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Uganda, Tanzania Working Towards Improving Dar Es Salaam Port

The government of Uganda, together with its counterpart,  Tanzania are working hand in hand to develop the necessary infrastructure that is necessary to improve the southern trading corridor facilitated by the port of Dar-es-Salaam.
The port was reopened in 2018 after years of being inactive due to lack of proper infrastructure to facilitate the smooth running of trade. The port currently only 3% of all imports coming with in Uganda while Mombasa port takes the giant share.
According to Ruzigye Chalse, the Head of Marine at Uganda Railway Corporation, the two governments are currently in the process of undertaking different projects that will ensure that the port fully recovers and competes favourably with the other alternative route, the Mombasa Port on the northern corridor.
Some of the projects include renovation of the Meter Gauge Railway, finalising plans to kick start the standard gauge railway on the Tanzania side, planned remodelling and construction of inland water ports for both Uganda and Tanzania, development of the Bukasa Port to improving handling space and capacity,
“We are also planning to rehabilitate the old vessels as well as build the new ones to improve capacity on the lake, rehabilitation of wagons and procuring new ones and of course working on the non tariff barriers. A joint permanent commission committee headed by the two heads of state has been put in place to address the barriers,” Ruzigye said.

Recently, the Tanzania’s Ministry of Finance signed a facility agreement with Standard Chartered Tanzania for a US$ 1.46 billion term loan financing to fund the construction of the Standard SGR project from Dar es Salaam to Makutupora.

Running approximately 550 kilometres long, the SGR project is one of the country’s biggest projects connecting Dodoma to Dar es Salaam via Morogoro and Makutupora. Once complete, the SGR Rail project will provide a safe and reliable means for efficiently transporting people and cargo to and from the existing Dar es Salaam Port. However Uganda’s side faced a setback recently after Exim Bank is denied Uganda the requested loan for the construction of the SGR.

“Efforts to revamp the 1266km meter-gauge railway system are underway. Uganda has already approved funds for the rehabilitation with help from the Spanish Government. We also believe the SGR project will start soon. All these will facilitate connectivity to the port and reduce the transport cost in the long run,” Ruzigye added.
The upgraded meter gauge railway line is expected to boost monthly freight capacity to 120,000 metric tonnes from the current 20,000 tonnes by 2026,
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. Authorities are working to expand this.
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.
In a recent interview with multiple officials, including those from the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), which operates the port and Uganda Railways Corporation, they said that authorities want to make the route an alternative to the northern corridor, considering the vast advantages it offers.
“Using the Dar-es-Salaam-Mwanza-Port bell-Kampala route offers an opportunity of carrying luggage at a less costly price since goods, for the most part of the journey, are carried via railway and water, facilitating carrying heavier luggage in one bundle than when one uses a road. It takes just three days for your cargo to move from one end to the other via this route,” TPA states.
“We urge Ugandan importers and exporters especially those doing bulk shipping to consider using this route. We also look to see the two governments resolving some of the issues affecting the port because it is crucial for trade development for both Uganda and Tanzania,” TPA added.
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