The Tanzanian transport sector is divided into surface transport (including roads, railways) inland waterways (lakes and rivers), air transport and sea transport.
Tanzania’s transport sector rose by 55% in value during 2009–2014, from USD1.3bn to USD2.1bn.
Main growth drivers include the increase in the number of passengers carried and freight handled through road transport.
According to Tanzania’s 2025 Development Vision, investments in infrastructure, particularly in the development of the road network, are the Government’s top priority.
The World Bank (WB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) support Tanzania in achieving its infrastructure development goals by providing grants and credits for projects.
Tanzania Road Transport
Road transport is the most widely used form of transport in Tanzania, carrying over 90% of the passengers and 75% of the freight traffic in the country.
The road network in Tanzania currently comprises 86,472 km of roads, of which 12,786 km are trunk roads, 21,105 km are regional roads and the remaining 52,581 km are district, urban and feeder roads.
Tanzania’s Ministry of Works, Transport, and Communication through the Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS) is managing the national road network of about 33,891km, comprising 12,786 km of trunk and 21,105 km of regional roads.
The remaining network of about 53,460km of urban, district and feeder roads is under the responsibility of the Prime Minister’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PMO-RALG).
Tanzania Rail Transport
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.
Tanzania has a total of 3,676km of railway lines operated by two railway systems, Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) and Tanzania – Zambia Railways (TAZARA).
The mainline of TRC 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.
The TAZARA line is 1,860 km in length, of which 975 km is in Tanzania and 885 km in Zambia.
Tanzania Air Transport
There are 58 airports and more than 300 private airstrips in Tanzania owned by mining companies and tour operators.
The total number of air passengers in Tanzania increased by 62% in the past 5 years, from 2.1m in 2010 to 3.5m in 2015, while Tanzania’s cargo handling capacity rose by 7% during the same period, from 23,453t to 25,165t.
The Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA), located in Dar es Salaam, is the largest and busiest airport in Tanzania, accounting for over 70% of Tanzania’s air passengers with almost 2.5m in 2015.
JNIA also accounts for 80% of the country’s cargo capacity, which is expected to increase to 80,000t per year, starting May 2016, after the construction of a new cargo facility.
Currently (2016), there are 21 airline operators on the JNIA, including some of the leading international air carriers such as SWISS, Qatar Airways, and British Airways.
According to the 2014 World Airport Summit, drivers of Tanzania’s air transport development include the growth of tourism, mining and economic activities.
Tanzania Water Transport
Tanzania has a coastline of about 720 km on the Indian Ocean, and also borders Lake Victoria, Lake Nyasa, and Lake Tanganyika.
Both sea and inland waterways ports in Tanzania are managed and operated by the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA).
The TPA’s main Indian Ocean ports are Dar es Salaam, Mtwara, and Tanga. Minor seaports serving coastal traffic include Lindi, Kilwa Masoko, Mafia Island, Bagamoyo, Pangani and Kwale.
Dar es Salaam is the Tanzania’s principal port with intrinsic capacity of 10.1m t per year. The port handles over 92% of the total maritime ports’ throughput.
The port serves land linked countries of Malawi, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.
These countries are connected to the port through two railway systems (TRL-1.0 metre gauge and TAZARA-1.067 cape gauge), road network as well as the TAZAMA oil pipeline to Zambia.
TPA also operates Tanzania’s lake ports, maintaining around 20 ports on Lake Victoria. Some major ports include Bukoba, Kemondo Bay,Musoma and Nansio.
Principal lake ports on Tanganyika include Kigoma and Kasanga. Additionally, there are 15 smaller ports along the lake.
These ports provide trade connections between Burundi, Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia.
Lake Nyasa has 4 important ports, at Itungi, Mbamba Bay, Liuli and Manda. There are up to 10 other smaller TPA ports on the lake that facilitate passenger movement along the lake and between the countries of Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Government of Tanzania recently signed the agreement for a soft loan of USD 180 million to build the Dodoma City Outer Ring Road.
The 110.2 km project will provide efficient road transport access to Dodoma City, the rest of the country, as well as other countries in the East African Community (EAC), thereby contributing to poverty reduction and improved living conditions of the people.
The project is being implemented by the Tanzania Roads Agency (TANROADS), the Agency under the Ministry of Works, Transport, and Communication with the duty of maintaining and developing trunk and regional road network in mainland Tanzania.
The project is planned to be implemented over a four-year period at a total cost of USD 214.69 million
It will be jointly financed by the AfDB, the Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF, jointly backed by the AfDB and the People’s Bank of China), and the Government of Tanzania.
The AfDB will finance 64.28% of the total cost, equivalent to USD 138.00 million, while the AGTF will finance USD 42.00 million representing 19.56% of the total project cost.
For its part, the Government of Tanzania with finance 16.16% of the total project cost, or USD 34.69 million as counterpart funds.
The project is expected to provide a major boost to the country’s and sub-region’s integration with a large swath of Africa, being at the cross-roads key regional and continental trade routes, namely; the Trans-African Highway (TAH 4) Corridor and the Central Corridor (CC).
TAH4 is a strategic route connecting Cape Town (South Africa) to Cairo (Egypt) through Gaborone (Botswana), Lusaka (Zambia), Dodoma and Arusha (Tanzania), Nairobi (Kenya), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and Khartoum (Sudan).
The Central Corridor links the port of Dar es Salaam to Tanzania’s interior and secondary cities such as Mwanza, Kigoma and to four landlocked neighboring countries namely Burundi, Rwanda, DRC, and Uganda.
The Central Corridor is significant for Tanzania in that it handles 90% of the Country’s total trade (imports and exports), and 40% of the cargo handled by the Port of Dar es Salaam is transit cargo for DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda via the Central Corridor.