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  HOME PAGE 25/05/2022 13:50 
26.01.2022 11:27 News >> Tanzania's Standard Gauge Railway To Unlock Trade Potential

Tanzania's Standard Gauge Railway To Unlock Trade Potential

Line to connect strategic landlocked countries, ease cargo congestion.

Tanzania is implementing an ambitious standard gauge railway (SGR) project which aims to give the East African country's central corridor a new lease on life by reducing transport costs, increasing rural-urban linkage and improving access to markets.
Its ageing meter gauge railway line, which passes through the hinterland, had in recent decades undergone rapid wear and tear partly due to low investment and operational challenges that officials say have eroded the economic potential that railway freight previously offered.
The 1,219-kilometer (757-mile) SGR line, whose construction costs $14.2 billion, seeks to unlock business and trade potential by linking the neighboring landlocked countries of Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Low cost of doing business
The SGR system, which will replace the ageing and inefficient meter gauge railway system, is expected to ease cargo congestion on major highways, thus significantly reducing the cost of doing business in the Great Lakes region.
Masanja Kadogosa, director general of Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC), said the SGR project heralds wide economic benefits and is expected to revolutionize mobility and the distribution of commodities in Tanzania.
"The SGR provides an economic advantage for the nation and the agriculture sector by delivering important inputs including fertilizers on time," he told Anadolu Agency.
According to Kadogosa, a single SGR train is expected to handle 10,000 tons, the equivalent of replacing 500 road trucks in a single trip.
Lucrative deal
Turkish construction giant Yapi Merkezi in December 2021 clinched a $1.9 billion deal for the construction of a 368-kilometer (229-mile) section of the electrified SGR comprising all infrastructural work.
This is the third lucrative deal the firm has secured. It had obtained two other contracts with the Tanzanian government for the overall SGR project -- the 300-kilometer (186-mile) phase one connecting the port city of Dar es Salaam and Morogoro and the 426-kilometer (265-mile) phase two linking Morogoro to Makutupora.
Basar Arioglu, chairman of Yapi Merkezi Construction and Industry, the flagship of the Yapi Merkezi Group and Yapı Merkezi Holding, said the SGR line will handle higher loads and faster speeds and significantly increase the transportation capacity, thus reducing costs for cargo and providing faster and more comfortable rides for passengers.
"Most importantly, reduced carbon emissions will protect the world-renowned natural treasures of Tanzania…(and) cargo trains will help decongest the port of Dar es Salaam by ensuring that goods that arrive at the port are moved towards destinations inland without delays and with ease," he added.
Tanzania's President Samia Suluhu Hassan said her government is unable to finance the huge railway project using domestically generated revenues and is pushing for concessional loans to finance a total of 2,561 kilometers (1,591 miles) of the SGR network concurrently with the improvement of the existing meter gauge line, which is narrower. The two lines are running parallel to each other.
Local analysts say the SGR railway has the potential to significantly lower transport costs in Tanzania and its neighboring countries while transforming local economies through increased markets and business linkages.
"This railway will not only facilitate transit, domestic freight and passengers, (but) it will provide an economic stimulus to communities along the corridor," said Josephat Kweka, lead consultant and chief executive officer of Talanta International.
Train ride thrill
Rail journeys have long been a marvel in Tanzania, a home to a stunning mix of forests, mountains and jaw-dropping scenic plains.
While bullet trains may be famed for their speed, a ride on a SGR is a wonderful experience.
A train ride from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza—a city perched on the shores of Lake Victoria, offers the perfect adventure.
From zig-zagging up the rugged terrain of the central plateau to a stopover at Saranda, the scenic train route showcases some of the country's most beautiful landscapes and provides a much-needed opportunity for trade and business.
As those who have travelled long distance by rail from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza can attest, the train ride on the central railway feels like a roving hotel thanks to its dining experience.
Running parallel with the German-built meter gauge railway, the SGR could spell a competitive economic advantage because its infrastructure is strong and cannot be easily eroded by heavy rains.
Hemedi Kwizera, a trader from Tabora town, said he's more willing to use the railway if it is available and improves efficiency.
"Railways are the most reliable mode of transportation for moving cargo. I can't wait until the completion of the SGR," he said. -



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