LAKE Tanganyika Ports have experienced a 19 per cent surge in cargo volume, specifically exports to the neighbouring country of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) appreciating President Suluhu Hassan’s deliberate measures to lift the maritime sector during her first year in the office.
According to Kigoma Port Manager, Manga Gassaya, cargo volume across Lake Tanganyika ports increased from 237,806 tonnes in the year ending March 2021, to 282,221 tonnes in the year ending February 2022.
General cargo registered the highest growth during the last 12 months, surpassing the target in 11 months, while the number of passengers also showed upward trajectory.
Mr Gassaya attributed the surge in cargo volume to continuous improvement of ports infrastructure, availability of modern cargo handling equipment.
“We’re very grateful to President Samia for giving directives on ports improvement and issuing us with the needed funds to carry out the projects,” said Mr Gassaya.
“Our key responsibility is to translate her directives into action and always ensure we improve our performance and meet the expectations of our President, and those of our customers,” added Mr Gassaya.
Soon after coming to power, President Samia dished out 500bn/- for the procurement of equipment that would improve efficiency in the country’s ports and boost revenue collection.
“We have obtained equipment such as reach stacker with the capacity to carry 45 tonnes of load, fork lift with a 16 tonnes capacity and we’re looking forward to receiving more equipment.”
“We have increased efficiency and cut the time for cargo clearance, we assure our customers of best services, they should use our ports,”
The government also issued 32.5bn/- for the improvement of Port of Kigoma as well as Kibirizi and Ujiji ports.
Through the funds, a new office building has been completed and will be inaugurated officially soon while the upgrading of Kibirizi and Ujiji ports have reached 70 per cent and 35 per cent respectively.
Thanks to the initiatives by the sixth phase government, the ports have seen customers queuing up at impressive rates.
‘More and more customers are using our ports, even some customers who at some point opted against shipping through our ports have made U-turns and now coming back,” said Mr Gassaya, saying the ports capacity is to handle 600,000 tonnes a year.
The Tanzania Ports Authority applauded president for successfully opening up the country.
“President Samia has been good ambassador of our ports abroad and this has hugely helped us win the trust of customers,” TPA’s Public Relations and Corporate Communication Manager said, acknowledging the president’s unwavering support towards the improvement of the country’s ports.
According to Mr Gassaya, 76 per cent of the cargo shipped through Lake Tanganyika ports of Kigoma, Kasanga, Kabwe, Kipili, Kibirizi and Kagunga, is destined for the Democratic Republic of Congo, 15 per cent is shipped to Burundi and about 9 per cent domestically to other destinations within Tanzania while less than 1 per cent, mostly foodstuffs go to Zambia.