Tanzania Ports Authority Unveils Expansion Plan

On Tuesday 9 January 2024, the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) unveiled its plans for expanding its seaports at Dar es Salaam and Bagamoyo. Bagamoyo is situated some 70 km from the Capital Dar es Salaam along the coast going northwards, while Zanzibar is situated less than 56 km across the sea from Bagamoyo.

At the moment, the Dar es Salaam can accommodate ships with a maximum capacity of 8000 TEU while the largest boxships can now carry nearly 25000 TEU. Thus, there is clearly a need for an upgrade to cater for these larger vessels.

Similarly, two more deep-water berths will be constructed at Bagamoyo ports in order that to handle the Ultra Large Container Carriers (ULCC). The cost of each berth is estimated to be in the range of TSH 250 to 360 billion.

Initially, TPA envisages to use financing from the Government, but at the same time, private and foreign investors are welcome to enter into partnership in order to develop the port facilities.

“It is now time to construct long berths to accommodate the largest ships that the Dar es Salaam Port cannot handle. We are starting with the two long berths and later on we will be ready to receive an investor from the private sector to construct the others under a joint venture.”

TPA DG Mr Plasduce Mbossa

As part of the plan, TPA also intends to fast-track the construction of the Kurasini Industrial Logistics Park in order to decongest the container terminal.

In addition, TPA plans a liquid cargo port for petroleum products. Tanker ships will be able offload their petroleum products in a more efficient manner with a shorter turnaround time. The hydrocarbon can then be stored in two storage farms in the Dar es Salaam port area.

Proposed Bagamoyo Port SEZ Master Plan
Proposed Bagamoyo Port SEZ Master Plan

Previously, China Merchants Port (CMPort), in partnership with Oman’s State General Reserve Fund (SGRF), proposed to develop the Bagamoyo Port and #SEZ. The project would be a flagship under #BRI and was estimated at a whopping cost of USD 10 billion.

In 2019, late Tanzanian President John Magufuli did put the project on hold because he considered the terms quite ‘unfavorable.’ Now, President Samia Hassan is contemplating the revival of this mega-project, but, perhaps, in a slightly different shape and size.

TPA highlights that it is managing 12 berths but a few docks are always taken up for non-commercial purposes such as military vessels, floating libraries and other social activities.

Tanzania is competing with Kenya to be the preferred gateway into the Eastern and Central Africa. Therefore, Tanzania feels the need to modernize its ports and to upgrade existing ones in view of current and future needs.