Monday, September 25, 2017

NASACO’s revival hailed by marine stakeholders

Key players in the shipping industry in Tanzania have welcomed the revival of National Shipping Agencies Corporation (NASACO), which was disbanded over two decades ago. They have also believed that it will play a crucial role to improve efficiency, reduce costs and curb cheating by some unscrupulous ship liners. Speaking in separate interviews some stakeholders accused ship owners of operating own in-house agencies, contrary to the law, expressing hopes that NASACO, as industry regulator, will address the malpractices. The Shipping Agency Act restricts ownership of shipping agents to 51 per cent by Tanzanians but many multinational shipping lines have established their own agencies, elbowing out local players from the lucrative industry. The Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Prof Makame Mbarawa, on September 15, this year tabled for first reading in the National Assembly, the National Shipping Agencies Bill 2017, which seeks to establish the industry regulator.

Containers at Dar es Salaam Port in Tanzania.

The bill proposes transfer of all maritime regulatory functions from the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) to the new watchdog.  According to Prof Mbarawa, NASACO, formerly known as National Shipping Agency Corporation (NASACO), will act as regulator for the shipping industry and conduct business as an agent but only for mining consignments. “NASACO will act as an agent for all mining shipments and this aims at curbing cheating in the industry. The regulator is on the other hand designed to create fair competition in the industry,” the minister explained in a telephone interview. Former Secretary General of Tanzania Shipping Agents Association (TASAA), Mr Peter Kirigini, raised concerns over the industry failure to benefit indigenous Tanzanians over ten years since it was liberalized. “Most liners have their own agencies with offices in Tanzania but their operations are overseen from abroad,” Mr Kirigini, who is an expert in the industry revealed. The Secretary General of Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA), Mr Tony Swai, said the establishment of the regulator was long overdue.

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