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Tanzania and DRC Cooperate to Increase Railway Services

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The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) and the National Railways Company of Congo (SNCC) will work together to increase freight volume between Tanzania and DRC.

This decision follows the companies’ improved service performance in the recent past, according to the press release issued by TAZARA.

TAZARA and SNCC met in Dar es Salaam on 13th June 2016. They also held a meeting with Dar es Salaam based customers and other stakeholders on 14th June 2016 to discuss railway services in Tanzania, Zambia and DRC.

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TAZARA runs from the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia where it links with Zambia Railways (ZRL) and connects to SNCC, which runs to Lubumbashi in DRC.

TAZARA and SNCC announced that transit time between Lubumbashi and Dar es Salaam has been reduced from over 40 days to less than 10 days.

TAZARA alone improved its transit time between Dar es Salaam and New Kapiri-Mposhi in Zambia from 30 days to less than 7 days in the last 10 months, Betram Kiswaga, Deputy Managing Director of TAZARA, said recently.

Accordingly, theft of cargo is eliminated thanks to the reduced transit time.

“These improvements have come as a result of changes of leadership in both railways as well as measures taken by the shareholding governments to stabilize and boost railway operations by injecting funds and equipment.”, the press release indicates.

TAZARA is the entity in charge of operating the Tanzania-Zambia railway since its inception in 1975 by a bilateral agreement signed between both countries under the TAZARA Act 1975.

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China funded the project mainly to provide an alternative route from Zambia to Dar es Salaam to export its copper.

China also provided the necessary technical support, expertise, equipment, and related infrastructure to make it viable.

In the 1990s, the economic performance of the railway began to decline and continued deteriorating over the next 20 years. However, after 2010 China has been helping TAZARA to revive its operations.

Still, TAZARA infrastructure cannot currently meet today’s development demand. This is why revitalizing TAZARA is among the intentions of Tanzania, Zambia, and China.

Lu Youqing, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in the United Republic of Tanzania, recently said: “Today, TAZARA is still playing an important role for the economic cooperation and personnel exchanges of Tanzania and Zambia.”

“The new generation of national leaders of China, Tanzania and Zambia pay utmost attention to the operation of TAZARA. President Xi Jinping has agreed with the Presidents of Tanzania and Zambia to make joint efforts to build TAZARA into the Railway for Development and Prosperity in the new era,” he added.

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