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Tanzania Ports Authority: Transforming Tanzanian Ports

Established in 2004, the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) is both landlord and operator of a system of ports that serve the importing and exporting of cargo across the Tanzania hinterland and the land-linked countries of Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Rwanda, Malawi, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Their role is to manage and develop the regional maritime trade and logistics services to a place of excellence both in Tanzania and in the global port industry.  

TPA works as an overarching authority across six ports, to manage the diverse system of sea and inland waterways on Tanzania’s mainland. Their role is to establish and coordinate these systems and develop their facilities to maximise their cargo potential. The major seaports under TPA are Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mtwara, with the smaller seaports of Kilwa, Lindi, Mafia, Panagani, and Bagamoyo and the lake ports of Victoria, Tanganyika and Nyasa all under their authority. Equipped with a range of machinery and equipment to handle a range of different cargo, the TPA offer a range of services to help manage and process containerized, dry bulk, break bulk and bulk liquid cargo. They also offer harbour facilities to ensure the safety and efficiency of ships coming into their ports; this includes pilotage, tugging, mooring and unmooring services. As a company, TPA leads the way in ensuring that all the needs of the port are met, and are continually developed to ensure they are efficient, safe, and running to a professional standard.   

As of 2023, one of TPA’s ports, The Port of Tanga, has been undergoing renovations to upgrade its facilities and was set to host the largest ship it had ever facilitated to date just a few months ago. The port was built in 1914 to serve the commercial and agricultural needs of northern Tanzania. As part of an ongoing development project at the Tanga port, TPA has been expanding the port’s ability to deal with larger cargo ships, and as of March this year, they welcomed their first mega ship into their port. As part of the phased renovation process, the TPA expanded the entrance to the channel, which has now been completed allowing much larger vessels into the port. The second phase in the construction is for a new 450km long berth which will allow for a dramatic increase in cargo capacity to reach 1,201,000 tons per annum. However, they are predicting a 3 million target cargo volume per year by the completion of the second phase of the project. By increasing the capacity of the port, larger ships can now dock at the Tanga port to increase the efficiency of cargo handling by reducing the number of days needed from 5 days to just 3 depending on the size of the cargo.  

TPA is responsible for the Dar es Salaam port, which is the principal port of Tanzania with a current capacity of around 14.1 million metric tonnes of dry cargo and 6.0 million metric tonnes of bulk liquid cargo. Totalling 2,600 m in depth and with 11 deep water berths it handles 95% of Tanzania’s international trade and is strategically placed to serve the freight linkage to take goods between East and Central Africa, to the Middle and Far East, Europe, Australia, and America. TPA is implementing the Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Project (DMGP) which will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the port, to accommodate larger vessels. The project is planned to modernize the port by deepening and strengthening berths 1-7 and the RORO terminal. Furthermore, they plan to eventually dredge the entrance channel, turning circle and harbour basin. Then they plan to strengthen and deepen berths 8-11 and construct a new terminal jet. Therefore, we can see that TPA is constantly improving and developing even its largest port to ensure it can increase its capacity to be a leader in port control across Tanzania and allow for efficient handling of cargo at a much larger capacity.  

Overall, TPA leads the way in managing, aiding, and developing the ports of Tanzania. As authority over the ports, the government-owned company oversees the imports and exports into Tanzanian and ensures they are continually developed to meet the ever-increasing demand. Therefore, through their work, they are allowing new types of cargo and goods to be transported in and out of the country through their ports whilst maintaining a high standard of processing to position them as a leader for port authority services.