Tanzania: Transporters Forecast Cargo Decline

TANZANIA Truck Owners Association (TATOA) has predicted shortfall of transit cargo for the coming month beginning next week.

The anticipated decline in volumes of transit cargo from different parts of the world which are most affected by Covid-19 to the landlocked countries is due to lockdown, TATOA board member, Mr Rahim Dossa said in an interview in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

"We are now transporting cargo which was already on shipment when the pandemic started spreading.

But lockdown which began in China and then other parts of the world has put shipment at a standstill," he said.

Added, "Cargo consignment is expected to fall rapidly in between mid-April to mid may this year,"

According to him, most of the consignments shipped by TATOA members are headed to Rwanda, Zambia and to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), also hit by the pandemic Covid-19.

But an assessment by the transport association establish challenges and impacts due to lockdowns.

Mr Dossa noted that most of the consignment shipped includes food stocks like rice, sugar, medicines and medical equipment's as well as edible oils which are of unique priority for combating Covid-19 outbreak amid extended lockdown periods, which gave them hope of survival.

"Some countries like Rwanda have set priority areas for off-loading food and medical stockpiles, therefore there were no hardship encountered by drivers,"

TATOA does not only rush to ensure business continuity, but it has stepped out its foot in supporting government's efforts of ending the pandemic according to Dossa.

"The association has dished out 500 water bins to be dispatched at different parking and border posts for assurance of drivers' hands get washed regularly to avoid infections.

They are also equipped with masks and sanitizers their entire journey to avoid infection of the deadly virus,"

Ms Nicole Michael, the Director of Nicole Holdings, a clearing and forwarding company explained that all was not well with her business due to lockdown instituted by different countries.

She noted that so far, has closed down her business for there are no customers to serve both importers and exporters.

"My company was upcoming with new tenders before the outbreak of Covid-19, but due to lack of new orders, we have closed down the business, we can't pay salary and more and the meeting the operational costs," said Ms Michael.

She revealed that the situation was even tense for the cargo stored in yards and godowns which waited to be exported to the countries undergoing lockdown.

On this, Ms Michael said that proprietors have to run into losses by paying more rental fees or auctioning their consignment at a throw away price.

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