Tanzania halts construction of largest port in East Africa

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Tanzania has decided to halt what was to be, upon completion, the largest port in East Africa. The Tanzanian Ministry for Works, Transport and Communications said that the construction of the US$ 10bn Bagamoyo port was stopped mainly because it needed more attention, a lot of planning and a major source of funding.

The port was expected to handle 20 million containers a year, compared to Mombasa’s 600,000 and Dar es Salaam’s 500,000 containers but instead Tanzania chose to focus on improving the capacity and efficiency of the other two; Dar es Salaam and Mtwara ports.

The Tanzanian Minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Prof Makame Mbarawa confirmed the news and said that they are currently working on the two ports and in the process of upgrading berths 1 to 7 and constructing two new ones; 13 and 14.

“I do not want to reveal too much details or plans by the government on the fate of the Bagamoyo project. What I can say is only that we are currently concentrating on the Dar es Salaam and Mtwara ports,” Prof Makame said.

He also said that they are facing financial challenges in regards to upgrading the Dar es Salaam and Mtwara Ports, however, World Bank has agreed to fund the facelift of berths 1 to 7 and talks are ongoing to also finance the construction of berths 13 and 14. The government will then hopefully commence the refurbishment this year and complete by 2018.

Construction of the first stages of the Bagamoyo port had already kicked off after the former President Jakaya Kikwete broke ground last October.

The project will occupy 800 hectares and another 1,700 hectares of Portside Industrial Zone, which will be developed under tripartite agreement of Government of Tanzania (GoT), China Merchants Holdings International (CMHI) from China and State Government Reserve Fund (SGRF) from Oman.