16 February 2013

Tanzania: 'Tired' Trucks Port Ban Challenged

SOME owners of cargo trucks have threatened to take legal action against any move to bar their vehicles from collecting and delivering containers at Dar es Salaam port starting next Monday.

Spokesman for Dhandho Road Haulage (DRH), Consolidated Transport Company and Madina Transport Company, said their trucks are legally licensed to operate in and around the port and have roadworthy certificates hence any attempt to block them from entering the port will be subject to legal action.

"We don't want politics here, if our trucks are barred from entering the port area come next Monday, we will have no option but to seek legal redress," warned DRH's Victor Kizito. Mr Kizito noted that Tanzania Ports Authority and other Dar es Salaam port stakeholders' move will be challenged in court because only licensing authorities such as Tanzania Police Force, Tanzania Revenue Authority and Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority have powers to block them.

"If our trucks are not roadworthy then who is supposed to block them, is it TPA or Dar es Salaam port stakeholders?" queried Kizito who warned that the decision may plunge the country's prime port into a legal quagmire. 'Daily News on Saturday' survey at Dhandho main offices in Dar es Salaam found many of the brand new vehicles which are used to transport transit goods parked while substandard trucks which are used to transport containers from the port to inland container depots in the city were busy on the road.

With a fleet of over 100 semi-trailer trucks mainly of Scania make's latest models, Dhandho is described by port stakeholders as among companies having the largest fleet of poor quality trucks transporting containers from the port to ICDs.

An official at Consolidated who did not want to be identified said they are likely to join Dhandho. "It's an issue of the law hence we are consulting with our legal team to see how we can deal with the problem if it is enforced next Monday," said the manager.

He warned that the move to bar some trucks from the port will cause major disruptions and burden transporters with costs and it will also lead to sub optimality as many vehicles being targeted transport containers to and from ICDs.

Madina Transport Company's Director, Mr Ali Mo- hamed was more diplomatic when responding to the latest challenge. "I think the right thing to do is comply with the landlord's new directives because that's his property," Mr Mohamed said.

Mr Mohamed noted that in the past six months his company has refurbished its fleet and brought new trucks to comply with the directive and advised his colleagues to follow suit instead of pursuing the legal option. "I don't think it is wise to seek legal redressed, sometimes it is good to end disagreements amicably," pointed out Mr Mohamed whose company was described by Container Depot Association of Tanzania (CDAT) Chairman, Mr Ashraf Khan as lifeline of Dar port's ICD transportation.

Traffic Police Chief, Mr Mohamed Mpinga did not answer his phone nor respond to text messages when contacted on Friday as the police force is responsible for issuing roadworthiness certificates to vehicles. Last week, Mr Mpinga commended TPA and Dar es Salaam port stakeholders' decision and advised others to follow suit.

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

Close to 90 per cent of the trucks used to transport containers between Dar port and 17 ICDs are substandard, ac- cording to a joint port stakeholders' report after last June's survey before the decision was made to bar such vehicles from accessing the port area.

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