On 20th December 2022, the Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) signed a USD 2.2 billion agreement for the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) section connecting Tabora to Kigoma.
The agreement was signed by the Director General of TRC Masanja Kadogosa and the Executive Director of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Mr. Zhang Junle on behalf of CCECC’s joint venture with the China Railway Construction Company (CRCC), wich will execute the construction works.
The contract involves the construction of 506 kilometers of SGR railway, of which 411 kilometers of mainline and 95 kilometers of alternating lines, 10 passenger stations, and two large freight stations in Uvinza and Katosho.
This final section of the SGR line will link the port of Dar es Salaam with Lake Victoria, and eventually to Tanzania’s neighboring country the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The signing of the contract took place at the White House in Dar es Salaam and was witnessed by President Samia Suluhu Hassan who explained that the construction of this final section of the SGR will be completed in 2026.
“This Tabora – Kigoma railway and the one from Uvinza – Msongati to Kindu will open up Tanzania and connect it with DR Congo where there is a lot of cargo that needs to be transported through our [Dar es Salaam] port. Congo has mineral mines with loads of more than 150 million tons and other loads to enable these mines to work, so this is an opportunity,” President Samia said.
She stressed that once completed, the new SGR railway will dramatically reduce cargo transportation costs between Dar es Salaam and DRC from a minimum of USD 6,000 per ton to about USD 4,000, hence Tanzania will better utilize its strategic geographical positioning in cross-border trade.
President Samia also reminded that Tanzania’s investment in the SGR had now reached USD 10.04 billion (TZS 24 trillion) and that the country’s borrowing to finance this infrastructure megaproject is absolutely necessary, dismissing worries about the country’s excessive borrowing.
For his part, the Chief Executive of CCECC Mr. Zhang thanked the Tanzanian Government for trusting CCECC to build this project and promised that CCEECC will build seriously by combining manpower, expertise, and advanced technology to be able to achieve quality in the railway.
Finally, TRC’s DG Mr. Kadogosa explained that with the signing of this contract Tanzania is making history as the first country in Africa to have an SGR railway totaling 2,201 Km when completed.
The government of Tanzania is currently expanding the country’s rail network with the construction of an SGR 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 DRC.