Tanzania Ports Authority Guide – History, Corporate Affairs, Ports & More

Tanzania Ports Authority Guide – History, Corporate Affairs, Ports & More

The Tanzania Ports Authority, T.P.A, is a government-owned agency under the authority of the Ministry of Infrastructure Development. It is responsible for the operation and management of the lake and ocean ports in Tanzania. Tanzania Ports Authority is headquartered at Kurasini, Dar es Salaam. The agency also belongs to the Port Management of Eastern and Southern Africa.

Big ship arriving at the Dar es salaam harbor
Big ship arriving at the Dar es salaam harbor


Colonial Era

The Tanga Port and the Dar es Salaam Port were the first proper ports established in German East Africa. Established in 1883, the Tanga Port is linked to the Usambara Railway, while the Dar es Salaam Port, established in 1905, links to the Tanzania Railway. The railway authorities directly managed the ports all through the colonial era. The British East Africa Government created the East African Railways and Harbours Corporation in 1947. The merger of the Tanganyika Railways and all Tanganyikan ports and harbours with the Kenya and Uganda Railways and Harbours led to the corporation’s formation.

East African Association

Following the independence of the respective east African nations, the East African Railways and Harbors corporation persisted in managing the ports and railways until 1967. After 1967, the East African Community decided to split the Harbors and the Railways Corporation. Thus, the East African Harbors Corporation was established in 1969. The East African Harbors Corporation was authorized to manage and develop ports in Dar es Salaam and Mombasa. The new corporation lasted ten years and stopped operations in 1977 because of the disbandment of the East African Community. Each country established its respective port agency. In Tanzania, the Tanzania Harbors Authority was created.

Creation of Tanzania Ports Authority

The Tanzania Harbors Authority operated from 1997 to 2005. The Ports Act No. 17 of 2004 created the Tanzania Ports Authority as landlord port authority. The act split operations of waterways between Zanzibar and the Tanzanian mainland. The bill gave Tanzania Ports Authority power over all the lake harbors on the Tanzanian mainland. The bill organized the agency into a business enterprise to reduce government interference in the company’s affairs.

Corporate Affairs

Ownership and Administration

As a government parastatal, the Tanzanian Government fully owns the Tanzania Ports Authority. A chairman, appointed by the president, and a council of 5 to 8 members manage the company’s affairs. The organization falls under the purview of the Department of Transport, Communication and Works. The ministry is empowered to appoint council members. The organization’s management structure is similar to other prominent business organization. In addition, each of the major lake and ocean harbors has a master that oversees its operations.

MV Songea which used to operate on Lake Nyasa
MV Songea which used to operate on Lake Nyasa

Business Stats

The Tanzania Ports Authority’s key stats in the last few years are presented below. (Year ends June 31)

2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2009 2008 2007
Income (TZS millions) 600,170 544,815 502,576 417,316 377,954 306,021 194,824 163,976 149,082
Profit (TZS millions) 127,896 147,340 190,085 111,184 72,578 72,444 60,646 37,879 35,375
Total profit margin 21.3 percent 27 percent 37.8 percent 30.1 percent 25.1 percent 29.1 percent 31.1 percent 23.1 percent Not available
Freight traffic processed(million tonnes) 15.54 16.001 15.43 13.71 12.09 10.99 8.82 8.63 8.67

Tanzania Ports Authority Shipping List

If you are looking for information regarding the list of Tanzania Ports Authority Shipping, this page will simplify your quest – TPA list

Head Office

The Tanzania Ports Authority is headquartered at the Dar es Salaam Port in Dar es Salaam. Tanzania Ports Authority’s 40-storey headquarters is the tallest edifice in the country. The building was constructed by Estim Construction and was completed in 2015.

Indian Ocean Ports

The Tanzania Ports Authority has three major ports serving the Indian Ocean – Tanga, Mtwara and Dar es Salaam. Minor ports that serve traffic on the coast include Bagamoyo port, Kilwa Masoko, Kwale, Lindi, Mafia Island and Pangani. The Tanzania Ports Authority only has authority over ports located on the Tanzanian mainland. The Zanzibar Port Corporation controls the Port of Pemba and the Port of Zanzibar.

