For the past few days, business stakeholders have been pleading the government not to offer a new contract to the Tanzania International Containers Terminal Services (TICTS) following its poor performance at the Dar es Salaam port causing unnecessary container congestion leading to shipment delays and expensiveness in conducting business.
The wails of the stakeholders have caught the attention of online activists and political parties that have been raising their voices urging the government to cut any anticipated plans of the new contract to TICTS as their current contract is imminent to expire.
Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT – Wazalendo), an active and fledgling political party in Tanzania, has released a statement expressing its dissatisfaction with TICTS operations at Dar es Salaam Port claiming the company to be threatening public interests since it behaves contrary to the founding agreements.
According to ACT-Wazalendo, in early 2000, the government, through Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), privatized the containers operational section at the Dar Port to private firms, i.e. International Containers Terminal Service Inc (ICTSI) and Tanzania International Containers Terminal Service (TICTS) whereas, according to the contract, ICTSI was a strategic investor and TICTS as the Terminal Investor to deal specifically with containers. As for TICTS, it was formed by domestic and international stakeholders.
The contract demanded TICTS:
- To increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the port to boost the country’s economy.
- Lower costs of charging containers imported and exported through the port to sustain competition with neighbouring countries.
- To attract domestic and international cargo to pass through Dar Port.
- Install new and modern technology at the port and train local residents to administer the port’s activities.
ACT Wazalendo through its statement, reveals that in the past 20 years, TICTS has not succeeded in implementing any of the above agreements as per contract, prompting poor performance and causing trillions of shillings in loss of government revenue as businesses stakeholders have been resorting to neighbouring countries such as Kenya for quality services.
In that regard, ACT Wazalendo gave the government five cognitive recommendations on handling the TICTS controversy.
- The government should take decisive action considering the national interests regarding renting containers section at the Dar Port.
- The government should not offer the new contract to TICTS because it has failed to deliver as per the contract.
- The government should conduct thorough due diligence on other experienced international companies by comparing TICTS’ general performance over the past 20 years and see if the new company can deliver to the government’s new expectations.
- Government should assist TPA in handling the containers section during the transition period as it seeks a new investor.
- The government should ensure efficiency and effectiveness at the port, considering that much of what is happening in the government’s fault.