The Government has planned to procure modern facilities that will reduce the time for unloading cargoes at the country's ports, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has said. This is part of the ongoing efforts to upgrade infrastructure at the country's ports in a bid to improve services and attract more customers from great lakes regions.

The Premier made the remarks yesterday in Dar es Salaam during a meeting with marine transport stakeholders. He said the Government has undertaken major improvements at the ports of Dar es Salaam, Tanga, and Mtwara, calling for stakeholders from the private sector to continue bringing more ships into the country. "Apart from that, we have also renovated Kabwe and Kasanga ports along Lake Tanganyika. The Government has also constructed the Karema Port for the sake of simplifying the transportation of people and their goods to and from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia," he said.

On his part, the Minister for Works and Transport, Dr. Leonard Chamuriho said the Government is about to finish the construction work at the Dar es Salaam Port. "We have completed the construction of all seven berths, now we are at the container terminals at the berths number six and seven whose completion is set for next month, (August)," he said.

The Minister reassured the commitment to continue supervising the daily operation of the ports for the sake of ensuring the tangible impact to the national economy. The Director-General of Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC) Masanja Kadogosa said the corporation has managed to renovate over 200 train wagons for cargoes to DRC and Burundi. He said, in the current financial year, the Government has set aside a budget for renovating 660 wagons and nine engines. Implementation of the budget would start anytime soon.

"From next week, TRC shall start transporting crude oil to Uganda; to begin with, we shall transport one million liters of petroleum products. This task has been stuck for over the past 15 years," he said. For their part, port stakeholders commended the Government for its efforts in improving the transport sector, suggesting everlasting initiatives to attract more customers for the country's ports.

Apart from Dr. Chamuriho and Mr. Kadogosa, others in attendance were representatives from Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA) and Tanzania Shipping Agencies Corporation (TASAC) and other stakeholders.