Dar es Salaam Port

The Port of Dar es Salaam is the major seaport in Tanzania. The port handles 90 percent of the country’s freight movement. The port has two divisions – Tanzania Ports Authority and TICTS. To improve productivity and encourage competition among local players, the Tanzania Ports Authority empowered TICTS to accept and clear shipments at the harbor. TICTS is a privately owned company belonging to Hong Kong investors.

The port is also a crucial transit hub for shipments from many landlocked neighboring countries. Close to 35% of shipments passing through the port are cargo in transit. The port is linked to the TAZARA Railway and the Tanzania Central Railway; however, the railways’ reliability has been dwindling. Most of the shipments are transported out by road. This has been a significant stumbling block to the expansion plans because of the city’s poor road network.

The view of Dar es salaam Harbor from the sky
The view of Dar es salaam Harbor from the sky

Plans are underway for major expansion projects that will boost the port’s efficiency and capacity. The port plans to build more berths in Kigamboni once the building of the Kigamboni bridge is complete. In addition, the building of the mega port in Bagamoyo in 2018 has helped to reduce the load.

Mtwara Port

The Mtwara Port was constructed during the British Colonial era. The port’s harbor was dredged between 1948 and 1954. As part of the Tanganyika groundnut programme, a railway line was constructed to connect the port. The port, though functional, was underutilized due to a lack of good transport infrastructure. Gas and oil drilling led to an upsurge in operations between 2010 and 2011. Alistair Freeports Limited, in December 2015, invested $700,000 in building a free trade area around the port.

Tanga Port

The Tanga port is one of the oldest functioning ports in Tanzania. The German East Africa Company constructed the harbor as the terminal point of the Usambara Railway. With yearly traffic of 500,000 tones, the harbor runs at 90 percent capacity and is the second-largest port in Tanzania. The Tanzania Ports Authority has significant plans to improve the harbor, boost capacity and serve as an alternative channel for shipments coming into the country.

Lake Ports

The Tanzania Ports Authority is operational on three lakes: Lake Nyansa, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Victoria. Passenger movement constitutes the bulk of the traffic on the lakes, which is a means of transport for the inhabitants of areas close to the lakes. The Marine Services Company Limited manages government ferryboats operating on the lakes.

Lake Victoria Port Aerial View
Lake Victoria Port Aerial View

Nyasa Lake Ports

Lake Nyasa, also known as Lake Malawi, has four major ports at Liuli, Itungi, Manda and Mbamba Bay, while the Tanzania Ports Authority has a Kyela District office. There are close to ten other minor ports that aid passenger movement along the lake and between Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi. The port located in Kyela is an alternative channel for shipments heading for Malawi from the Dar es Salaam Port.

Tanganyika Lake Ports

Kasanga and Kigoma are the main lake ports on Tanganyika. In total, there are 15 minor ports along the lake as well as an office in Kigoma. These ports are essential to trade linkages between the eastern part of D.R.C., Zambia and Burundi.

Victoria Lake Ports

The port in Mwanza is the Tanzania Ports Authority’s leading port in the Lake Victoria area. The Tanzania Ports Authority also has an office in Mwanza. In 2012, Mwanza port processed more than 350,000 tonnes of shipments. The Tanzania Ports Authority oversees 58 ports located along the lake. These ports are divided into three categories – major ports, mid-level ports and minor ports. The seven major ports are Bukoba, Kemondo Bay, Musoma, Mwaloni, Mwanza North, Mwanza South and Nansio (Ukwere). The eight mid-level ports include Busisi and Chato. The remaining 43 ports are regarded as minor ports. The minor ports often have no operational docks or ferry docks. They have minimal passenger and fishing activities.

The Bandari College

Tanzania Ports Authority runs a maritime school in the country’s capital, Dar es Salaam.


President John Magufuli, in December 2015, dismissed the Tanzania ports authority board of directors and fired the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Transport. The dismissal came after the Tanzania port authority cargo system revealed that more than 2,700 freight containers were illegally moved at the Dar es Salaam Port levy-free. The Tanzanian Government fired three port managers in three years. The Prime Minister discovered during a visit that  349 freight containers, worth more than US$37 million, were moved without paying government levies.

Tanzania Ports Authority Address

Tanzania Ports Authority Tower

P.O.Box 9184

Dar es salaam

Phone: +255 211 7816

Fax: +255 22 2130390

Tanzania ports authority staff mail: dg@ports.go.tz

Website: www tanzania port authority go tz

For more articles related to Ports in Tanzania, click here!

Recommended Articles From Around the Web