Dar es Salaam Port Doubles Cargo Volumes as Mombasa Stagnates


While Kenya has continued to dominate port cargo volumes in East Africa, there is a serious threat from Tanzania with its Dar es Salaam Port doubling cargo volumes in the last decade. 

This was underscored during the East African Business Council (EABC) webinar held in May 2024 attended by the Shippers Council of Eastern Africa (SCEA) and Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority (NCTTCA) as well as the Central Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation Agency (CCTTFA).

CCTTFA in its submissions noted that Dar es Salaam port was growing exponentially such that there was an increased ship waiting time. 

Cargo throughput at the port of Dar es Salaam rose from 13.6 million tonnes in 2016 to 24 million tonnes in 2023 CCTTFA representative Emmanuel Rutagengwa.

Containers at Mombasa Port.



Port throughput in maritime is the amount of cargo or number of vessels that a port handles over time.

While Tanzania has been able to double its cargo volume, Kenya has only seen its volumes increase marginally. 

In Mombasa Port, cargo throughput marginally increased from 33.88 million tonnes in 2022 to 35.98 million metric tonnes in 2023.

Tanzania is expected in near future to match the volumes handled in Kenya since it has witnessed robust growth despite not increasing its infrastructure in over a decade. 

“Currently there are a lot of ships on outer anchorage at the port and two weeks is too long to have to wait for goods to be offloaded,” Rutagengwa spoke of the increased cargo volumes.

To handle the situation, Tanzania has succeeded in reducing ship turn-around time from seven to 2.5 days and cargo dwell time from 22 to below seven days. 

Additionally,  truck turn-around time  will also be revised from 4.3 to 2.3 hours so as to increase efficiency of the port. 

This is in contrast to Kenya where cargo transit time is below the official targets of 40 hours for Malaba and 45 hours for Busia from the Port of Mombasa. 

The transit time is nearly double for the two border posts from Mombasa which has largely been attributed to numerous police and security checks along the way. 

Several shipping containers at the Port of Mombasa




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