Transit motor vehicles at Dar port in sharp increase

08Oct 2019
By Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Transit motor vehicles at Dar port in sharp increase

THE number of imported on-transit motor vehicles that pass through Dar es Salaam port to neighboring land-locked countries rose to 159,639 from January this year, the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) has stated.

TPA Director General Deusdedit Kakonko.

Landlocked countries that use the Dar es Salaam port to ferry vehicles are Zambia, Malawi, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, DRC and Zimbabwe. TPA Director General Deusdedit Kakonko attributes the increased number of consignments with higher efficiency and interventions by the port authority to curb tampering of goods amongst port officials. Statistics indicate that the number of vehicles passing through Dar es Salaam port in the 2017/2018 financial year stood at 132,035 after having dropped to 93,000 in 2016/2017. About 164,000 cars were ferried through Dar port in 2014/15 and 127,335 in 2015/2016. Kakonko told journalists over the weekend that the drop was due to increased pilfering with motor vehicles, which is an aspect of corruption that pushed transit importers to shun Dar port. “The drop was a shock. I had to go on a campaign to sensitize our neighbours to continue using Dar port after we successfully controlled such practices and improved efficiency. I met with stakeholders in Lilongwe (Malawi), Uganda, Zimbabwe and Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Most vehicle importers complained of chaotic inspections by traffic police officers along with theft of goods and car parts, he said. The traders also accused officials from both public agencies and private institutions of extortion especially at Kasumuro border post between Tanzania and Malawi. “Vehicle importers from Zimbabwe had already started to use a port in Mozambique, but they are mostly back to our port,” he said. Kakonko narrated that he once saved a woman from DRC who was about to lose her imported car through an auction. Port officials conspired with accomplices from the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) to ensure the woman fails to clear her car on time so that it is auctioned. “I intervened after realizing that officials were plotting to auction her expensive vehicle. I directed TPA and TRA officers to allow the woman to finish the clearance without paying any taxes,” he elaborated. Interventions have helped to boost traders’ trust in port authorities, he asserted. As of June this year, the port was capable of loading or offloading over 600 containers from a vessel within 24 hours, reducing the time of vessels to stay at the port. The previous capacity was 330 containers. In the past, container ships were avoiding the port over fears of incurring more costs due to overstaying. Working round-the-clock was among areas which were improved through implementation of a directive by President John Magufuli. Dr Magufuli, early upon taking office, ordered the ports to operate 24 hours to quicken cargo clearance. The directive boosted port efficiency, with considerable potentials of accelerating economic growth for Tanzania and landlocked countries using the port, he declared. The 24/7 working system also aimed at solving challenges that clients customers were facing in importing or exporting goods, he added.

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