THE Dar es Salaam port may lose many customers from landlocked countries if it will not immediately address the problem of congestion.
This was learnt here yesterday when the Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda visited Namibia Port Authority at Walvis Bay port and was informed that the port was planning to serve all SADC countries by 2015.
The port's Sales Manager, Mr Elias Mwenyo, told the premier that the port had received international status and was currently serving countries in South America, Northern America, West Africa, Europe and Asia.
He said initially the port was merely a conduit of goods but currently was serving landlocked countries of Zambia, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Botswana and Zimbabwe. "Good road, railway and air travel to SADC countries have enabled us to serve these countries -- we're crossing the Kalahari desert instead of going to Durban or Cape Town, South Africa and therefore we save seven to 11 days of transporting cargo," noted Mr Mwenyo.
When asked by Mr Pinda how many days ships were using in water before anchoring in the port, Mr Mwenyo said there were no such days because the ships are giving 72 day notice to the port before arrival.
He said the port, which had never lost any cargo, had the capacity of handling 4 million tones of cargo per year and 350 cargo ships per month. It has also workshops for rehabilitating ships once they break down or develop technical problems.
Earlier this week, President Jakaya Kikwete instructed the minister for Infrastructure Development, Dr Shukuru Kawambwa to reduce clearance days at the port from the current 23 to 10 days.
The Tanzania Port Authority (TPA) also presented a report to Mr Pinda on September 24, this year, indicating that Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mtwara ports have the capacity of handling 11 million tones per year, but handled only 6.2 million tones (58 per cent) in 2007/08.
Mr Pinda is today expected to meet Namibia President Mr Hifikepunye Pohamba, visit Goreangab water project at Katutura, Windhoek before returning home in the afternoon.