Uganda and Tanzania have agreed for the former to transport import and export cargo through Dar es Salaam Port, a move that stands to have substantial benefits for both economies.
The two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to that effect in Dar es Salaam on Friday as Uganda delegation was led by Minister for Finance, Planning and Economic Development Dr Maria Kiwanuka and Tanzania delegation was headed by Minister for Transport Dr Harrison Mwakyembe which included Finance Minister Dr William Mgimwa.
Minister Mwakyembe told reporters after the signing of the MoU conclusion that Uganda have decided to transport its goods through Dar es Salaam after learning that there were improvements on port’s efficiency.
“We are doing everything possible at high pace to ensure that efficiency is improved, we have for instance reduced time for container clearance from 21 days to the current seven days, this is attractive to the neighbouring country who had opted for other ports such as Mombasa, Kenya” noted Mwakyembe.
He affirmed: “For 2011 Uganda transported its imported cargo through Mombasa port at a rate of 99 per cent and only one percent passed through Dar es Salaam for 2012 almost no Uganda cargo passed through Tanzania, and at this rate you can imagine how much money Tanzania loses a year.
He said he was determined to see a quick change of trend in the next six months as the signed MoU is supposed to be implemented right away.
“We are talking a cargo of two to three million tones a year, therefore we have agreed that Uganda will dispatch two engines and 200 wagons which will operate from Tabora to Mwanza on Tanzania rail so as to ensure a smooth movement of cargo,” observed the minister.
The two governments have agreed that documentation at the Dar es Salaam Port involving the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), the Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS) along with clearing and forwarding agents should not take more than two days.
This should start being observed with immediate effect upon presentation of proper documentation, while shippers are being urged to finalise documentation 24 hours prior to arrival of designated cargo.
The MoU also provides that the service providers’ target of seven days dwell time be attained in the next six months. They also agreed to appoint a monitoring and facilitating team with membership from both parties under the leadership of the central corridor Transit Transport Facilitation Agency (TTFA) to ensure the seamless and swift flow of transit goods traffic.
Other key areas agreed upon and the deadline set for February 15 include the reintroduction of Roll-On Roll-Off operations at Mwanza and Port Bell to achieve optimal efficiency of marine operations. TRL will also provide 60 flat –bed and 40 covered wagons and two dedicated locomotives for Uganda – bound cargo operations between Dar es Salaam and Tabora, meanwhile as operations of transit time between Dar es Salaam and Tabora by TRL are not supposed to take more than three days.
On its part Uganda will acquire land near Dar es Salaam to establish an Inland Container Depot (ICD), where Uganda bound cargo will be stored before transportation.
Other ministers on the Uganda delegation were John Byabagambi, the Minister of State for Works and Transport plus Davis Wakiona, the Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives.
The Tanzania delegation included the Deputy Minister for Transport Charles Tizeba, the Deputy Minister for Industry and Trade, Gregory Teu and the TRA Commissioner General, Harry Kitilya.
The MoU will be reviewed every six months, the parties agreed.