Tanzania has started building its 300km Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from the Indian Ocean port of Dar es Salaam to Morogoro. The line is expected to be extended to Port Mwanza on Lake Victoria to link Uganda.
The electric railway has been designed to support a maximum speed of 160km/h for passenger trains and 120km/h for freight. It is expected to be complete within 30 months.
Construction of the multi-billion railway line was launched by Tanzanian president John Pombe Magufuli. In attendance, on behalf of Uganda, was the Charge d’Affaires at Uganda’s High Commission, Mr Oscar Edule, who is currently holding forte, pending new High Commissioner Richard Kabonero’s assuming office.
In February 2017, the Tanzanian government signed a deal with a consortium of Turkey, Portugual, Mozambique and South Africa firm to construct a 205km main way and 95km interchange as well as railway stations along the way. Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s principal port with a rated capacity of 4.1 million down weight tonnage (dwt) dry cargo and six million dwt bulk liquid cargo.
Uganda is also undertaking its railway project and recently announced that phase one of the project worth US$ 2.3bn is set to begin this year. China Harbour Engineering Co., the contractors are in preparation to build the 273-kilometer (170-mile) standard-gauge section that will link Uganda’s capital, Kampala, and the Kenyan border, a phase that will take 40 months to complete.
Export-Import Bank of China, the financiers of the project are yet to finalize the details of support.
Tanzania is constructing its SGR at a much lower cost at $5 million (Shs17b) per kilometre compared to Uganda’s $8.4 million (about Shs30 billion) per km.