TANZANIA'S heavy investments in port expansions and renovations aim at easing business logistic in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
"All these efforts are focused on facilitating and creating proper logistics for increased cargo transportation business, especially in the SADC region," Works, Transport and Communications Minister Isack Kamwelwe told the Parliamentary Budget Committee in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
He commended the committee, which had visited the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), saying through its funding approval, the government has financed construction of Dar es Salaam, Mtwara and "The committee has recently endorsed funds for refurbishment of ships, including MV Victoria and MV Butiama on Lake Victoria... we are constructing a new large ship with 1,200 passenger capacity, with a reservoir for ship repair garage and ferries at the lake," he remarked.
The minister revealed that the government has also constructed three ships on Lake Nyasa.
"We also have asked for consideration in the next budget for funds to construct large ships to carry huge cargos on Lake Tanganyika," he appealed.
Engineer Kamwelwe asserted that after the expansions and constructions at the Dar es Salaam port with berth one and two completed, TPA is now in the process of purchasing the conveyor belt to simplify the offloading of bulk dry cargo.
"The conveyor belt will be connected from the berths to the silos, simplifying the process and saving time of offloading cargo, instead of ships staying for 12 days, they will need between four and five days, enabling businesspeople to make more turnarounds," he pointed out.
Committee acting Chairperson Adad Rajab said that the committee has witnessed satisfactory renovations and improvement of Dar es Salaam port.
"We have gone through the TPA Director General report, which has shown that most ports in the country, including Tanga and Mtwara ports have been improved.
We are satisfied with the ongoing improvements and we believe that upon completion, the government revenue will increase," Mr Rajab said, adding: "We have asked TPA to ensure that all the renovations and constructions of Dar es Salaam and other ports are completed efficiently and timely."
The three berths that are now completed are among the eight berths that were under construction through the Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Project (DMGP).
The expansion project has increased the vehicle capacity of the Roll on-roll off (RO-RO) berth from 163,000 to 600,000 cars, annually.
DMGP has already shown good results, having upgraded performance and efficiency as evidently shown through increased collected revenues and the port's determination to raise revenues to 1tri/- in this fiscal year, up from 944.7bn/- in the past year.
The first phase of the project is scheduled for completion by 2020 and the entire project will be completed by 2035.