TANZANIA WANTS CHINA TO REFURBISH TAZARA RAILWAY
(Posted 21st October 2013)
The railway link between Dar es Salaam and Lusaka, which was established in the early to mid 1970’s, then financed and built by the Chinese government, has for long been ailing as a result of poor maintenance and management problems. The line which is over 1.860 kilometres long covers some of Africa’s most challenging terrain but it was the lack of rolling stock and locomotives combined with regular line outages which have reduced the initial cargo volumes considerably in recent years, causing Zambia to increasingly use their rail links with South Africa to have reliable access to a deep sea port. The government owned Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Corporation has now reportedly offered to refurbish the line, in phases, when meeting the Tanzanian Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda during a recent visit to Beijing.
A first section due for overhaul, once the two governments have agreed and signed the relevant agreements, will be the stretch from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro before thereafter the second section from Morogoro to Dodoma will be tackled. The TAZARA Railways is operating both cargo and passenger trains and has in the early years after the launch in 1976 provided a crucial link between Zambia and Tanzania, giving the former access to the Indian Ocean for exports and imports alike while for Tanzania it provided a vital domestic transport axis across the entire country to the border with Zambia.