Tanzania, United Republic of
2.1.6 Tanzania Port of Mwanza

Port Overview

Mwanza ‘s primary port facilities are on Lake Victoria, which consists of two ports, namely Mwanza North Port which is dedicated to passenger operations, and Mwanza South Port where all cargo activities are concentrated. The Mwanza office is also in charge for the other ports on Lake Victoria: Kemondo Bay and Musoma. The ports of Mwanza are owned and managed by Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA). The marine services are mainly provided by the Marine Services Company Limited (MSCL) which owns and operates the ships for both passenger and cargo. (TPA Mwanza, 2017)

North Port is primarily designed for passengers and small load ships. In addition, one quay of the North Port is specifically dedicated to Roll-on/roll-off (RORO) transport, with a designed shore-based ramps for railway wagons. Currently, two RORO ferries are in operation on Lake Victoria. The MV Kaawa is managed by Rift Valley Railways (RVR), a Kenyan-Ugandan company. The second one, the MV. Umoja, is managed by MSCL. This ferry has a capacity of 20 rail wagons (of 40 tons each) or 1,200 tons for loose cargo. It ensures the service between Mwanza and Port Bell (Uganda) and sometimes between Mwanza and Jinja (Uganda) and rarely on the route of Mwanza to Kisumu (Kenya), depending on the availability of business offer. These three ports have the appropriate shore-based ramps for train wagons. However, investment would be necessary to upgrade the infrastructure. (MSCL, 2017)

South Port is specialized to serve cargo ships. The berth has liquid/oil reception facility and is well connected with road and railway enhanced by linkspan that enables train wagon to be easily ferried or loaded to a ship. The vessel calls at the port for year 2016 was 569 and 123,827 MT of break bulk cargo. The port has one conventional berth of 280 meters length with 5 meters maximum draft length. It has no container traffic.

Port website:  https://www.ports.go.tz/index.php/en/ports/lake-victoria-respective-ports

Key port information may also be found at: http://www.maritime-database.com

Port Location and Contact



Province or District


Nearest Town or City with Distance from Port


Port's Complete Name

Mwanza North Port





Managing Company or Port Authority

Tanzania Ports Authority

Management Contact Person

Daniel Sira, Port Master

P.O. Box 3100
Mwanza, Tanzania

Tel: 255 28 2541422

Mob. +255 (0) 787 250181
 Fax +255 (28) 22541422

Nearest Airport and Airlines with Frequent International Arrivals/Departures

Mwanza Airport

Port Picture

View of South Port.

Shore-based ramps for train wagons are available on one quay at North Port. On the picture, we can see the connexion of the railways with the RORO vessel MV. Umoja.

Description and Contacts of Key Companies

The ports of Mwanza are owned and managed by Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA). The major company that provides marine services is Marine Services Company Limited (MSCL) which owns and operates both passenger and cargo ships serving Uganda (Port bell) and Kenya (Kisumu port).  

The stevedoring activities at ports of Mwanza are carried out by Mwanza South Porters Cooperatives Society (MWASOPOCOS) a contracted private labour association. (TPA Mwanza, 2017)

For more information on port contacts, please see the following link: 4.4 Port and Waterways Companies Contact List.

Mwanza Port Improvements until 2018

There have been significant improvements at Mwanza Port in streamlining the Dar es Salaam and Uganda Corridor, facilitating the trade between Tanzania, Uganda, and South Sudan. Since 2005, the Victoria rail ferry had been suspended it is until 2018 that the governments of Tanzania and Uganda relaunched the services again. Such improvements has led to the transportation from Dar es Salaam to Uganda shifting from truck to rail, leading to cost savings. The rail services in Tanzania connecting the Mwanza port are partly financed by WFP that account for the 90% of the cargo on the Dar es Salaam-Kampala/Port Bell Corridor. Via Mwanza Port, the cargo takes 5 to 6 days from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza. The port is also advantaged to facilitate the shipment of the GM cargo from the US which is not allowed via the Kenya.

The ground size of covered storage (sheds) summarizes in a total of 3,700 sqm. There are wide areas of land behind the 3 sheds, which can be used for outdoor storage, cargo covered with tarpaulin, or for the installation of tents like in Kigoma Port on Lake Tanganyika. The outdoor areas are divided by rail tracks, which are used for block train consolidation and shunting. Other Port Locations in Mwanza include Mwaloni-Kirumba Fishing and Ferry Harbor, Mkombozi private terminal.

