Tanzania has begun construction on a $10 billion port and economic zone. The project is backed by China Merchants Holdings and the government of Oman and is expected to transform Tanzania’s international trade markets.
The port is being built at Bagamoyo, which is 47 miles north of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam is the country’s main commercial port but is over its full capacity.
Tanzania’s president, Jakaya Kikwete, said the project would take about three years and be able to able to handle very large vessels, and the port complex will be able to be expanded. The complex will include roads and rail and will have an economic zone. The project is expected to be totally completed in 2025.
China Merchants Holdings is the largest port operator in China, and it will handle most of the construction.
Tanzania is East Africa's second-largest economy behind Kenya. And the cargo volumes at the Dar es Salaam Port are expected to rise by about 25 percent this year to 18 million tons.
Last year, the World Bank estimated that the inefficiencies at Dar es Salaam costs Tanzania nearly $2.6 billion a year.
Last week, state-owned China Harbour Engineering Co. said it was investing $120 million to construct a port in Sao Tome and Principe, an island nation in the Gulf of Guinea. The oil-rich Gulf of Guinea is jointly being developed in a 60-40 split with Nigeria.
China also stated its intention to invest in East Africa’s Port of Mombasa and Port of Lamu earlier this month.