Climate-smart port design
Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) is striving to reduce pollution levels at the country's largest port of Dar es Salaam through a long term $345 million expansion and rehabilitation initiative known as Dar es Salaam Maritime Gateway Project, writes Shem Oirere
TPA, a government-owned public corporation under the Ministry of Infrastructure Development, with the support of the World Bank and UK's Department for International Development, has developed climate-smart design for the port's expansion and improvement programme, which when fully implemented will cushion the port not only against adverse climate change effects but also avert possible rise in the level of the sea.
For example, TPA is dredging the entrance channel and turning basin at the port to 15.5 metres below CD, rehabilitating and strengthening of berths 1 to 11 and constructing a multi-purpose berth at Gerezani creek to expand container handling capacity at the Dar es Salaam port, to enable quick turnaround periods for both sea vessels and container trucks and locomotives in the port area.
The dredging of the entrance channel and turning basin is to enable vessels spend as less time as possible in accessing the port to load and unload cargo hence reduce the dwell time that largely contribute to Dar es Salaam port's pollution and gas emission levels.
The World Bank had in its project brief urged TPA to build its capacity and awareness of climate resilient practices such as efficiency of time spent on the port's outer anchorage, as well as the speed of approach to berth that the Bretton Woods' institution says has impacts on the fuel bill, carbon and other particulate emissions.
Dar es Salaam port is located in a low-lying area with some sections prone to sea-level rise because of heavy sedimentation that could lead to flooding and inundation. The sedimentation flow outside of the port is linked to reduction in depth of the entrance channel that is being dredged under China Harbour Construction Engineering (CHEC), a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned China Communications Construction company.
Apart from addressing the problem of sedimentation, the dredging and the widening of the channel and basin up to end of the end of the port's berth 11 is also expected to enable the Dar es Salaam port handle bigger and more fuel efficient vessels, hence reducing congestion of many smaller vessels that contribute to high emissions levels as the gateway's cargo volumes are set to to reach 28 million tonnes/year by 2020 (up from the present 13.8 million tonnes/year).
On the accreditation front, TPA is at the moment striving to obtain the ISO 14001 certification that recognises sustainable environmental management systems by companies globally.
TPA hopes to use the Dar es Salaam project as the launch pad for its long-term dream of rolling out and strengthening Tanzania ports' capacity for sustainable environmental management systems and utilisation of existing potential for green practices that could contribute to fast-tracking of the ISO 14001 certification.
TPA's desire to promote green port practices at its three Indian Ocean ports of Dar es Salaam, Mtwara, and Tanga is being supported by DfID, which is sponsoring development of a new green port policy for the Authority that includes suggestions for climate smart improvements at these gateways.
When the green policy for TPA is finally unveiled, Tanzania's ports will have capacity to identify some of the best ways of minimising and mitigating negative impacts of climate change and environmental risks that come with some of the ports' operational practices which could be replicated across the Eastern African coastline.
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