The Tanzania railway transport sector, through the country’s Ministry of Infrastructure Development, has recently signed a contract with the US-based company, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF).
The agreement between the two organizations was designed to help fund both a feasibility study as well as actual improvements to the 1000 km central railway line that runs from Dar es Salaam to Isaka.
The US government, through the US trade and Development Agency in association with BNSF, has injected approximately USD 943,100 in order to help rehabilitate this central railway line.
Of these funds, USD 653,600 was contributed by the US trade and Development Agency and USD 289,500 was contributed by BNSF.
Last year, the US government also supported the Tanzania central railway line with an approximate USD 800m contribution.
This grant was awarded to the Tanzania railway sub-sector under the US African Trade Lanes Partnership in order to fund the early investment analysis of upgrades to the Dar es Salaam- Isaka railway.
The signing ceremony for the agreement took place in Washington DC, between representatives of the two governments, the Director for the US agency, Mr. Larry Walther, and Tanzania Minister for Infrastructure Development, Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa.
According to Dr. Kawambwa, who spoke recently to reporters in Dar es Salaam, “the development of the central line is important to support the economic growth and the establishment of an important regional transportation corridor in the country.”
Currently, the railway line that runs between Dar es Salaam and Isaka has a narrow gauge and dates back to the 1900s.
While speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam, Dr. Kawambwa indicated that the funds from the US Trade and Development Agency and BNSF would be used to help modernize the railway.
Dr. Kawambwa went on to say that the upgrade to a standard gauge railway will allow trains to carry and transport more weight as well as help ensure that trains are moved more quickly through the current system.
The plan that is currently being proposed is part of the Central Development Corridor (CDC) for Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
Upon completion of the first phase of this project, Dr. Kawambwa has said that the company will also conduct a feasibility study for the construction of an additional railway line that will connect Isaka to Rwanda and Burundi.
Because of the current improvements that are being made to the port of Dar es Salaam as well as the planned construction of a new Isaka to Kigali, Rwanda rail link, the CDC is expected to soon be able to quickly and easily transport freight from the Port of Dar es Salaam to a dry port at Isaka and then onwards to land-locked Rwanda.