Tanga and Other Northern Sea Ports

Tanga is the longest serving port in East Africa. It is a lighterage port with two shallow water berths. The visiting ocean going vessels are anchored at stream buoys being a maritime safety requirement. A 354-km highway links it to sister port Dar es Salaam in the South.Tanga port is situated on the northern coast of Tanzania. Close to the Kenyan border. Port limits extend from Lat 05 degree 00 5.8 long 039 degree 09.5’E to the meridian of Long 39 degree 15’E, thence 180 degree to the parallel of Lat 05’S, and thence 270 degree to the mainland.

Port Characteristics

Port Characteristics are identified by the following aspects:

  • Location
  • Size
  • Logistics integration
  • Maritime services
  • Specialization
  • Maritime and inland accessibility
  • Port infrastructure
Generally, each port is unique in terms of its characteristics which in turn can have major influences on port performance and efficiency. The following are the characteristics of Tanga port:
  • Tanga port is situated in the northern coast area of Tanzania in close proximity to the border with the Republic of Kenya. It is located at 5.050633 degrees south/ 135.12609 degrees east.
  • It is strategically located to serve the northern Regions of Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Manyara, the lake zone and neighboring countries of Rwanda, Burundi , Northern part of Uganda.
  • It is a small seaport in terms of land and volumes of cargo handled per annum.
  • It is a lighterage port with shallow water depth at the main quay. Ships do anchor at the inner anchorage Tanga bay and movements of cargo to and from the mother vessel is performed by the use of cargo barges and lighters with the support of Tug boats towing the barges/lighters to and from the vessel.
  • It has a wide and deep entrance channel that can accommodate vessel of any size and draft/draught.
  • It has no tide restrictions for vessel entering or leaving the port
  • Navigation of vessel is limited to day time only. No night navigation can be performed.
  • It has a natural and well sheltered bay for shipping services
  • Discharging and loading of cargo at stream is entirely dependent on the use of ship cranes.

Port Facilities

Quay Wall

The port of Tanga has a modern quay wall with total length of 381 meters covering both one and two. The first 240 meters quay wall was constructed in 1918 and the remaining was constructed in 1954.


Port equipment can be described as the lifeblood of any port. Without equipment there can be no operations Tanga port has a fleet of equipment as listed here under:

  • 2Nos. Habours Mobile cranes with lifting capacity of 63 tons each.
  • 2Nos. Tugboats christened Elizabeth Luhigo and Mwambani
  • 3Nos. Cargo barges – Tanga 01, 02 and 03 each with capacity of 3,500 tons
  • 1No. Cargo Lighter with capacity of 600 tons
  • 5Nos. Pantoons for cargo transfer
  • 1No. Empty Container Handler – 12 tons capacity
  • 2Nos. Reachstackers for handling of full container with a capacity of 40 tons
  • 4Nos. Terminal tractor for longitudinal transfer of cargo
  • 2Nos. Forklifts with bale clamp attachment for handling of sisal fibres
  • 7Nos. Standard Forklifts:- 4Nos. Forklifts each with a capacity of 3 tons each and
  • 3Nos. Forklifts each with a capacity of 5 tons.
  • 27Nos. Terminal Trailers:– 14Nos. Terminal Trailers with a capacity of 40tons each 13Nos. Terminal Trailer with a capacity of 20Tons each.
  • 2Nos. Fire Tender trucks equipped with firefighting equipment
  • 1No. Mooring Boat for mooring and unmooring of ships at the buoys and berth
  • 1No. Labour Launch for ferrying stevedoring personnel to and from the vessel at Stream
  • 2Nos. Weighbridge for weighing cargo in the port both imports and export
  • 1No. Cargo scanner for scanning of imports and export carto passing through the port for security and improve revenue collection
  • 3Nos. Cargo Sheds for storage of cargo temporally
  • 1No. Ro-Ro Ramp for passenger vessel services
  • 2Nos. Hoppers for handling of bulk cargo
  • 2Nos. Grabs Electrical operated for handling of bulk cargo.

Storage Facilities

Tanga Port has the following storage facilities three cargos sheds for covered storage of weather sensitive cargo.

  • Paved area (container yard) for storage of Container and other cargo which does not require covered storage has an area measuring 16,430 square meters.
  • Unpaved area measuring 5200 square meters for storage cargo general cargo (non-weather sensitive cargo).
  • Covered storage (sheds) covers an area measuring 13,800 square meters

Present Capacity

The present port capacity is 700,000 tons per annum. This capacity was surpassed in the year 2015/16 whereby the port handled 845,000 tons per annum.

Upgraded Capacity

The current upgraded capacity is 1,201,000 tons per annum.

Brief Explanation of the projects being implemented at Tanga

1. Rehabilitation, Fendering and Cathodic Protection to Quay No. 2
The project was officially handed over in September, 2016. Commencement of the project: The project was slated to be completed on 30th June 2017. Status of the project: The project is 50 per cent implemented against 120 percent time lapse. Progress of the project: The contract is still working on the remaining 120 meters of which will be completed in November 2017.
2. Construction of Tarmac Road along Gate No. 2
The contractor has just being handled over the site and construction work is ongoing. The project is expected to be completed within a period of 6 months. The contractor Harry & Singh Ltd has started deep excavation of the damaged road and stockpiling of gravel materials.


The Port Master,
Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA),
Bandari House
P. O. Box 443,
Tanga, Tanzania

Tel: +255 (27) 2643078
Fax: +255 (27) 2642360
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.