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Tanzania: TPA Sets Strategies to Become Top Port in Region

Tuesday, 28 July 2015 | 11:00
Tanzania's port services to regional countries are further opening up. And this time around the country's Ports Authority (TPA) has opened its liaison office in Lusaka, Zambia.

The office, opened some few weeks ago was a clear testimony that Tanzania is committed to serve business community using Dar es Salaam Port.

It should be remembered that a similar office was inaugurated last year in Lubumbashi, Katanga region in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

From the business point of view, the decision to open a new office in Lusaka is a wellcalculated move. It is all about smoothening business between Tanzania and Zambia.

It is about making Dar port competitive and therefore convincing Zambians to utilise it ... and at the end of the day benefiting both countries.

Emphasising the importance of the new office, one Zambian trader, Mukasa Mwalupasi said that "the office could have opened many years ago."

However, there are other steps that should be taken urgently if Tanzania wants to emerge a competitive country in the region and avoid the Dar port becoming semi- redundant.

The chief among them is making railway systems work and further streamlining processes of clearing cargo at the port. This is because countries in the region are working tirelessly in making sure that their ports perform well.

Countries with ports work very hard to make sure that they also get a share of cargo from the country we call land locked countries.

Right now, Zambia through Zambia Railway Limited is operating a very active cargo train between Lusaka and Nacala port in Mozambique. So, Zambian traders now have the option of using Nacala port through that rail network.

Because of their proximity, this means also that DRC and Zimbabwean traders can easily be lured into using Nacala port via Zambia railway.

Durban port in South Africa and the largest Namibia commercial port, Walvis Bay are known for their efficiency and they mean business.

It must be remembered that other corridors are also opening up. Kenya is constructing a modern railway line that will connect the port of Mombasa with Uganda and Kigali, Rwanda.

In short, land locked countries are unlocking themselves while neighbouring countries with ports are putting their houses in order.

Talking to a group of TPA officials who visited different parts of Zambia to meet port's business stakeholders, the Country Manager of Impala Warehousing and logistics in Ndola, Mr Craig Mynhardt, stressed a need to make Tanzania Zambia Railway (TAZARA) efficient line.

"When you use train there are savings on environment, roads and security of goods," he said. He explained that Impala was ready to become a partner in reviving TAZARA line for the benefit of both the private and public sectors. "We have experience in such projects in Columbia and Central Africa," he noted.

The President of Kitwe District Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Allan Nyirenda, told the TPA delegation to strive more and put Tanzania in a position to compete with other countries in port business. Manager, Logistics, Konkola Copper Mines plc, Mr Fuday Daka, appealed to the Dar port delegation to make sure that clients' challenges are solved on time.

"In any business, people look for efficiency and consider a service provider who gives a better deal," he said. Dar es Salaam Port Manager, Mr Hebel Mhanga, promised to work on all challenges expressed by all stakeholders and make the port competitive in the region.

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Dr Charles Tizeba, said the new TPA office will help Zambia business community solve their quaries and problems in Lusaka instead of travelling all the way to Dar es Salaam.

"They will be able to make payment for port charges in Lusaka and avoid the risk of carrying large sums of money to Dar es Salaam," the minister said. Zambia leads other countries to pass cargo at Dar port.

He explained that the problem of being cheated by untrustworthy agents will now be history as list of all registered clearing and forwarding agents will be readily available in Lusaka.

Also cargo monitoring will be done from Lusaka and this will help speed up clearance as traders will have updated information on the status of their cargoes.

The office in Lusaka seeks to solve several issues Zambian business communities have been complaining about, including port delays and unscrupulous clearing and forwarding agents.

"Efforts are continuing to remove all the obstacles and red-tapes business community is facing at Dar port," he said. Zambian Minister for Transport, Works, Supply and Communications, Mr Yamfwa Mukanga, said his government considers the launch of TPA liaison office in Lusaka as positive gesture.

"It shows the importance you accord to your customers in Zambia," the Zambian minister said. The minister explained that they are aware of the various projects being implemented at the port of Dar es Salaam to improve its efficiency and that Zambia commends these efforts.

"I urge more Zambia business community to use the port of Dar es Salaam," said Minister Mukanga. The Acting Director General, TPA, Mr Awadh Massawe, said the opening of the office will see Zambia business community enjoying some benefits including online cargo tracking and tracing, issuance of bills, payment of charges while in Lusaka and trucking services under the Tanzania Truck Owners Association (TATOA), among others.

The Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Deputy Commissioner, Trade Facilitation and Procedures, Dr Patrick Mugoya, said the government will not hesitate to unregister any company which will go against laws and procedures.

Dr Mugoya said TRA in collaboration with other stakeholders continues to make sure business environment at the ports and Tanzania at large continues to improve and become more efficient.

One of the Executive Councilors of Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA), Ms Adelaide Marijani, said business people should stop using unregistered companies to avoid theft.

"Business people especially from neighbouring countries should follow proper procedures when clearing their cargo at Tanzanian ports," she said, adding that only companies registered and licensed by TRA should be used.

One Zambian trader, Mr Phiri Momba, said some people posing as clearing and forwarding agents were causing problems to them. "You deal with someone only to find later that you have already been conned," he explained.

Zambia leads other landlocked countries in using Dar es Salaam port. The port cleared 1.3 million tonnes of the country's cargo last year alone. Performance of the port has continued to improve over years.

During the year 2013/14 the port handled 14.6 million tons of various types of cargo. Transit cargo accounts to 30 per cent of all traffic passing through the port.

Of the overall cargo, Zambia transit cargo account for 12 per cent and 41 per cent of all transit cargo passing through the port.
Source: Tanzania Daily News
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