Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sumatra intervenes in cargo tracking dispute

Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (Sumatra)
Tanzania Electronic Cargo Tracking Agency (Tecta) has called on the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (Sumatra) to revoke the recently signed agreement between the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) and Belgium based firm named Antaser Afrique.

The inked agreement between the two institutions gives the Belgium firm mandate to implement electronic cargo tracking note (e-CTN) system at the Dar es Salaam Port.

Tecta Executive Director Dennis Makoi told this paper in an exclusive interview that TPA’s top management decision was against international and the country’s cargo shipping, clearing and forwarding regulations.

Makoi said principally the overseeing agency- Tanzania Shipping Agency Association (TASAA) is the only agency with authority to sign contracts on behalf of the government and private firms to implement the system in the country.

According to him, despite TPA being aware of the pending five-year contract signed between TASAA and a French-based firm Phoenix Cargo Security on August 17 last year; they still went ahead to sign a new contract with Antaser Afrique on July 3, this year.

“This has created tension among stakeholders on the effectiveness of the system especially at the Dar port,” he said calling upon the regulator to intervene in the matter before it gets out of hand.

Makoi also said that before the signing of the first contract, the government announced the tender to which among the best five companies in the world only two; Antaser Afrique and Phoenix Cargo Security were invited to make presentation of their facilities.

He said: “It was unfortunate that Antaser Afrique was disqualified after having failed to provide its presentation on time. Besides it had no facilities in both Conakry Guinea and in Belgium as it had claimed in its documents.”

Commenting on the matter, Sumatra Public Relations Manager, David Mziray said the regulator was hosting a closed door meeting with various stakeholders in cargo, shipping, clearing and forwarding industry in the country.

He said Sumatra was aware of the matter particularly the introduction of the electronic cargo tracking note system to be effective on September 1 this year.

“We are working on the matter. We’re sure we will reach conclusion that will benefit both parties,” he said in a telephone interview.

When reached for comments, TPA Director General Eng Madeni Kipande declined to comment on the matter.

“I don’t even know you. Are you retarded? Send me your inquiries in writing then I will respond,” he reacted.

For two consecutive weeks stakeholders notably importers in the shipping business in the country have been protesting against TPA’s plan to introduce the electronic cargo tracking note which will be used to closely monitor the movement of cargo at the Dar port.

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