Tanzanian port receives Chinese backing

port-embassyofequitorialguinea-flickrExperts have predicted that there could be a major shift in trade flow in EAC, favouring Tanzania. (Image source: Embassy of Equatorial Guinea/Flickr)China’s Export Import Bank has announced its support to the development of the US$11bn Bagamoyo Port in Tanzania

According to reports, Phase 1 of the deep-water port could begin in 2017. Located 75km south of Dar es Salaam, the port is expected to be bigger than Kenya’s Mombasa Port and the biggest in Africa.

Bagamoyo Port will have a capacity of 20mn containers per year, as opposed to Dar es Salaam’s 500,000 and Mombasa’s 600,000. The port would also be equipped with ro-ro terminals, dry bulk and multi-purpose terminals.

In addition, China has agreed to support the construction of road and rail networks to connect the rest of Tanzania to port area, added reports.

Economists, business executives and trade experts have predicted that with the ongoing mega infrastructure projects, the East African Community (EAC) region can expect a major shift in the flow of trade favouring Tanzania, which is set to have four ports — Bagamoyo, Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mtwara — ready in three years.

Meanwhile, Kenya will have only two major ports — Mombasa and Lamu. According to NGO TradeMark East Africa, Mombasa’s status as an East Africa Community (EAC) hub has fluctuated over the past few years, with reduced container capacity and delays in clearance of goods.

The World Bank has estimated that it takes 20 days for a container cargo to reach Nairobi from Mombasa, 22 days to Kampala and 24 days to Kigali. As a result, road transport costs and indirect costs of port delays account for 35 and 42 per cent of the cost of importation of transit cargo through Kenya by road.

Geoffrey Tindimwebwa, managing director at Unifreight Cargo Handling Limited in Uganda, said that the proposed Bagamoyo Port offers a shorter route to the sea, while cutting costs. 

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