In October 2015, former President Jakaya Kikwete laid the foundation stone for the Bagamoyo Port project and said that obstacles had been removed and implementation would be sped up. A […]
In October 2015, former President Jakaya Kikwete laid the foundation stone for the Bagamoyo Port project and said that obstacles had been removed and implementation would be sped up. A few months later, with new President John Magufuli now in power, construction works were suspended as the government decided to focus on improving capacity and performance at the ports of Dar es Salaam and Mtwara. Fast forward to October 2016, though, and works were ready to pick up again.
It all started in March 2008, when the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) hired consultants to prepare a report on current and expected maritime traffic in the country. The report, published in 2010, showed that Dar es Salaam’s port would have provided sufficient capacity to handle traffic up to 2016 in a high forecast case, and 2020 in a low forecast case. After that, additional infrastructure had to be built and a new port at Bagamoyo appeared to be the solution.
Since then, Tanzania has worked on the planning and construction of large-scale container and vehicle facilities, a port that would become East Africa’s largest port and which would fall under the Special Economic Zone in Bagamoyo, 53km north of Dar es Salaam.
The proposed Bagamoyo project is in fact more than just a port. It consists of a seaport, supporting infrastructure, and a portside industrial zone. And, according to government sources, the construction of the three parts will be developed simultaneously.
The seaport is set to cover initially a total area of 100ha; however, an additional 700ha has been allocated for subsequent phases of the port’s development. It will consist of four berths, of which two will be dedicated to containers, one for multipurpose general cargo and a service berth. The expected size for container vessels is 8,000 TEUs/100,000 DWT and the port’s ambition is to cater for over 1 million TEUs, against the around 600,000 TEUs that currently represent the traffic in Dar es Salaam.
Covering an area of 1,700ha, the portside industrial zone will be built up in phases over a 10-year span at a pace of 170ha per year. Infrastructure, including road connection, green belt, water, power, gas, and telecommunications will occupy one-third of the total area, while the remaining two-thirds will be workshops and warehouses, and used for the construction of factories. Once established, the free zone is expected to accommodate about 130 enterprises and will generate its own trade.
The supporting infrastructure will be built by the government of Tanzania and will consist of some technical works as well as direct links able to connect the port to crucial areas of the country. Works will include: the dredging of the channel; power and water supply up to the border of the port project; telecommunication systems to the border of the port project; roads to Dar es Salaam, Mlandizi, and the perimeter of Bagamoyo town; and railway lines connecting the project with TAZARA and the Central Railway Line.
The Bagamoyo Project is due to be co-financed and constructed under a tripartite agreement of the government of Tanzania, China Merchants Holdings International (CMHI), and the State Government Reserve Fund (SGRF) of Oman. If things go according to the current schedule, construction is expect to start in 2017, making the port operational in 2021.
Tanzania has huge expectations for the project as it is expected to promote regional economic development by attracting FDI, decongesting Dar es Salaam Port, as well as creating a significant number of employment opportunities.
The Bagamoyo Project could also become a crucial element for President Magufuli to achieve his ambition of industrializing Tanzania, as resources coming from East Africa region to the port will present a huge opportunity for in-country value addition.
Tanzania has a strategic position on the coast of the Indian Ocean but, currently, the port of Salalah in Oman and the one of Durban in South Africa are the only two major ports serving the region. Bagamoyo can match them and enable Tanzania to become a new growth engine in the new round of global industrial migration.
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