By Cheji Bakari
Tanga — TANGA Regional Commissioner Martine Shigella has appealed to the ministry of Works, Transport and Communication to fast-track expansion of Tanga port due to its importance to East African land locked countries.
He told the Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communication Elias Kwandikwa who was on three – day visit in the region last week that the depth of the ocean near the dock of the port is too short to serve large and heavily loaded vessels. The situation causes those vessels to anchor far from the port and cargoes are offloaded and pulled up to the port dock using boats, he said.
He further explained that annually the port is handling at least 28 million tonnes of imported and exported cargoes and East African countries which are using the port are Rwanda, Uganda and Congo DRC. “We ask your ministry to speed up the process of expanding Tanga port because at least three East African land locked countries are using this port to clear their cargoes ” he said.
“Although till now the ongoing process is to advertise the tender for contractor who will perform the work, the ministry should speed up the process so that the port can serve large vessels.” T
he Deputy Minister Kwandikwa said Tanga and Zanzibar ports were in government’ s plan for major expansion targeted to increase average import and export cleared cargoes between overseas countries and East African countries.
Tanga is the longest serving port in East Africa. It is a lighterage port with two shallow water berths. The visiting ocean going vessels are anchored at stream buoys being a maritime safety requirement.
It is strategically located to serve the northern Regions of Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Manyara, the lake zone and neighbouring countries of Rwanda, Burundi and Northern part of Uganda.