THE government has pledged to address complaints raised by clearing and forwarding agents in regard to alleged inaction by the Directorate of Maritime at the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA), in addressing delays in clearing of shipments at the Dar es Salaam Port.
In an interview with the 'Daily News' yesterday, the Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Prof Makame Mbarawa, confirmed to have received the concerns from stakeholders at the port.
"The clearing agents forwarded their concerns to my office; I am still assessing their complaints before taking action on the said inactions by the directorate," Prof Mbarawa told this paper in a telephone interview.
Prof Mbarawa said it is only after thorough assessment of the said indecision by the ministry that the government would take appropriate actions. Clearing and forwarding agents are up in arms over what they describe as unwarranted delays in clearing goods at the Dar es Salaam Port, blaming the Directorate of Maritime at Sumatra for not taking action to solve the problem.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with the 'Daily News' yesterday, the Secretary General of Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA), Mr Tony Swai, said despite repeated complaints from port stakeholders to the directorate the delays have continued to haunt the industry.
"For instance, it takes up to five hours to obtain proforma invoice from the Tanzania International Container Terminal (TICTS) and additional four hours for clearing agents to make payments before they are issued with invoice and receipts.
"As if that is not enough, the agents are subjected to additional five hours to obtain a permit to load containers; we have complained to the directorate but nothing has been done," Mr Swai told this paper.
He further blamed Maersk Shipping Line for being at the centre of delays in issuing invoices to clearing agents as well as trumped-up charges for consignments at the port.
"To make it worse, the grace period for demurrage charges for transit goods to Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been reduced from 43 to 30 days and this is inconveniencing port stakeholders," Mr Swai complained.
The agent claimed further that it takes between six to eight days to be issued with a delivery order from CMA&CGM, a French container transportation and shipping company, but the responsible directorate at Sumatra has not acted to address the problem.
Efforts to get a comment from the directorate and management of the transport industry regulator were not successful yesterday.