Tanzania begins work on $10bn port backed by China, Oman

Port at Bagamoyo, 75km north of Dar es Salaam, is set to be Tanzania’s biggest

PHOTO: In 2012, inefficiencies at the Dar es Salaam port were estimated to cost Tanzania’s economy $1.8 billion. Credit: Shutterstock

Tanzania has begun construction work on a $10 billion port and special economic zone backed by China and Oman, it was reported.

The port, set to be the East African nation’s biggest, is being built at Bagamoyo, located 75km north of Dar es Salaam. The Tanzanian capital currently houses the country’s main port, which is operating beyond its capacity and has limited space for expansion, Reuters reported.

“The construction of the Bagamoyo port and a special economic zone is aimed at realising the government’s goal of bringing about an industrial revolution in Tanzania,” said President Jakaya Kikwete at the groundbreaking ceremony of the port, quoted by Reuters.

Construction on phase one of the project will take three years, he added.

Government officials said the port will be able to handle mega-ships with a container vessel size of 8,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) once the first phase is complete, with room for expansion.

The entire project, including roads, railways and the economic zone, is expected to take ten years to complete, it was reported.

The project is backed by China Merchants Holdings (International), the largest port operator in China, and Oman’s State General Reserve Fund. The Chinese firm will handle much of the construction work.

In 2012, inefficiencies at the Dar es Salaam port were estimated to cost $1.8 billion for the Tanzanian economy and $830 million for its neighbouring countries, according to the World Bank. These losses were equivalent to approximately 7% of Tanzania’s GDP, are were attributed to several factors, such as corruption and long delays affecting ships arriving in Dar es Salaam.

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