Upgrades of Tanzania's ports paying off
Business at Tanzania's ports is humming despite the disruptions to trade brought by the coronavirus. That's thanks to modernization work undertaken by Chinese firms.
Between February and July, revenue from the country's ports increased from $227 million to $229 million, a statement by the Tanzanian embassy in Israel said on Monday. It gave most of the credit to the upgrades at ports in Dar es Salaam and Mtwara.
The Dar es Salaam project involved strengthening and deepening seven of the facility's berths and the construction of a terminal by China Harbour Engineering.
The company also worked with China Railway Major Bridge Engineering Group to build a 300-meter berth at Mtwara Port, and renovate its cargo yard.
The modernization works have seen the cargo handled at the country's ports increase from 7.83 million metric tons between February and July last year to 8.87 million tons for the corresponding period this year.
Gerson Msigwa, the government's spokesperson and the director of information services, said the number of ships docking at the country's ports surged from 1,388 to 2,206.
"We cannot underestimate the increase in revenue taking into account that some countries are experiencing a significant drop due to the effects of COVID-19 pandemic," he said.
He said revenues came from the Indian Ocean ports of Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mtwara as well as the Great Lakes region of Victoria, Tanganyika and Nyasa.
Msigwa said the upgrading of Dar es Salaam port has seen it host huge vessels such as Panama's Tranquil ACE. The ship can carry 3,743 vehicles.
Msigwa said the number of vehicles passing through the Dar es Salaam Port including those on transit increased from 64,209 to 81,016.
Despite the recorded gains, there are some remaining works at the Dar es Salaam facility, including expansion and dredging of the ship entrance channel, turning circle and harbor basin as well as the strengthening and deepening of other berths.
Major upgrades are underway at Tanga Port in order for the terminal to handle large vessels and cut down on costs, with the project expected to be completed by October next year.
The Tanga port project is aimed at transforming the gateway into a highly competitive terminal to not only serve the country's customers but also those in the Great Lakes and wider East African region.
China Harbour Engineering is implementing the project.
According to Msigwa, construction of Karema Port terminal in Lake Tanganyika by the Xiamen Ongoing Construction Group stands at 50 percent and it's expected to be completed by March 2022.