Rwanda’s rail links to the Indian Ocean will pass through Tanzania, instead of Kenya, due to lower cost and less time needed for the construction.
The Tanzanian option will link Kigali to Dar es Salaam for an estimated cost of around USD900m versus USD1bn for the Kenyan option, according to the Rwanda Ministry of East African Community Affairs.
The primary objective of the railway is to provide the landlocked countries of Rwanda and Burundi and the interior of Tanzania with a more efficient and low cost transport link to the port of Dar es Salaam via the Central Corridor.
The rail links to the Indian Ocean will be constructed under the Dar es Salaam-Isaka-Kigali/Keza-Musongati (DIKKM) Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project, which is expected to be completed by 2018 at the total cost of USD5.2bn.
The approximate length of the lines will be 970km between Dar es Salaam and Isaka, 494km between Isaka and Kigali, and 197km between Keza and Musongati.
The SGR will be built primarily for freight trains with heavy loads (32.4t) and long train lengths (2000m), although passenger trains will also be operated.
The railway is expected to handle minimum 8.5m t and maximum 24m t of traffic volume per year by 2029.
The three governments (of Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi) partnering together on the DIKKM railway intend to implement it using a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
Julius Ndega, senior engineer at the Rwanda Ministry of Infrastructure, said: “We are conducting a joint development of the standard gauge railway with our counterparts from Burundi and Tanzania. We have agreed contract terms and conditions and the Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA), will procure it on behalf of the three countries.”
Uganda also chose Tanzania over Kenya for the construction of its oil pipeline to the Indian Ocean due to cost and safety concerns.
The Uganda–Tanzania Crude Oil Pipeline (UTCOP), a 1,400km proposed pipeline will transport crude oil from Uganda’s oil fields to the Tanzanian port of Tanga on the Indian Ocean.