The Tanzania Ports Authority owns and operates the Port of Dar es Salaam and several other ports in Tanzania, including all of the country's lake ports. The Tanzania Ports Authority was created in 2005 to coordinate the country's system of harbors, provide harbor facilities and services, construct new harbors, operate and maintain navigational aids, provide warehouse services for cargo, to act as carriers of goods or passengers, and to provide facilities and amenities for port users.
The Port of Dar es Salaam is Tanzania's main port, handling about 95% of the country's international trade. It has a rated capacity for 4.1 million tons of dry cargo, 6.0 million tons of bulk liquid cargo, 3.1 million tons of general cargo, and one million tons of containerized cargo.
In 2007, the Port of Dar es Salaam served 4380 vessels and handled a total of 7.4 million tons of cargo, including almost 5.7 million tons of imports, 1.3 million tons of exports, and 434 thousand tons of transshipments. Imports included two million tons of liquid bulk, 1.1 million tons of dry bulk, 1.9 million tons of containerized cargo, and 557 thousand tons of conventional cargo. Exports included 987.4 thousand tons of containerized cargo, 292.4 thousand tons of conventional cargo, and 47.2 thousand tons of liquid bulk.
Containerized cargo consisted of almost 334 thousand TEUs, including 160.1 thousand TEUs of imports, 145.1 thousand TEUs of exports, and almost 29 thousand TEUs of transshipments. The Port of Dar es Salaam also handled over 41 thousand motor vehicles in 2007. In 2007, the p served a total of 982.4 thousand passengers, including 626.3 thousand who disembarked and 356.1 thousand who embarked from the Port of Dar es Salaam.
The Port of Dar es Salaam contains two kilometers of quays with 11 deep-water berths. The Port of Dar es Salaam is strategically positioned to move goods not only within East and Central Africa but between Africa and Europe, Australia, the Americas, and the Far East.
Tanzania International Container Terminal Services operates the Port of Dar es Salaam Container Terminal. The container terminal has three berths totaling 540 meters in length with capacity to handle 250 thousand TEUs per year. The terminal covers about 18 hectares and contains 12 thousand square meters paved area. It has slot capacity for 6255 TEUs.
The Port of Dar es Salaam's General Cargo Terminal contains eight deep-water berths. The terminal includes eight covered sheds covering 81 thousand square meters and open storage areas of 52.4 thousand square meters.
The Grain Terminal in the Port of Dar es Salaam has holding capacity for 30 thousand tons of cargo and is aerated and temperature-controlled. The terminal offers fumigation services. The Port of Dar es Salaam imports and exports grains like maize, rice, and wheat.
The Port of Dar es Salaam's Malindi Wharf serves passengers traveling on coastal vessels as well as cruise vessels. The port does not yet have a dedicated cruise terminal.
Some countries that rely on the Port of Dar es Salaam have their own cargo centers near the port. Zamcargo is owned by Zambia to clear and forward cargoes destined for that country. The company operates its own yard near the port to consolidate imports and exports, and it is served by the Tanzania Zambia Railway. The Malawi Cargo Centers (MCCL) are owned by the government of Malawi, which operates facilities in Mbeya as well. MCCL operates a warehouse, a container-handling yard, and a tank farm.
The Port of Dar es Salaam exports a wide range of products including coffee and tea, cotton lint, cashew nuts, sisal fiber and twine, seed beans, tobacco, sugar, oil seeds and peas, hides and skins, and copper. The Port of Dar es Salaam receives imports that include machinery, food grains, chemicals, fertilizers, sugar, motor vehicles, crude oil and petroleum products, spare parts, plastics, and textiles.
The Port of Dar es Salaam is connected to its hinterland by two railways: the Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) and Tanzania Zambia Railways (TAZARA). Having different gauges, the two railways meet at only two points: the Port of Dar es Salaam and at Kidatu about 300 miles away. TRC has a modern depot for cargo transshipments to Rwanda. Rail wagon ferries cross Lake Victoria, operated by both TRC and Uganda Railways Corporation, connecting the Port of Dar es Salaam with Port Bell in Uganda.