WFP Tanzania staff aboard their Segways (from left to right):Victor Moshi, Digna Mlacha, Herbert Lamu, Aderico Kihakwi. Photo: WFP/Jen Kunz
Staff in Tanzania are saving time and greenhouse gas emissions by using their new Segway personal transportation vehicles to move around the Dar es Salaam port.
WFP Tanzania has introduced a greener way to navigate the Dar es Salaam port. Segways, the first self-balancing, zero emissions personal transportation vehicles, are now in use at the 10,000-square foot warehouse and 2 km-long port, providing a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly alternative to trucks.
Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway, wanted to ‘change the way people allocate their resources, the way this planet uses its energy, and make it more fun.’ He figured there had to be an easier, more sustainable way for people to get around growing urban centres, something to bridge the gap between walking and driving.
This principle has been in practice for only a month at the Dar es Salaam port, but Victor Moshi, Logisitics Assistant at the WFP warehouse, already sees a big difference from the old way of working. "Before the Segways, we walked or drove around the warehouse and up and down the port," he said. "We are working in a huge space, so this took time, was very tiring, and the vehicles were difficult to move. Now my work is easier and gets done faster." Having many vehicles in constant use exacted a high price, financially and environmentally. The battery-powered Segways need only be charged after each use to keep them running.
There are six Segways in use at the port, each managed by one staff member. Warehouse staff underwent an easy training before using the Segways but, according to Ramon Fernandez, WFP Logistics Officer at the port, using them is "simply common sense. They respond to the position of your body." The Dar es Salaam port is a vital transit hub for WFP operations throughout Tanzania, and to East & Central Africa. Efficiency is key, and the Segways allow workers to move rapidly and manoeuvre in tight spaces.
The introduction of Segways heralds the beginning of a move to green for WFP Tanzania. According to Country Director Richard Ragan, "If we want to get seious about adapting green technology into our operations we’ve got to walk the walk - or in this case roll the roll."