The Bagamoyo port project, whose implementation has been marred by funding hitches and government flip-flop, could kick off this month, after Tanzania agreed with Chinese and Omani investors on a financing deal that is expected to be signed soon.
If constructed, the $10 billion Bagamoyo port will be East Africa’s largest.
Tanzania’s Minister for Communication and Transport Prof Makame Mbarawa told parliament in Dodoma last week that negotiations with the investors are at the final stages and a contract is expected to be inked this month.
The construction of a $10 billion port in a former slavery harbour of Bagamoyo, which was mooted in 2013, was suspended in 2016 — a year after President John Magufuli came to power — with sources saying the Magufuli government was keen on improving the capacity, performance and efficiency of the Mtwara and Dar es Salaam ports instead.
But Prof Mbarawa said the project was suspended to allow the upgrade of berths one to seven and construction of berths 13 and 14.
The China ambassador to Tanzania Wang Ke last month said the project will start soon.
Located about 75km from Dar es Salaam and 10km from Bagamoyo town, the port will breathe life into the Bagamoyo Special Economic Zone that is expected to attract about 700 industries and become a strategic investment zone in East Africa.
About 190 industries, including a fertiliser processing plant, will be put up by the government of Oman around the port.
The Bagamoyo port and its affiliate industrial zone are meant to address congestion at the old port and support Tanzania to become East Africa’s leading shipping and logistics centre.
President Magufuli’s administration has been on a spree investing in infrastructure projects with a major boost in Dar es Salaam port.