Tanzania: President Magufuli Calls for Increased Maritime Trade

The Port of Dar es Salaam (Image Courtesy: Ports and Ships)

Tanzanian President, John Pombe Magufuli urged Tanzanians and Rwandans to identify investment opportunities that would stimulate business between the two East African Community (EAC) member countries, which would boost bilateral trade and their economies in particular.

Noting that business transactions between Rwanda and Tanzania rebounded in 2015 after falling for three consecutive years, President Magufuli said that annual trade between the two neighbours fell by almost half, from Sh106.54 billion in 2011 to Sh64 billion in 2014.

“Last year alone, we managed to increase Rwanda’s cargo traffic at the Dar es Salaam port to more than 950 tonnes, an amount we had never handled previously,” he revealed.

Dr Magufuli was addressing journalists at State House during a joint press conference after he held talks with Rwanda President Paul Kagame in Dar es Salaam.

The two presidents also agreed that, by end of this year, they will have laid a foundation stone for the construction of the standard gauge railways (SGR) from Isaka to Kigali as part of efforts to connect Rwanda to Dar es Salaam port.

Isaka is an inland container terminal (ICT) in western Tanzania which acquired the dry port status in 1999. In effect, this has ‘moved’ the port of Dar es Salaam nearer to its customers in the landlocked countries of Burundi, Rwanda, DRC and Uganda.

To consolidate the trade relations with Uganda, the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) opened an office in the Rwanda capital Kigali last year – thus enabling Rwandan importers and exporters to carry out all the logistic requirements inside their home country, instead of traveling all the way to Dar es Salaam and back, and so on, and so forth, to attend to the logistics.

This also went hand-in-hand with the opening of the Rwanda inland container depot (ICD) to facilitate the handling and storage of Rwanda’s import and export cargo consignments, 70 per cent of which pass through the Dar es Salaam port.

Sea News, January 17