The discovery of oil and gas in the Mtwara and Lindi regions in Tanzania is the main reason for the upgrade process Mtwara port is to undergo. The two regions have the largest share of the 43 trillion cubic feet of natural gas discovered in Tanzania.
Mtwara port manager, Musiba Fikili, said that the port management will undertake two major steps in order to deal with the rise in number of cargo the port handles annually. The management hopes that the amount of cargo handled would rise to 28 million tons annually from the current 400,000 tons. The first step would be to expand the port, while the other would be to improve infrastructure and working equipment like cranes and tractors. US$ 1.7m will be used for the infrastructure.
The government of Tanzania had estimated the cost of Mtwara port rehabilitation at US$ 214m. This would see the port being expanded and upgraded to meet international standards.
Under this project, the port will be able to berth seven ships up from the four ships. Mr. Fikili added that the management has acquired 100 hectares of land to construct a free port zone and another 400 hectares has been set aside for oil and gas processing activities. The Free port Zones are customs controlled areas where imported free duty goods are stored for purpose of trade.
Once Mtwara port achieves international standards, it will serve to immensely promote the economy of Tanzania due to increased cargo passing through the port. It will also attract manufacturers of various commodities who will be attracted by the close proximity of the port that enables easy shipment of materials manufactured by the companies.