Tanzania’s first standard gauge railway (SGR) has moved closer to reality following the laying of the foundation stone for implementation of the first phase by President John Magufuli recently.
President Magufuli told the gathering witnessing the stone laying ceremony at Pugu in the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, that SGR would speed up the country’s industrialisation drive and went on to urge the consortium of Turkish and Portuguese contractors undertaking the project to look into the possibility of completing the project ahead of the 30-month schedule.
”I understand the project is scheduled to take 30 months to complete, but I challenge the contractors to deliver a well-executed project ahead of the deadline,” the President said, adding that the Government had already effected a down payment of 300 bn/-.
The project, to be implemented in five phases, will link Dar es Salaam and Mwanza and eventually Rwanda and Burundi. The portion whose construction was launched is about 300 kilometres long, from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro.
Reli Assets Holding Company Ltd (Rahco) had announced earlier that the project would be undertaken by Yapi Merkez Insaat Ve Sanayi (Turkey) and Mota-Engil, Engenharie and Construcao Africa, SA (Portugal) at a total cost of 1,215,282,000 US dollars.
Rahco Acting Managing Director, Masanja Kadogosa, said his firm would closely oversee the project and ensure its timely completion. He hailed the government for its efforts to make the project happen, noting that it would go a long way towards opening up business opportunities in the hinterland.
The SGR will run parallel to the existing German-built central railway line, and will allow a speed of 160 km per hour and will handle about 17 million tonnes per annum.
According to Rahco tenders for the remaining portions of the project, namely the 336 km linking Morogoro and Makutupora, Makutupora - Tabora (294 km), Tabora - Isaka (133 km) and Isaka - Mwanza (248 km), will be opened in April this year.