Serious Regional Competition – China to build Africa’s largest port

Port of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, West Africa. Image credit: TPA

Port of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, West Africa. Image credit: TPA

China has announced plans for a new US$10 billion mega port in the Tanzanian town of Bagamoyo.

The new port, boasting an annual capacity of 20 million TEU, will not only become Africa’s largest box facility but will also rival the major ports of the Persian Gulf.

Dwarfing Tanzania’s current largest port in Dar es Salaam, which handles an estimated 800,000 TEU a year, the new port, northwest of the capital, will be used as a transhipment hub for raw materials coming in and out of landlocked Malawi, Zambia, Congo, Burundi, Rwanda,and Uganda.

China will also help to establish new road and rail networks in the area, whilst contributing to the upgrade of existing links. Source: Port Technology International.



  1. Chinese colonialism at its best? I wonder if, like America’s offshore state in Hawaii, China will have, in effect, a few resource-rich African offshore provinces in 50 years or so.



  2. Should we not start a discussion that unpacks the economic meaning of this initiative? Is there a value add for the part of the continent that is likely to be affected by this development? One of the questions is whether anyone knows what the current container volumes are in that region and whether there is in fact enough business to keep this sustainable?


    1. Vusi, thanks, you make a good point. I do, however, perceive that the decision behind such development has little to do with actual economic activity in this part of the African region. The international drive towards increased ‘transhipment’ opportunities may be a case in point. Also given China’s appetite for gargantuan projects, do not rule out a possible east-west transit corridor accross the middle of africa. This could have some significant impact on the longer term viability of Southern African ports and transhipment nodes.


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