The Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) has been granted a USD 5 million contract to build 90 new 50 ton container open wagons for the regional Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara), a project that is expected to be completed in eight months.
Recent reports have indicated that the China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corporation and the Meishan Company, a subsidiary of CCECC, are expected to assist in the completion of this project.
According to the managing director of Tazara, Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika, these particular types of wagons are used to haul freight cargo and metals including copper and manganese.
In addition, a recent report by the East African Mr. Mbikusita-Lewanika indicated that Tazara is currently in direct need of needs various equipment.
“These developments will complement Tazara’s efforts to meet customer expectations in the delivery of quality transport services,” said Mr. Mbikusita-Lewanika.
The report went on to explain that the CCECC’s recently acquired USD 5 million contract is a portion of the total USD 40 million loan that was granted to Tazara in December 2009 through the governments of Tanzania and Zambia by the Chinese under the 14th Protocol.
In adherence to and as a part of the implementation of the 14th Protocol, prior to signing of the supply contract, technical experts arrived from China earlier this month in order to assess and repair loading equipment in Tanzania.
Additional sections of the 14th Protocol have indicated that six new mainline locomotives are expected to be supplied, three shunting locomotives are to be repaired and staff are to be adequately trained.
According to the public relations manager of Tazara, Conrad Simuchile, the new wagons will be used to transport cargo south of the port in order to prevent the wagons that will be collecting copper exports from Zambia and cement from Mbeya from being empty while en route to Dar es Salaam.
In order to match the amount that is being transported to Dar es Salaam, Tazara will need to move as many as 200 containers per week to Mbeya and Kapiri-Mposhi.
Currently, Tazara is able to transport as many as 100 containers to Mbeya, 100 to Kapiri-Mposhi each week and the 100 to Dar es Salaam.
This year, Tazara is looking to move a total of 700,000 tons of freight and 900,000 tons of passenger traffic.
While the grant settlement has not yet been fully agreed upon, earlier this year Tanzania, Zambia and China signed a USD 39.2 million deal that will assist Tazara in the acquisition of six new locomotives and in the repairing of 1,200 coaches.
According to reports, in addition to the cancelling of an unspecified amount of outstanding debt, the Chinese government also allegedly offered a discount on the loan.