. "It's no longer possible to operate efficiently due to delays.
We would like to know the government's stance on the construction of berth 13 and 14 that has been on plans in the last three years," Mr Makani asked the minister. The minister assured them that coming next month the government would have a clear position regarding the issues. On maximising the utilisation of the port land, the port created additional areas for cargo handling by converted ex-Nasaco yard at Kurasini to handle container stuffing and de-stuffing outside the port.
Also ex-TISCAN and ex-AMI yards were transformed to keep 100 and 1220TEUs containers respectively. The Kilimanjaro Fast Ferries and Azam Marine General, Mr Manager passengers must show any form of identification to be issued a ticket. "In the beginning, (due to low awareness) it was a challenge, as some came from as far as Mwanza to be told to produce an ID, which he/she don't have it was a nightmare," Mr Said said.
To solve this problem they told those without Ids to get a certified note from the court which was just across the road. But today according to him, only about one per cent of non-ID possessing passengers are reporting at their terminal. Azam transports about 2,000 passengers a day.
Sumatra wants passengers ticketing system to be computerised and ferries companies have given timeframe to implement the same. Azam Marine has full computerised system that is ticketing according to manifest and accepts no more entries. "In short, the port luggage room entering process (boarding to Zanzibar area) is similar to those of Julius Nyerere International Airport," Dr Mwakyembe said. The EU delegates also witness this.