Business Review Writer
The Tanzania Ports of Authority (TPA) has taken its regional expansion drive to Zimbabwe, and opened a country office in Harare this Tuesday.
TPA describes itself as the “landlord” ports authority in the east African country and operates a system of ports serving the Tanzania hinterland and the land-linked countries of Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Rwanda, Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Lately, the authority has embarked on a charm offensive with advertisements on international media linked to its expansion drive.
Tanzania’s Minister of Works, Transport and Communications, Professor Makame Mbarawa, who officially opened the TPA office said one of the most remarkable features of the port industry in Tanzania is that it is a major source of government revenues, whereby taxes on imports and exports handled through the major ports contribute over 50 percent of total tax revenues collected in the country annually.
The TPA comes at a time when bilateral trade is increasing between Zimbabwe and Tanzania.
Zimbabwe and Tanzania are also enjoying increased cooperation in the aviation sector.
“Business between Tanzania and Zimbabwe is fast growing, where the volume of transit cars from Japan and European countries to Zimbabwe through the Dar es Salaam Port has been rising quite impressively. For example, during the 2020/2021 financial year, total units of cars were 14 946, while for the 2021/2022 fiscal year, total units of cars were 46 519. This number will be more impressive for the 2023/2024 financial year,” he said.
Mbarawa said the opening of the TPA Country Office in Zimbabwe cements the dedication by the Government of Tanzania to ensure and encourage the business community to continue using the TPA services.
He said Tanzania would assist in eliminating bottlenecks in logistics and payments.
“The Tanzanian Government is ready to work together with the Zimbabwean Government and all other stakeholders to ensure that we reduce and eliminate those impediments”, he said.
Zimbabwe’s Transport and Infrastructural Development Permanent Secretary Engineer Joy Makumbe said Tanzania was contributing to Zimbabwe becoming a land-linked nation.
“The presence of the Tanzania Ports Authority in Zimbabwe cements the government’s strategy to become a land-linked nation as our importers and exporters can be assisted with compliance issues when importing or exporting their goods through the Port of Dar es Salam.
“For Zimbabwe, the Dar es Salam Port has become a port of choice, especially for vehicle imports from Asia.
“It is our desire that both our nations come together and revitalise our railway infrastructure in the medium to long term so that bulk goods and vehicles that are currently driven to Zimbabwe by road can be moved by train. Some of our people are getting involved in road traffic accidents before they reach their final destinations due to fatigue,” said Makumbe.
“In that regard, let’s work together and put policies that promote the usage of our railway entities. As for Zimbabwe, we have already embarked on the recapitalisation of the National Railways of Zimbabwe with rolling stock and capital for rehabilitation of track infrastructure.
“As you may be aware, Zimbabwe and Tanzania have already operationalised the Bilateral Air Service Agreement which saw Air Zimbabwe and Air Tanzania operate routes between the two nations. Based on our moral obligation to have the spirit of friendship and co-operation initiated by our founding fathers, let us work towards the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro decision to fully liberalise air transport in Africa, starting with our own air spaces”.
In recent years, Zimbabwe has increasingly used Tanzanian ports, especially Dar es Salaam, for trade including transit of used cars from Japan as well as various other goods from places such as China and other Asian countries as well as Europe; moving away from more traditional gateways such as Beira which is being affected by instability in Mozambique, while Durban, South Africa, remains costly.
he World Bank says as an anchor port supporting not just Tanzania’s trade but also its landlocked neighbors like Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Dar es Salaam has a central role in regional trade facilitation and integration.
Between 2015 and 2020, for example, the volumes of trade for these countries handled at the port increased by 16.6% to 16.01 million metric tons from 13.7 million metric tons in 2015. It is projected the port will handle over 30 million tons per year by 2030. Thus, the port’s efficiency and effectiveness are key to unlocking the flow of trade and increasing the region’s overall competitiveness.