Bagamoyo Port plan delights many

Construction of the proposed modern port at Bagamoyo is set to transform the historical town and enhance the country’s global trade competitiveness by linking it with Africa, Europe and Asia.

China’s newly elected President, Mr Xi Jinping

China’s newly elected President, Mr Xi Jinping, is expected to officially inaugurate construction of the Port when he jets into the country on Sunday on his first state visit in the country. Tanzania Shipping Agents Association (TASAA) Chairman Emmanuel Mallya welcomed the development but cautioned that Bagamoyo Port should be by far much bigger going beyond the limitations of Dar es Salaam Port.

He said that Dar es Salaam Port’s infrastructure does not provide better prospects for massive expansion. “So we should think of a new port, but for Dar es Salaam, it is only about expanding new berths but not a new port that fits into the requirements of huge ships which need a special terminal,” he said.

He said that if the government makes Bagamoyo Port a hub of Tanzania, it should be modern to attract mega ships of third and fourth generation to have capacity to receive 6,000 to 10,000 containers at one go. “We should not build another Dar es Salaam Port in Bagamoyo with similar limitations.

There should be more channels with fewer restrictions on basin. Ships should not be restricted with depth of port (draft limitations),” he said. University of Dar es Salaam don, Dr Lenny Kasoga said that given the country’s comparative advantage, surrounded by ten landlocked countries, the country stands a better chance to feed even Beira in Mozambique and Durban in South Africa.

High freight costs have forced shipbuilders to build ultra-large ships — fourth generation –with capacity of carrying 10,000 twenty- foot equivalent units (Teus), which needs over 15 metres draft. The Chairman of the CEO Round Table and Chairman of Infotech Investment Group, Mr Ali Mfuruki, said it is a great idea.

The Dar es Salaam port is not living up to its full potential and numerous plans to expand it have not borne fruit. “I fully support such a project and welcome it,” he said. An economist of Confederation of Tanzania Industries, Mr Hussein Kamoute, said it is going to improve business environment and therefore increase competitiveness and attract more investments in the country.

A University of Dar es salaam don, Dr Benson Bana, termed the development as good news for the Tanzanians. “It is a value addition to our economy and the landlocked countries in the neighbourhood. It gives us a competitive advantage over Kenya’s Mombasa.

What we need also is a new Railway line to link Bagamoyo to the countryside as well as Central railway line and TAZARA. “We need a state-of-the- art port which matches world class standards. We also need a top notch consultant to supervise Chinese Contractors,” he said.

Addressing a forum of Chinese Companies that are investing in Africa in Beijing on Tuesday, the Tanzanian envoy to China, Mr Philip Marmo, said that the proposed ultra-modern port to be constructed at Bagamoyo will be a crucial point of entry linking Africa to Asia and Europe through a special export processing zone.

The Dar es Salaam Port, experts say, has neither a room for required expansion that will house the Export Processing Zones (EPZs) nor enable the docking of a ship carrying 10,000 twentyfoot equivalent units (TEUs). Dar Port, which is the biggest in the country, has maximum capacity to to receive a ship with capacity of 2,500TEUs only. But it serves 10 landlocked countries mostly in the SADC bloc.

By ORTON KIISHWEKO, Tanzania Daily News

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