Tanzanian Ports Authority Announces Two Major Port Development Bids Amidst Debates Over Dubai Agreement.

Tanzanian Ports Authority Announces Two Major Port Development Bids Amidst Debates Over Dubai Agreement.

In a recent announcement, the Tanzanian Ports Authority (TPA) has opened bidding for the construction of two key ports – Mgao Island in the Mtwara region and Mbegani in the Bagamoyo district, as well as the Tanga port.

These bids come at a time when debates and discussions continue regarding the handover of all Tanzanian ports to Dubai-based company DP World, following the Investment Cooperation Agreement (IGA) signed between Tanzania and Dubai in the field of port infrastructure.

On September 8th, TPA released a tender inviting contractors to submit proposals for the construction of the Mbegani port, with the bid invitation scheduled for release in November this year. The notice emphasized that all applications should be submitted in English and through the National e-Procurement System (Nest).

“Applications must be submitted via Nest by 2:00 PM on September 29, this year, and will be opened as soon as received, with the applicant being able to track the progress of their submission,” stated part of the notice, signed by TPA’s Director-General, Plasduce Mbossa.

A separate tender notice for constructing the Mgao Island port was issued on September 14, with the application deadline set for December 14 this year.

While Mwananchi did not obtain the tender notice, Mbossa assured that all processes are being conducted in accordance with the necessary regulations.

“People of Tanzania should be prepared for the activities as they are just beginning, and we have already announced further bids for the Tanga port and more to come,” Plasduce Mbossa.

The Tanzanian government has emphasized that the handover of all ports to a single investor does not accurately interpret the agreement, as the IGA serves as a framework for collaboration between Tanzania and Dubai to develop Tanzania’s ports.

Mbossa clarified that the IGA does not grant any legal ownership to the investor but rather paves the way for negotiations on investment agreements (HGAs) and their implementation.

“Our goal is to ensure economic growth aligns with modernized ports capable of accommodating large vessels,” he added.

Further ports set to have their bids announced, according to Mbossa, include Mbambabay, Kimondo, Bukoba, Mwanza, Tanga, and Dar es Salaam, which will sign agreements to establish a major oil terminal.

Speaking to Mwananchi, international contract expert Dr Rugelemeza Nshalla suggested that the ongoing developments could be a strategic manoeuvre on one hand and a legal decision by TPA on the other.

Nshalla argued that while the second part of the IGA explicitly involves all Tanzanian ports, it remains unclear what other existing contracts entail.

Legal expert Professor Issa Shivji, acknowledging that the second part of the IGA encompasses all ports in the country, found it challenging to comment further, as the content of other agreements remains undisclosed.

The Tanzanian ports issue continues to raise questions and provoke discussions about the extent and implications of the Dubai agreement in the country’s port development and management.