Currently 97% of all Uganda’s exports and imports go through the northern corridor at the Mombasa port as the main exit route.
This in turn causes a lot of congestion, safety risks for Ugandan importers and exporters as they have to wait for longer hours and days to clear their goods.
Uganda as a land locked country does not have a port of its own but has two international trade routes.
The other alternative route is the Central/Southern Corridor, which is anchored by the port of Dar es Salaam managed by the Tanzania Port Authority (PTA) that resumed operations in July 2018.
The route is one of the least congested in the region, and has a one stop centre (OSC) implying it is easier to process the necessary paperwork and dealing with all the agents that are involved in the import chain including the Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS), Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Uganda Railway Corporation, Tanzania Railway Corporation among others
According to TPA, the clearing of goods at the port has been easier by the introduction of the OSP, the electronic cargo tracking system and online clearing of goods.
“As the result of the opening of the OSC, goods passing through the port are cleared within 48 hours down from 72 hours. Cargo can be stored at the port for 30 days at no charge “.
Unlike other routes, the central corridor offers 3 viable route options including the Dar-es-Salaam-Mwanza-Port bell-Kampala (Rail, Lake and road), Dar-es-Salaam-Mutukula-Kampala (Road) and Dar-es-Salaam-Isaka-Mutukula-Kampala (Rail and Road.
It is crucial to note that Dar es Salaam Port is Tanzania’s principal port with a rated capacity of 4.1 million deadweight tonnage dry cargo and 6.0 million deadweight tonnage bulk liquid cargo.
The Port has a total quay length of about 2,600 meters with eleven deep-water berths.
Dar es Salaam port handles about 95% of the Tanzania international trade.
Currently, the port serves Malawi, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.
These East and Central African nations are linked to Asia, the middle and far East, Europe, Australia, and America.
The port can handle more than 10 million tons of cargo, with potential for general cargo of 3.1 million tons, can hold containers worth 1.0 million tonnes and liquid bulk of 6.0 million tons.[The said containers are of 9,619,876 TEUs].
However the Dar- es-Salaam port on the Ugandan side is still faced with major challenges including lack of enough infrastructure facilities like return wagons and non tariff barriers especially between Uganda and Tanzania.
“The taxes are the same as dictated under the East Africa Community tax policy, however there are non tariff barriers like power fights between the different authorities at the port. However these are issues that TPA in partnership with other government authorities are working to eliminate so that the port can function to maximum capacity and take up a relatively bigger percentage of the imports,” TPA says.