Cargo Loss: Tanzania Ports Embraced “Pay First Investigate Later” Policy

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Ports in the country have been directed to take full responsibility for loss or damage of any consignment, including fully compensating clients.

In the same vein, they have been advised to pay first and investigate later in the quest to build reputable ports second to none in sub-Saharan Africa.

Transport Minister Harrison Mwakyembe told stakeholders that employees of the Tanzania Port Authority (TPA) would have their salaries deducted by equivalent amount of the loss or damage if they failed to name the culprit(s).

“I urge other stakeholders to follow suit. I am pleased to notice some ICDs (inland container depots) and CFS (car freight stations) are implementing similar measures,” Dr Mwakyembe said.

He had called a half-day stakeholders’ meeting to discuss barriers that dogged the performance of the Port of Dar es Salaam to the extent of smearing the country’s image.

The minister said in the last two years, the image and performance of the port in and outside the country has increased tremendously; attracting voluminous business, especially from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“DRC’s business volume is almost now at par with Zambia, having increased by 30 per cent. We cannot let that disappear due to a few greedy individuals,” Dr Mwakyembe commented.

The stakeholders responsible are ICDs, CFSs, Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS), TPA — Dar Port, and clearing and forwarding agents.

The cargo volume at the port has increased from 13.5 million tonnes in 2012/13 to 15.4 million tonnes in 2013/14 — and there are all reasons that it would reach 18 million tonnes in 2015/16 as directed by the Big Results Now (BRN) initiative.

The minister’s meeting with the stakeholders was intended to address all impediments experienced during 2014 and enter the New Year with a resolution to do better. According to records, only four cases of car damage and loss were registered, including two of stolen cars since 2012.

However, all affected clients were fully compensated by the ICDs. On cargo handling area, four cases were reported, including the loss of two containers, which ‘disappeared’ after being released from TICTS to ICDs.

One was paid for fully while the minister directed the other to be paid for in the next 15 days. “I don’t have the mandate to nullify the licence of these ICDs but if not paid by January 15, AMI (Tanzania Ltd) would not get any consignment from the port and should consider themselves outcasts in the business,” Dr Mwakyembe said.

DRC firms raised a number of issues, including car and container theft and inland dwelling time, saying 30 days were not enough for the Dar- Lubumbashi route.

Tanzania Shipping Agents Association Chairman Peter Kirigini told the meeting that according to the new houseto- house container dwelling time guideline, a client is given 45 days as per SUMATRA directive. “The new guideline comes into effect on January 1, 2015,” Mr Kirigini said.

The minister also summoned TICTS chief executive officer to his office first thing this morning to tell him why they are using exchange rates that are not provided by the Bank of Tanzania.

The meeting agreed to form a committee that would meet soon to deliberate the ICDs, freight forwarders and Congolese associations’ concern that container check-in at the ICDs should reflect the day of delivery against the day of anchoring.
Source: Tanzania Daily News

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