Dredging heralds start of Tanga Port refurbishment

Ship in Tanga Bay. Credit: Wikipedia/Mikhail Goldovski

Dredging has started on the entrance channel at Tanga, Tanzania’s second-largest port, as part of the USD74 million first phase of a project to make the port more globally competitive.

The port cannot currently accommodate large vessels owing to its shallow draught and ships have to anchor about 1.7 km away from the port’s two berths.

Cargo is then brought ashore by barges and lighters towed by tugboats. “The outer anchorage has so many disadvantages as it increases Tanzania Port Authority’s [TPA’s] operational costs, a burden which is sometimes passed on to traders and later consumers,” said Ignas Rubaratuka, TPA board chairperson.

The plan is to deepen the entrance channel and berths from 5 m to 12 m. Rubaratuka explained that upon completion of the first phase, cargo ships will be able to anchor 200 m from the berths before offloading cargo. The second phase of the project will involve dredging up to the berths.

The China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) has been contracted to carry out the dredging work, which is expected to last for 12 months.

The entire upgrade project is in line with Tanzania’s ambitious massive investment development plan aimed at turning Tanga Port into a highly competitive terminal, serving customers in the country, the East African region, and the Great Lakes region. Future improvements will also involve construction of a passenger terminal and a modern single point mooring (SPM) for oil cargo.

Tanga is the oldest operating harbour in the region. The first berth was built in 1888 during German colonial rule while the second berth was built in 1954. However, no major infrastructure work has been done since then.