By Felix Andrew
THE Minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Prof Makame Mbarawa, will next week visit the Dar e s Salaam port to inspect its development activities, the Parliament in Dodoma told.
Prof Makame was responding to a supplementary question raised by Wawi legislator Jaku Hashim Ayoub (CCM) who wanted the minister to visit the Port and work on challenges facing in provision of smooth operations.
According to MP some of the challenges are the use of dollar in some services and poor performance of several cranes.
Responding, Minister Mbarawa, said he would visit the Dar es Salaam port next week to see and work on some challenges.
However, he said various stakeholders have been using the Dar es Salam port to transfer their goods and services and are charged on foreign and local currencies
“Apart from Tanzania, there is Rwanda, Burundi and Comoro we charge them in US dollar, but no Tanzanian is forced to pay foreign currency,” he said.
In May this year Tanzania Ports Authority signed a $154 million contract with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) to expand the nation’s main port Dar es Salaam.
The deal will see the construction of a terminal as well as the deepening of seven existing berths to facilitate larger container ships.
Tanzania hopes to position itself as a regional trade hub and expects the expansion to increase cargo throughput from around 14 to 28 million tons a year by 2020. Plans for the port also include a modern railway with trains capable of 120 kilometers per hour.
Earlier this year, Tanzania indicated it will receive a $305 million loan from the World Bank to expand the port, whose current inefficiencies cost the region up to $2.6 billion a year.
According to Secretary General of Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA), Tony Swai, despite repeated complaints from port stakeholders to the directorate the delays have continued to haunt the industry.
"For instance, it takes up to five hours to obtain proforma invoice from the Tanzania International Container Terminal (TICTS) and additional four hours for clearing agents to make payments before they are issued with invoice and receipts.
"As if that is not enough, the agents are subjected to additional five hours to obtain a permit to load containers; we have complained to the directorate but nothing has been done," Mr Swai told this paper.
He further blamed Maersk Shipping Line for being at the centre of delays in issuing invoices to clearing agents as well as trumped-up charges for consignments at the port.