On January 18, 2023, the Vice President of Tanzania Hon. Dr. Philip Isdor Mpango has laid the foundation stone for the construction of the Tabora-Isaka section of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
Located in the Shinyanga region, the section stretches for 165 km (130 km + 35 km of intersections.
The construction of the sections, undertaken by the Turkish company Yapi Merkezi, will take 42 months and is expected to be completed in March 2026.
During the ceremony, Vice President Mpango stressed that the goal of the Government is to reduce the travel time and the cost of transporting goods and people across the country and make Tanzania the center of transportation from and into East and South Africa.
He also emphasized that once the project is completed, the railway will need operating equipment including freight wagons, passengers, and locomotives. This is why the Government has entered into contracts for the purchase of 89 passenger carriages, 19 electric train heads, and 10 modern train sets, for a total investment of TZS 1.2 trillion.
In addition, the SGR project has been providing employment opportunities for citizens, contracts, and tenders for Tanzanians.
“According to the current statistics, the project has so far employed more than 20,000 direct workers and paid a salary of USD 102 million, implemented by tenders worth USD 820 million, and also the Government has collected taxes totaling USD 450 million,” said the Vice President.
For his part, the Minister of Construction and Transport Prof. Makame Mbarawa explained how the SGR will greatly benefit Tanzania and the East African community, by reducing the cost of transport.
For example, the cost of shipping one container from European or Asian countries to the port of Dar es Salaam costs between USD 2,000 to 3,000, while the cost of transporting it by road to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) costs between USD 9,000 and USD 15,000, with travel time up to 30 days compared to rail which will take 26 to 36 hours.
In addition, Prof. Mbarawa stressed the railway’s great contribution to other infrastructures including ports and roads, by reducing the accumulation of loads in the port, and reducing the damage to the roads and regular maintenance.
Meantime, the Director General of the state-owned Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC), Ndugu Masanja Kadogosa, gave a report on the progress of the first phase of the construction of the modern railway: the construction of the first section from Dar e Salaam to Morogoro has reached 97.77%, the construction of the second section from Morogoro to Makutupora has reached 91.79%, the construction of the third section from Makutupora to Tabora construction has reached 3.95%, and the construction of the fifth section from Isaka to Mwanza has reached 22.71%.
The government of Tanzania is currently expanding the country’s rail network with the construction of a Standard Gauge Railway to replace the old, inefficient meter-gauge railway system.
The SGR will link Tanzania, from the port of Dar es Salaam on the Indian Ocean to the port of Mwanza on the shore of Lake Victoria in northern Tanzania, and from there to neighboring countries of Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The SGR consists of a network of about 2,000 km developed in six phases.