DEPLORABLE drop of the volume of cargo going in and out of the Dar es Salaam Port through railway transportation from 70 per cent down to less than five per cent has caught the attention of the government currently seeking a permanent solution.
Congestion at the port whereby railway transportation services were replaced by a fleet of privately owned lorries has been linked with continued destruction of roads infrastructure, thus, costing the government billions of shillings for repair work.
Speaking during inauguration of new Tanzania Railway Limited (TRL) board of directors, the Minister for Transport, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, said the importance of railway services which are faster and more reliable could not be ignored.
"The government in collaboration with other stakeholders will do everything possible to make sure that the Dar es Salaam Port becomes vibrant and the objective will be realized through restoration of railway services," Dr Mwakyembe said.
He pointed at trucks waiting to haul cargo from the port, causing traffic congestion in and outside the port, adding that poor infrastructure and inefficiency of the railway line, resulted into a big number of clients using road transportation to transport cargo to distant destinations.
"Heavy traffic reduced the life span of the roads which in turn forces the government to spend a lot of money on road repair while the same money could have been used in other development projects. Efficient railway operations could be a solution to the problem," he explained.
He directed the board under the chairmanship of Mr Severine Kaombwe to end the unnecessary setbacks that included theft of fuel reportedly happening when TRL trucks plied between Dodoma and Morogoro and other stations. Positive events at TRL, including launching of commuter train in Dar es Salaam are among the good accomplishments of TRL workers.
The challenges TRL is facing including lack of human resources, working facilities, poor railway line and working capital are among tasks the TRL Board of Directors are supposed to address. TRL Managing Director, Eng Kipalo Kisamfu, promised to cooperate with the new Board to revive the railway line.
The TRL Board chairman, Mr Kaombwe, pledged the board's diligence in executing their duties reiterated his promise to work with the management to revitalizeTRL.
Other TRL Board members are; Rukia Shamte, who is the Executive Secretary of Central Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation Agency (CCTTFA), Eng Malima Bundala, the president of the Tanzania Institute of Engineers (TIE), Mr Vicent Mrisho, a member of Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) Board of Directors. Others are; Ms Albina Mlaki, Treasury Registrar and TPA Acting Director General, Eng Madeni Kipande.