Tanzania: Clearing System At Dar es Salaam Port Hit By Technical Hitches

Dar es Salaam — The Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (Taffa) has expressed concerns over delays at the port of Dar es Salaam as they could not clear goods for some days now following technical hitches facing the electronic clearing system.

The Electronic Single Window System (eSWS) which is used for lodging documents for cargo clearance is currently under maintenance after facing some technical challenges.

The system at the port of Dar es Salaam is an integrated cargo clearance and payments system and also allows parties involved in international trade and transport to lodge standardized information and documents with a single entry point to fulfil all import, export and transit related regulatory requirements.

Taffa president Edward Urio told The Citizen that following the hitches that had been experienced for about a week now at the Dar es Salaam Port, the freight forwarders were unable to clear goods, hence leading to congestion of goods.

"Clearing agents could not lodge their manifesto in the system and therefore could not perform any transaction including paying the charges required for clearance of goods," he said.

Explaining, he said following the difficulties they were now faced with the burden of having to incur demurrage fees and other storage fees because the goods have over-stayed longer than required at the Port.

When contacted for comments, Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Commissioner General Alphayo Kidata confirmed that the system had some problems and was currently undergoing maintenance.

"We have reverted back to the old system (TANCIS) to continue with operations," he said.

However, when asked when they were expecting the eSWS maintenance to be completed he said the system was under the EGA and they would be better placed to know. However efforts to contact them proved futile.

Tanzania Shipping Agency Association (TASAA) chairman John Massawe said while they were not directly involved in lodging manifesto to the system but they had experienced delays in the past one week that affected clearance of goods.

He noted that it was true that in the past few days there had been some delays in operation because the system was down thereby affecting a majority of clearing agents.

"Those involved in clearance are better placed to understand whether there were technicalities experienced with the clearance platform," he said.

Tanzania Shipping Agencies Corporation (TASAC) Director General, Mr Abdi Mkeyenge said he was currently travelling from Dodoma to Dar es Salaam and therefore was not in position to comment on the matter.

The main benefits of ESWs is that all Clearing and Forwarding Agents (CFAs) will lodge only a single declaration to all government departments responsible for cargo clearance. In this context, this will fast track the clearance bureaucracy at both entry and exit points such as ports, airports and border points.

Migration to the Electronic Single Window System (eSWS) at the port aims at allowing smooth transition from Automated System for Customs Data (Asycuda) to the Tanzania Customs Integrated Systems (TANCIS).

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