The terrible performance of TICTS in handling containers at the Dar es Salaam Port over the past 20 years has spillover effects on the vast economic arrays of Tanzania’s economy.
The underperformance of the Dar es Salaam port has cost the government trillions in loss of revenues as there has been reported exodus of local and foreign companies to Kenya – Mombasa Port to seek what is missing at the Dar Port, i.e. timely clearing of containers, low clearing costs and low cost doing business.
The exodus by companies is reportedly to seek safe haven for their products or goods and to escape any possible loss at Dar Port. Let’s take Horticulture (flowers, vegetables, fruits) as one of the vulnerable and fragile goods demanding sophisticated storage and speedy exportation not to end in a decline of their quality that may subsequently affect their price at the market.
Considering the vulnerability of their products, relocating is inevitable. Horticulture companies seem to have found a safe gateway to the world Market through Mombasa Port. These companies are mainly of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Mbeya and Njombe.
Horticulture is one of the fast-growing sectors in Tanzania, growing at an annual rate of 6-10%, considered one of the primary sources of foreign exchange and for significant economic growth with $771 million worth of exports 2020/2022 targeting $2 billion by 2030.
Considering Dar Port’s status quo, the chance of rescuing the port with TICTS still handling 80% of the containers section seems slim. For instance, In 2021, the Dar es Salaam Port was ranked 362 out of 370 in the global Container Port Performance Index (CPPI).
The ranking is based on the time trucks spend at the port to complete the workload. It’s reported that it takes 12-14 days to clear the cargo, which is contrary to international standards of around 3 – 5 days. What’s the chance for Avocados to survive 12-14 days?
TICTS operation at the Dar Port is detrimental to state security. Its malfunction intensifies poverty and unemployment, which may render social unrest. It is high time the government should act rationally in deciding the fate of Dar Port, either leave it in the hands of TICTS or take it for good for the benefit of the masses.