VEHICLE imports in transit through Dar es Salaam port has declined by 18.9 per cent in the first two months of this year, as the port loses business to its rivals.
The vehicle imports through the port declined from 21,196 cars in January to February 2015 to 17,181 pieces in the same period 2016. Dar es Salaam acting Port Manager Hebel Mhanga attributed the decline to VAT on transit goods, long process to correct wrong entry on Tanscend system and introduction of a single custom territory with DR Congo.
“Though VAT is yet to be enforced, it has scared importers to a point that they are using alternative ports in the region,” Mr Mhanga said in an interview at his office. He said South Africa’s Rand depreciation has pulled business to Durban port as its charges, quoted in Rand, become cheaper.The Dar port data showed that Zambia vehicles through the port have dropped by 55.4 per cent from 6,042 cars between January and February 2015 to 2,692 cars of the same period 2016. Imported vehicles to DR Congo have gone down by 50 per cent to 1,247 vehicles in the first two months of this year in comparison to last year.
Many DR Congo importers were opting for other ports after the introduction of a single customer territory as it curbs tax evasion, he said adding that most of them make huge profit by evading taxation.
“To DRC-Congo the single custom was plus as it maximizes tax collection but for traders it translate to profit loss…thus opted for other ports in the region,” Mhanga said. The port handle less vehicles from Uganda and Rwanda that have gone down by 9.8 per cent to 92 cars and 4.4 per cent to 390 cars respectively.
However, on a good note, vehicles to Burundi increased by 30.5 per cent to 639 vehicles and Zimbabwe also went up by 5.0 per cent to2, 616 cars and Mozambique by 60.9 per cent to 37 in the first two months of this year.
For Tanzania, vehicle imports increased by 0.8 per cent to 7,908 cars in the first two months of this year if compared to the same period last year.
Early this year, Shippers Council of Eastern Africa (SCEA), a business membership organisation formed to improve policy and trade environment in East Africa, announced Dar Port as the best performer in East Africa in 2015.
It was announced through the 2015 East Africa Logistics Performance Survey, which indicates that charges for handling a 40-foot container either for import or export purposes at Dar port remains as the lowest ones compared with the port of Mombasa in Kenya.