A detailed look at the port of Dar es Salaam’s big overhaul

31Oct 2018
Focus Mauki
Financial Times
A detailed look at the port of Dar es Salaam’s big overhaul
  • Implementation of phase one of the Dar es Salaam Gateway Maritime Project (DMGP) will cost about $150 million and involves the deepening and strengthening of existing berths at the country’s largest port

A GOVERNMENT initiative has begun being implemented through the Tanzania Ports Authority to improve cargo handling at the port of Dar es Salaam through the Dar es Salaam Gateway Maritime Project (DMGP), with the aim of enabling the port to operate at world-class level.

Implementation of phase one of the project will cost about $150 million and involves the deepening and strengthening of existing berths 1 to 7 to 14.5 metres below CD, plus the construction of a new, multipurpose berth at the Gerezani Creek.

The project will also see deepening and widening of the port entrance channel and turning circle to 15.5 metres, and of the harbour basin in the port to the end of berth 11 to 14.5 metres, plus improving the rail linkages and platform in the port with deepening and strengthening of existing berths eight to 11 to 14.5 metres.

Given the traffic forecast, the TPA-DMGP project is set to cope with the fast-growing trend of creating capacity ahead of demand. Other port projects designed to cope with expected traffic growth are being implemented and identified under TPA’s Port Master Plan of 2008-2028.

So far the authority has managed to complete several projects like modernisation of the Single Point Mooring (SPM), demolition of sheds to create more stacking yards, installation of an integrated security system, acquisition of additional equipment, and construction of a 35-floor One Stop Customer Service Tower along Sokoine Road in Dar es Salaam.

The on-going projects are upgrading of dry bulk handling facilities, a new container terminal, the multi-billion shilling Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Project (DGMP), and other investments in other TPA-run sea and lake ports in the country.

Currently all stakeholders - including clearing agents, shipping lines, banks and key government institutions in the port area - are working around the clock. Reduction of dwell time through direct delivery for imports is another initiative, without forgetting reduction of ship turnaround time and educational campaigns against utilization of the port’s space for storage of cargo.

TPA says it is aiming to introduce faster truck and wagons turnaround times from the port, and to auction overstayed cargo abandoned at the port, so as to get more space to serve customers and stakeholders in a more efficient manner.

Other initiatives to improve performance at the port of Dar es Salaam cover acquisition of new equipment, introduction of new port access roads, parking areas and gates, and working towards implementation of an E-Port.

IT infrastructures under port operations system (POS), traffic management in the port, billing and gate operations and their integration is enhanced for utilisation of ICT in cargo operations and clearance.

A new port to be built at Chongoleani in Tanga Region will be dedicated to handling crude oil shipments through the upcoming Uganda-Tanzania pipeline. New ports at Bagamoyo and Mwambani Bay will also be constructed under public private partnership (PPP) deals. In the meantime, construction of the KwalaRuvu Dry Port, some 47 miles west of Dar es Salaam, is on track.

Other initiatives are enhancement of customer care, assured safety and security, trained and motivated workforce, and elimination of non-tariff barriers (NTBs). Since the ports depend so much on railways, Tanzania’s rail corridors under TRC and TAZARA are both undergoing overhauls through various projects like the standard gauge railway (SGR).

This 2,561-kilometre SGR line, which has a completion deadline of 2021, will link the port of Dar es Salaam with its expansive hinterland of the Great Lakes region. Freight trains will be running at 160km per hour, carrying 100 wagons, each with a capacity of 120 tonnes.

The fact is expansion of port capacities must be in tandem with the development of other inland transport networks like railway and roads. The completion of the DMGP project and implementation of other projects at various other ports will fast-track Tanzania’s quest for industrialisation and support the regional quest to attain fast social-economic development.