2 February 2013

Tanzania: DR-Congo Bound Containers Disappear At Dar es Salaam Port

Dar es Salaam — A report has showed that at least 56.8% of containers owned by traders from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have disappeared mysteriously at the Dar es Salaam Port in a year.

According to the report by a committee of seven members formed by the government to probe among other issues, massive loss of containers being handled by the Tanzania International Container Terminal Services Limited, DRC lost an average of 32 containers with Khanga, Vitenge, and Tinned Milk last year.

Presenting the finding of the probe team's report which led to the sacking of seven officials of the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), Minister for Transport, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe said that the massive loss has prompted the association of business people in DRC and the government, through their ambassador in Tanzania, to make known their intention to stop using the port.

Dr Mwakyembe told East African Business Week in Dar es Salaam that, it is sad to note that 56.8% of containers from DRC only, which is one of the foremost importers, disappeared under mysterious circumstances at the principal port.

"It was tricky to just sit by without working on DRC claims, given that largest consignments going through the port is from DRC, compared to ones passing through the Mombasa Port," Dr Mwakyembe said.

This bad news has come at a time when EAC partner states, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, are contemplating on using Dar es Salaam port as their get due to the upcoming elections in Kenya.

They anticipate that using Mombasa port during election time in Kenya is unsafe for their transit goods.

While presenting to parliament a breakdown of cargo passing through Dar es Salaam Port, Dr Mwakyembe said 54% of cargo bound to Kivu in the DRC pass through Dar port, compared to 46% in Mombasa.

Minister Mwakyembe elaborated that 52% of Katanga-bound cargo passed through Dar port compared to 48% passing through South Africa, Angola, Mozambique and Namibia.

He noted that losing DRC would be a big blow to the nation's economy, at a time when neighboring countries that were using the port, such as Uganda, Zambia and Malawi were largely using ports in Mombasa, Durban, Beira, Nacala, Maputo, Lobito and Walvis Bay.

Mwakyembe said that DRC's minister for Transport was invited to visit the country for talks and also to visit Dar port. The visit is aimed at assuring him that "we have cleaned our house."

According to minister Mwakyembe, since the sacking of the Tanzania Ports Authority senior managers, the government revenues have continued to grow.

Since September last year, the government has rose from Tsh28bn ($17.41m) per month to Tsh38bn ($23.63m) and by December last year it had reached Tsh50bn ($31.09m).

Last October, a World Bank report and the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) cited the port of Dar es Salaam as among the worst performing in the world in efficiency.

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