Tanzanian authorities recently announced that the first phase operation of the 300km standard gauge railway (SGR) linking the business capital Dar es Salaam and Morogoro to the East will commence on December 2019.
Tanzania’s Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Isack Kamwele, commented to the media that the procurement of 1,430 cargo wagons, 20 locomotives, 60 passenger carriages and five sets of multiple trains has begun.
The foundation stone for the construction of the first section of the SGR connecting Dar es Salaam to Morogoro was set on April 2017, and on May 2019, it was announced that the current phase of the project was 60% complete.
Partial funding for this section, amounting to USD 1.2 billion, was borrowed from the Export Credit Bank of Turkey and was contracted to a 50/50 consortium comprising Yapi Merkezi of Turkey and Mota-Engil of Portugal.
Initially, China’s Exim Bank was intended to finance most of the project but the Tanzanian administration rejected the proposal in favor of the Turkish-Portuguese consortium.
However, Tanzania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Palamagamba Kabudi has recently commented that China is willing to finance the SGR project at a later stage.
The overall SGR project will stretch for 1,219 kilometers, connecting Dar es Salaam to Mwanza on Lake Victoria for an overall budget of USD 7.5 billion, with a five-year completion timeline.
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.
The Tanzanian rail network comprised 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.
The SGR will link Tanzania to the neighboring countries of Rwanda and Uganda, and through these two, to Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).