TANZANIA is on course to double its handling capacity of petroleum products and begin supplying of the product to Zanzibar and neighbouring countries when expansion work at Tanga port is completed. Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) which is handling the port is undertaking a number of projects in the country's ports, as part of its efforts to improve service delivery and increase government revenues.
TPA Director General, Deusdedith Kakoko (suspended) told former Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan, in Tanga recently that Tanzania is supplying six million tonnes of fuel and that the ongoing strategies will double the capacity as a result of winning the market in Zambia, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ms Hassan is now the President of the United Republic of Tanzania after the death of former president, John Magufuli. Eng Kakoko said Tanga Port was also scheduled to be supplying fuel to Zanzibar, against the current arrangement where the Isles get petroleum products from the Dar es Salaam Port.
"Zanzibar is so close to Tanga, therefore the new arrangement will save cost and time of delivering the consignment to the isles," said the TPA boss.
He said Tanzania was currently supplying petroleum products to DR Congo through a railway line to Kigoma that guarantees the consignment of the petroleum product would arrive in the destination within two days ready to be shipped to Kalemie Port.
"But by using vehicles, the consignment has to pass through Burundi before entering Congo, as a result of the delay," he explained to the former vice-president while at the GBP Oil Jet at the Port of Tanga.
For his part, the Minister for Works and Transport Eng Leonard Chamuriho said improvement of the Tanga Port has reduced the cost of operation and attracted investors. According to the minister, the depth at the Port of Tanga has been deepened to 15 metres from 3.5-4 metres.
As a result of enabling large ships to dock in the facility as a result of improving proactivity and service delivery from the harbour to the northern zone port.
"With the expansion, now the Tanga Port can receive ships of between 35,000 to 65,000 tonnes. Recently the port received a ship that has 55,000 tonnes, this is a milestone achievement that we should be proud of," he said.
"Right now, we are in a process of procuring more equipment that would make the Tanga Port a country's main harbour in the northern zone that is capable of serving all northern regions and neighbouring countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)," Eng Chamuriho added.
According to Minister Chamuriho, the government has invested in flow metres, which are used to measure the volume of fuel to be dispatched to clients, which have helped timely delivery of fuel, as well as addressing scarcity of fuel as it was the case in the past.
The Tanga port, which strategically located to serve the northern Regions of Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Manyara, the lake zone and neighbouring countries of Rwanda, Burundi and northern part of Uganda, now offers lucrative opportunities for suppliers of petroleum products to neighbouring countries due to its strategic location, he said.
Optimal use of the port would also ease congestion in the Dar es Salaam based facility, he added. Briefing the former vice-president, the GBP Managing Director Mr Badar Seif Sood said the facility is capable of preserving the petroleum product for the Northern zone and other parts of the country. He also appreciated the government's improvement of the investment climate.
"We thank the government for installing flow metres here, apart from ensuring timely delivery service, they will protect us from incurring loss as well as enable the government to get its actual revenue from our business," he said.
Speaking on the role played by GBP at the Tanga Port, Mama Samia said the private sector is playing a crucial role in the country's development, assuring the government's continued support for better service delivery.
She said both the government and private sector depended on each other, and called for continued hard working from all government officials and investors in the sector. She asked TPA employees to work hard for the growth of the business they are working for, to enable investors to be able to pay government tax that would be used to implement a number of development projects.
"You are doing a good job and the government will continue providing all the needed support. Moreover you have to work hard for the interest of the economic growth of our country and individual level," said Mama Samia.
Tanga Regional Commissioner, Martine Shigella said the decision to make the Port of Tanga a main hub for consignment to the Northern zone should be maintained to attract more business.