Delays in cargo release at Dar Port render manufacturers uncompetitive

Transport Minister Prof. Makame Mbarawa

Delays in cargo release and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA)’s verification process at the Dar es Salaam Port are some of the obstacles the Tanzania manufacturers cite as factors for their uncompetitiveness.

This is according to the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) members’ survey of 2015. Responding to the question which wanted the members to mention obstacles they faced when using the Dar es Salaam port, approximately 45 percent of 67 respondents cited delays in cargo release as one of the stumbling block to their business competitiveness.

It is understood that when the manufacturers import raw materials for different industrial uses, delay in release of the cargo forces them to pay demurrage charges which add to the cost of doing business hence making them uncompetitive.
The survey also shows that 40 percent of the respondents cited TRA’s long cargo verification process as an obstacle to the businesses competitiveness, while nearly 39 percent said multiple regulation by different authorities posed challenges to their businesses.

The CTI members also pointed out that storage and handling of cargo and the use of foreign currency (USD) as a medium of payment as another obstacle by 25 and 21 percent respectively. On the time taken to clear cargo from the Dar es Salam Port, the survey shows that 32 percent of 57 respondents used between 7 and 14 days to have their cargo released.

The survey also indicates that 21 percent of CTI importers used between 14 and 21 days before the port released their cargos while 12 percent said it was taking them between 21 and 30 days. Likewise, 11 percent of the respondent to the same question said it was taking more than 30 days to have their cargo released from the port while it was only 16 percent who could have their cargo released between 1 and 7 days of their cargo arrival at the port.

On uplift of cargo value, the CTI members have indicated that 46 percent of the 67 respondents had their cargo values very often uplifted while 25 percent of the respondent’s cargo was often uplifted. Likewise, 22 percent had their cargo sometimes face value uplift and it was only 5 percent whose cargo value never uplifted by the TRA.

In order to address the challenges importers face, CTI members have suggested among other things that there should be a single payment point for all charges; stop uplift of raw materials and or be accountable for unnecessary storage charges occasioned.
Also the survey results show that for the challenges the importers face to be resolved, the TRA staff should be frequently updated on the pricing of commodities in the world market, and consider to completely exempt from the verification process of regular importers who have never defaulted thereby leading to fast clearance.

Other views that respondents put forward were that TRA and the Port administration should have frequent meetings with  importers, streamline clearing processes that can be carried out before the ship arrived at the port, abolish the Inland Container Depots (ICDs) cost and make the ICDs to be extensions of the port. Also the survey results suggest that TRA should stop uplifting the values when commodities are of world market prices such as plastics granules, and release of the cargo should be directly to the customers once duties have been duly paid.