Investments to improve coal loading at Mtwara Port on the cards

Mtwara. For long time Mtwara Port and NEMC – the environment watchdog in the country have been wrangling over handling of coal at the part as being the cause of environment stress but that situation is about to end thanks to the Mtwara Port decision to invest in new system of loading coal.

Mtwara Port Harbour Master, Paul Muchwampaka told Habitat Media last weekend that coal handling at the port has been problematic and that has put them into conflict with National Environmental Management Council (NEMC).

In recent years Mtwara Port has turned into a busy hub for coal transport following improvements of the port which has allowed huge ships to dock.

But poor handling of the commodity lead to environmental stress mainly resulting from dust, which put lives of many people at peril.

But Muchwampaka said all that is about to end as the Port had decided to invest on modern system of coal loading which will address all the challenges experienced earlier.

“In the past lorries carrying coal have been offloading the commodity in the open space near the ship which is then scooped by special machines and loaded into the ship,” he said.

This, he noted, caused dust to spread all over the place affecting people within the port and surrounding areas.

A 210 meter long ship loads cashewnuts at a new berth constructed at Mtwara Port. The berth also handles ships which transports coal. (Photo: Peter Nyanje)

Muchwampaka said the port has decided to buy a new coal loading system which will include a conveyor belt which will transport the coal to the ship.

“Once the new system has been fixed lorries will not be offloading coal in open spaces but in a special container from which the coal will be transported through a conveyor belt direct to the ship,” he elaborated.

According to Mtwara Port Manager, Mr. Ferdinand Nyathi, the new coal handling system project is among numerous investment schemes which have been implemented at the port making it attractive to users even from neighboring Mozambique.

He told Habitat Media which visited the facility last weekend that after completion of a new 300 meter berth the port can now handle large vessels with a length of more than 220 meters.

“This means that large ship can dock and be accommodated at our port without any problem. But we are continuing to improve in order to make the port readily available to handle any type of marine vessel and cargo,” said Mr Nyathi.

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