Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam Port Gets $211 Million Upgrade, Preps to face Competition

Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam Port Gets $211 Million Upgrade, Preps to face Competition

Currently the fourth-largest in East Africa, Dar es Salaam Port will soon get a $211 million upgrade in hopes to mirror operation of Kenya’s Mombasa Port, Bloomberg reported. Over the period of one year, modifications including the addition, deepening and strengthening of berths will be made. A new conveyor belt and silos will also be installed.

Improvements, according to Bloomberg will be completed in June of 2014. If the upgrades meet Mombasa Port standards, Tanzania would create the opportunity to generate an additional $1.8 billion in annual revenue, according to world bank estimates.

“We need to accommodate big ships with investments in areas such as dredging. Otherwise, we won’t be competitive and all we will be attracting is small ships,” Janeth Ruzangi, Tanzania Ports Authority manager of corporate communications told Bloomberg.

Although the Dar es Salaam Port is expected to handle 13 million metric tons in 2013 — one million more than the prior year — technical and planning issues are also areas that the Tanzania Ports Authority will have to address. Bloomberg reports that Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta has recently announced the implementation of measures that will reduce transit times at the Mombasa Port. In 2012, Kenya’s port — East Africa’s largest — handled 21.9 million tons, 10 percent more than in 2011.

“Tanzania and Kenya are serving the same landlocked countries,” Ruzangi added. “Firms are going to choose to use the facilities that will handle the goods with the most speed. It is natural that we have to work towards improving our port in order to attract these firms.”

The Dar es Salaam port ships mainly fuel, copper and agricultural products, according to Bloomberg. Zimbabwe, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi and Zambia are the landlocked countries that both ports serve.

In order to reach full efficiency, transport minister Harrison Mwakyembe believes the Dar es Salaam port will have increase cargo handling by 80 percent, a shift that will most likely happen over two years. Mwakyembe estimates a $1.5 billion investment, allocated over the next five years, will be needed to ultimately render the port competitive.