Tanzania woos DRC with cargo clearance deal

Tuesday May 16 2023
dar es salaam port

Container terminal and city landscape in port of Dar es Salaam in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK


Tanzania is eyeing more port business from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with an offer of exclusive transit clearance for cargo, signalling more competition with neighbours Kenya for the lucrative market.

This week, a delegation of DRC businesspeople and Customs officials toured Dar es Salaam and Tanga ports, assessing the offers and the business environment including tariffs and clearance times.

At the Kwala Dry Port, there is 10-hectare area allocated for handling DRC cargo passing through the Dar es Salaam. Most of the cargo to DRC’s eastern regions passes through Kenya’s Mombasa port. Tanzania’s refurbished Dar port and the new Tanga Port are expected to raise the tempo of rivalry.

The DR Congo delegation was led by the Director of Customs and Excise Rene Kalala Masimango.

Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) Property Manager Alexander Ndibalema said that the dry port that is located outside Dar es Salaam city would reduce congestion at Dar by 30 per cent and increase government revenue through the cargo served at the port. It will handle such cargo as cars and other solid imports mostly on transit to neighbouring Burundi, Rwanda, DR Congo, Uganda, Zambia and Malawi.
Dar es Salaam port handled about three million tonnes of DR Congo transit cargo, according to TPA.

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“We have come to see its performance and we have seen the great work and good arrangement of the port,” Masimango said on Monday in Dar.

Tanzania’s Ambassador to DR Congo Said Juma Mshana said the Congolese were in Tanzania to strengthen trade between the two neighbouring states.

Tanzania currently attracts DRC shipping and transport firms to use the Indian Ocean ports of Dar es Salaam and Tanga then Lake Tanganyika ports of Kibirizi, Kasanga and Karemaport on Lake Tanganyika.

Karema has been modernised to handle the DRC transit cargo to minimise the time spent through Zambia. It will speed up cargo transport the Zambia route, and which takes up to two weeks for transit cargo from Dar es Salaam to be cleared at final destinations in Congo.

In turn, DRC has established a liaison office at the Dar port to facilitate the establishment and operations of its new shipping line, the state-owned Lignes Maritimes Congolaises.