DAR ES SALAAM: THE Dar es Salaam Port on Sunday came out strongly turning down reports that consignments of sugar were stranded at the port amid ongoing crisis.
The port management reacted to the media reports which have caused panic among the members of the public.
“The reports caused public panic yesterday (Saturday) that sugar has been stranded in the port. This is not true, sugar can’t be stranded in the port, anything that has public interest can’t be stranded here,” Mr Mrisho Mrisho, Port Director, affirmed while speaking at a press conference in Dar es Salaam.
Explaining, Mr Mrisho said last month they received a letter from the Sugar Board of Tanzania (SBT), asking the port to facilitate activities of their three vessels carrying sugar cargo.
The vessels are JPO AQUARIUS, MSC Alizee II ship and Okahama Star.
The SBT letter asked the port to give the ships a priority berthing as emergency case.
“We (port management) knowing this matter has public interest, we have facilitated access. The first vessel we served on January 29th and some journalists observed. The sugar containers were all offloaded in one day and the board thanked us,” he explained.
The port then waited for the second ship (MSC Alizee II), which was expected to arrive on January 26th.
“Since January 26th we kept the berth open waiting for it, but it arrived on February 2. When it arrived, we served it on the same day and journalists were also invited to witness offloading of the sugar consignmets,” he said.
The third vessel (Yokohama) also arrived on February 2, noting that these two vessels delayed, because they arrived first in neighbouring country’s port where they were delayed.
“Our work here is to load and offload and we ask other institutions also to play their part in ensuring that the cargo reaches the clients, so if the cargo delays to reach the client(s), we should then ask which institution has caused the delay,” he added.
He further assured that the activities were ongoing without any obstacles at the port at all berths from berth number zero (Ro-Ro berth) up to number 11 as well as at the Kurasini Oil Jetty (KOJ).
“Vessels are continually being handled, as we talk in this month alone in four days, we have handled over 10 vessels. In January we have handled 86 ships, despite the rain challenges, we have managed to go at good speed. We expect that speed will further continue,” he said.
He explained that the port receives a vessel carrying over 50,000 tonnes of cargo, or three ships with over 3000 containers each that makes a total of about 9000 or 10,000 containers.
“The question to ask here if you don’t clear those containers, do you think there could be any space here at the port. In fact, there could be no space remaining,” he argued.
“Therefore, let me say that it is not true that the cargos are not released. The customers take their cargo and we receive other consignments, just go and observe the port’s gate and you would see a queue of trucks leaving the port with cargos,” he said.
Meanwhile, SBT Director General, Prof Kenneth Bengesi, told the Daily News yesterday that MSC Alizee II and Yokohama vessels arrived on Friday with a total of 4000 tonnes of sugar, expressing hopes that when distributed to the market, the current shortage would have been lessened.
He added: “The port management has given priority to dock and offload immediately due to high demand from consumers.”
Elaborating, he noted that on January 29th, another ship docked at the port with consignment and completed offloading sugar according to the customs.
Likewise, he directed that the imported sugar must be sold at the price of 2,700/- to 3,200/- as expected by the government, saying: “Hence, business people who do not want to adhere to this order will risk facing legal measures.”