Poor System Impedes Dar Corridor…as money pours to bankroll improvement

Dar es Salaam – Transport costs along the Dar es Salaam Corridor have more than doubled the global average due to poor infrastructure, lengthy border crossing times, too many roadblocks and congestion at the Port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
A recent survey at Dar es Salaam Port has found that up to 66 percent of cargo delays at the port are due to customs delays and that once customs cleared, the movement of cargo takes an average of half a day.
The survey conducted by Dr Andrew Mwali, the Corridor’s Sustainability Specialist, states that the interventions in the last two years have resulted in the reduction of average cargo dwell time at the port from 37 to 15 days.
Dwell time for Zambian cargo has reduced from 36 to 8 days while that of Democratic Republic Congo (DRC) and Malawi has reduced from 45 to 6.3 days and 36 to 13.8 days, respectively.
The average turn round time of ships, Dr Mwali says, has been reduced from 4 days to 1.7 days in recent years.
“This has clearly freed the facilities and space at the port for re-use, thereby resulting in increased capacity utilisation and consequently throughput.
“As a result, there has been an increase in throughput of Dar es Salaam port, which translates into increased revenue,” Mwali said.
The development comes as Zambian Mines Minister, Christopher Yaluma, has challenged management at its national mines Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) and Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) to maximise the use of the Dar-es-Salaam route to help improve revenue for the corridor.
Minister Yaluma argues that the two companies should transport all their copper through the Dar-es-Salaam Corridor instead of the southern route through the Port of Walvis Bay in Namibia or Maputo in Mozambique “which are far in distance and prove too costly”.
The Southern Africa Trade Hub (SATH) has given a US$10 million grant to the Dar es Salaam Corridor Committee (DCC), for its capacity building efforts and supporting interventions to reduce transport costs, according to the hub’s recent trade report.
The DCC, which comprises the private and public sector apex, was established to design and implement cross-border and multi-country programmes to eliminate these expensive barriers to intraregional and international trade.
Transport costs for both rail and road along the corridor remain high due to multiple factors, among them poor transport infrastructure, lengthy and cumbersome border crossing procedures, delays at the port and too many roadblocks and checkpoints along the route, according to the SATH trade report.
They say that the DCC will assist stakeholders along the Dar es Salaam Corridor to identify and address impediments to transport along the corridor.
The committee also plays a pivotal role in advocating for and enabling change to facilitate more efficient transportation for Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and the DRC.
The corridor connects the Zambian Copperbelt to the Port of Dar es Salaam on the east coast of Tanzania.
It also carries significant cargo to and from the DRC, Malawi and southern Tanzania.
For the last two years, the DCC has been negotiating with the World Bank to support activities to improve performance along the corridor and build the capacity of the DCC as part of the Southern Africa Trade and Transport Facilitation Project in Tanzania.
With the SATH grant awarded in 2011, the DCC undertook pre-assessment reports for three project areas namely – the bilateral agreements and road transport facilitation; rationalisation of rail freight movement and port-city interface.
The pre-assessment reports have detailed specific project interventions, potential benefits and human/financial resources required to implement each project area.
In 2012, the World Bank accepted the assessments and project proposals and agreed to provide US$5 million for capacity building at the DCC Secretariat as well as a further US$5 million for DCC programme implementation for the next three to five years.
Implementation of activities with these funds will improve the quality of logistics and support services along the corridor thereby reducing the costs of trade.
“Transport costs along the Dar es Salaam Corridor are more than double the global average due to poor infrastructure, lengthy border crossing times, too many roadblocks and congestion at the Port of Dar es Salaam.
Dr Mwali stipulates in the report that: “An empowered Dar Corridor Committee will form the private and public sector apex for designing and implementing cross-border and multi-country programmes to eliminate these expensive barriers to intra-regional and international trade.”

 

November 2012
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