 Port Performance

The port of Mwanza has a channel draft and quay draft of 9 meters and 5 meters respectively. This is a great limitation to vessel size that can dock at the port. The port does not face any congestion problem and generally, the vessels are berthed on arrival. The major port limitations are the unreliability of infrastructure and the vessels and handling facilities which are insufficient.

Currently, the port has no traffic volumes of humanitarian cargo but can be given priority.

Seasonal Constraints


Time Frame

Rainy Season



Major Import Campaigns



Other Comments

Handling Figures for 2019

Vessel Calls


Container Traffic (TEUs)


Handling Figures Bulk and Break Bulk for 2019

Bulk (MT)


Break bulk (MT)

123,827 MT

Discharge Rates and Terminal Handling Charges

There is no actual measure of discharge rate at Mwanza ports. The discharge rate is measured in terms of tons/gang shift/day. However, this was not clearly indicated.

Berthing Specifications

Type of Berth


Length (m)

Maximum Draft (m)


Conventional Berth




Currently it can accommodate up to 4 medium-sized vessels

Container Berth




Silo Berth




Berthing Tugs


Water Barges




General Cargo Handling Berths

The Port of Mwanza has no general cargo handling berths for bagged cargo and Ro-Ro specialized for general cargo.

Cargo Type

Berth Identification

Imports - Bagged Cargo


Exports - Bagged Cargo


Imports and Exports - RoRo


Other Imports

Linkspan, Liquid/Oil reception facility, designated RORO Quay area.

Port Handling Equipment

The port handling equipment are owned and maintained by TPA. There are a few- equipment with limited capacity.



Total Quantity and Capacity Available

Comments on Current Condition and Actual Usage

Dockside Crane


1 x 3MTs

Portal crane which is old and unreliable

Container Gantries



Mobile Cranes


2: 1=6 MT, 1=100 MT

Both are Grounded





RoRo Tugmaster (with Trailer)




Grain Elevator with Bagging Machines










Container Facilities

The port of Mwanza has no container facilities.

Customs Guidance

The main activities at the port include tax collection as well as monitoring and control of unauthorized cargo entries. The volumes of cargo at the port is not high which also makes clearance to take very short time. The customs offices are located at the port areas operating at 24/7.

For more information on customs in Tanzania, please see the following link: 1.3 Customs Information. 

Terminal Information

Multipurpose Terminal

The terminals in the ports are for small vessels operating in the Lake Victoria in both Mwanza North and South ports. There is a specialized facility called Linkspan for wagon ferries available at Mwanza South Port, Kemondo Bay, and Musoma ports. There are also RORO facilities at Mwanza North port of 10m length.

Grain and Bulk Handling

There is no grain and bulk handling operations in Mwanza Port.


There is one portal crane of 3MT handling capacity. The main storage facilities at the port are three (3) sheds of total volume capacity of 66,220m3. There are also some open spaces for yard cargo which are currently not utilized due to the nature of goods handled. It is not possible to do direct bagging from the ship in Mwanza ports. There are no companies responsible for bagging cargo at the port.

Storage Type

Number of Storage Facilities

Area (m2)

Bagged Cargo


66,220 m3

Refrigerated Cargo



General Cargo



There are three (3) storage facilities(sheds) at Mwanza South port with a volume capacity of 66,220 m3of which one is used as an office.


The main stevedoring activities in Mwanza port are to discharge and load general cargoes from/to the vessels. The activity mainly is done by use of manual labourers. When there is heavy cargo, the cargo handling equipment are used. Stevedoring activities are carried out by contracted private labour associations in all ports of Mwanza (MWASOPOCOS, 2016).

Hinterland Information

Movement of the cargo from one port to another is by small vessels plying in the lake and some wagon ferries available. The port is connected by railway (operated by TRL). Roads are paved and in good condition (managed by TANROADS), and Victoria Lake Waterways (owned by TPA while ships are owned and operated by Marine Services Company Ltd (MSCL)). (TPA Mwanza, 2017)

Port Security

Security is under the Port Auxiliary Police assisted by the private company under the national service in all ports. The ports are also secured by the National Police. Safety matters are arranged and done by the Department of Fire, Safety, Health and Environment (TPA Mwanza, 2017).  


ISPS Compliant


Current ISPS Level
(Level 1 = Normal, Level 2 = Heightened, Level 3 = Exceptional)

ISPS Level 1

Police Boats


Fire Engines


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