Speaking at a press conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday, TASAC Director General Emanuel Ndomba said despite the powers given to it by the law, the agency will create a level playing ground for competition among the stakeholders.
In his appeal to the private-owned businesses, Ndomba said measures are being taken to improve competition so as to attract more traders to use the port of Dar es Salaam and not to push them out of the industry, despite enormous powers it was handed both as a regulator and service provider.
“Since we came into effect we have managed to remove some fees that were nuisance like delivery order fee and the shipper’s nomination fees,” said Ndomba.
He said the agency will ensure it brings all the stakeholders together to discuss on how to increase the number of Dar port users, at the same time leading the way in how handle cargo efficiently.
“Our existence does not mean that we are out to get someone’s job because our mandate has been clearly stated in the law. Containers with cargo have not been mentioned but if a container contains any of the mentioned products then we come in,” he specified.
The Tanzania Shipping Agencies Act (Act No. 14 of 2017) – exclusively empowers TASAC to carry out clearing and forwarding functions involving the importation and exportation of minerals, mineral concentrates, mining machinery and some other sensitive cargo categories.
With the new law TASAC operates both as sector regulator plus having exclusive clearing and forwarding functions.
In a recent public notice, TASAC categorically restricted importers, exporters, clearing and forwarding agents, employers and their representatives from carrying out port clearance and forwarding activities of goods stipulated in Section 7(1)(a) of the Act with effect from March 4, 2019.
This rubbed private shipping and clearing agents who protested the move, which they termed a plot to edge them out of business altogether.
In its reaction, the Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA) called for dialogue with the government before the state-run shipping agency became operational, saying that hundreds of their jobs were at stake.
TAFFA also complained that it does not understand why the law has allowed the regulator to take the role of a business competitor and at the same time be responsible for formulating guidelines to govern the sector.
The Tanzania Shipping Agents Association (TASAA) said the move threatens the existence of private clearing agencies and nearly 500 employees. It called for immediate intervention which includes alteration of Section 7 (iii) of the Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) No.3 Act, 2019 through which the changes were endorsed.
The establishment of the agency originates from a report by Prof Nehemia Osoro – which was formally handed to President Mgufuli at State House on June 12, 2017 –which recommended the reinstatement of the National Shipping Agency (NASACO). In the event, it was replaced by TASAC.
The Osoro Committee also recommended immediate review and amendment of extant mining laws to ensure that Tanzania benefits more from its God-given natural resources.