9 February 2013

Tanzania: Cargo Trucks Port Ban Wins Praise

OWNERS of substandard trucks transporting goods in the country have been put on notice as National Traffic Police chief, Commissioner of Police, Mohamed Mpinga commends Dar es Salaam port stakeholders for banning such trucks from entering the port.

Mpinga said the move by the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) should be emulated by cement manufacturers, mining companies and Tanzania Revenue Authority's Customs and Excise Department where such trucks are still operating.

"This is a commendable move which should be emulated by other cargo dealing entities such as Tanga Cement, Twiga Cement, Mbeya Cement, Tanzania Railways Limited, TAZARA (Tanzania Zambia Railways Authority) and TRA customs," Mr Mpinga said.

The Traffic Police Chief pointed out that the future of the country's cargo transporting sector belongs to modern roadworthy trucks which should spare other road users dangers of unnecessary accidents.

"This move by TPA will assist in reducing substandard vehicles on our roads in addition to the Police Force's efforts in impounding them," he pointed out. A member of Port Improvement Committee (PIC), Mr Ashraf Khan and Truck Owners Association of Tanzania (TATOA) Secretary General, Zakariah Hans Poppe said a decision to rid TPA of the substandard trucks was made by stakeholders during meetings last year.

"We gave truck owners a grace period of six months to repair or replace their trucks prior to institution of the ban which takes effect mid this month," Mr Khan noted. He stressed that the TPA notice should be taken seriously and dismissed talk of an impending crisis as 90 per cent of trucks are to be affected.

"I don't think there will be any crisis because transporters were informed in advance last year and that necessary measures have been taken," argued Khan who is also Chairman of Container Depots Association of Tanzania (CDAT).

Khan said stakeholders have, for a long time, expressed concerns over roadworthiness status of trucks transporting containers and other cargo from Dar es Salaam port to inland container depots (ICDs) some of which are between 15 and 20 kilometres away from the port.

"We are concerned about security at the port because most of the trucks are substandard," he underlined. Mr Hans Poppe assured port stakeholders that enough roadworthy trucks are available to meet the demand of shipping cargo from the port to ICDs but explained that there will be slight increase in transport costs.

"Consumers should expect a slight price increase in our services because the quality of our trucks will improve very much," said Poppe who also supported the move to ban substandard trucks which have been a hazard to Dar es Salaam residents.

In a release this week, TPA said substandard and aged trucks will not be allowed entry into the port and those drivers, "are notified further that only accredited and licensed drivers will be permitted to drive into port premises and shall always wear appropriate personal protective gear and shall observe a speed limit of 20km/h." Dar es Salaam port serves seven landlocked countries of Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.

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