by Ben Taylor
Tanzania receives financing to expand port
Tanzania signed a $565 million deal in September with the World Bank and other development partners to expand the port of Dar es Salaam. This is part of plans to boost the country’s role as a regional trade hub.
Tanzania wants to lift capacity to 28 million tonnes a year by 2020 from the 14.6 million tonnes it handled in the financial year 2013/14. The World Bank said in May that inefficiencies at the port cost Tanzania and neighbours up to $2.6 billion a year.
“The Dar es Salaam port handles about 90% of Tanzania’s trade, but port delays have been worsened by limitations in operational efficiency. We believe that this programme will turn around the port,” said Minister of Transport Harrison Mwakyembe.
Expanding air travel connections
Three airlines based in the Middle East, Emirates, flydubai and Etihad, have all, in quick succession, expanded their range of flights to Dar es Salaam. From 1 January 2015, Emirates will increase their weekly service from 12 flights to 14. Budget airline flydubai has introduced flights to Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar, and Etihad, based in Abu Dhabi, announced they would begin operating a daily flight to Dar es Salaam from December 2015. They have operated a cargo service to Dar es Salaam since June 2014.
Ambitious transport plans in Dar es Salaam
A series of rail and road transport plans have recently been announced in and around Dar es Salaam. In October the Minister of Transport Harrison Mwakyembe announced that his ministry had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a US-based investor, Robert Shumake, to set up a state-of-the-art railway service between the airport and the city centre. This announcement was met with much scepticism on social media, with many commentators noting Shumake’s chequered history as a businessman and lack of experience in the rail transport sector. In parliament, the opposition also accused the Ministry of bypassing procurement regulations in setting up the deal.
In November Minister of Works John Magufuli announced a TSh 110 billion project to construct a new bridge between Coco Beach on the Msasani peninsular and the Aga Khan hospital on Barack Obama Drive (formerly Ocean Road). The kilometre-long bridge will be 80% financed by the government of South Korea and construction will take two years starting in early 2015. The bridge will ease pressure on Selander Bridge, a current major bottleneck, and enable quicker travel between Oyster Bay and the city centre.
Also in November the Minister of State Stephen Wasira announced in parliament that 12 firms had submitted bids for construction of a new six-lane highway between Dar and Chalinze. The 100km road will be a toll-road, with the old road remaining available to those unwilling to pay. Previously Wasira announced plans to ease traffic congestion in Dar. “We are building four flyovers at Tazara, Ubungo, Gerezani and DIT junctions, and I promise the residents of Dar es Salaam that within three years, jams will become history.”
Minister of Transport Harrison Mwakyembe announced the formation of a 12-person special committee to develop strategies to curb road traffic accidents in the country. This followed the news that in just three months – June, July and August 2014 – 3,370 road accidents in Tanzania claimed over 1,000 lives. “This is a very serious situation, we cannot just sit down and watch innocent Tanzanians dying unjustifiably,” said Mwakyembe. Speaking at the same meeting Inspector General of Police Ernest Mangu attributed 90% of accidents to human error – speeding, drunk driving, tired drivers and lack of professionalism on the road.