THE Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) is implementing a number of massive port projects in Lake Tanganyika, to enable the country exploit to the maximum the potential brought about the second deepest lake in the world and its geographical position.
Speaking to reporters in Kigoma on Tuesday, the Kigoma Port Manager who is also in charge of all other ports on the Tanzanian side of Lake Tanganyika, Mr Percival Salama, said for the first time in the country's history, the government, through TPA, injected a total of 123.345bn/-between 2016/17 and 2019/20 financial years to build new ports and upgrade the existing infrastructures of some terminals.
He said given improvements in railway transport in the country, including the implementation of Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), ongoing plans to revive ships by Marine Services Company (MSCL) and an increase in transport demand by traders from DR Congo, Burundi and within the Lake Tanganyika zone, TPA came up with a total of 27 port projects which are either under implementation or have already been completed.
According to Mr Salama, the projects that have been implemented or are still under implementation are in all the regions in the zone - Kigoma, Katavi and Rukwa - with special focus of having a major port in each region, including formalising some unofficial terminals (Cluster Ports) according to TPA's strategic Speaking on strategic projects in Kigoma Region, the port manager said TPA was building port infrastructures at Kibirizi area (Kibirizi Port),Ujiji area (Ujiji Port) and the headquarters of the port manager.
The projects, whose implementation period is 24 months, are carried out by China Railway Corporation at the cost of 32.525bn/- At Kibirizi Port, a 250-metre berth in length, three cargo sheds, passengers' lounge, an office building and other supporting infrastructures to enable small vessels, including engine-powered dhows to dock and undock, will be built.
Likewise, at Ujiji Port, a modern berth 110 metres in length, canteen, passengers' lounge and cargo shed will be constructed.
Another project carried out in Kigoma Region is the construction of Katosho Dry Port, a 2.9bn/- undertaking that is aimed at decongesting ports located in Kigoma.
The project has reached more than 80 per cent of its implementation with completion date expected to be the end of this month.
Kagunga Port project that takes on board three components is another major strategic project in Kigoma Rural as the terminal, whose cost is estimated to be 4.09bn/-, involves the construction of a modern international market building, a 700-metre stretch (road) and a berth.
According to Mr Salama, Kagunga is the strategic border area that attracts traders from DR Congo and Burundi. He said the Kagunga Port was complete and TPA started operating the terminal five days ago.
In Uvinza District, TPA is building a berth at Lagosa area (Lagosa Port) whose construction has reached 8 5 per cent.
A cargo shed, passengers' lounge, office building and other supporting infrastructures are also under construction.
He said the construction of Lagosa Port will enable MV Liemba to dock at the berth instead of docking in the outer anchorage, a practice that has been increasing the cost of doing business for traders and causing inconveniences to passengers using the oldest and tourist ship in Tanzania.
However, the vessel is now grounded awaiting major rehabilitation by Marine Services Company Limited (MSCL). Another project carried out by TPA in Kigoma is the construction of a terminal at Kalya area which is known as Sibwesa Port.
According to Mr Salama, the construction of Sibwesa Port is complete and TPA will soon start operations.
In Rukwa Region, TPA is improving infrastructures at Kasanga, Kipili and Kabwe ports with the authority looking on how it can invest in Kerando Port.
On Kasanga Port, which is the second largest port in Lake Tanganyika after Kigoma terminal, Mr Salama said TPA is implementing a 4.764bn/- project that involves lengthening its berth from 20 to 120 metres, to enable more than one ship to dock at once and building residential houses for TPA staff.
The terminal will also have its open cargo storage area (wharf) reinforced to keep loose and containerised cargo after offloading from ships.
At Kipili Port which is in Nkasi District, close to 5bn/- has been spent to improve its infrastructure.