Sumatra Updates Handling and Transfer Charges

According to a recent report in The Citizen, charges on handling and transfer fees for containers moved to Inland Container Depots (ICD) from the Dar es Salaam port have been removed by the Tanzania Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (Sumatra) following a year of opposition to the charges from transporters.

The original purpose of the charges, which were introduced by the Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS) in 2007, was to help decongest the Dar es Salaam port.

However, transporters were opposed to the charges as they claimed that they were not responsible for the congestion and charges should, therefore, be absorbed by those running the port.

After filing their complaints with Sumatra, the regulator responded by arranging a hearing for both the public and for stakeholders earlier this year in order to hear arguments from all parties involved.

A final decision from Sumatra came last week indicating that all charges associated with the handling and transport containers from the container terminal to the ICDs will be terminated and all future costs will be absorbed by the institutions responsible for the management of the port and the container terminal.

Sumatra went on to indicate that this decision to eliminate container transfer and handling charges was also in keeping with a concept that has been successfully adopted throughout the world and that the Tanzania Port Authority (TPA) tariff application had been based on one of these models.

“TPA’s tariff application was based on the Mombasa port model where the efficient use of ICDs has assisted to eliminate congestion and vessel delay surcharges,” Sumatra indicated in a recently released statement, “The use of ICDs, coupled with electronic cargo clearance and efficient port operations have a positive impact on dwell time, elimination of ship queuing and resultant vessel delay surcharge as learned from Mombasa.”

Nevertheless, in spite of these changes Sumatra warned that the tariff review could not be the sole measure that was taken in order to address congestion and other problems at the Dar es Salaam port and that this would require further support from the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA).

In addition to changes that were approved by the regulator concerning charges for handling, transfers and storage, Sumatra also ordered that the TPA and TICTS sign agreements with all licensed and fully operational ICDs in order that containers be handled on a fair basis with additional room left for fair competition

“TPA and TICTS must improve operational performance so that incidences of vessel delay surcharges are eliminated within three months from the date of this order,” Sumatra directed in its statement.

According to Sumatra, thus additional requirement is meant to be used as another step being taken in the process of attempting to improve the overall performance of the port.