Tanzania has a coastline of about 720 kilometers on the Indian Ocean, and also borders Lake Victoria, Lake Nyasa, and Lake Tanganyika. Both sea and inland waterways ports in Tanzania are managed and operated by the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA). The TPA’s main Indian Ocean ports are Dar es Salaam, Mtwara, and Tanga. Minor seaports serving coastal traffic include Lindi, Kilwa Masoko, Mafia Island, Bagamoyo, Pangani, and Kwale. Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s principal port with intrinsic capacity of 10.1 tonnes per year.
The port handles over 92% of the total maritime ports’ throughput. The port serves land-linked countries of Malawi, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda. These countries are connected to the port through two railway systems (TRL-1.0 metre gauge and TAZARA-1.067 cape gauge), road network, as well as the TAZAMA oil pipeline to Zambia. TPA also operates Tanzania’s lake ports, maintaining around 20 ports on Lake Victoria.
Some major ports include Bukoba, Kemondo Bay, Musoma, and Nansio. Principal lake ports on Tanganyika include Kigoma and Kasanga. Additionally, there are 15 smaller ports along the lake. These ports provide trade connections between Burundi, Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zambia. Lake Nyasa has 4 important ports, at Itungi, Mbamba Bay, Liuli, and Manda. There are up to 10 other smaller TPA ports on the lake that facilitate passenger movement along the lake and between the countries of Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania.
The port of Dar es Salaam is one of East Africa’s leading freight gateways – a growing entry and exit of goods for local market and to many landlocked countries across East and Central Africa. The port is the Indian ocean entry point of a complex logistics network stretching much of central Africa. The port handles about 95 percent of Tanzania International trade across 11 deep-water berths. Tanzania Port Authority (TPA) operates seven berths while four are under consortium with Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS). (TPA Handbook, 2016).
The port is accessible via 3-5km entrance channel that can allow vessels of up to 234 meters LOA and 140 meters breadth with a depth of 10.5 meters at Chart Datum. The port has a total quay length of 2.6 km with 11 Berths at Main Quay plus a Single Buoy Mooring (SBM) and a dedicated berthing area for coastal vessel at the lighterage Quay. Berths number 1 to 7 has a depth between 8.7 and 10.5 meters for general cargo vessels. Berths No. 8 to 11 have an average depth of 11.0 meters and are mainly dedicated to container vessels. (TPA Handbook, 2016).