The Government of Malawi contracted the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) to transport 48m liters of petroleum products in the next 12 months, starting July 2016.
This was announced after a meeting between TAZARA and the Malawi Government, held on 20th June 2016 in Dar es Salaam.
The Malawi fuel can be moved from the port of Dar es Salaam to the Malawi Cargo Center (MCCL) facilities in Mbeya.
Eng. Bruno Ching’andu, TAZARA’s Managing Director, assured the Malawi Government that TAZARA is well prepared to handle the Malawi cargo thanks to its new leadership.
“Our shareholders have recently appointed me and my deputy, and between us we have vast engineering and business experience […],” he added.
Eng. Ching’andu joined TAZARA in April 2016. Since then, he has instilled discipline in the railway operations, with the firm now registering consistent and shorter transit times in freight trains as well as passenger trains, according to TAZARA’s press release.
TAZARA 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.
Currently (2016), TAZARA is also in discussion with the Zambian Government and another private firm to begin carrying 14m liters of fuel per month to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) within July 2016.
TAZARA and the National Railways Company of Congo (SNCC) met in Dar es Salaam on 13th June 2016.
The companies decided to work together to increase freight volume between Tanzania and DRC. This decision follows the companies’ improved service performance in the recent past, according to TAZARA.
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.
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.