Tanzania wants to construct a 2,561 km standard gauge railway connecting its main port of Dar es Salaam to landlocked neighbours Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Rwanda and Uganda.

To this end, the country has signed a joint venture with a Turkish and Portuguese firm to construct a 205km main way and 95km interchange as well as railway stations along the way. This will eventually link Dar es Salaam with the rest of the country as well as with Rwanda and Burundi. The two firms beat 40 other bidders to win the tender after meeting both technical and financial criteria for implementation of the project, which will take two and-a-half years to complete.

The project, to be constructed at a total cost of $1.215 billion, will be undertaken by a consortium of Yapi Merkez Insaat Ve Sanayi (Turkey) and Mota-Engil (Portugal), Engenharie and Construcao Africa, SA. The government has set aside $500 million for the project and is expecting to secure soft loans from development and financial institutions for implementation of the plan.

The 160km/hr SGR line will handle 17 million tonnes per annum and will run parallel to the existing central railway line built 112 years ago by the German colonialists. The consortium comprising of Ethiopia, South Africa and Mozambique will undertake the stretch linking the commercial capital Dar es Salaam to Morogoro.

According to a post published in the dailies, tenders for the remaining part of the SGR project will be opened in April this year. They include the 336km line linking Morogoro and Makutupora, Makutupora-Tabora (294 km), Tabora-Isaka (133 km) and Isaka-Mwanza (248 km).

Kenya is also recording progress in its first phase of SGR line from Mombasa-Nairobi. Already, the second batch of SGR locomotives, 2 passenger locomotives, 4 freight locomotives and 32 passenger coaches of the project have arrived for testing in preparation for the June 2017 launch.

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