Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
Competition between the ports of Mombasa in Kenya and Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam, though seldom acknowledged, certainly appears to be heating up with each port seeking ways of attracting or holding onto existing traffic from neighbouring landlocked countries.
Mombasa could be said to have stolen a march with the construction of the standard gauge railway, until that came to a sudden halt when the money ran out and construction got no further than Naivasha, west of Nairobi.
Further south Tanzania was slower in deciding also to build a similar broad gauge railway (SGR) inland from the port at Dar es Salaam and initially aiming for the Lake Victoria port of Mwanza, from which lake steamers would carry cargo north to Port Bell and Kampala in Uganda and even to Kisumu, Kenya’s main lake port.
Since then there has been talk of an extension of this railway to connect at the Rwandan and Uganda borders, in direct competition with the stalled Kenya railway ever reaching Malaba on the joint border.
Tanzania is clearly targeting increased traffic with Rwanda and other neighbours, and has waived the full port storage charges for goods destined for Rwanda and the eastern DRC. This, it is said, is to counter free periods of container storage for transit boxes at Mombasa.
The Kenya Ports Authority extended this free storage charges on transit cargo for as long as the COVID-19 pandemic is in existence.
Who will gain the most from this? Obviously the answer to that question is the Rwandan, Ugandan and DRC stakeholders. One Rwanda importer told a local newspaper that he will use the corridor that is most cost-effective.
Meanwhile, both ports have announced they will auction overstayed and unclaimed containers, with Tanzania Ports Authority waiving accumulated storage charges on approximately 2000 unclaimed containers that arrived in the Dar es Salaam port between December 2019 and May 2020. The majority of these were ordered by importers in neighbouring countries but not claimed following the onset of the pandemic.
TPA director-general Deusdedit Kakoko said by waiving these charges TPA aimed at furthering relationships with Rwandan clients and extending this advantage into the DRC because most of the imports would have to travel to the DRC via Rwanda.
There is no indication that the Kenya Ports Authority intends following suit with waiving demurrage costs but that may yet change.
This item first appeared in www.africaports.co.za on 1 August 2020
and appears here by kind permission of the Editor
Africa Ports & Ships ©.
IALA is a non-profit, international technical association. Established in 1957, it gathers together Marine Aids to Navigation authorities, manufacturers, consultants, and, scientific and training institutes from all parts of the world and offers them the opportunity to exchange and compare their experiences and achievements.
IALA encourages its members to work together in a common effort to harmonise Marine Aids to Navigation worldwide and to ensure that the movements of vessels are safe, expeditious and cost-effective while protecting the environment.
Taking into account the needs of mariners, developments in technology and the requirements and constraints of aids to navigation authorities, a number of technical committees have been established bringing together experts from around the world.
Following a strong start to CLdN’s* weekly Con-Ro service from Cork to Zeebrugge, the shipping line announced a second call to accommodate demand. This second direct service from Cork to the EU commenced on 7 January offering more flexibility to Irish customers, ensuring supply chains are maintained.
Considering Brexit and combined with the modal shift from accompanied to unaccompanied shipping, having a second direct link between Cork and Zeebrugge will bypass the UK Landbridge. For importers and exporters this means avoiding unnecessary border checks thus ensuring cargo flows more effectively and in a cost-efficient manner from Ireland direct to the continent.
According to CLdN, over the last months, there has been steady growth in customer demand for reliable, low cost and Brexit-proof unaccompanied freight products. Shipping unaccompanied trailers, (tank) containers, finished vehicles or project cargo between its own ferry terminals provides a one stop shop for customers to get goods shipped across the North Sea without running the risk of disruption.