Delays caused by inefficiencies at Dar es Salaam port will soon be eliminated as Tanzanian government embarks on new initiatives to ease the clearance of transit goods at the port, a top official has said.
Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, the Tanzanian Transport minister, said plans are underway to modernise the port's berths and construct more four new berths to help in cargo handling and ease clearance of goods.
The minister was speaking at the Central Corridor Transit Transportation facilitation Agency (CCTTFA) meeting in Kigali, yesterday.
He said the port's authority had also secured land near the port for the construction of a large dry port to handle transit cargo for Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and DR Congo.
The 2013 statistics indicate that 50 per cent of Rwanda's imports and exports go through the Dar port through the Central Corridor.
Mwakyembe said with the new initiatives, transportation days from the port to Rusumo border post will reduce from the current 3.5 days to 2.5 days.
"We need to ensure that the corridor and the port operate efficiently," he said.
Dar port has recently been marred by alleged bureaucracies, corruption and theft that affect flow of business.
Trade barriers have gradually been reduced on the Northern Corridor, but the Central Corridor still has more weighbridges, and police roadblocks that deter free movement of people and goods.
In an interview with The New Times, Issa Mugarura a driver, said it would be important for the port's authority to also establish a warehouse for Rwandan cargo as it was done at Mombasa port.
Mugarura, who also serves as the vice president of Rwanda Long Distance Drivers Union (ACPLRWA), said that due to lack of a warehouse, Rwandan transporters face many challenges such as theft and loss of cargo at the port.
"The challenge we have is that we discuss and agree on a number of issues with the Tanzania government but implemention remains a problem," he said.
In March, this year, a cargo container with 24 tonnes of Coltan destined for China was stolen at the port and up to now the owners; Mineral Supply Africa Ltd (MSA), a local company, are still blaming the Tanzanian police for failing to come up with a report on the theft.
In June, Fabrice Kayihura, the deputy Chief Executive Officer MSA, said they had exported coltan worth $1 million (Rwf670 million) but on arrival, the buyer only found in sacks of cement.
The Tanzanian minister further noted that as a way of reducing the non-tariff barriers, the Tanzanian government is currently constructing three stop inspection stations at Vigwaza, Manyoni and Nyakanazi.
The meeting, that closes today is attended by ministers from the five countries.