The Tanzania Times
Eastern Africa News Network

Private firms to operate electric trains on Tanzania’s new Standard Gauge Railway

Tanzania begins trial runs of passenger and cargo wagon transportation on the Standard Gauge Railway line in January 2024.

For starters the train services on the SGR are set to ply between Dar-es-salaam and Morogoro.

But the country now plans to review its railway act number 17 of 2017 in order to allow the private sector to start operating rail transport services in the country.

This means there will soon be private trains running along the Standard Gauge Railways which according to the Minister of Transport is going to keep the modern infrastructure busy.

Addressing participants during the Joint Transport Sector Review Meeting in Arusha, the Minister of Transport, Prof Makame Mbarawa said all Tanzanians who are interested to operate rail transportation are welcome to order and install their own engines and wagons.

“The Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) is not capable of operating the SGR services on its own, we therefore invite private firms to make use of the new infrastructure and we shall allocate them special timetables in using the network,” said the Minister.

The first section of the Standard Gauge Railway connecting Dar-es-salaam and Morogoro measuring 300 kilometres is completed by nearly 99 percent and will be ready to be commissioned in January 2024.

“We have started trial runs using Hyundai Rotem electric vehicle which moves at the velocity of 218 kilometres per hour,” said Prof Mbarawa, explaining that the Standard Gauge Railway infrastructure was designed to handle speeds of 160 kilometres per hour.

Earlier on, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Godius Walter Kahyarara said Tanzania boasts a geographical advantage.

“For instance, the Kidatu section of Morogoro, where the central rail line meets the Tanzania Zambia Railway can be transformed into a potential connection hub which links East African Countries with South Africa, all the way to Cape Town,” said the Permanent Secretary.

However he reminded that for the transport sector to really move faster in all its three components of air, ground (roads and rail) as well as marine, there is the need for the private sector to be fully involved in transportation.

On the other hand, the Transport Minister maintained that the rather busy border entry at Tunduma which connects Zambia and Tanzania along the Southern Corridor, has been handling more than a million tons of cargo per month.

According to the Minister, corridors of transport can now also be used as economic development centres, for instance the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) in Northern Tanzania has the potential of becoming a horticultural export zone, while the central railway line dry port at Kwala can also be a commercial hub.

On her part the Acting Director of Monitoring and Assessment in the Ministry of Transport Debora Gabriel said the 16th Joint Transport Sector Review Meeting brought together major stakeholders in the transport sector to address the role of the segment in social-economic development, where participants will review their respective institutional performances in the current and previous fiscal years.

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