The Government of Tanzania recently signed an USD1b deal for the design and construction of the first stretch (202km) of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) between Dar es Salaam and neighboring countries Rwanda and Burundi.
The contract was awarded to a consortium (50/50) between Turkish construction group Yapi Merkezi and Portuguese construction group Mota-Engil.
According to a press release by Mota-Engil, the works are expected to start in March 2017 and last for 30 months.
The whole SGR project is for a 2,190km railway and involves the construction of a SGR from Dar es Salaam-Tabora-Isaac-Mwanza, Tabora-Mpanda-Kalemela, Tabora-Kigoma and Uvinza-Isaac-Keza-Msongati.
According to Makame Mbarawa, Tanzania’s Minister of for Works, Transport and Communications, the SGR project will be completed in 4 phases over the next 3 years.
Tanzania President Magufuli previously noted that the implementation of the railway project will help lift the economy of Tanzania and its neighboring countries, including Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The Government of Tanzania has already allocated around USD455m to the project from the 2016–2017 budget.
Railway transport is the second most important mode of transport after road and critical for long distance freight along the main transport corridors in Tanzania.
Currently (2016), the Tanzanian rail network comprises two main railways: the Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) network of 2,600 km and the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) of 1,067 km, connecting Dar es Salaam with Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia.
The TRC mainline comprises the central corridor between the port of Dar es Salaam in the east, linking central and western areas of the country and terminating at Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika in the west.