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It’s now easy to import vehicles, goods from Tanzania to Zimbabwe: This is how

TANZANIA has opened an office for the Tanzania Ports of Authority (TPA) in Zimbabwe which will assist in the importation of cars and other goods from the ocean-linked country.

Hitherto, Zimbabweans have been travelling long distances to access their second-hand cars bought from either Asia and Europe, which come through the port of Dar es Salaam, but with the opening of an office in Harare by TPA, logistical nightmares that are associated with such travel will be eliminated.

The establishment of a TPA office in Zimbabwe comes at a time when trade volumes have been growing between the two countries.

TPA operates a system of ports serving the Tanzania hinterland and the landlocked countries of Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Rwanda, Malawi, Uganda, the Comoros and Zimbabwe.

In a move that has been hailed by the public, Tanzanian officials led by Minister of Works, Transport and Communications Professor Makame Mbarawa officially opened the TPA office in Belgravia, Harare yesterday.

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Prof Mbarawa said one of the most remarkable features of the Port industry in Tanzania is that it is a major source of government revenues, whereby taxes on imports and exports handled through the major ports contribute over 50 percent of total tax revenues collected in the country annually.

“Business between Tanzania and Zimbabwe is fast growing, where the volume of transit cars from Japan and European countries to Zimbabwe through the Dar es Salaam Port has been rising quite impressively. For example, during the 2020/2021 financial year, total units of cars were 14 946, while for the 2021/2022 fiscal year, total units of cars were 46 519. This number will be more impressive for the 2023/2024 financial year,” he said.

Prof Mbarawa said the opening of the TPA Country Office in Zimbabwe cements the dedication by the Government of Tanzania to ensure and encourage the business community to continue using the TPA services.

Prof Mbarawa said they were aware of the impediments faced by Zimbabwean port users, mainly caused by the lengthy distance of about 2 284 kilometres from Dar es Salaam to Harare and challenges with poor road facilities along the way, lengthy transit time and problems in effecting payment of port charges.

“The Tanzanian Government is ready to work together with the Zimbabwean Government and all other stakeholders to ensure that we reduce and eliminate those impediments”, he said. Speaking at the same occasion, Transport and Infrastructural Development Permanent Secretary Engineer Joy Makumbe said the presence of TPA in Zimbabwe cements the Government strategy of making the country a land-linked nation.

“The presence of the Tanzania Ports Authority in Zimbabwe cements the government’s strategy to become a land-linked nation as our importers and exporters can be assisted with compliance issues when importing or exporting their goods through the Port of Dar es Salam.

“For Zimbabwe, the Dar es Salam Port has become a port of choice, especially for vehicle imports from Asia.

“It is our desire that both our nations come together and revitalise our railway infrastructure in the medium to long term so that bulk goods and vehicles that are currently driven to Zimbabwe by road can be moved by train. Some of our people are getting involved in road traffic accidents before they reach their final destinations due to fatigue,” said Eng Makumbe.

“In that regard, let’s work together and put policies that promote the usage of our railway entities. As for Zimbabwe, we have already embarked on the recapitalisation of the National Railways of Zimbabwe with rolling stock and capital for rehabilitation of track infrastructure.

“As you may be aware, Zimbabwe and Tanzania have already operationalised the Bilateral Air Service Agreement which saw Air Zimbabwe and Air Tanzania operate routes between the two nations. Based on our moral obligation to have the spirit of friendship and co-operation initiated by our founding fathers, let us work towards the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro decision to fully liberalise air transport in Africa, starting with our own air spaces”.

In interviews, car dealers in Harare hailed the setting up of offices by TPA in Zimbabwe.

Mr Antony Kaondera of Tendra Motors hailed both Governments for the development saying it will go a long way in assisting them overcome challenges they are facing when importing cars through Tanzania.

“I would like to thank TPA for recognising Zimbabwe by opening their offices in the country as this will go a long way in assisting us as car dealers and importers,” he said.

Another car dealer Mr Nathaniel Changamire of Natsam Motors said: “We would like to thank Tanzania ports authorities for the office that has been opened in Zimbabwe. It’s an advantage to us because we have been facing a lot of challenges in clearing cars. So currently we have somewhere to run to when we have issues or grievances.

“So we will be able to clear our cars and to make some payments locally to avoid cases of theft and other issues related to car importation”.

Harare car dealer Mr Thulani Sibanda said he was happy that TPA had opened up offices in Harare as this will help in having their problems quickly addressed before they travel to Tanzania.

“We import vehicles from Tanzania and we started importing vehicles in about 2011 using Tanzanian ports, up to now we are still importing cars for individuals and for resale. We are happy that TPA has actually opened an office here in Zimbabwe,” he said.

The country’s national trade development and promotion organisation, ZimTrade director operations, Mr Similo Nkala, said the opening of the TPA office will go a long way in solving logistical challenges that were faced by both exporters and importers.

“What we have done as ZimTrade, in terms of increasing our exports to Tanzania, is that we have carried out field market research where we have engaged potential buyers of Zimbabwean products.

“We have also tried to find out where they are currently importing their products and also what are the requirements for some of our companies in various sectors to be able to export their products to Tanzania,” Mr Nkala said.-Herald

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