By Huang Peizhao, Shen Xiaoxiao, People's Daily
The Dar es Salaam Port of Tanzania, located on the west coast of the Indian Ocean, handles more than 90 percent of the country's foreign trade. It also serves as a sea gate and economic channel for many countries in East Africa.
However, the busyness was once a burden for the port due to its aging facilities and narrow berths.
Thanks to an expansion project, the port has regained vitality and is now always bustling. Container tractors, cranes, forklifts and other port equipment are shuttling back and forth, fully-loaded vessels are arriving one after another, while cargo handling is in an orderly manner.
Over a year ago, seven berths of the port were upgraded by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) and put into operation, upon which the port's cargo handling capacity has been increased by 26 percent to about 17.65 million tons per year.
The upgrade has enabled large vessels with a load-carrying capacity of up to 70,000 tons to dock at the port, while the port could only accommodate vessels with a capacity of around 20,000 tons in the past.
Bian Liang, head of hydraulic engineering projects of CHEC in Tanzania, told People's Daily that the port has significantly improved its operational efficiency and cargo handling capacity since the upgraded berths were put into use.
The upgrade not only meets Tanzania's demand for cargo transport, but also promotes the foreign trade of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and other landlocked countries in Africa, Bian noted.
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan said the expansion of the Dar es Salaam Port is of important significance for improving the port's comprehensive efficiency and promoting regional economic development. It will drive Tanzania's socio-economic development, and facilitate the foreign trade of landlocked countries in East Africa, she added.
Tanzanian newspaper The Citizen reported that the project has greatly expanded the cargo handling capacity of the port and consolidated the port's position as an important harbor in East Africa. It said the expansion will make positive contributions to economic and social development, and trained many professionals for the local community.
A Tanzanian woman surnamed Joyce had been working for the CHEC for five years. She was in charge of human resources for the expansion project of the Dar es Salaam Port.
During the years she worked on the project with her Chinese colleagues, she not only became a professional in human resources, but also gained a deeper understanding of port construction. Last year, Joyce was hired as a regular employee by the Tanzania Ports Authority due to her outstanding performance.
She said the infrastructure cooperation between Tanzania and China plays an important role in promoting the people-to-people bond between the two countries, adding that her working experience in CHEC is a valuable professional asset.
It is reported that the second-phase project of the Dar es Salaam Port has commenced to further expand the port's handling capacity and better facilitate the economic development of East Africa. The project includes dredging, wreck salvage as well as procurement and installation of navigation equipment.
Shan Jifeng, who heads the second-phase project, said that the heavy-duty self-propelled rake suction dredger Tong Xu independently designed and built by China has been employed for dredging this time, strictly following high-standard environmental protection measures. According to him, the work of the Chinese team has won high recognition from the Tanzanian side.
The expansion project is a miniature of China assisting Tanzania's infrastructure construction and socio-economic development.
Humphrey Moshi, director of the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Dar es Salaam, noted that Tanzania's development couldn't be achieved without China's support.
Many modern infrastructure projects in Tanzania were built under China's assistance, and the Tanzania-China cooperation has become a powerful engine driving Tanzania's development, he explained.