THE government through Marine Services Company Limited (MSCL) is planning to establish a National Shipping Corporation, an idea that has well been received by Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), the Authority's Director General Engineer Deusdedit Kakoko has hinted.
Updating reporters in Mwanza on the performance and future plans of the Authority, Eng Kakoko said as TPA continues to inject a huge chunk of money in reviving, rehabilitating and expanding its terminals in all major water bodies ( Indian Ocean and Lakes), the plan to start a vibrant state-owned shipping corporation is a pertinent idea.
"Actually we, at TPA, are happy with the idea and probably we jumped and cheered more than our colleagues at MSCL themselves simply because the infrastructures on which we are spending so much will now be effectively used," Eng Kakoko said.
TPA and Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) offered technical and financial assistance in reviving the vessels that are currently operating.
He added: "Given the fact that Tanzania has a coastline stretching close to 1,440 kilometres blue economy can significantly contribute towards its economic growth. Tanzania is a maritime state. Its blue economy can run this nation."
According to Engineer Kakoko, available information states that Ethiopia has more than 90 ships, becoming the leading country in Africa in terms of number of ships despite having smaller portion of operation in Indian Ocean compared to Tanzania.
Zanzibar has three ships and the fourth one is currently under construction.
"We sincerely thank President John Magufuli for accepting this idea which was initiated by MSCL and the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication that TPA has been trumpeting for. We are happy that our efforts are now yielding good results and we will work hand in hand with MSCL by offering any necessary support it requires to ensure the shipping firm is established," the TPA boss said.
He said talks will be held with MSCL so that they can have tourist boats and refrigerated vessels for ferrying fish consignments in Lake Victoria and other major lakes. Currently, MSCL has a single tourist boat that does not operate.