TANZANIA Ports Authority (TPA) has vowed to address truck drivers' challenges in using its ports as part of efforts to boost efficiency of the terminals.
TPA Director General, Eric Hamissi told reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the Authority had taken on board truck drivers' complaints about delays in cargo clearance and would work on them.
"We have decided to have a mechanism of listening to truck drivers who are accessing our ports for they are very important stakeholders who can help us know where we are not doing well and requires improvement," Mr Hamissi said at a meeting with Tanzania Driver Workers Union (TADWU) members.
TPA operates a system of ports serving the Tanzania hinterland and the neighbouring countries of Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.
Their objective is to boost efficiency of the ports and make them more competitive, he said.
The TPA boss said that the country's seaports have undergone major rehabilitation to handle more cargo and therefore they must seek to get feedback from all stakeholders including truck drivers.
"Truck drivers who access different ports are in a good position to offer useful insights on how we perform," he said.
"Dar es Salaam Port alone will have the annual cargo handling capacity doubled from the current 16 million tonnes to 30 million tonnes. This means we must check ourselves from time to time learn from different stakeholders including drivers to ensure we deal with all matters including delays in loading and unloading of cargo."
Highlighting some of the challenges causing long queues and spending more time at Dar es Salaam ports, TADWU Chairman, Schubert Mbakizao, said that drivers want the port to set good plans of allowing port access by issuing numbers per cargo to be loaded.
Mr Mbakizao said that the current process of having drivers to line up trucks and begin the cargo clearance process was causing unnecessary delays.
He also said all the ports need to work as one-stop centres where officers from all institutions directly involved in cargo clearance are stationed at the port to reduce red tape and boost efficiency as it strives to become the major entry hub for the East and Central African region.