TRADERS using the Dar es Salaam Port for imports and exports should be rest assured on safety of their shipments, thanks to installation of Integrated Security System (ISS), training and recruitment of adequate and skilled security personnel at the harbour.
Procurement of modern equipment to boost security in and around the port is another area of focus. Last Monday, the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) acquired three modern speed boats to conduct patrols in the country's major seaports of Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mtwara.
The TPA's Director of Security Services, Mr Robert Kusekwa, explained on the other hand that the ISS has so far been installed at TPA headquarters in addition to Dar es Salaam and Tanga ports, noting that installation of the system had kicked off at Mtwara Port.
The ISS, according to the security expert, incorporates all electronic clearing and surveillance systems beamed from closed-circuit television (CCTV), also known as video surveillance. Speaking during an exclusive interview with the 'Daily News,' Mr Kusekwa revealed that apart from the three scanners at the Dar Port, plans were underway to procure additional two scanners to ease inspection of imports and exports.
Mr Kusekwa added that TPA was working around the clock to install extra scanners at Tanga and Mtwara ports. The latter currently has one mobile scanner while Tanga has one fixed scanner.
"All imports entering the country or awaiting clearance and shipment brought to the port for export are thoroughly inspected; their movements from one point to another are closely monitored through the electronic security system," he explainedUnlike in the past, Mr Kusekwa explained, security personnel at the harbour presently include members from the Tanzania People's Defence Force (TPDF), police force, intelligence organs, port auxiliary police as well as guards attached to the National Service economicwing, Suma JKT.
"For imports and exports to be cleared at the Port, the information available on the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA)'s Tanzania Customs Integrated System (TANCIS) must tally with the TPA's cargo system," Mr Kusekwa explained. Adding; "Port operations require close supervision, we have security personnel attached to all sections including the staffing of containers, general cargo, motor vehicle as well as the Kurasini Oil Jetty (KOJ) and its associated Single Point Mooring (SPM).
Mr Kusekwa admitted that securing the port was an arduous task as criminals are fond of changing tactics to explore any available loophole, stressing, however, that the security personnel are always pro-active in sealing any gap.
"In the past, we had some incidences of theft at the Port but the vice has since come to an end. Each shipment is now monitored from the ship until it is cleared and the same applies for exports," he explained. The Port of Dar es Salaam is the largest out of the three seaports in the country which handles huge chunk of cargo traffic for Tanzania and its land-locked neighouring countries.
According to the International Association of Ports and Harbours, the Dar es Salaam Port is the fourth largest port on the East African's Indian Ocean coastline after Durban, Mombasa and Maputo