Tanzania Hopes Bagamoyo Port Project Will Kick Off in Fiscal Year 2024-2025

Responding to a question in Parliament in mid-April 2024, the Tanzanian Deputy Minister of Transport David Kihenzile stated provided an update on the long awaited and much anticipated Bagamoyo Port Project (BPP).

The Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) has allocated TSH 22 billion to implement the BPP in fiscal year 2024-2025. Residents in the port project area have been relocated and compensation have been disbursed to make some 887 hectares available for the seaport and Special Economic Zone (#SEZ).

Bagamoyo Port SEZ Master Plan
Bagamoyo Port SEZ Master Plan

Recalling the history of the project, the Feasibility Study was completely way back in 2010. Then, Tanzania and China signed an agreement to develop the Bagamoyo Port during the official visit of Chinese President XI Jinping in 2013.

China was then supposed to be responsible for the financing and building of the projects. China Merchant Holdings International (CMHI) would then be the port operator for a guaranteed 33 years, and an option for extension for 99 years. Tanzania would have to make concessions on its sovereignty by agreeing to abandon any plans to develop any other seaports from Tanga to Mtwara.

The cost of the project was estimated at USD 10 billion and the Bagamoyo Port would become the largest on the Eastern African seaboard. By 2045, Bagamoyo would be capable to handle up to 20 million TEU, a 25-fold increase of the current capacity of Dar es Salaam port.

In 2019, late former President John Magufuli later cancelled the project on the grounds that the terms were ‘exploitative’ and not at all in favor of Tanzania. In November 2022, President Hassan undertook a state visit to China and held talks about development projects. Then, on June 2023, she announced that the Bagamoyo port is back on track as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (#BRI).

The first phase of the BPP would consist of three docks of 1,000 meters in length with a depth of 15.5 meters. These docks will be able to accommodate simultaneously three medium container ships up to 8,000 TEU each.