Ugandan importers still prefer to import their goods via Mombasa Port despite the media campaign by Dar es Salaam, urging the Ugandans to use it, a CEO of a Kampala logistics firm has said.
For example, the cost of transporting one container from Dar es Salaam Port to Kampala is around US $4,800 (Sh10.6 million) compared to US $2,700 (Shs6 million) from Mombasa.
“Tanzania Ports Authority still needs to do much more in order to win our market, according to Jennifer Mwijukye, CEO and managing director of UniFreight.
According to Ms Mwijukye, Tanzanian ports are also disadvantaged by the distance to Uganda. For instance, while Dar es Salaam Port is about 1,600 kilometres from Kampala, where most of the Ugandan imports are destined, Mombasa is 1,200 kilometres away.
She said imports through Tanzanian ports would pick up once major improvements are done in clearing goods at the shortest time possible at Dar es Salaam Port.
“The cost of transporting goods from Dar es Salaam remains high,” she said, adding that it would take time for Ugandan imports passing through Tanzania to surpass those passing through Kenya.
The CEO Mwijukye said that despite the recent efforts made by TPA to win over Ugandan importers, including the opening of an office in Kampala, more needs to be done, for example, lowering transportation costs and reduction of the time it takes to clear imports.
The pendulum may nevertheless swing in Dar es Salaam’s favour upon the completion of the standard gauge railway between Dar es Salaam and Mwanza, which is expected to slash the cost of transporting goods between the two destinations.
Also, two inland ports in Uganda are in the process of being upgraded through the support of the European Union and Germany.