Construction of Bagamoyo port gets underway in Tanzania

President Jakaya Kikwete (centre) during Bagamoyo port's ground breaking ceremony in October 2015.
President Jakaya Kikwete (centre) during the port’s ground breaking ceremony in October 2015. PHOTO/FILE
Tanzania has finally kicked off construction of the much anticipated $11 billion Bagamoyo Port project at Mbegani creek in Bagamoyo, as it seeks to increase its capacity to handle regional cargo.

The Bagamoyo facility is tipped to become the biggest port in East Africa – with capacity to handle 20 million containers annually by 2045.

The facility will be located 75 km north of Dar es Salaam – the site of Tanzania’s main port, which is now suffering from severe congestion.

In the first phase of the project, which is scheduled for completion in 2017, the quay, the container yards, the cargo terminals and all dredging work will be realised.

The project is being funded by China Merchants Holdings International and Oman’s State Government Reserve Fund.

A construction deal for the Bagamoyo Port and associated special economic zone was inked last October, about 19 months after a framework deal was signed in March 2013.

Construction of the port will be a major boon for Tanzania, a country that is currently losing a lot of business opportunities due to the inefficiency of the Dar es Salaam Port – which handles 800,000 containers a year.

The Bagamoyo Port, which will cover about 800 hectares, will enable the country to compete with Kenya for investment and handling of cargo to and from Zambia, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.

Kenya is currently expanding its port in Mombasa and it is also planning to build a huge facility at Lamu as it prepares for stiff business competition from Tanzania.