Trade Facilitation Interventions Dar es Salaam
As part of a multi-faceted approach to trade facilitation, the Southern Africa Trade Hub (SATH) is working with stakeholders to streamline customs clearance procedures and to coordinate interagency operations at border complexes throughout the region. As the initial link in Southern Africa transport corridors, ports are key to external trade with the region.
The Port of Dar es Salaam, as the anchor for the Central, and Dar Corridors, contributes significantly to the delays experienced moving goods along the corridors from the wharf to their final inland destination. Compared to Durban, where dwell time is in the region of two days, the Dar es Salaam port performs poorly with reported dwell times of up to 17 days (although dwell times have reportedly been reduced recently, the delays are still substantial). Reducing these dwell times is crucial to improving trade flows in the region, reducing costs and enhancing the competitiveness of these ports.
This report was commissioned to investigate the unacceptably high dwell time and to map a path for SATH to pursue in terms of niche activities relevant to the SATH mandate for trade facilitation. The report examined the operating environment experienced by the private sector as it relates to the timely removal of cargo from the port facilities with the objective of identifying specific causes for substantial delays in clearing cargo.
It was found that, primarily due to high dwell times, the container terminal in the Port of Dar es Salaam cannot meet the demand of the container volumes to be handled. The high dwell time could mainly be ascribed to:
• The lack of container handling facilities and supporting infrastructure.
• Relaxation of extant legislation by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) thus, inter alia, creating the environment for clearing and forwarding agents (CFAs) to clear consignments through Customs late.
• Allowing long term storage and physical examination of container contents at the container terminal.
• The extraordinary long duration of the clearance process through Customs mainly due to the lack of a proper system that meets the needs and provides interconnectivity amongst stakeholders and clients.
• The lack of a system and an incentive to allow clearance prior to arrival of the carrying vessel.
• The excessively long time to move containers out of the terminal after their release, possibly due to inadequate road transport capacity.
Having examined the aforementioned factors, the report offers solutions predicated on the implementation of international best practice procedures and practices.
The following short term critical solutions are proposed:
• Enhance the Customs system to allow for clearance prior to arrival of the vessel and even before the manifest is inputted into the system.
• Drastically curb the period that a container is allowed to be stored in the terminal.
• Utilize ICDs, CFS and bonded terminals must for the acceptance and storage of uncleared containers.
• Strictly apply the TRA 21-day stipulation to auction uncleared goods.
• Conduct CFA training which includes a trade facilitation module.
• Nominate the party that will undertake the transportation of the container on the clearance documentation.
• Do not allow empty containers in the terminal prior to the opening of the vessel's stack and store such containers in special empty container parks if they cannot be accommodated in ICDs or CFSs.
• Move empty containers and ICD destined containers during the night to alleviate congestion around the port.
• Conduct physical examination of container contents at CFSs and/or ICDs.
In the long term, there is a need:
• To commission the design of a paperless Customs e-system that provides full inter-connectivity between the various role players, which would be a prime requirement for a possible future Port Community System; and
• To undertake a study to ascertain the road truck capacity needed to evacuate containers from the terminal within a given time measured against current capacity.
These proposed short term solutions do not carry prohibitive costs and have the potential to significantly reduce dwell time at the Dar es Salaam.