AS neighbouring Kenya goes to the polls early next month, Dar es Salaam port stakeholders are bracing for increased volume of cargo as more clients are reported relocating from Mombasa port.
Tanzania Shipping Agents Association (TASAA) Chairman, Emmanuel Mallya said in Dar es Salaam on Friday evening during a new year's party that Tanzanians should pray for their Kenyan peers to conduct elections peacefully.
"Now, as we wish our Kenyan neighbours good tidings in their coming general election, we should consider Tanzanian ports more as complimentary sister East African ports rather than the conservative view of competing ports though by and large competition enhances efficiency," Mr Mallya said.
He pointed out that dynamics in ports and shipping industry in the east African geographical trading saw Dar es Salaam port over congested in 2007/8 after post election violence drove away customers from Mombasa port.
"Just to mention some few dynamics, six years ago experts in port and shipping together with their logistics partners could not fully comprehend the business spill- over effect on Dar es Salaam port in terms of cargo congestion following Kenya general elections," Mallya noted.
Mallya also pointed out that last year, the country's prime port witnessed growth of over 10 per cent on the market share compared to year 2011 and that this year, growth is expected to reach 15 per cent of which transit traffic will account for over 30 per cent.
He touted rapid construction of Berth 13 and 14 at Dar es Salaam port, Mbegani port in Bagamoyo, Mwambani port in Tanga and the upgrading of Mtwara port to cater for forecasted growth in southern regions to accommodate transit cargo volumes.
"We need to be ahead of demand always. You will agree with me that roads alone cannot handle such a traffic in coming years which then pose an urgent requirement of having the country's railway system running efficiently again." He said.
Transport Minister, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe who is cracking down graft at Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) has already undertaken a marketing campaign targeting landlocked Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Uganda which had started abandoning Dar es Salaam port due to various reasons.
Last month, Uganda State Minister for Works and Transport, John Byabagambi, signed a memorandum of understanding with Dr Mwakyembe, guaranteeing to provide 200 wagons and two locomotives to facilitate cargo shipment from Dar port to Mutukula border post where a dry port is also being touted.
Statistics show that only one per cent of Uganda's cargo was transported through Dar es Salaam port in 2011, while 99 per cent was shipped through Mombasa port in Kenya. Ends...jer