4 December 2012

Tanzania: Row Erupts Over Berthing At Dar es Salaam Port

THE dispute between the Petroleum Importation Coordinator (PIC) and the current fuel supplier, Addax of Geneva, has taken a new twist, amid revelations that haphazard priority berthing at the Dar es Salaam Port is to blame.

The Petroleum Importation Coordinator is accusing Addax of being in breach of contract for late delivery of the sixth cargo of the fourth tender. "However, the failure and delays to discharge on time for these petroleum products imported under tender number four through the Bulk Procurement System (BPS) was caused by mismanagement at the PIC", a source said.

He said the PIC is to blame for allowing priority berthing for ships other than those scheduled to discharge oil imported through BPS and this is contrary to the tender contract. As a result of this, the sixth vessel for the tender was unavoidably delayed by PIC which now wishes to penalize the supplier for the delay.

Geneva-based oil conglomerate, Addax Energy SA, had won three successive tenders to import petroleum products through BPS for October, November and December, this year. The sources told this paper that consignment number five and six under tender number four were meant to serve the local market during the period of November.

However, priority berthing given to other ships delayed discharging cargo number six. In a bid to reduce demurrage charges by ensuring that ships take a short period at the port, the PIC in collaboration with other stakeholders including Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and oil marketing companies have agreed on a schedule that gives priority to ships with oil imported through BPS.

However, sources in the industry have complained over unilateral changes on the schedule by the PIC management and thus caused delays in offloading. "Delivery number five was meant to serve the local market for November 10 and 12 while number six would supply oil to be used on November 16 and 18, this year and a vessel christened Navig8 Stealth was chosen for that purpose," the source said.

However, when Addax ship arrived at the port of Dar es Salaam on November 12, this year, ready to offload the sixth delivery, another ship, 'Theresa Bitung' was given priority berthing to offload edible oil. More still, another vessel, 'Alpine Light', was also given priority berthing on November 17 and hence causing delays on discharging for the BPS ship, the source said.

Efforts to get comments from both Addax and PIC proved futile yesterday. BPS was introduced in January this year in a bid to reduce prices of the precious liquid through economies of scale, create transparency to enable the government tap requisite taxes among others.

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