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Published: 29 November 2008
Zanzibar (Malindi) nears completion
The rehabilitation of the port of Zanzibar is expected to be completed shortly, four months ahead of the current timetable, but several years after the redevelopment work was originally scheduled
The port, which is also known as Malindi, is located in Zanzibar Town on the island of Unguja, in Tanzania. The government of semi-autonomous Zanzibar hopes that the port improvements will now allow entry for larger vessels, which currently have to offload cargo at ports in Tanzania or Kenya on the mainland for transhipment in much smaller vessels to Zanzibar.
Malindi was originally modernised between 1989 and 1992 by Italian firm Cogefar, but the government complained that the work was substandard. It fought a long legal battle for US$11.6M in compensation, which it eventually won at the International Court for Arbitration in London.
In 2005, a new contract for port development was awarded to Danish firm E Pihl & Sons with the support of E32M funding from the European Development Fund, but a dispute over the design of the improvements led to further delays. The centrepiece of the new multi-purpose terminal is a concrete quay, which replaces the old jetty, and new cargo storage facilities.
However, new cargo handling equipment has not yet been ordered, probably because of a lack of funding, so ship turnaround times are not likely to be reduced in the short term.
In addition, the Zanzibari government’s ambition of returning Malindi to its historic role as a hub port for the wider East African region seems unlikely, given the far greater capacity and more modern facilities on offer on the mainland, at Dar es Salaam, Mombasa and Tanga. In addition, Zanzibar’s harbour depth of just 9m still makes Dar es Salaam a more likely option.